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Tapiture Tops Arkansas Derby

 

Winchell Thoroughbred LLC’s Tapiture, winner of Oaklawn’s Southwest Stakes (G3) and second in the Rebel Stakes (G2) drew post position three and he was installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite for Saturday’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1), which brings the 2014 race meet to a climatic end. A field of nine horses entered the 1 1/8-mile race, which offers a total of 170 points towards eligibility in the May 3 Kentucky Derby (G1). Post time for the Arkansas Derby, the 11thof 12 races, is 6:07 p.m. Central. First post is 12 noon. 

Tapiture, a homebred son of Tapit, who broke maiden last November when winning the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs by 4 ¼ lengths, began his 3-year-old season by winning the Southwest by the same dominating margin. In the Rebel, he encountered traffic and exchanged bumps with winner Hoppertunity. He will be seeking a cleaner trip in the Arkansas Derby under new rider Joel Rosario, who replaces Oaklawn’s leading rider Ricardo Santana Jr. 

When asked what led him to the jockey switch earlier in the week, trainer Steve Asmussen said, “Joel’s Kentucky Derby victory last year.” Rosario rode Orb to victory in the Derby last year. 

The Bob Baffert-trained Bayern, who arrived from California on Wednesday, is likely to vie with Tapiture for the post-time favorite role on Saturday. The Offlee Wild colt, who drew post two and is listed as the 2-1 second choice on the morning line, is undefeated in two starts and enters the Arkansas Derby off a 15-length romp at Santa Anita Feb. 13. He will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who won the race last year with Overanalyze, will have two chances at collecting his fourth overall Arkansas Derby victory with Sunland Derby third-place finisher Commissioner and the lightly raced Danza. WinStar Farm’s Commissioner drew post six, while Danza drew the rail. 

"It wouldn't have been my first choice to have Danza on the rail so, hopefully, he can save some ground and get a good trip from there,” said Pletcher. “We don't think it's terribly important where Commissioner drew in this race. Overall we're happy with our posts." 

Trainer Mark Casse, who had a division at Oaklawn for the first time this meet, will also have two horses in the Arkansas Derby. He sends out stakes winner Conquest Titan, most recently fourth as the favorite in the Tampa Bay Derby, and Thundergram, who broke his maiden at Oaklawn in January and was most recently second by a head in an optional allowance race March 16. 

“The post is irrelevant for Conquest Titan because Calvin (Borel) will take him back and make one big run at the end of it,” said Casse’s son and chief assistant Norman Casse. “Thundergram is a pretty solid little horse, but hopefully adding blinkers this time will do the trick.” 

Daniel Dougherty’s Ride on Curlin began his season by winning a six furlong allowance race and has since been third in both the Southwest and Rebel Stakes. Since then he has been training forwardly and trainer Billy Gowan believes he’s sitting on a big effort Saturday. He will be ridden by Jon Court, who will be seeking his third Arkansas Derby in five years after back-to-back wins in 2010 with Line of David and 2011 with Archarcharch.  

“I hope he won't show too much speed too early,” said Gowan. “I want him to lay off the pace this time and let the speed go out there. Hopefully, we can stalk them a little bit and have a better trip than we did last time (in the Rebel). I'm not worried at all about the distance, with him being by Curlin. We've just got to have the right trip and right ride. If we do, my horse can match up with any of them.” 

 Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who will send out Strong Mandate Saturday, will be looking for his third Arkansas Derby, but first since 1985 when he saddled Tank’s Prospect, that year’s Preakness Stakes winner. Last year, Lukas won his record 14th career Triple Crown race in the Preakness with Oxbow, who had finished fifth in the Arkansas Derby. Following in a long line of top Lukas 3-year-olds, Strong Mandate finished second in the Southwest and fourth in the Rebel so far this year. He drew post nine of nine. 

Sam Britt and Michael House’s Knock Em Flat, an impressive maiden winner March 27, was cross entered for both the Derby and the $100,000 Northern Spur Stakes earlier on the card.

The field for the $1 million Arkansas Derby from the rail out, with riders and odds,  is: Danza, Joe Bravo, 15-1; Knock Em Flat, Luis Quinonez, 20-1; Tapiture, Joel Rosario, 9-5; Ride on Curlin, Jon Court, 12-1; Thundergram, Norberto, Arroyo, Jr., 30-1; Commissioner, Mike Smith, 8-1; Conquest Titan, Calvin Borel, 10-1; Bayern, Gary Stevens, 2-1; String Mandate, Luis Saez, 9-2. 

 

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Older Comments about Tapiture Tops Arkansas Derby...

Once the going stays fast I expect a big run from Commissioner.
a major part of Schwartzeneggar's "body" was chemically induced. Met one of his "vitamin" poeple from Vancouver QUOTE: " I laugh everytime I see that phoney phsyique. One on time when he was in Mr. Universe competitioin he even had calf implants to look better.
Andaman ,never ever be afraid to post an opinion or select a horse. The only time it should hurt is if you bet substantial money and lose. Other than that,something tells me that you will not be the first one on this planet who might possibly be wrong more than you are correct. YThe line behind you will be very long.I will be right behind you on that line. The only rule i live by,when you do pick a winner or winners. Make sure you capatalize on them big time. Those are the ones that will make the Valleys manageble ,until you return o the peaks. Do not know if you are a Baseball fan or not. Here is a game,if you are a batter and succeed in only 30 % of the time. You can become a Multi millionaire "X" amount of times over.
I agree with Mallios. Only horse i like outside of Bayern is Commissioner. Tapiture rounding out the top three.
Why all the love for Bayern who has a maiden and allowance win to his credit? That did not work out too well for Social Inclusion.... He may be all that but I don't understand how he could be anywhere near Tapiture as favorite considering the difference in their records.... I'm going with Tapiture to win and Ride On Curlin second...
You are probably right. He probably has The Governors body,during the operation he also inherited the Governors running ability. HE IS SLOW. Maybe take him to a Mr. Universe competition and he might stand out.
  • pom.deterre.1 · yeah- we'll all see on saturday- and btw he hasn't been the gov for 5 years now- if you keep up on your news like you do your racing, you should not open your wallett saturday · 110 days ago
am going out on a really thin limb here- but have any of you seen Danza? the colt has a schwazzenger body and exudes confiedence in every step he takes. and bravo is no slouch; as much as i hate betting pletcher and baffert horses anytime, anywhere ( and i live in saratoga) this is a Danza/ Bayern exacta box and $$$ on Danza to win for me. call me crazy, but i also picked wildcat red to win with exacta of Gerneral A Rod in the FOY. After seeing Danza today & with Stephens CHOOSING Bayern, it's an all or nothing play, but if it's an "all" it will pay.
amdaman: be bold and express yourself Like Teddy says.. Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
I embarrass myself every time I post my predictions, but I'll post them anyways. I like Strong Mandate, Ride On Curlin, Tapiture, and Conquest Titan. In that order. I have a feeling I'll be sorry for leaving Mike Smith out of the equation.
Dancer you will find out come Saturday.
am going out on a really thin limb here- but have any of you seen Danza? the colt has a schwazzenger body and exudes confiedence in every step he takes. and bravo is no slouch; as much as i hate betting pletcher and baffert horses anytime, anywhere ( and i live in saratoga) this is a Danza/ Bayern exacta box and $$$ on Danza to win for me. call me crazy, but i also picked wildcat red to win with exacta of Gerneral A Rod in the FOY. After seeing Danza today & with Stephens CHOOSING Bayern, it's an all or nothing play, but if it's an "all" it will pay.
am going out on a really thin limb here- but have any of you seen Danza? the colt has a schwazzenger body and exudes confiedence in every step he takes. and bravo is no slouch; as much as i hate betting pletcher and baffert horses anytime, anywhere ( and i live in saratoga) this is a Danza/ Bayern exacta box and $$$ on Danza to win for me. call me crazy, but i also picked wildcat red to win with exacta of Gerneral A Rod in the FOY. After seeing Danza today & with Stephens CHOOSING Bayern, it's an all or nothing play, but if it's an "all" it will pay.
I think Tapiture will perform..so far he has not disppointed, he is solid and if bayern is so good then he should not have any trouble with this field...watch out for SM..
I like Bayern and Tapitured best. Would use Ride On Curlin and Conquest Titan. Like Danza, but thought maybe he is supposed to be a race-ruiner for Bayern, but for who? Commissioner? Not really seeing that. Can't believe Danza is thrown in here off of a sprint prep. To be more clear, coyne. That Flatter is interesting, maybe for a super.
I like Bayern and Tapitured best. Would use Ride On Curlin and Conquest Titan. Like Danza, but thought maybe he is supposed to be a race-ruiner for Bayern, but for who? Commissioner? Not really seeing that. Can't believe Danza is thrown in here off of a sprint prep. To be more clear, coyne. That Flatter is interesting, maybe for a super.
Coyne if you are looking to beat the favorite,i would be shocked if it were not Bayern. For selfish reasons,i am praying it is not and the public does overbet the Pretenders to the crown.
and Conquest Titan... I wasn't buying on Danza but if Sully and Mary are so sold on Danza maybe I'll give him another look.
I like Tapiture here. I wish Hoppertunity would've stayed here so he would be the fav and I could still back Tapiture... I'm not giving up on Commissioner, allegedly he threw a shoe at Sunland when he stumbled at the start, still came back strong for 3rd. ROC is improving, Bayern will probably make them chase him, Strong Mandate. Should be a very good race.
matruing three year olds improve dramatically all the time when one least expects it: War Emblem, Charismatic and many others. We don't know who might be a very good one DOWN THE ROAD
I still Like Commissioner. Now he has 3 races under his belt this year, and should get better with experience.

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