Rich Tapestry Weaves Santa Anita Surprise

Hong Kong-based sprinter Rich Tapestry, prepping for the Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), produced a superb come from behind win Oct. 4, nosing out Goldencents   in the $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (gr. I) .

On a sizzling hot day at Santa Anita Park, Olivier Doleuze drove the Irish-bred 6-year-old by Holy Roman Emperor between the fading Secret Circle and 4-5 favorite Goldencents in deep stretch to get up just before the wire in an outstanding six-furlong time of 1:07.59 on a fast track. The time was slightly off the track mark of 1:07.20 established by Sunny Blossom in 1989.

Michael Chang trains Rich Tapestry for a partnership. They plan to return to Santa Anita Nov. 1 for the $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Sprint after securing an automatic bid with a 7-1 upset victory. Rich Tapestry paid $16.80, $3.80, and $2.40.

Goldencents was a clear second by 1 3/4 lengths as Secret Circle, part of the hot pace, weakened late in the five-horse field.

Rich Tapestry, making his first since finishing eighth in the Hong Kong Sprint Cup (HK-II) on grass at Sha Tin April 27, is believed to be the first horse from the island nation to compete in a California stakes. The bay gelding arrived at Santa Anita the week of Sept. 29 with four wins and a second from five starts over dirt and synthetic tracks, which he prefers over the turf.

Moyglare Stud Farm bred Rich Tapestry in Ireland out of the mare Genuine Charm, by Sadler's Wells. He was purchased privately after four starts in Ireland and sent to Hong Kong, where he is owned by the partnership of Silas Yang, Siu Shun, Wong Tak Wai, Ho Chi Keung, and Cheung Yuk Tak.

Outsiders Indexical and Ankeny Hill vied out of the gate for the early lead as 6-5 Secret Circle, off a step slowly for Martin Garcia, hustled  up to join the leaders along the inside. Rich Tapestry traile but there was little separating all five horses up the backstretch. Ankeny Hill had a slight lead after a quarter mile fraction of :21.98 before Secret Circle poked a head in front while reaching the quarter pole in :44.25. Goldencents advanced on the outside rounding the turn and Rich Tapestry looked for room while right behind the leaders.

Goldencents seized the lead in upper stretch from Secret Circle and inched away to a 1 1/2-length edge approaching mid-stretch as Ankeny Hill gave way. Rich Tapestry, responding to urging from Doleuze to challenge between the two favorites, got the lead in the final couple of jumps and held off a final surge from Goldencents at the wire in a terrific finish.

A group III winner over the synthetic main track at Meydan Racecourse March 8, Rich Tapestry came back to finish second to Sterling City in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) three weeks later, beaten by three-quarters of a length. His win Saturday, worth $180,000, was his seventh in 27 lifetime starts and increased his earnings to $1,449,533.

He won the 2013 Hong Kong Sprint Cup by a nose.

Rich Tapestry paid $16.80, $3.80, and $2.40 across the board, topping an exacta worth $39.40. Goldencents, who was also second in last year's Sprint Championship prior to a smashing win in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I), returned $2.40 and $2.10. Secret Circle, the defending Breeders' Cup Sprint champion, paid $2.10 in his first start in eight months.

Ankeny Hill and Indexical trailed. Merit Man scratched.

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