With his well-fancied stablemate empty a furlong from home, Bob Baffert’s Magic On Tap rallied three-deep to take Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Triple Bend Stakes by two lengths at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. Ridden for the first time by Juan Hernandez, who collected his second consecutive stakes win on the day, Magic On Tap got seven furlongs in 1:23.54.
As expected, Baffert’s Eight Rings, a Grade 1 stakes winner at age 2 and idle since Aug. 1, rocketed out of the gate under Flavien Prat, but was soon headed by Lambeau, who broke from post two with Edwin Maldonado.
This pair raced as a team into and around the far turn, with Magic On Tap sitting third, about a length off the lead a quarter mile out. From there, Lambeau dropped back at the rail and despite the fact he remained on his left lead, Magic On Tap gained the advantage in mid-stretch and went on to an impressive win in his sixth career start.
“My horse, he helped me a lot, he broke really sharp and I was behind the speed all the race then when I hit the quarter pole, I asked him to go and he responded really well,” said Hernandez, who was aboard for the first time today. “It looked like he was playing, he was looking around. He never changed leads. I asked him a couple of times and he didn’t want to do it, so I let him alone because he kept running. It didn’t matter if he changed leads or not, he just kept going.”
A 5-year-old full horse by Tapit, out of the Street Sense mare Aubby K, Magic On Tap, who is owned and bred in Kentucky by Summer Wind Equine, cut back in distance following a 23 ¾ length defeat in the G2 Californian Stakes going 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita on April 17 and paid $13.20, $6.00 and $3.00 while off at 5-1 in a field of five older horses.
With his first stakes win in-hand, Magic On Tap banked $120,000 for his efforts and improved his overall mark to 6-3-2-0 while boosting his earnings to $228,800.
“I was afraid of a speed duel, where we would wear each other out,” said Baffert. “Eight Rings was coming off a layoff, so with fractions like that, it was crazy. I threw the other horse (Magic On Tap) in there. I was looking for an allowance race for the horse and then I decided to throw him into the stakes race.
“He is bred to be a good one. It was good to get a stakes win for him after he disappointed in the Californian. He is still a little green, but he has been working really well. I was disappointed for Eight Rings, but you gotta get the trip. I thought we could run one-two today.”
Trained by Peter Eurton and ridden by Umberto Rispoli, Shooters Shoot rallied from last to finish second at odds of 5-1 and paid $5.40 and $2.80 while finishing 1 ¾ lengths in front of Exaulted.
The second choice at 2-1 with Abel Cedillo, Exaulted paid $2.20 and finished 2 ¾ lengths in front of 8-5 favorite Eight Rings.
Fractions on the race were 22.10, 45.03 and 1:10.14.
(Hernandez won the previous race, the Grade II Charles Whittingham Stakes, with the David Hofmans-trained Award Winner).
First post time for a nine-race card on Sunday is at 1 p.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
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