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TAP IT LIGHT GIVES MITCHELL ANOTHER GRADED STAKES MARATHON WIN WITH CLAIM IN TOKYO CITY CUP
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 27, 2010) – Trainer Mike Mitchell, who has enjoyed enormous success converting claimed horses into winners of graded stakes marathons, turned the feat once again on Saturday when 9-1 shot Tap It Light captured Santa Anita’s Grade III, $100,000 Tokyo City Cup at 1 ½ miles before a festive on-track crowd of 12,796.
After tracking early leader Eagle Poise, jockey Tyler Baze sent Tap It Light to the lead rounding the far turn. They safely withstood the late bid of Rendezvous to score by three-quarters-of-a-length in 2:62. Eagle Poise faded to third, another half-length back, in the field of eight.
Tap It Light had won going 1 3/8 miles at Fairplex Park in Sept of 2008 after Mitchell claimed the gelded son of General Meeting at Del Mar one race previous for $40,000 on behalf of Scott Anastasi, Dan Capen and James Ukegawa.
After subsequently going to the sidelines for 15 months, he returned in January at the age of six to win and run second in allowance events at Santa Anita while being primed for the longest stakes race of the meet over the track’s Pro-Ride surface.
Mitchell credits one of his clients, Dennis Ludington, for enabling Tap It Light to recover so soundly from a tendon injury. “We split the tendon,” said Mitchell, “and then sent him to Dennis’ place in Utah where he stood in the snow for almost a year. The process, as administered by Dennis, worked wonders for him. The horse is completely sound now.”
Mitchell said he claimed the gelding because “I liked his looks.” He added, “But I didn’t know that he could go this far. However, the more I worked with him, the more I thought he would run long.”
In running long successfully in a graded stakes, Tap It Light joined such other Mitchell claims as Leprechaun Kid, Kessem Power, Star Over the Bay, On the Acorn, Symphony Sid and Big Booster who all won graded competitions at long distances.
Tap It Light rewarded his backers with mutuels of $21.60, $8.60 and $4.20. Rendezvous, the 7-2 second choice ridden by Joel Rosario, paid $4.60 and $3.20. Eagle Poise, with Mike Smith aboard, paid $4 to show. Philatelist, the 8-5 favorite, checked in a non-threatening fourth under Rafael Bejarano.
“The only instructions Mike gave me were ‘Don’t fight him,’” said winning jockey Baze. “He broke a length behind everybody and I just let him pick it up (pace) as he wanted to. He doesn’t really have a big turn of foot, so when we were going to the three-eighths pole, I just went for it.”
“Tyler gave him a great ride,” said Mitchell. “If he comes out of this race good, we could run in the San Juan Capistrano (at 1 ¾ miles on turf) on closing day (April 18). We’ll talk about it with the owners.”
The winning purse of $60,000 brought the career earnings of Tap It Light to $368,211 from an 8-4-3 record in 26 career starts.
Sunday’s nine-race program features the 25th running of the Grade III, $100,000 Santa Paula Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 6 ½ furlongs. First post is at 12:30 p.m.