12/11/2013 4:00PM

CashCall Futurity: Tap It Rich gets another shot as juvenile

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Barbara D. Livingston
Tap It Rich will make one last start as a 2-year-old in Saturday's Grade 1 CashCall Futurity.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Tap It Rich ran so well winning his debut at Santa Anita on Oct. 12 and worked so sharply into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, that he was sent off as the second choice in that race. But his inexperience, at which he had hinted in his training, betrayed him on the day, when he finished fifth behind four more experienced horses, including his Bob Baffert-trained stablemate, New Year’s Day, who won the Juvenile at 10-1.

New Year’s Day has been put away for the rest of the year, but Tap It Rich will get another chance to gain valuable experience, as well as a Grade 1 win, when he competes Saturday in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Tap It Rich still acts like a colt who has much room for improvement. On Wednesday morning at Santa Anita, he galloped around the track with his head cocked to the side, as he is wont to do, though not as severely as in his preparation for the Breeders’ Cup. Perhaps he’s maturing out of it, but Baffert has been using a new bit on Tap It Rich in the hope jockey Mike Smith will have more control.

The bit is a long, straight bar that has a protrusion out of the left side of Tap It Rich’s mouth.

[CashCall Futurity: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live]

“I first saw it used by Bobby Frankel,” Baffert said Wednesday morning at Santa Anita. “He had it specifically made. I borrowed one, then had some made immediately. It seems to be working with this colt. He’s worked in it, and he’s been galloping in it.”

Tap It Rich finished about 3 1/2 lengths behind New Year’s Day in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, which, like the CashCall Futurity, is at 1 1/16 miles.

“He got behind horses, got a little lost. He’s not very professional yet. He’ll get it,” Baffert said.

Tap It Rich will have to grow up in a hurry to have success Saturday in the CashCall Futurity, because the race was expected to have a large field, including Bond Holder, fourth in the Breeders’ Cup, as well as the unbeaten Shared Belief, impressive winner of the Hollywood Prevue last time out.

Mandella has pair for stakes

The Grade 2, $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup for long-distance grass runners and the Grade 3, $150,000 Native Diver for older horses are the supporting stakes on Saturday’s card, and trainer Richard Mandella was set to be represented in both, with Segway in the Turf Cup and Setsuko in the Native Diver.

Segway will be making his stakes debut. He has won twice in five starts and comes off a victory in a first-level allowance at Santa Anita on Oct. 27.

“He won going a mile and a quarter. Now, we’ll try him at a mile and a half,” Mandella said.

Setsuko, best known for twice finishing second in the Santa Anita Handicap, has not raced since March 2012, but Mandella said Wednesday he is “doing good.”

Setsuko’s rivals were expected to include Drill, third in the overnight Big Bear at Santa Anita on Oct. 31.

Mandella also will be in action Sunday, in the $100,000 Playa del Rey for female sprinters. He will send out Rumor, who has not raced since finishing fourth in the A Gleam at Hollywood Park on July 13. Her rivals are expected to include Teddy’s Promise, whom Rumor defeated in the Grade 3 Las Flores at Santa Anita in March.

Coaches team up with horse

Joel Quenneville has won two Stanley Cups in the past four seasons as the coach of the Chicago Blackhawks, but he’s also a passionate racing fan, and that interest has now extended to ownership with Midnight Hawk, a 2-year-old colt who makes his debut in Friday’s fourth race.

“It’s his first horse. He’s so excited,” said Baffert, who trains Midnight Hawk for a partnership that includes Mike Tice, a former head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. Mike Pegram, who bred Midnight Hawk, also is part of the ownership group.

Midnight Hawk, a son of Midnight Lute, has had his last three works in company with Wynhurst, another Baffert first-time starter.

“They’ve both trained well,” Baffert said, “but seven and a half furlongs is a tough distance first time out.”