Live Oak Plantation’s Souper Tapit seized control as the field headed for home and widened his advantage down the lane to take Sunday’s Grade 3, $ 134,250 Marine Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Mark Casse, Souper Tapit was the 9-5 favourite in the 1 1/16-mile race for three-year-olds over Tapeta.
A son of Tapit, Souper Tapit was making his Woodbine debut after three races south of the border, a pair of starts at Fair Grounds and his most recent effort, a seventh-place finish in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes on April 15 at Keeneland.
The chestnut endured a troubled trip in the 1 1/16-mile Lexington, bothered at the start, checked hard and then clipping heels entering the first turn. Second at the three-quarter mark, Souper Tapit retreated down the lane.
Today, there was far less drama and a much more pleasing outcome.
Montu, with David Moran, led the way in the Marine setting splits of :23.17 and :47.67 with Conquest Lemonraid putting on the squeeze to the outside. Florent Geroux had Souper Tapit comfortably placed in third as the lead duo duked it out in front of them.
As the field turned for home, Geroux called upon Souper Tapit for his best run as a hard-charging Channel Maker loomed a major threat to their outside.
That pair soon separated themselves from their rivals, but Souper Tapit was able to turn a head advantage at the stretch call into a comfortable two-length margin at the wire. Malibu Secret finished third, 5 3/4–lengths behind Channel Maker.
Geroux was expecting a big performance from the Florida-bred, a horse that can be difficult to ride at times.
“He’s extremely talented,” said Geroux. “We just tried to keep him quiet and when he’s that way, he can perform very well. He’s not very easy. His last race was not very good. Mark and his staff did a great job with him. They put a lot of work and effort into him and I’m glad I was able to deliver the nice win for them today.”
Kathryn Sullivan, assistant trainer to Casse, was equally pleased to see the colt put together a strong showing on the Toronto oval Tapeta.
“We’ve really liked him all along,” she said. “He’s been really high on our list of three-year-olds right from the start. He does have his challenges. He has a mind of his own sometimes, but he was great today. We’re really happy going forward with him.”
Sullivan also provided an update on Catch a Glimpse, Canada’s 2015 Horse of the Year, who fell after bleeding in the Nassau Stakes on Saturday.
“She’s doing great today,” said Sullivan, of the multiple stakes champion. “It was a very scary incident. We’re still really not sure why it happened. She’s in her stall. She’s bright, she’s happy and she’s eating. We’re really happy she’s doing very well.”
Souper Tapit, bred by Live Oak Stud, banked $ 75,000 in victory while improving his record to 2-0-0 from four starts.
He paid $ 5.90, $ 3.70 and $ 2.70, combining with Channel Maker ($ 4.90, $ 3) for a 24.50 (4-6) exactor. A 4-6-5 triactor (Malibu Secret, $ 2.90 to show) was worth $ 68.20. A $ 1 Superfecta of 4-6-5-3 (Megagray) returned $ 131.50.
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