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Derby Threat: Tapizar

by Ian Tapp

When Tapizar won last weekend's Sham Stakes (gr. III, video) in easy, front-running style, he became the newest graded stakes winner to emerge from the successful breeding program developed by late Verne Winchell. Winchell's son Ron races Tapizar under the Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC banner, the same group that campaigned that colt's sire, Wood Memorial (gr. I, video) winner Tapit (TrueNicks,SRO).

In 1981, Verne Winchell claimed a speedy filly named Carols Christmas for $25,000 from a six-furlong race at Santa Anita. Winchell liked her pedigree, but as he later recalled, her conformation was questionable.

"She had a pretty bad swayback," Winchell said in 1990. "I was concerned that she might pass it on to her offspring, but she never has. Her foals have all been quite good-looking."

All, that is, with the exception of her first foal, a filly by 1979 Santa Anita Derby winner Flying Paster. Winchell sold that filly as a yearling for just $4,500, and she never raced.

Less than a year later, Winchell offered Carols Christmas at Keeneland January in foal to his stallion Classic Go Go, but the mare failed to meet a meager $8,000 reserve price. Undaunted, Winchell brought her home and watched Carols Christmas develop into a foundation broodmare.

Carols Christmas would produce three stakes winners, including the fleet grade I winner Olympio and Del Mar Debutante (gr. II) winner Call Now. Through her daughters, Carols Christmas is ancestress of graded winners Cuvee (TrueNicks,SRO), Early Flyer (TrueNicks,SRO), Fun House, Paddy O'Prado, Pyro, War Echo, Wild Wonder, and Will He Shine (TrueNicks,SRO). And remember that $4,500 Flying Paster filly? Later named Dana Nicole, she became the dam of WinStar Galaxy (gr. II) winner Bien Nicole, earner of over $1 million.

Pulpit (TrueNicks,SRO) and sons have been good with Deputy Minister mares. There are three stakes winners and a grade II-placed horse from 26 starters on the cross, producing a B+ TrueNicks rating. Note that the best horses on the cross are 8.5-furlong types. Thiskyhasnolimit has done his best running at that distance, placing in the Iowa Derby (gr. III) and Indiana Derby (gr. II) after winning the one-mile Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) as a two-year-old. Fly Borboleta won an allowance a nine furlongs, but gave her best performance when second in the 8.5-furlong Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II).

With Tapizar now on the Kentucky Derby trail, remember that Tapit himself started in the 2004 Derby (video) won by Smarty Jones. Tapit made a big move on the far turn, but may have been compromised by the sloppy conditions as he could only manage a ninth-place finish. Tapizar broke his maiden on a fast track at Churchill Downs, winning by 10 lengths (video).

Tapit's best runners have excelled at or slightly beyond one mile, but, of course, his Careless Jewel romped in the 10-furlong Alabama (gr. I) and Testa Matta won the Japan Dirt Derby at the same distance. As you can see in the TrueNicks Enhanced report below, colts on Tapizar's cross have a greater average winning distance than either sire or broodmare sire, so the combination at least suggests a preference for a bit more ground than average.

Given his sprinter/miler-oriented female family and front-running style, Tapizar certainly has some questions to answer in his upcoming Derby preps. That being said, his pedigree is in line with Kentucky Derby winners of the past decade, and it would be no great surprise to see this colt get the 10 furlongs on the first Saturday in May.

Click here to view the TrueNicks Enhanced report for Tapizar.

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I expect to see some "Winning Colors" type fractions in the Santa Anita Derby this year.  22 1/5, 45 3/5, 109 2/5 and 1:47 4/5.  

Householder 19 Jan 2011 8:02 PM

While he may find it tough going on the front unless left alone, this nick is a further extension of AP Indy with Deputy Minister mares (A++) with horses like Rags to Riches and Telling recent representatives.  


Byron Rogers 19 Jan 2011 9:04 PM


Another great example of affinities holding up across a sire line. More examples are Casino Drive (Mineshaft/Deputy Minister), To Honor and Serve (Bernardini/Deputy Minister), and Minister Eric (Old Trieste/Deputy Minister).

Ian Tapp 20 Jan 2011 12:21 AM

Will we be reading one of these on To Honor and Serve?

JerseyTom 24 Jan 2011 1:37 PM

So you want To Honor and Serve? Maybe I'll write about him this week. I was contemplating Wilkinson as well.

Ian Tapp 24 Jan 2011 5:55 PM

It doesn't seem that there are any other horses out west to challenge him.  If he stays fit, he will at least get there. It is hard to judge speed on that track right now but he does glide over it.  I like the aggressive schedule he will take leading up to the Derby beginning with the Bob Lewis Feb 12 then San Felipe in March, SA Derby on April 9th.  I think with those under his belt distance will be the only question.

John 02 Feb 2011 11:28 AM

Thanks, ITapp for the information.

I am not a trainer and Tapizar's action on this day may mean nothing, but take a look at his two turn Mdn. race on 9/19 at Monmouth when he dumped his rider out of the gate.  The way he ran, riderless, says to me he is intelligent, aggressive and not afraid to go up between horses.

With his 2 yo foundation, a win over the CD track and his continued improvement, Tapizar is high on my list.

trackjack 03 Feb 2011 10:34 AM

people the problem with tapizar is in his tale fimale family deputy minister not include nine furlongs is what i see right now and dialed in has mt.livermoore as his second broodmare sire ten furlongs or ten blocks i see you soon and keep talking.

cuban chef de race 03 Feb 2011 7:02 PM

Serious horses win their debuts by 10 1/2 over two turns in a 12 horse field at Churchill--then travel cross country to win like a champ at Santa Anita--Tapizar looks like any kind--he belongs at or near the top of the list of serious race horses of this crop....

Matthew W 04 Feb 2011 12:39 AM

Tapizar has worked twice since the Sham. He worked 9 days after the race (typical for Asmussen horses), going an easy half mile in :50 2/5.

A week later, 1/31, he went a solid 5f in 1:00 1/5.

Ian Tapp 04 Feb 2011 10:49 AM

one thing is a dam by d.minister out of a wild again and c.Satan mare name {carols Christmas}a former claimer than a dam by d.minister out of a b.groom and a roberto mare,tapizar is very talented but with carols christmas remember Olimpio? and others nice colts who ran before in other derby's that also had c.Christmas in their female family? all of them did flop in the Kentucky derby,think about it tapizar will need a 48 and change pace to have a chance this is what see and i see well.

cuban chef de race 06 Feb 2011 3:14 PM

the last derby winner by a nasrullah descendant? winning colors what a filly and from Seattle slew?swell in 1984 w.colors won in 1988 patterns do no last forever 1929 gelding?funny cide,dosage over 4.00 real quite,2 preps the last 4.but when you compare breeding with the Kentucky derby this is a different ball game you are in my territory.you want a mach race between tapizar and spend a buck? i hope not,a.p.indy won the belmont and did not sire a derby winner his half brother summer squall won the Preakness and did sire a derby winner and is the broodmare sire of a belmont winner so what the derby is unique in the way pedigree can be interpret,ribot line 1 winner last 30 years why?,menetier 1 winner last 30 years why?,nasrullah 2 winners last 30 years?,Minnesota mac 1 winner last 30 years why?h.t.reason 3 why?buckpasser 3? n.dancer 4 is okey but the the rise a native line has 14!! winners why?, because we are in the speed and class era and the great mr prospector own both of course with the right female family no with whitesburg,v.appeal,m.t.livermore,clever trick etc etc as some pedigree fans want to let me know.

cuban chef de race 06 Feb 2011 5:18 PM

the horse with the suspect sire like holly bull has a very classic family his sire indian charly did not,aurora,kris s,danzig,Dixieland band,alydar, roberto wow be careful brothers that is class in the female family this people are not easy to decipher or the sire or the high class bottom  line which one will show up at Churchill downs?i need more time there is not real value on him now any way.

cuban chef de race 06 Feb 2011 6:05 PM

when tapizar won the shamm he run a 97 beyer? even on a very fast track then older horses who ran the grade two s.fernando a second slower then him ran like a 88 beyer? then the san fernando was a turtle race.tapizar ran 8.5 furlons in 1.40 and change wow beyer is more dificult when the derby is close.

cuban chef de race 06 Feb 2011 8:45 PM

I pointed out Tapizar right after he won the last race on the Stars of Tomorrow card at CD, finishing more than a second faster than Santiva who had just won the GII in the race before. He also ran a second faster in the Sham than the other 2 races on the card that day at Santa Anita at the same distance, and I think they were both stakes races for older horses.? Either way, he is my top choice right now in this early 3 yo campaign. He has done everything the right way, and like trackjack said, his 2nd race, where he dumped the rider,was one of the best I have ever seen to run without a jockey.

Billy's Empire 07 Feb 2011 8:27 AM

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