01/19/2004 12:00AM

Gulfstream: Tap Day by a head


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Tap Day proved as tenacious as he is talented, holding off several challenges through the stretch en route to a head victory over Zakocity in the $66,300 Dave Feldman Stakes at Gulfstream.

The Feldman was switched from the turf to a sloppy main track due to heavy showers that struck midway through the card.

Tap Day prompted the early pace of Gambling Native in the 1 1/16-mile Feldman before forging to command from the outside nearing the far turn. Entering the stretch, Tap Day was engaged by both Commendation and 2-1 favorite Artie Schiller, but resisted both rivals to edge clear again near midstretch. He then had to dig in one last time to withstand a final surge from Zakocity, who rallied along the rail.

Commendation flattened out and finished third, 2 3/4 lengths behind Zakocity.

Artie Schiller faltered badly through the final furlong. Master William and Gin Rummy Champ were late scratches due to the surface change.

Tap Day, a 3-year-old son of Pleasant Tap, paid $22.40. He is trained by Mark Hennig for owner Edward P. Evans. Final time was 1:45.99.

"He's a big, huge horse who looks like he wants to run long," said Hennig. "He has turf breeding in his background and I've had him on the turf at Payson and he's seemed to handle it all right. We'll see how he does coming out of this before we decide what's next."