By Alan Carasso
Vanishing Point (Tapit), a full-brother to two-time Eclipse Award and three-time Grade I winner Unique Bella, was very green, but very good in his racecourse debut Sunday afternoon at Sapporo Racecourse, leading every step of the way en route to a seven-length tally.
The mount of perennial leading jockey Christophe Lemaire, the son of GI Breeders' Cup Ladies' Distaff heroine Unrivaled Belle (Unbridled's Song) jumped alertly from the widest gate in the field of seven and was switching back and forth across his leads while establishing the front passing under the line for the first time. Well rated on the lead, Vanishing Point was asked for a bit of a sprint with a little more than a quarter mile to run, opened a clear advantage while having a look around and once again switching his leads multiple times and crossed the line a convincing winner. The final time for the metric mile and a quarter on firm turf was 2:02.4.
“He is still a big baby,” the winning jockey commented. “He didn't stretch out much and his back end is still a bit weak, but he has great potential. Around the turn he showed fantastic speed. I think this was the perfect distance for him.”
Brother to Unique Bella, the $1.5 mil @keenelandsales September grad Vanishing Point destroys the competition in his debut. The exact kind of results you expect for a price like that! Congratulations to Mr. Hasegawa and his whole team who picked this guy out themselves! https://t.co/6M7KH8jSLY
— Kate Hunter • Marugai Racing • ケイト ハンター• まるがいレーシング (@KeibaKate) August 2, 2020
Vanishing Point was bred by Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm LLC, who acquired Unrivaled Belle for $3.8 million at the 2016 Keeneland November sale carrying a full-sister to Unique Bella. The 3-year-old filly, named Unrivaled Princess, is unraced to date. Through the Timber Town draft, Pope sold Vanishing Point for $1.5 million to Hiroyasu Takeuchi, agent for new owner Yuji Hasegawa, at last year's Keeneland September Yearling sale. Unrivaled Belle was barren to Tapit for 2019, but foaled a full-sister to Unique Bella and Vanishing Point Mar. 19 and returned to the Gainesway stallion this past breeding season.
“The plan is to take him back to Japan and hopefully take him on the Japanese Road to the Kentucky Derby and bring him back over here as a Derby horse,” Takeuchi told the TDN's Jessica Martini via translator Kate Hunter following the purchase last fall.
Vanishing Point is the 32nd Japanese winner from 36 runners for his sire, including Testa Matta, winner of the G1 February S.; and Rabbit Run, a Group 2 winner on the turf and a listed winner on dirt. Tapit is also represented in Japan by MSW & GSP Tahltan and MSW Golden Barows.
WATCH: Vanishing Point goes gate to wire to score by daylight on debut