Showing Up Gives Tagg That Derby Feeling

(from Gulfstream Park notes)
Lael Stables' 3-year-old Showing Up, in just his second career start Saturday, lowered the Gulfstream Park standard for the one-mile distance while defeating a first-level allowance field by 2 1/4 lengths.

Trainer Barclay Tagg, who snuck up on the racing world when he captured the 2003 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) with Funny Cide, won't be able to slip in under the radar with this flashy son of Strategic Mission, now 2-for-2 after traversing the one-turn mile in 1:34.05. It was the second time during the Saturday program that the one-mile mark was broken.

Tagg accepted congratulations from his fellow trainers while heading back to the barn area, including knowing nods from Dallas Stewart, who finished third in the race with Overbrook Farm's Flanders Fields, and Tim Ritchey, who saddled Roll Z Dice Stable's Roamin Murphy to a seventh-place finish.

"Congratulations Barclay. You've got yourself the real thing there," said Ritchey, who campaigned Afleet Alex to Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) victories and the 3-year-old championship last year.

The unassuming Tagg thinks Ritchey could be right.

"I love the demeanor of this horse," he said. "You'd pay more just for the demeanor than you would for the horse. He's got that raw speed."

Under Javier Castellano, the Kentucky-bred Showing Up went to the lead immediately and withstood several challenges throughout before pulling clear to defeat Chatain.

"I knew it was going to be a tough race," said Tagg. "When I saw the way he was repelling horses and then I saw Angel Penna's horse (Chatain) coming at him I thought, 'Oh no.' But he dug in so well."

Showing Up was purchased for $60,000 at the Easter May 2-year-old sale in Maryland. Tagg said he's pointing for the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct on April 8 next and his owners will put up $6,000 to supplement the chestnut colt to the Triple Crown.

Showing Up was scratched from the seven-furlong Swale Stakes (gr. II) last weekend in favor of this spot because Tagg was keen to get a longer race.

"I was under pressure to go in the Swale, but it was important to get this one-more race into him at a mile and then think about stretching him out to a stakes race," he said. "I don't think two turns will be a problem for him. I don't think anything will be a problem for him, but you don't know. He trains around two turns everyday of his life."