Tapitsfly: finally scored at Grade 1 level in Just A Game at Belmont ParkPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Romans strikes early at Belmont with Tapitsfly
Report: USA, Saturday
Belmont Park: Just A Game Stakes (Grade 1) 1m, turf, 3yo+ f/m
DALE ROMANS, trainer of leading Belmont contender Dullahan, got on the Grade 1 scoresheet earlier on the card when Tapitsfly (Ramon Dominguez) wired a competitive field in the Just A Game, one of two Grade 1s on a Belmont Stakes undercard featuring more than $2 million prize-money.
Although the daughter of Tapit won the second running of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies' Turf at Santa Anita in 2009, that race was ineligible for graded status at that stage so this was her first victory at the top level.
Sent off 32-10 second favourite, Tapitsfly took advantage of a speed-favouring grass circuit and easily held the late challenge of market leader Winter Memories by 2¼ lengths.
"Hopefully this is just a set-up for things to come later in the day," said Romans. "She really needed a Grade 1 and deserved a Grade 1."
Also on Saturday
Belmont Park: Manhattan Hcap (Grade 1) 1m2f, turf, 3yo+
Ramon Dominguez, Eclipse Award-winning jockey for the last two seasons, completed a Grade 1 double when Desert Blanc (Chad Brown) nosed out Papaw Bodie in a thrilling finish.
A four-year-old son of Desert Style, 13-2 shot Desert Blanc was a Listed winner at Deauville last July for former trainer Pascal Bary.