JFT: Tapitsfly outduels Rose Catherine

Updated: November 6, 2009, 9:18 PM ET
By Alan Shuback | Daily Racing Form



ARCADIA, Calif. -- Tapitsfly outgamed Rose Catherine in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on Friday at Santa Anita as the European favorites Lillie Langtry and Junia Tepzia failed to show any sparkle in finishing well out of the money.

Robby Albarado was content to follow Rose Catherine's quick early pace on the Dale Roman-trained Tapitsfly in second. Rose Catherine went three lengths clear entering the backstretch as Tapitsfly cruised up into a perfect position. A daughter of Tapit, Tapitsfly ($21.60) inched closer approaching the far turn, engaged the pacesetter at the eighth pole, and drew clear for a half-length victory.

It was another 3 1/4 lengths back from Rose Catherine to House of Grace in third. The time for the mile on a firm turf course was 1:34.25.

Tapitsfly's previous victory had come in the P.G. Johnson Stakes going 1 1/16 miles on turf at Saratoga. Since then, she had finished third on a dirt track rated good in Belmont's off-the-turf Miss Grillo. She relished her return to grass on Friday and was able to overcome an unfavorable draw from post 10 in a field of 12.

"She's a little fighter," said Albarado. "She's a true grass horse for sure. She worked very well this week, so we had a good indication that she'd run good."

With her long stride, Tapitsfly looks like a filly who should improve next year as the distances get longer. The same might be said of Rose Catherine, a Speightstown filly trained by Todd Pletcher. She had won her maiden at Belmont last time when switched to turf after two unsuccessful tries on the main track. Rose Catherine was able to lead throughout that day to win the six-furlong race by 8 3/4 lengths, and while the added distance of the Juvenile Fillies Turf found her out, she certainly stayed the full mile.

Sent off as the 8-5 favorite, the Aidan O'Brien-trained Lillie Langtry never looked comfortable on the firm ground. Johnny Murtagh was pushing her along with more than three furlongs to go and she came home eighth, beaten 6 3/4 lengths. Team Valor's Italian-German invader Junia Tepzia saw her late move spoiled when she blew the turn entering the stretch. She weakened to finish last, 12 1/4 lengths behind Tapitsfly, and will now join Christophe Clement in New York.