Tapit mare ran down pacesetter Mitchell Road to win her first stakes race.
Having earned a pair of grade 3 placings in three previous starts this season, Tapit Today was a 5-1 choice in the Athenia, a 1 1/16-mile turf event for fillies and mares 3 years old and up. Jose Ortiz was aboard the 5-year-old Tapit mare for trainer Chad Brown, and his mount settled in third after breaking from the outside post of eight.
Mitchell Road, a half sister to 2019 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) winner Country House , broke from the rail and led by a length. She opened with a quarter-mile in :24.89, ran six furlongs in 1:13.11, and led into the stretch for a 1:36.59 mile.
Ortiz turned loose Tapit Today down the stretch, and the gray mare whittled Mitchell Road’s lead to a head with only a sixteenth of a mile to go. The two continued to duel, but Tapit Today had more left in the tank and won by a length. The final time on firm turf was 1:42.56.
“She had a great trip today. Jose and I spoke about it in the paddock, and looking at all her races, it seems like she’s a clear-running horse. She runs a bit better out in the clear,” Brown said. “She can be a little temperamental.
“Normally, a race like this with the funny turns at a mile and a sixteenth here, you wouldn’t want an outside post. We talked about the post position in the paddock about how it might benefit her to be in the clear today. She sort of resents being covered up.
“He rode her exactly how we spoke about it in the paddock, and the filly really responded today. I’m proud of her.”
“She had an outside post, and I tried to ride her like she was the best and control the race a little bit if I had enough horse, and I did,” Ortiz said of Tapit Today. “Past the half-mile, I had the favorite right inside of me, and I controlled the race from the three-eighths pole to the wire.”
Tapit Today was bred in Kentucky by Gainesway Thoroughbreds out of the Storm Creek mare La Nez, a multiple stakes winner who was also grade 1-placed. La Nez’s yearling filly by Danzing Candy was purchased for $62,000 by Seltzer Thoroughbreds out of the Checkmate Thoroughbreds consignment to the recent Fasig-Tipton California Fall Yearlings Sale. The mare also has a weanling colt by Frosted .
Bradley Thoroughbreds went to $180,000 to purchase Tapit Today from Eddie Woods’ consignment to the 2017 Ocala Breeders’ Sales June 2-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age Sale. With a 4-2-2 record in 10 starts, the mare has earned $212,230.