10/04/2014 7:39PM

Rich Tapestry runs down Goldencents in Sprint Championship

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Benoit & Associates
Olivier Doleuze gave a patient ride to Rich Tapestry in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The world traveler in Rich Tapestry took to American racing easily in Saturday’s $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship.

Starting in his third country this year, Rich Tapestry scored an upset win in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, catching stretch leader, and 4-5 favorite, Goldencents in the final stride to win the six-furlong race by a nose. Ridden by Olivier Doleuze, Rich Tapestry ran six furlongs in 1:07.57 on a track that played quick all day.

The Santa Anita Sprint Championship is the most prestigious win for Rich Tapestry, a 6-year-old Irish-bred gelding by Holy Roman Emperor who is based in Hong Kong with trainer Michael Chang. The win gives Rich Tapestry an automatic berth for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint through the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program.

“This is a lovely horse,” Chang said. “He’s easy to train. He’s won in Ireland, Hong Kong, Dubai, and now America.”

:: Breeders’ Cup Challenge: Results, replays, charts, and more

Rich Tapestry ($16.80) was last in a field of five for the first half-mile of the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, racing about a length behind Ankeny Hill through an opening quarter mile in 21.98 seconds. On the turn, Rich Tapestry was two lengths behind Secret Circle, the winner of the BC Sprint last November, after a half-mile in 44.25 seconds.

Rich Tapestry raced on the inside on the turn and moved closer to the front into the stretch when Goldencents closed from fourth to lead by 1 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining. Through the last furlong, Rich Tapestry caught Goldencents, taking the lead late.

Chang wanted Doleuze to keep Rich Tapestry off the pace, and make a stretch run.

“I took a chance,” Chang said. “Those were my tactics. I know they always go fast in the first quarter and in the second quarter slow a little more.

“I said to my jockey, ‘Give the horse a chance and let him finish.’ ”

Goldencents finished 1 3/4 lengths in front of 6-5 Secret Circle, who was followed by Ankeny Hill and Indexical. The Santa Anita Sprint Championship was Secret Circle’s first start since a second in the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Stakes here last February.

The narrow loss by Goldencents was a disappointment to jockey Rafael Bejarano, who rode the 4-year-old colt to a win in the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien Stakes over seven furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 24. Bejarano said he thought Goldencents would win in the stretch.

“He was looking at the other horse,” Bejarano said. “I’m a little sad. I expected him to run to the end. When he made the lead, his ears went up. He didn’t give me everything.”

Rich Tapestry is owned by a partnership, and has won 7 of 27 starts and $1,449,533. Rich Tapestry began his career in Ireland, where he won a maiden race on the all-weather surface at Dundalk in 2010. He won two minor handicaps on dirt in Hong Kong in 2012, and won two stakes on turf there in 2013. Earlier this year, Rich Tapestry won a $200,000 stakes in Dubai on the Tapeta synthetic track and was second in the $2 million Golden Shaheen Sprint on the Dubai World Cup undercard.

Chang said that Rich Tapestry will remain at Santa Anita in the build-up to the BC Sprint on Nov. 1, and that the gelding has taken well to California in the week since his arrival.

 “He’s like an American horse,” he said. “He settled early.”