World Champ Tailor Fit Late Entry to Challenge Championships

(Wednesday, October 30, 2002) - Janet Van Bebber, leading trainer at Lone Star Park’s Fall Meeting of Champions, surprised everyone Wednesday morning when she decided to enter 1999 and 2001 World Champion Tailor Fit in Saturday’s Grade 1 $300,000 MBNA America Challenge Championship.

“I’d be doing him a disservice if I didn’t give him the opportunity to enter,” Van Bebber said. “He did excellent [Wednesday] morning. ‘Bubba’ (jockey Alvin Brossette) ponied him [Wednesday] morning and he tried to take off.”

Brossette was equally enthusiastic about the horse’s appearance.

“The horse went to the track as well as I’ve ever seen him go to the track,” the jockey said. “He was happy, he was comfortable, he was proud to go out there. The horse looked real aggressive, his motion was good and he looked like there’s a possibility by Saturday he might be back to form.”

Tailor Fit was not expected to enter Saturday’s race. Earlier in the week, Van Bebber had expressed concerns about the 7-year-old’s health following his recent trip west.

“Tailor got a little sick in California and his blood count is not exactly right,” the trainer said Tuesday morning.

After entering the 2001 MBNA America Challenge Championship winner for a shot at defending his crown, Van Bebber emphasized that she was not trying to deceive anyone with the last-minute maneuver.

“I’ve thrown everyone a curveball,” Van Bebber said. “But I didn’t mean to keep everyone in the dark. I’m not the type to play games at the entry box, that’s not my style.”

Van Bebber said she is not even certain the colt will race on Saturday.

“There are some things I’m not comfortable with in his preparations,” she admitted. “He might not go, but I’d be doing him a disservice if I didn’t leave him the opportunity. It’s a stakes race and that’s my prerogative to wait and see.”

In addition to Wednesday morning’s exercise, Van Bebber said she was also encouraged by Tailor Fit’s latest test results.

“We got some bloodwork back and it was much improved over last week,” the trainer said.

Van Bebber also trains Streakin Sin Tacha, winner of the MBNA America Texas Challenge at Sam Houston.
Brossette was named to ride both horses, and neither jockey nor trainer would comment on which horse Brossette would ride if both went to post.

“I think I’d be a little hesitant to make that call,” Brossette said. “I surely wouldn’t want to make it should both horses run, as nice as they both are. I’m going to hold off on making that call.”

“We’ll see what happens,” Van Bebber said.

Here’s the field for the Grade 1 $300,000 MBNA America Challenge Championship (from the rail out, with qualifying region, jockeys and morning line odds): Meter Me Ready (West/Southwest, Brian Theriot, 10-1); The Rush Gets To You (Mexico, Carlos Madeira, 8-1); Chiarascuro (California, Ramon Sanchez, 9-2); Classified As Dash (Canada, Robert Rohl, 12-1); Streakin Sin Tacha (Texas, Alvin Brossette, 8-5); Jerichos Dash (Northwest, Travis Hamilton, 10-1); Kendall Jackson (New Mexico, Kenneth Hart, 10-1); Let The Straw Fly (Central, G.R. Carter Jr., 15-1); Jess Louisiana Blue (East, Gilbert Ortiz, 5-1); and Tailor Fit (Oklahoma, Brossette, 8-5).

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