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Zipse At The Track

Iotapa belongs in a strong crop of three-year-old fillies

Iotapa 615 X 400
Photo: Benoit Photos
Given a confident ride by Joe Talamo, Iotapa rolled home to a facile score in the $70,000 Railbird Stakes today at Betfair Hollywood Park. At first glance, the 1 ¼ length win over Ciao Bella Luna in the non-graded stakes race make look like small potatoes on the grand scheme of Preakness weekend, but upon further investigation, the potential of the winner may force people to look back at the Railbird as the start of something big.

Claimed for $50,000 by Hronis Racing while winning her career debut last June, Iotapa has already proven to be a bargain, despite her new connections discovering a hairline fracture soon after the claim. Given a long layoff to properly heal from the issue, Iotapa has come back gangbusters in 2013. 

Fans first took major notice of the dark bay filly when she was entered in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks in April. Considering she only had a comebacking win in a six furlong optional claimer following the layoff after the maiden claiming event, the Santa Anita Oaks, against the likes of Beholder and Fiftyshadesofhay, seemed very ambitious. Sent off at 16-1, Iotapa had know idea she was supposed to be in over her head, though, and rallied strongly to finish second to Beholder, and ahead of Fiftyshadesofhay. In only her third lifetime start, and first in both stakes company and going farther than six furlongs, it was a big effort.

Making that Santa Anita Oaks performance all the more impressive was what her main competitors have done since. The daughter of Afleet Alex was nothing but flattered when Santa Anita Oaks winner Beholder came back to run an excellent second in the Kentucky Oaks, and also when third-place finisher, Fiftyshadesofhay scored in Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.

Instead of pushing forward into an even tougher spot, trainer John Sadler kept his young star at home and mapped out a plan for his talented filly. First the Railbird, and then the Hollywood Oaks. Despite its ungraded status, today’s feature included some quality competition. Hail Mary, who was today’s 3-2 second choice, was coming off a fast 9 ¾ win in a state-bred stakes, while today’s third choice, Ciao Bella Luna, was a sharp winner of the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland in her last start. The tough competition would prove no real worry to Iotapa, in only her fourth career start.

“She was pretty much loaded for bear today.  I really just had to point her in the right direction, said winning rider, Joe Talamo. “I'm glad John (Sadler) gave me the opportunity to ride.  I think we're going to have a lot of fun with her this summer."

I believe Talamo is right on target with the future of the still lightly raced daughter of the 2004 Preakness and Belmont winner. Add the name Iotapa to an already strong crop of three-year-old fillies, this filly is for real. 


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Older Comments about Iotapa belongs in a strong crop of three-year-old fillies...

I watched her race today--and was duely impressed!
I remember Iotapa's Santa Anita Oaks race. Nice filly. Hope she continues to do her sire proud.
Thanks Brian, I didn't know one iota about Iotapa before your blog. She is a promising filly!

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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