The highly-touted 3-year-old Tapit colt Constitution lived up to his promise in his debut Saturday at Gulfstream Park, gamely battling to a half-length victory over Juba, another Tapit colt who flashed plenty of talent as well.
Constitution, a $400,000 yearling purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale, gave his connections some anxious moments after breaking tardily at the start of the seven furlong affair. Though he was taken in hand, the bay colt nevertheless made up ground quickly, coming up the rail to engage Juba entering the far turn.
That duo raced together for the better part of a half-mile before Constitution edged away in deep stretch to complete the course in 1:23.36, worthy of his 84 Beyer Speed Figure and simultaneously named a TDN Rising Star.
Constitution is Tapit's second Rising Star in three days; following 3-year-old Cassatt's tagging for her maiden win Jan. 9 at Fair Grounds.
Elliott Walden, President of WinStar Farm, who co-owns Constitution with Twin Creeks Racing, was a little concerned right after the break as well.
“He didn’t break well and he’s been a free-running colt, so that did concern us,” Walden said afterward. “But he is very athletic, and he showed that in the first eighth of a mile when he got back into the race again and into position. It was nice to see him overcome that down the stretch. It was a really, really good effort and you don’t see them do that very often. You might see them get back into it, but then they back up and finish third or fourth. It was pretty impressive.”
Walden was non-committal on Constitution's next start, deferring to trainer Todd Pletcher.
Constitution is the first foal out of Baffled, who is a half sister to Grade 1 Forego S. winner Emcee and listed winner Spring Party.