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Updated on 11/03/2012 9:28PM
Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile: Tapizar pays $32 while scoring his third local stakes win
By Marty McGee
ARCADIA, Calif. - Steve Asmussen sent Tapizar back to southern California with the kind of hunch reserved for a trainer with more than 6,000 career wins. The colt was coming off a horrible effort in the Kelso Mile leading up to the $1 million Breeders' Cup Mile, but Asmussen knew a switch to Santa Anita might provide a big turnaround.
In fact, it wasn't until a few days before pre-entries were revealed that Asmussen publicly confirmed Tapizar for the race. That faith paid off, as Tapizar, a 15-1 shot with Corey Nakatani aboard, ran the race of his life Saturday in dominating the sixth running of the BC Dirt Mile.
"Very few times do you see a horse come off such a bad race and win in the Breeders' Cup," said Ron Winchell, whose family bred and owns Tapizar, a 4-year-old colt by Tapit. "It took a little faith. We're happy to be here now."
Tapizar returned $32.60 to win after finishing the two-turn mile in 1:35.34 over a fast track.
Tapizar, away alertly, took a fight to front-running Emcee down the backstretch of the Dirt Mile, then began edging away near the quarter pole. After straightening for home, as Emcee began to fade, Tapizar suddenly found himself alone out front, and he took it straight to the house.
Longshots also filled the other top slots. Rail Trip, an 8-1 shot with a good off-the-pace trip, rallied to finish 2 1/4 lengths behind Tapizar in second. Delegation (19-1) was another 1 3/4 lengths back in third, with John Scott (12-1) a half-length back in fourth.
All of the favorites disappointed. Shackleford, the 5-2 second choice, stumbled at the start and never had a real chance, taking an overland route before fading to seventh. Emcee (sixth as the 5-2 favorite) also had no mishap out front; likewise for Jersey Town (fifth at 9-2) and Fed Biz (eighth at 5-1) when it came their turns to fire.
Tapizar now has won 6 times from 14 career starts and is 3 for 5 over the Santa Anita main track. Two of his biggest prior victories came here in the Sham Stakes in early 2011 and the San Fernando earlier this year. In the Sept. 29 Kelso Mile, he ran sixth, beaten more than 20 lengths.
"He showed the last few weeks how much he likes this track at Santa Anita, which is why we took the shot," said Asmussen.
Rail Trip, as his name implies, had a decent rail trip before angling out to be a clear second. "We're very happy with the way he ran," said Ron Ellis, who trains the 7-year-old gelding for the Jay Em Ess Stable.
Shackleford's early miscue cost him dearly, as jockey Ramon Dominguez found himself scrambling for position thereafter. Trainer Dale Romans said a decision will have to be made whether 4-year-old Shackleford, an earner of more than $2.8 million, will race once more before retiring, either in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs or the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct, both later this month.
The poor showing by Emcee continued an unfortunate run for the Kiaran McLaughlin stable over the last couple of months. One other stable star, It's Tricky, missed the Breeders' Cup with a career-ending injury, while one more, Questing, was eased Friday in the BC Ladies' Classic.
The $2 exacta (8-1) paid $245.60; the $1 trifecta (8-1-2) returned $1,950.70; and the dime superfecta (8-1-2-4) was worth $1,247.64.
Tapizar was the upset winner of the Dirt Mile. He certainly looked amazing winning it and certainly has a liking to Santa Anita. The biggest disappointment has to be Shackelford because it broke slowly and lost all chance of winning. Also both Emcee and Fed Biz were disappointing too. I will add that jockey Corey Nakatani was another local rider that won a BC race with Tapizar.
Congratulations to Tapizar for his very fine win in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. Steve Asmussen definitely had him sharp and ready for this race. He gave a great performance. And pay off of $32 for the win was generous, as were the exotics. And Rail Trip proved he is aptly named, as he made a game second by coming up the rail smartly to grab the place. Mr. Asmussen and Tapizar's connections had a very joyful celebration in the winner's circle. It was a nice celebration to watch. Congratulations to each and every one of them on Tapizar's victory. He did great.
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