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.”