December 19, 2018

Abel Tasman upsets Starlet

Abel Tasman and jockey Joseph Talamo win the Starlet (G1) on Saturday, December 10, 2016, at Los Alamitos Race Course ©Benoit Photo

Clearsky Farms’ homebred Abel Tasman came running late to collar 4-5 favorite American Gal and capture Saturday’s $301,380 Starlet Stakes (G1) at Los Alamitos by one length while making her stakes debut.

The Simon Callaghan-trained filly settled just off the rail near the rear of the field heading into the first turn. She gradually made her way forward into midpack while staying on the inside as Tapped set the pace through splits of :22.79, :46.78 and 1:10.81.

American Gal was just in front of Abel Tasman while running on the outside and got the jump on her rival rounding the turn as the eventual winner was forced to angle out when faced with a wall of horses around the bend. Tapped couldn’t withstand American Gal, yielding to the favorite who appeared the winner down the lane.

Abel Tasman was just winding up, though, and easily sailed past American Gal to finish 1 1/16 miles over the fast dirt in 1:42.25. The juvenile miss paid $27.20 for the win as the 12-1 fifth choice in the nine-filly field.

“She’s improving with every start and I knew she was going to run big today because she came home great in her last workout (on December 3),” Talamo said. “The added distance was in her favor and it looked on paper like there was a lot of speed to help set things up. I actually thought we would be a little bit closer, but they went pretty fast and it worked out perfect.”

“We thought she would definitely be more forwardly placed, but (jockey) Joe (Talamo) went to Plan B and it worked out,” Callaghan said. “He saved ground and gave her a real chilly ride.

“I think the distance is the key for this filly. We decided to supplement ($10,000) because she was getting good at the right time and I thought she had the stamina for this race.”

American Gal filled the runner-up spot 3 1/4 lengths in front of 33-1 longshot Mopotism. Tapped followed in fourth while Union Strike, Sandy’s Surprise, Berned, Fact of Life and Go On Mar completed the order under the wire.

Abel Tasman earned her third straight victory in this spot and now boasts a 4-3-0-0 record to go along with $247,860 in lifetime earnings. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Quality Road dropped her initial start at Del Mar while going six furlongs but has been unbeaten in three starts since.

Abel Tasman is out of the Deputy Minister mare Vargas Girl, making her a half-sister to Grade 3 heroine Sky Girl. Vargas Girl is herself a half-sibling to Grade 3 scorer Moonlight Sonata, who is the dam of Grade 2 winners Wilburn and Beethoven, and Grade 1 victor Bevo.

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