Upset pick in Valley View at Keeneland

Profile Picture: James Scully

October 20th, 2016

I remember Sweet Talker. By Stormin Fever, who also sired the Grade 1-winning turf filly Check the Label, Sweet Talker notched her biggest victory on Keeneland’s turf when capturing the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) in 2005. The triumph came in the midst of a nine-race stretch where the hard-knocking filly recorded six wins and three seconds from nine starts.

Now a broodmare, Sweet Talker’s first foal, Perregaux, finished second in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) and third in the Jefferson Cup (G3) on turf. Her latest foal to race, Sweet Tapper, is set to make her stakes debut in Friday’s Valley View (G3) on Keeneland’s turf.

Listed at 20-1 on the morning line, Sweet Tapper is my upset selection in the grassy 1 1/16-mile race.

Sweet Tapper broke her maiden last April when trying the Keeneland turf, rolling to a convincing 2 ¾-length distance at the Valley View distance. The filly she beat that afternoon, Queen Caroline, went on to capture three consecutive turf stakes this summer before an unplaced finish in the recent Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.

After breaking her maiden, Sweet Tapper stepped up to contest a salty allowance tilt at Churchill Downs and wound up a respectable third to the well-regarded Try Your Luck, who has finished first in her last two outings, the Pucker Up (G3) and Dueling Grounds Oaks, romping by 7 ½ lengths in the latter.

Trainer Ian Wilkes gave Sweet Tapper three months off after her first start against winners and the daughter of leading sire Tapit returned with a nice allowance score at Ellis Park in mid-August. Sweet Tapper didn’t fire her best shot when trying the turf at Kentucky Downs last out, offering a decent middle move into contention before flattening out in the latter stages to finish five lengths back of an elder rival in the $125k allowance, but she was flattered when the winning Kitten’s Roar came back to crush a turf allowance field at Keeneland on Thursday.

After facing elders in her last two, Sweet Tapper will meet sophomore rivals Friday over a Keeneland turf course she relishes. The competition isn’t too imposing and the chestnut lass shows a bullet 5-furlong work in preparation.

Sweet Tapper has the services of the hot-riding Corey Lanerie, who won three races Thursday, and I’ll take a swing at long odds.