Tapicat started off a huge Feb. 2 for her sire Tapit with a 2 3/4-length, gate-to-wire score in the $200,000 Florida Oaks (G3) over the Tampa Bay Downs turf course. The 3-year-old filly's time of 1:39.78 was just 0.13 seconds off the 1 1/16 track record.
Tapitcat was one of three graded stakes winners on the day by her sire, followed by Flashback in the Grade 2 Robert Lewis S. at Santa Anita and Honorable Dillon in the Grade 2 Hutcheson S. at Gulfstream Park.
Tapicat cruises in the G3 Florida Oaks
Tapit entered the day ranked fourth on the 2013 General Sire list and will almost certainly sit atop the standings after Saturday's racing is completed.
The Florida Oaks went postward with a field of 10, with Tapicat breaking from post 6. The chestnut filly went right to the front while under a good hold by Joel Rosario. She continued on comfortably down the backstretch, and when Rosario let her out going into the final turn, she strode away from the field with ease, gearing down in deep stretch to win with plenty in reserve.
"We really love her," winning owner Benjamin Leon commented. "We look for excellent pedigree, conformation and racing ability, and she has all three. We expected her to do well. She is an unbelievable filly."
"She’s had three races this winter and I kind of planned on not running her right back,” said winning trainer Bill Mott. “I supposed we will have to consider if we want to take a chance on the synthetic in the Ashland (G1, April 6) at Keeneland."
Named a TDN Rising Star after a five-length triumph Jan. 9 at Gulfstream Park, Tapicat is now 3-0-1 in four starts and has earned $118,100 for owner Besilu Stables.
Bred in Kentucky by Gainesway Thoroughbreds and Winchell Thoroughbreds, Tapicat is the first foal out of Zealous Cat, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Pohave. Gainesway consigned her to the 2011 Keeneland September Yearling sale, where she brought a winning bid of $725,000 from Besilu.