03/18/2012 5:28PM

Gulfstream Park: Tapitsfly gets first graded stakes win in Honey Fox

Bob Coglianese
Tapitsfly scores a three-quarter-length victory over Bay to Bay in Gulfstream Park’s Grade 2 Honey Fox.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.  – Tapitsfly may be a Breeders’ Cup winner, but  she’d never won a graded stakes until Sunday when she took care of that little glitch in her  résumé with a three-quarter-length victory over Bay to Bay in Gulfstream Park’s Grade 2 Honey Fox.

Tapitsfly won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2009, a race that was ungraded at the time. She got close to winning a graded stakes on a couple of occasions over the past six months, finishing second in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa last summer at Saratoga and third, beaten a head, in the Grade 3 Marshua’s River here earlier this winter.

Tapitsfly broke alertly under jockey Julien Leparoux before settling in midpack about four lengths off the leaders in the one-mile Honey Fox. Tapitsfly remained in that position until early stretch, where she angled out slightly and finished best of all down the center of the course to run down Bay to Bay and La Reine Lionne.

Bay to Bay, idle since finishing fifth in the Grade 1 First Lady five months earlier, raced well placed while saving ground to the stretch, split rivals for the drive, and just missed with her closing surge. La Reine Lionne raced wide into the first turn, forced the pace outside horses, held a short advantage through midstretch, but could not last.

Future Generation, the 8-5 favorite, finished fourth.  Louvakhova was eased before the finish and vanned off after the race.

Tapitsfly is a daughter of Tapit owned by Frank Jones Jr. and trained by Dale Romans. She paid $12.20 after completing the distance over a firm course in 1:34.23.

“It’s hard to believe this was her first graded stakes win,” Romans said. “She’s had some tough beats and some nice wins prior to today, and she deserves to be a graded stakes winner. The key is that she’s started to relax a little bit, which is making her a better horse. To me, she looked like a winner every step of the way today.”

Romans said he has nothing picked out for Tapitsfly’s next start.