With an authoritative 4 ½-length win in Friday’s Kentucky Oaks, Winchell Thoroughbreds’ UNTAPABLE made a case that she could be the top 3-year-old in the nation, male or female,
regardless of the result in today’s Kentucky Derby. The Tapit
filly remains undefeated, and virtually unchallenged, in 2014 and her
final time was a mere .04 seconds off the Oaks record set by Bird Town in 2003.
Saturday morning, Steve Asmussen
was exactly where one would expect the sport’s all-time leading active
trainer with 6,760 career wins to be – back at work. But while the
routine was normal,
the morning certainly wasn’t. There was little time to bask in
Untapable’s accomplishment, especially with Winchell’s colt Tapiture
only 10 hours from a start in the Kentucky Derby. Asmussen, in between
accepting congratulations from passers-by and bringing
sets of horses to the track, reflected on Friday’s personal and
very proud of her race yesterday,” he said. “Not only did she beat a
quality field, she did it very impressively. But then we immediately
moved on to what we have to do with Tapiture today.”
Asmussen reported that Untapable came back from the race in fine shape and will get
a few days to recover before returning to the track.
“She got out walking good and looks good,” Asmussen said. “We’ll just let her rest up from her efforts yesterday.”
Not every horse
who gets the rare chance to wear a garland of fresh flowers and stand
for a portrait with dozens of the family, friends and caretakers who
helped to get her there truly understands what it
all means. Asmussen insisted, though, that this “truly special mare”
understands her job.
very confident horse,” he said. “She’s very forward, motor’s running and
stuff. She goes out there to win.”
There have not been any conversations between Asmussen and Ron Winchell about a possible next start. While a try in the Preakness, a la Rachel Alexandra,
has not been ruled out, Asmussen said
earlier this week he didn’t think the timing of the May 17 middle jewel
was right for his fit but slight filly. At Friday’s postrace press
conference, Asmussen expressed his wish that Tapiture be their only
Preakness horse if all goes to plan.
“It would be a very wise decision for us to keep them apart,” Asmussen said.
looms as a real threat in today’s Derby, especially in light of his
stablemate’s Oaks win. The Asmussen barn has long demonstrated an
ability to get hot at the right time and Tapiture has
shown a similar eagerness in his gallops this week, tipping his hand
that a peak effort is imminent.
“I drove in with
my dad and I was saying that she took a tremendous amount of pressure
off him (Tapiture),” Asmussen said. “We just hope for a good trip and
hopefully we can get to the winner’s circle
circle scene was an emotional one for Asmussen, punctuated with bear
hugs for friends and long embraces with his parents and three young
boys. The cathartic outpouring came primarily from
pride in his filly, he said, but was likely extra poignant in light of a
trying spring in which Asmussen was charged in the national media with
mistreatment of horses in his care. After weeks of defending his
operation through lawyers, prepared statements and
even a sit-down interview with Bob Costas on network television, Asmussen ultimately allowed Untapable to issue what might be the most meaningful commentary of them all.
proud of the filly,” the trainer said from atop his pony as he
accompanied still more gallopers to the track for their morning
exercise. “I love all of the well-wishers that are proud
of her and proud of us. It’s a great feeling.”
MY MISS SOPHIA/GOT LUCKY – Trainer Todd Pletcher reported Saturday morning that both of his Oaks fillies – second-place finisher My Miss Sophia and the seventh-place horse Got Lucky --
“are in good shape.”
came out of their races well,” he said. “I was especially happy with My
Miss Sophia’s effort. She ran hard and she ran well. I think the Acorn
is high on the list for her next start.”
The Grade I TVG Acorn, with a purse of $750,000, runs at a mile on the Belmont Stakes card at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 7.
Pletcher said that both fillies would be shipped to his New York stable.
UNBRIDLED FOREVER – Charles Fipke's Unbridled Forever, who finished third in the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, came out of the race well, trainer Dallas Stewart said Saturday morning.
she looks go so far,'' Stewart said. "We haven't gotten her out yet,
but she looks good. She ate well last night and is moving good in the
stall. That's a good sign.''
Stewart said he doesn't have a campaign in mind for Unbridled Forever.
"You've got the Acorn (GI) in five weeks, the Test (GI),'' Stewart said.
timing of the Acorn, a mile race June 7 on the Belmont Stakes card at
Belmont Park, "should be fine,'' Stewart said. "We just have to see.''
Unbridled Forever finished 10 1/2 lengths behind winner Untapable on Friday. In the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII), third-place Unbridled Forever finished 9 1/2 lengths behind winner Untapable.
The form held.
"Tell you what, it's a great deal for Fair Grounds,'' Stewart said.
ROSALIND – Landaluce Educe Stables’ Rosalind closed for fourth in Friday’s Oaks, an effort trainer Kenny McPeek was satisfied with.
“She came back
with a nick on her left-hind pastern but it’s no big deal,” he said. “No
excuse and we were pleased with the effort.”
that Rosalind’s future is on the grass and he is looking hard at taking
her to England for either the 1 ½-mile Oaks at Epsom on June 6 or the
one-mile Coronation at Ascot on June 20.
THANK YOU MARYLOU – Trainer Mike Maker said Saturday that he has yet to consider his options for Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Thank You Marylou, who finished fifth in the Oaks.
"I haven't really given it a thought,'' Maker said Saturday morning."I wasn't really going to worry about it until tomorrow.''
Thank You Marylou is a stakes winner on dirt and turf, and Grade I-placed on Polytrack, so he has options.
She finished 12 1/2 lengths behind Untapable. "Just outrun,'' Maker said."There were some good fillies in front of her.''
Thank You Marylou came out of the race fine, Maker said.
RIA ANTONIA – Jim Barnes, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, said that Christopher Dunn and Loooch Racing Stable’s Ria Antonia came out of the Kentucky Oaks
in good condition.
got her out and into a contending position, but she just wasn’t able to
continue on,” Barnes said. “We ran into a very nice filly in that
SUGAR SHOCK – Trainer Doug Anderson said that On Cloud Nine LLC’s Sugar Shock came out of her eighth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks in good order and would be shipped to Prairie
Meadows in Iowa on Monday to rejoin the rest of his stable.
back good and ate up everything last night,” Anderson said. “I was a
little disappointed she didn’t keep fighting, but that’s horse racing.
We’ll give her some time to recuperate and may
look at the Iowa Oaks (a $200,000 Grade III on June 28).”
AURELIA’S BELLE – Trainer Wayne Catalano said that when he plans the rest of the 2014 campaign for Jim Miller's Aurelia's Belle, races not on dirt will be the focus.
be grass or Poly,'' Catalano said of the surface for her next start."We
won't rule out dirt forever, just maybe not so much this one.''
has a barn at Churchill Downs and at Arlington Park, where Polytrack is
the surface for the main track. "We'll talk it over with Mr. Miller
about what to do and what her next races are,''
Oaks, Aurelia's Belle was in fifth place after quarter-mile but couldn't
keep up. She finished ninth, 24 1/4 lengths behind Untapable.
looked great,'' Catalano said."She had a great position. I was very
happy with the situation we were in. You couldn't ask for a better spot.
When he set her down, she was like floundering around,
like it wasn't really the best surface for her.''
She came out of the race well, Catalano said. "Everything seems to be good. She ate well, and she looks OK.''
PLEASE EXPLAIN – Trainer Tom Proctor said that Niall Racing’s Please Explain was fine Saturday morning after her run in the Oaks.
“She just wasn’t fast enough,” Proctor said.
FASHION PLATE – Paul Eddery, assistant to trainer Simon Callaghan, said Arnold Zetcher and Michael Tabor’s Fashion Plate would be headed back to her home base in Southern
California on Sunday morning after her troubled run in Friday’s Oaks.
got a little nick on the leg,” Eddery said of Fashion Plate, who was
restless in the gate and hopped at the start, spotting the field several
lengths. “It could have been worse. (Jockey)
Gary Stevens did the right thing after the bad start and took care of
her and we live to fight another day.”
KISS MOON – Carl Pollard’s Kiss Moon was OK Saturday after her disappointing trip in the Oaks.
“She got a few cuts in behind from that incident at the gate when Fashion Plate reared up,” trainer David Vance said. “They she hit her head on the gate and lost her position. It was not the
trip that I had hoped she would get.”
who is stabled at Churchill Downs, said the $100,000-added Regret (GIII)
on June 14 at 1 1/8 miles on the turf is a possibility for Kiss Moon’s
“I’ll work her on the grass, and if she likes it that’s where she will be,” Vance
EMPRESS OF MIDWAY – Daniel Kramer, Dave Kenney and RAP Racing’s Empress of Midway, who flipped in the starting gate and was scratched from the Kentucky Oaks, sustained a small
scratch on a hind leg but otherwise was unscathed according to Jack Sisterson, assistant to Doug O’Neill.
“She will go back
to California on Monday,” Sisterson said. “We haven’t made any plans for
a next race. We’ll see how she trains the next few days when she gets
back and see.”