Law Schools Compete in Tapit Stakes

Law professor 2022 didn’t have its way.

After a second-place finish in the San Pasqual Stakes (G2), he earned a competitive fifth-place finish in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (G1T), then ran ninth in the Oaklawn Mile (G3).

It’s amazing what a change of scenery can do.

Returning to the field after a nearly five-month layoff and under the tutelage of a new trainer, New York-based law professor Rob Atras, he graduated on the opening day of Kentucky Highs September 1st. Under Julien Laparoux, the son of Constitution took the lead with a quarter mile to go and charged uphill towards the wire, winning by half a length in the $394,000 FanDuel Tapit Stakes.

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A 2nd year winner last winter at Santa Anita Park on dirt for Twin Creeks Racing Stables, co-owner Randy Gullatt thought there were more options for the law professor on the East Coast, and the lucrative Kentucky Downs scholarships provided the perfect launching pad for the gelding from 4 years.

“I thought (the Tapit Stakes) was a good opportunity,” Gullatt said. “He was fit and acted like he was ready to race. So we gave it a try.”

Stalking just off a fast pace of: 22.23 and 44.91 set by Megacity the law professor had not yet made his choice while the trained by Joe Sharp Kingdom of Spain rolled forward beyond the six furlong marker in 1:09. Leparoux rocked the gelding on the final turn and he split the horses at the top of the stretch to beat a Spanish Kingdom game under the wire in a final time of 1:38.10 for the mile and seventy yards.

shadow sphinx shipped from California through a second effort in a Del Mar $50,000 claiming event, rallied strongly to secure third place at odds of 34-1.

The law professor, who netted $21.10 on a winning $2 ticket, led a trifecta that netted a handsome $1,808.36. The Kentucky-bred gelding now sports a 4-1-1 record in 11 starts and earnings of $516,440.

“Coming home, I wasn’t sure I had enough horsepower because the fractions felt really fast to me,” Atras said. “But Julien was really smart and slowed the pace down a bit. He tucked it in, then he went down the rail, then the (camera) angle changed. I thought we had a shot, but I couldn’t really tell because the angle was really hard for me to read. All of a sudden, as the camera angle moved more towards traditional panning, they were still there. Julien was going from left hand and straddled him and he was still there. It was amazing. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t expect to win the first time on this track.

Photo: Coady Photography

The law professor’s connections in the Tapit Stakes trophy presentation

The law professor was the first Atras holder at Kentucky Downs.

JSM Equine peace reached was stopped by jockey Adam Beschizza on the backstretch and evacuated.

Law Professor, a homebred for Twin Creeks, is the second foal produced from multiple winning stakes Ghostzapper Haunted Heroine mare. Half-sister to Grade 1 winner Celestine, Haunted Heroine is also the dam of an unreleased 2-year-old gelding by Uncle Mo named Huntington and a one-year-old full sister of the law professor.

The Tapit was reserved for horses that had not won a participation in 2022. Last year Lover , who finished fifth in this year’s race, used his win as a stepping stone to victory in the Keeneland Turf Mile Stakes (G1T). Gullatt said the Turf Mile could be next on the law professor’s agenda.

The Kentucky Downs opening day 10-run card bet was $9,695,501.76.

Video: FanDuel Tapit S. (BT)

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