02/13/2011 3:26PM

California shakeup


“You’re never as wrong as when you’re sure,” reflective trainer Steve Asmussen said Sunday morning at Santa Anita, the day after Tapizar finished off the board in a race most expected him to win.

Horseplayers were so sure Tapizar would win the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis that the colt was hammered to odds of 3-10.

Tapizar was never happy. He pulled, was rank and tossed his head while unruly on the lead. The fractions (:45.64 and 1:09.92) were not the problem. “It would not have mattered if he went 48,” Asmussen said.

Tapizar got mad and was done early. He finished fifth by more than five lengths.

Garrett Gomez told Asmussen that the colt disliked being “eared” in the gate. Something ticked him off. The version of Tapizar on Saturday was not the version of Tapizar that set a fast but controlled pace one month earlier winning the Sham.

A cynical handicapper reflected Sunday on the state of the California 3-year-olds. “Yesterday we didn’t think California would be strong in the Triple Crown,” he said. “Today the question is, will California even have a Triple Crown starter?”

It is back to square one with Tapizar, whose status for a Derby – Santa Anita or Kentucky – seems dubious.

As for the Lewis, Anthony’s Cross ($18.60) won by a nose over Riveting Reason; both colts earned a 90 Beyer Figure for the mile and one-eighth race. No knocks, no huge accolades.

Asmussen, whose 3-year-old Albergatti stamped himself as a future stakes colt Saturday with an impressive maiden sprint win (90 Beyer), may have found a Derby ace at Golden Gate.

He shipped turf-synthetic specialist Silver Medallion to the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby, where Comma to the Top was favored at 1-2. Comma to the Top blew up in the lane finished fourth at 1-2 while Silver Medallion ($15) overcame a rocky trip to win by a length and a quarter.

Silver Medallion earned a 93 Beyer.

“He didn’t have the smoothest of trips, and he stayed (nine furlongs),” Asmussen said.

Asmussen postponed discussion of the colt’s campaign until after he speaks with the owner. Silver Medallion has never raced on dirt. No problem.

“He runs on synthetic, he runs on turf, and he trains great on dirt,” Asmussen said. “There are a lot of options there.”

Bob danna More than 1 year ago
Are you guys really horseplayers or just making comments based on early results? Everyone is saying Uncle Mo, Brethren and Dialed In, like they have the one-two-three finish all sowed up. Not! The Triple Crown always has big surprises, this year will be no exception. What about Sway Away? He has the breeding, was off for a while, but showed promise finishing a strong second to J.P's Gusto at Del Mar. It seems he could very well pop into the picture. East Coast, as usual, is bragging how good their horses are. First it was Rachel, then Blame, and now Uncle Mo. Mind you, he looks the part, but can he get a mile and a quarter in under 2 minutes? I think not. In any case the Kentucky Derby will be, as usual, "The Funky Dunky Jewel for 3-year-olds." Personally, I'll wait till they turn 4 and 5 and see who's still around to brag about the good old days as a 3-year-old.
Frank B. More than 1 year ago
Everyone seems to be overlooking one 3-year-old who is an undefeated four-for-four. Better take a look at Bench Points. He'll run in the San Felipe on March 12 at Santa Anita. If he wins, it's the Santa Anita Derby, then on to Kentucky. Sure, he's never gone two turns, but I've watched his four races and this horse is the real deal. Distance won't be a problem.
DeShance More than 1 year ago
There is a long way to go before the first Saturday in May, and the California horses, as well as all other 3-year-olds, are capable of going in either direction. It as just as likely that unknown horses will develop into top contenders as well as the current top contenders dropping off the list for a myriad of reasons. Tapizar went from being an odds-on horse on Saturday, to completely off the trail on Tuesday; others are sure to join him along the way. An intriguing California 3-year-old is Runflatout. He broke his maiden on Jan. 29, going six furlongs, earning a 96 Beyer. He is owned by West Point and trained by John Sadler. He is being pointed to the San Felipe for his next start. He might have a big say in the division.
raybird More than 1 year ago
Am I missing something? There's a guy named Bob Baffert who has a few 3-year-olds to speak of. And we probabably haven't seen the Derby winner run yet.
greg More than 1 year ago
It's so unfortunate how these horses can't even take a five-race campaign ... the bones on these horses are so brittle they can't take the strain of running. I asked a buddy of mine to name his top 10 horses for the Derby about three weeks ago. I took $100 bet on each @ 10-1 and said they won't even start in the Kentucky Derby, so far three down. I will say now, the Derby winner is a horse that nobody is even aware of yet, who, I don't know, but the big names won't make the dance ...
mark More than 1 year ago
There goes Brad again, taking another California horse. When will he learn? They can't win the Kentucky Derby. Not a fan of Uncle Mo winning the Derby. Dialed In has been my choice since his maiden win. Good luck to the California horses, you'll need it.
hialeah More than 1 year ago
So the West basically has three options: a) a wing, b) a hope, c) a prayer. Is that about it?
GunBow More than 1 year ago
I don't know the behind-the-scenes discussions, but it seems to me that a good number of owners and trainers just conceded the Bob Lewis to Tapizar, and wanted no part of running their horse, in either the horse's first start of the year or first stakes race, against the Asmussen horse. Given what transpired, I wonder if there aren't a number of owners and trainers with great regret for not pulling the trigger this past weekend. Because now, there's just the seven-furlong San Vicente and then the San Felipe before the Santa Anita Derby.
tony v More than 1 year ago
With the likes of Uncle Mo, Brethren and Dialed In they best just skip the Derby ...