Best On Tap (inside) setting the track record for 6 1/2 furlongs in 2004.
Best On Tap
New York-bred gelding b. 2000
By Signal Tap-Very Best Friend
Career (2003-2005): 23-4-6-4, $90,035
In horse racing, “The Butterfly Effect”—the theory that any small, yet critical, initial change can result in large differences in a later state—has intertwined itself in literally every second of the sport. Split-second decisions can be the difference between a jockey winning and losing The Kentucky Derby, a trainer buying or passing on the next Seattle Slew at auction, or even a horseplayer adding or subtracting a horse to complete the next $1 million Pick-6 ticket.
For Best On Tap, his critical moment came October 31, 2003, during an eight-way shake following a Bay Meadows claiming race. With only a 12.5 percent chance to acquire the gelding, trainer Doug Driever pulled the winning pea and won the rights to Best On Tap for owner James Ingalls. That lucky pea resulted in a superb 2004 season, including a Memorial Day triumph that ranks among the most thrilling wins in track history, in which Best On Tap nosed out Pazhalsta and set a 6 ½-furlong track record of 1:13 3/5.
Sabertooth would break the record with a world record clocking of 1:13 flat in the FSN Handicap on May 22, 2005. Best on Tap finished second, beaten 4 ½ lengths, to become the only known Thoroughbred to run two sub 1:14 races at 6 ½-furlongs in North American racing history.
“That, to me, was Best On Tap’s most amazing accomplishment,” Driever said. “It proved that he was a bona fide speed demon.”
Best On Tap posing for the camera.
After retiring in 2005, Best On Tap was reunited with his former exercise rider Robert Austin, and owing to Best On Tap’s calm and patient manner, Austin was able to teach his daughter to ride the powerful gelding. Best on Tap eventually switched homes and hooked up with Bobbi Payseno, who had groomed the gelding during much of his racing career.
The stint with Payseno included a summer at Vince and Pam Gibson’s Eatonville farm.
“He stayed here that one summer and I fell in love with him, which I’m not supposed to do because I was only supposed to board him,” Pam Gibson said. “I just couldn’t help it.”
Best On Tap (center) hangin' with his buds in Eatonville.
Best On Tap would become a member of the Gibson family, with whom he now is training to become a barrel racer. Apparently Best on Tap is a natural barrel racer, showing remarkable progress the last few months. According to Pam Gibson, a barrel race rider for more than 10 years, Best On Tap is well ahead of schedule.
“He’s one of the smartest horses I’ve ever started,” she said. “He handles himself easily and is willing to do everything that I ask of him.”
Best On Tap, with Pam Gibson aboard, navigating the barrel race course.
In fact, Best On Tap could compete in his first event this week, and his progress couldn’t be more exciting for his former conditioner, Driever, adding he’s extremely proud of one of his all-time favorite horses.
“I’m so grateful to have people like Pam and Bobbi, who are willing to give him a good life,” Driever said “I’m just tickled to death that he’s still going on with it after his racing days.”
While many people deserve credit for providing Best On Tap with a great post-racing career, Driever also deserves praise. After all, he started it all by winning the shake on October 31, 2003.