Tapicat High Steps into Florida Oaks

Daughter of Tapit will face stakes winners Mariel N Kathy and Kitten's Dumplings.

After leading at every call in winning her first two career turf starts, Tapicat will try to earn her first black-type Feb. 2 in the Florida Oaks (gr. IIIT) at Tampa Bay Downs.

In her initial turf start the daughter of Tapit  closed out her juvenile season with a gate-to-wire victory in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight race at Gulfstream Park. In her second grass start, Tapicat set the pace in a one-mile allowance-optional claiming race at Gulfstream, and then overwhelmed her six 3-year-old rivals in posting a 5 1/4-length score.

Conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, Tapicat is campaigned by Benjamin Leon Jr.'s Besilu Stables. Joel Rosario, who guided Tapicat to victory in both Gulfstream turf starts, will make the trip to Tampa Bay.

Bred in Kentucky by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Gainesway Thoroughbreds, Tapicat is out of the Storm Cat mare Zealous Cat, who is a half sister to grade I winner Pohave (by Holy Bull).

The 1 1/16-mile turf race has attracted a field of 12 3-year-old fillies including stakes winners Mariel N Kathy and Kitten's Dumplings, who each will carry 120 pounds.

Campaigned by MeB Racing Stables and Brooklyn Boyz Stables, Mariel N Kathy won last year's Chelsea Flower Stakes at Belmont Park. The daughter of Corinthian enters off a fourth-place finish in the Ginger Brew Stakes Jan. 1 at Gulfstream. Ginger Brew runner-up Wave Theory, trained by Chad Brown for Martin Schwartz, also is entered in the Florida Oaks.

Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Kitten's Dumplings earned her stakes score in last year's M2 Technology La Senorita Stakes at Retama Park. She enters off a seventh-place finish in the Ginger Brew.

Another horse to watch is Zanin Meahjohn's Rusty Slipper, who has won her first two career starts on the Tampa turf. The Lemon Drop Kid  filly is trained by Graham Motion.

$150,000 Florida Oaks (gr. IIIT, Race 7, approximate post time 3:23 p.m. EST), fillies 3yo 1 1/16 miles (Turf)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Cindy's Casino (FL), unknown jockey, 116, W. Downing
2. Rusty Slipper (KY), D. Centano, 116, H. Motion
3. Wave Theory (KY), J. Lezcano, 116, C. Brown
4. Raven's Rockette (KY), S. Spieth, 116, J. Scott
5. Caraquista (KY), E. Zayas, 116, M. Azpurua
6. Tapicat (KY), J. Rosario, 116, W. Mott
7. Cotton Pickin (FL), unknown, 116, D. Ryan
8. Floral Sky (OH), L. Contreras, M. Casse
9. Mariel N Kathy (KY), J. Espinoza, 120, D. Schettino
10. Kitten's Dumplings (KY), A. Serpa, 120, M. Maker
11. Toasting (FL), P. Husbands, 116, T. Albertrani
12. Jadira (KY), A. Garcia, 116, M.Casse