Trainer Mario Morales will be running the career-untested Tapicero in the $50,000 Excellent Luck Stakes at Calder Casino & Race Course this Saturday. Later this month, Tapicero’s stable mate, Casiguapo, will run in the $1 million Grade III Delta Downs Jackpot at Delta Downs.
All American Horses owns both Tapicero and Casiguapo. The colts were both purchased as yearlings at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale. While the Tapit-sired Tapicero, out of Love U Fran, by Phone Trick, was purchased for $20,000 as a post auction private sale, the Sightseeing-sired Casiguapo, out of Emerald Buddha, by Buddha, sold for just $4,700.
“I have a high opinion of (Tapicero) because he has good form besides his good pedigree,” said Morales. “On paper, he does have the better pedigree. He has a lot of stakes siblings, children of Tapit, while Casiguapo doesn’t have anybody. He is the exception. He is from the second crop of a young sire who, unfortunately, has already passed away.”
Tapicero had two-straight bullet workouts in October, prior to two works from the gate in November in preparation for the 5 ½-furlong Excellent Luck. He posted a 4-furlong bullet work in :49 flat on October 13 and a 5-furlong bullet work in 1:02 flat on October 19. On November 2, he posted a 4-furlong gate work in :50.20 and a 3-furlong gate work in :37 on November 9.
Casiguapo, now graded stakes placed, started his career in the 5 ½-furlong Frank Gomez Memorial Stakes at Calder on June 22. He finished third as the second-longest shot on the board after having a difficult start, just missing a second-place finish in his debut.
“I entered him in a stakes race because I believe he is a very good horse,” said Morales. “The people thought that he should run in a maiden and not in a stake; I thought that he could win the stake. The proof is that he ran third (after) breaking with the back (of the pack). He did very well, so much so in spite of being blocked at the start. He came out fine except for being blocked, which made him be behind. If that didn’t happen he would have won that day.”
Casiguapo returned to break his maiden one start later as the post-time favorite in a 5 ½-furlong maiden special weight race at Calder on July 20. He had a much better trip after he broke second and lead throughout the race, cruising to the finish line 11 lengths in front under a hand ride. According to Morales, he had the faith in Casiguapo to run him in a stakes race rather than a maiden claiming, but none were available at the time.
Casiguapo went north for his following two starts, which came in back-to-back Grade I races. First, he finished runner-up in the Grade I Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga Race Course as the longest shot on the board on September 2, then ran fourth in the Grade I Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park on October 5 as the third-longest shot on the board.
“In the two races he ran in New York, he should have run better, because he had his problems during the week and nevertheless they were good races, although it seems unlikely,” said Morales.
Casiguapo leaves Calder for Delta Downs on Sunday to run in the $1 million Grade III Delta Downs Jackpot at Delta Downs, which is scheduled for a mile and a sixteenth on November 23.
“He did not run in the Breeder’s Cup because he was not nominated for the Breeder’s Cup,” said Morales. “That is why we chose this race.”
As for Tapicero, his performance in this Saturday’s stakes race will determine whether he will be following in the Grade I footsteps of his stable mate, Casiguapo.
“First we have to see him race, and from there we will see what he will do,” said Morales. “He still needs to grow, just like all babies. Those that have already run have a little more experience than a horse running for the first time. The first race serves like schooling, and if he wins, that is even better. I believe there is a good future because behind these horses there is another good group of babies for the upcoming year.”
Morales has trained for more than 35 years – first in South America and then for a decade in the United States. He has trained multiple stakes horses and raced in various countries, including his native Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina. While the ownership of All American Horses is young, its knowledge of horse racing extends far into the past.
“I have known them since they were children,” said Morales. “I had horses for their parents 30 years ago in South America. That is where their liking for horses began. Year after year they kept knowing more and more, and now they are young owners with a lot of experience.”
Tapicero breaks from post three in the Excellent Luck with jockey Abdiel Jaen aboard. The Excellent Luck is race seven on the card with an approximate post time of 3:30 p.m. Post time for the first race at Calder is 12:30 p.m.