01/19/2011 1:26PM

Tapizar Fallout


I always envisioned that one of the after effects of a newly turned 3-year-old dominating a stakes race the way Tapizar did last Saturday's Sham Stakes at Santa Anita is a mad stampede to get down on him in the Kentucky Derby Future Books in Las Vegas. It turns out that I was only partly correct.

"There was a mad stampede to bet him even before he ran the other day," said John Avello, Executive Director of Race and Sports Operations at Wynn Las Vegas. "If you think about it, that race the other day was a short field and it looked before the race like he was going to win. So if you waited until after the race to bet him in the Future Book, it would have been too late. His price would be too short."

Indeed, Tapizar was even money in the Sham off a blowout maiden win going two turns in his fourth and most recent career start. That big maiden score took place at Churchill Downs, which gives everyone something to think about when it comes to Tapizar in a Kentucky Derby context. And Tapizar justified the betting public's support in the Sham, winning by just over four lengths, going away.

According to Avello, Tapizar opened at 125-1 in Wynn's Derby Future Book last fall when he was still a maiden. But Tapizar's odds have steadily tumbled ever since, dropping from 100-1, to 75-1, to 60-1, to 45-1, to 35-1, and he didn't stop there.

"He was 20-1 before he ran on Saturday," Avello said. "He went down to 12-1 after the race, and he's still getting bet.

"People like to bet the 'now' horse," Avello added. "The Sham was a graded race, so he has some graded earnings, and I read he's staying in California, where he has shown he can run well. He's very much a now horse."

Tapizar seems to be such a now horse that folks are looking to bet him even at one of the many Las Vegas casinos that decline to assume the exposure and do not offer Future Book Kentucky Derby wagering. Red Rocks Casino, which will next week again host the National Handicapping Championship, is one such casino.

"We don't post up future lines on the Derby," Jason McCormick, Race and Sports Book Director at Red Rocks, said when asked if he noticed any reaction to Tapizar's romp in the Sham. "But after he ran, three guys came up to the counter asking for a price on this horse, and it was three seperate cases. That's the first time that's happened here in January that I can remember. I tell you what, this horse stimulated something in someone's mind."

As for me, it's obvious that Tapizar has some talent. But Tapizar was very headstrong in the early stages of the Sham, literally demanding that he have the early lead, and that is not a plus in a Derby contender. Those kind of horse rarely succeed in the Derby. Still, Tapizar still has plenty of time to learn how to settle. Whether he actually will or not is another matter.