Tapit Today Gets Breakthrough Graded Stakes Victory In Athenia

William Lawrence and Bradley Thoroughbreds’ Tapit Today broke through in a stakes after a trio of close efforts, running down pacesetter Mitchell Road from the outside in the final furlong and holding off her competitor for a one-length win in Sunday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Athenia for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

The Tapit mare was coming off a third-place effort in the G3 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf on September 12, which followed a fourth-place effort in the G3 Matchmaker in July at Monmouth Park and another third in her 5-year-old debut in the G3 Suwannee River in February at Gulfstream Park.

In her first start at Belmont, Tapit Today broke sharp from the outside post under jockey Jose Ortiz and tracked in third position as Mitchell Road and Sweet Bye and Bye led the eight-horse field through the opening quarter-mile in 24.89 seconds, the half in 50.37 and three-quarters in 1:13.11 over the firm inner turf.

Out of the final turn, jockey Luis Saez kept Mitchell Road near the rail, but Tapit Today challenged from her outside, went eye-to-eye and passed her rival in mid-stretch. The Chad Brown trainee maintained that urgency and completed the 1 1/16-mile course in a 1:42.56 final time.

“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,” said Ortiz, who registered his Belmont fall meet-leading 35th win. “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 improved to 4-2-2 in 10 career starts and posted her best stakes performance since running second in the 2018 Riskaverse at Saratoga. Off at 5-1, she returned $13.60 on a $2 win wager and improved her career earnings to $212,230.

“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,” Brown said. “She runs a bit better out in the clear. She can be a little temperamental.”

Tapit Today gave Brown his fourth victory in the Athenia in the previous five runnings and marked the conditioner’s fifth overall win in the contest. It was also Brown’s meet-leading 20th win of the fall meet, which concludes on November 1.

“Normally, a race like this with the funny turns at a mile and a sixteenth here you wouldn’t want an outside post,” Brown said. “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.”

Mitchell Road, who bested Tapit Today when second last out in the Ladies Turf, finished one length ahead of the Brown-trained She’s Got You for second.

“She was travelling pretty good, but she’s better on firmer turf,” Saez said. “When she came to the stretch she couldn’t get a hold of it [the turf] and it cost me a little bit because the winner got on top of me. She tried to fight back but it was a little late.”

She’s Got You, making just her third career North American start and graded stakes debut, was a neck better than fellow English-bred Feel Glorious to earn blacktype for Brown.

Call Me Love, Altea, Sweet Bye and Bye and Story Time completed the order of finish.

Live racing resumes Thursday with a nine-race card. First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.

The post Tapit Today Gets Breakthrough Graded Stakes Victory In Athenia appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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