Winchell Thoroughbred’s homebred Tapiture secured
10 points and a place along the Derby trail with his runaway victory in
Monday’s $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) before a crowd of 25,622.
Steve Asmussen said he will now continue down the path toward the April
12 Arkansas Derby and May 3 Kentucky Derby with a likely start in the
$600,000 Rebel Stakes March 15.
Photo: Coady Photography
Taking advantage of his inside post position,
Tapiture took up a stalking position as several horses battled for the
lead early. Smarty Jones winner Tanzanite Cat held a half-length
advantage for the opening quarter in :23 2/5, but gave
way to Ride On Curlin before the half mile in :47 4/5. While the
even-money favorite Strong Mandate was making his move five wide around
the turn for home, Tapiture hugged the rail and drew off to win by 4 ¼
lengths over Strong Mandate. Ride On Curlin held
on for third after his wide trip. The winning time was 1:44 4/5 over a
“It was a big step forward for him,” said Asmussen.
“I was impressed with what he did. I saw some things we need to improve
and he’ll need to continue to improve with the races coming up. I think
the series sets up really well for him.”
Coastline, Tanzanite Cat, Bourbonize, Walt, Fire
Starter, Son of Dixie, Paganol, Kendall’s Boy and Louies Flower
completed the order of finish.
Tapiture, by Tapit, was making his seasonal debut
in the Southwest after ending his juvenile year with his first career
victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs Nov.
30. He has now won two of five starts and earned
As the 5-1 second choice in the field of 12, he returned $13, $4.80 and $3.20.