04/24/2009 11:00PM

Mr Napper Tandy wins first stakes

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ALBANY, Calif. - Mr Napper Tandy erased a lot of frustration for trainer Jack Carava as he won the first stakes of his career by nipping Yacht Spotter by a head in the final strides of Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate Fields.

The British-bred 5-year-old horse had three wins, 11 seconds and one third in 22 races coming into the San Francisco Mile. Five of those seconds and the third had come in stakes races.

Julio Garcia took Mr Napper Tandy back early and was still last at the quarter pole while circling four wide. He had plenty of momentum and kicked caught the pacesetting Yacht Spotter just before the wire.

"I just followed the instructions," said Garcia. "They said don't hurry the horse in the beginning and wait, wait, wait before letting him run. My horse really responded."

Carava said he wanted to run at Golden Gate with its softer turf course because the harder Southern California turf courses tend to favor horses with speed rather than Mr Napper Tandy's come-from-behind style.

"I've always liked this horse even though he's a frustrating horse because of all the seconds," Carava said after watching the race at Hollywood Park. "Julio rode him well. He's a tough horse to ride."

It was the first time the 46-year-old Garcia, who won the 1985 San Francisco Mile aboard Truce Maker, had ridden Mr Napper Tandy.

Mr Napper Tandy paid $15.20 and covered the mile in 1:36.07. Bold Chieftain finished third, three-quarters of a length behind Yacht Spotter. Favored Ferneley finished sixth and never got into the race.

Yacht Spotter was able to control the pace as he relaxed through honest but easy fractions and was in front of Bold Chieftain by 21/2 lengths at the eighth pole with Mr Napper Tandy fourth another 11/2 lengths back.

"He's all heart," Bisono said of Yacht Spotter. "He ran so hard it's a shame he got beat. He may not have the class of some horses, but he tries harder than the rest of them."

Mr Napper Tandy, owned by La Canada Stable, earned $180,000 to lift his career earnings to $434,819.