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Big Cap: Tiago in focus
by Handicappers (handicappers@globeform.com) / Globeform (http://www.globeform.com)
Last update: 2009-03-04 14:13:14 (First published: 2009-03-01 14:40:58 )


Tiago has become a regular in these top handicaps in California. There can be little doubt about his class and he is undoubtedly a runner who deserves success at the highest level.

Now five, the son of Pleasant Tap has gained three of his five career wins at Santa Anita, and what a race he ran at the Breeders’ Cup here last fall, when third behind Raven’s Pass and Hentrythenavigator in the BC Classic. Given a great ride by Smith, Tiago saved ground on the inside and he stayed on well from off the pace, to be beaten just 2 ½ lengths. He was closing best of all also when runner-up to Well Armed in the Goodwood Stakes (G1) over 9 furlongs at this course last September, when Albertus Maximus finished third.

The latter went on to take the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, and he opened this season with a win in the Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream (Einstein third). Was the 2008 Goodwood a notch better than it seemed at the time? Probably. Albertus Maximus is now favorite for the Dubai World Cup (G1), where he may have most to fear from Well Armed.

Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner in 2007 and with such solid form in 2008, when he was also fourth in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1), Tiago is still going strong. He made a pleasing seasonal debut in the 9-furlong San Antonio Handicap (G2) in February. Magnum won that event, passing the post 3 ¼ lengths in front of Tiago while enjoying a 5lb pull at the weights. The roles could easily be reversed in the Big ‘Cap.

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