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Tap It to Win eyeing 2020 Belmont Stakes

Tap It to Win, an allowance winner on Thursday June 4 at Belmont Park and trained by Hall of Famer Mark Casse, is now eyeing the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 20.

Owned by Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation, the sophomore son of Tapit led at every point of call in the 1 1/16-mile first-level allowance event while recording swift fractions and kicked clear of his competition for a five-length victory. He garnered a career-best 97 Beyer Speed Figure for his final time of 1:39.76, just shy of Transparent’s track record 1:39.22 from September 2018.

Casse expressed little concern at running the three-time winner off 16 days’ rest in the 152nd Belmont Stakes, noting that some of his star athletes have notched big scores in the past.

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Tap It to Win 6-1 John Velazquez
126 Lbs
Mark Casse
2 Sole Volante 9-2 Luca Panici
126 Lbs
Patrick Biancone
3 Max Player 15-1 Joel Rosario
126 Lbs
Linda Rice
4 Modernist 15-1 Junior Alvarado
126 Lbs
William Mott
5 Farmington Road 15-1 Javier Castellano
126 Lbs
Todd Pletcher
6 Fore Left 30-1 Jose Ortiz
126 Lbs
Doug O’Neill
7 Jungle Runner 50-1 Reylu Gutierrez
126 Lbs
Steven Asmussen
8 Tiz the Law 6-5 Manuel Franco
126 Lbs
Barclay Tagg
9 Dr Post 5-1 Irad Ortiz, Jr.
126 Lbs
Todd Pletcher
10 Pneumatic 8-1 Ricardo Santana, Jr.
126 Lbs
Steven Asmussen

“I’ve always said, run them when they’re good,” Casse said. “We won the Breeders’ Cup [Filly and Mare Sprint] with Shamrock Rose [off of two week’s rest] and last year we spun Got Stormy back off of a week’s rest to beat colts in a Grade 1 [Fourstardave at Saratoga]. Sixteen days will be enough time.

“I thought that yesterday was a really tough race, but I believed we had a good chance,” Casse added. “[Hall of Fame jockey] Johnny [Velazquez] told me that he galloped out really well so that makes me feel good.”

Tap It to Win, who has won both of his sophomore starts, was highly regarded by Casse last year. Following a second out maiden win over the Saratoga main track, he recorded two well-beaten 10th-place efforts against stakes company in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland and the Street Sense at Churchill Downs.

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“I thought he was a Breeders’ Cup horse last year,” Casse said. “When we ran him in the Breeders’ Futurity, he got away slow and was very rank. Tyler [Gaffalione] couldn’t get him to settle. In the Street Sense, he hit the inside of his sesamoid and had a small sequestrum so we had to go in, get it fixed and have surgery.”

Tap It to Win made a successful return to action against his Florida-bred counterparts in a May 9 allowance race going six furlongs at Gulfstream Park, where he beat next-out winner Whiskey Sunrise.

“What was really amazing was that during his time off, he really grew up,” Casse said. “He’s just a super-moving horse. We breezed at our training center in Ocala and every time we would watch, our mouths would be open when we watch him move. I told Tyler [Gaffalione] before his race at Gulfstream that he would be riding a different horse than he was on previously.”

A homebred, Tap It to Win is out of the three-time stakes winning Medaglia d’Oro broodmare Onepointthreekarats and comes from the same family as Champion Filly Songbird.

Casse will be attempting a second straight Belmont Stakes victory after saddling Tracy Farmer’s Sir Winston to an upset victory last year.

Casse said Sir Winston, a 4-year-old son of Awesome Again, is scheduled to make a return to action in the $80,000 Flat Out over Big Sandy on Thursday, June 11.

A Kentucky homebred, Sir Winston, who traveled overseas in March for the Dubai World Cup which was subsequently canceled, has not raced since defeating allowance company at Aqueduct on January 31 going a one-turn mile.

“It was disappointing that we didn’t get to run him in Dubai. He was training really well,” Casse said. “He’s doing well now, he’s happy, the distance won’t hurt him, and we all know that he loves Belmont. We’re just trying to get started.”

Also for Casse and Farmer is Perfect Alibi, who has not raced since finishing fourth to British Idiom in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita in November, and will likely target the Grade 1, $300,000 Acorn; one of four Grade 1 events carded on Belmont Stakes Day.

The daughter of Sky Mesa won the Grade 2 Adirondack and the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga last summer and has been training alongside Casse’s New York division since mid-March. She recently recorded a half-mile move in 49.49 seconds over the Belmont main track.

Elsewhere, Casse plans on regrouping with Got Stormy following a lackluster fourth to Rushing Fall in the Grade 3 Beaugay on Wednesday and stated he would consider the Grade 1, $300,000 Just a Game on June 27.

“We probably just chased the best turf female in the country,” Casse said. “We’ll regroup and there’s a possibility we’ll run back in the Just a Game.”

A dual Grade 1-winner, the daughter of Get Stormy arrived at the Beaugay off a runner-up effort in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile on March 7 at Santa Anita. is a US licensed & regulated online Belmont Park OTB where you can safely place bets on the Belmont Stakes. Available to customers across the United States, OTB allows horseplayers to watch and wager on racing from tracks around the world at any time.

Early look at the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes – Saturday, June 20

Probable (10): Basin (Steve Asmussen), Charlatan (Bob Baffert), Dr Post (Todd Pletcher), Farmington Road Pletcher), Gouverneur Morris (Pletcher), Max Player (Linda Rice), Modernist (Bill Mott), Sole Volante (Patrick Biancone), Tap It to Win (Mark Casse), Tiz the Law (Barclay Tagg)

Possible (4): Maxfield (Brendan Walsh), Ny Traffic (Saffie Joseph, Jr.), Pneumatic (Steve Asmussen), Shivaree (Ralph Nicks)

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