By J.J. Hysell
Working solo over the Churchill Downs track that he favors, Tapiture looked smooth and comfortable going five furlongs in 1:02.80 on Monday.
Tapiture regressed off his Southwest (winner) and Rebel (second) performances when he finished fourth in the Arkansas Derby, but the colt has shown an affinity for Churchill Downs. As a 2-year-old he was third in the Iroquois Stakes and won the Kentucky Jockey Club.
Tapiture will reunite with jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr., for the Derby. He was ridden by Joel Rosario in the Arkansas Derby.
From Churchill Downs press notes:
Tapiture was recorded by Churchill Downs’ clockers in fractional splits of :13.40, :25.80 and :38. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:16.40.
“I loved how relaxed he was, pre-breeze and stuff,” Asmussen said. “He went around there nice and smooth. I think that it’s a very big deal for both him and (Kentucky Oaks contender) Untapable to have all the time that they’ve spent here at Churchill previously – just to settle back in and get into a routine.”
“It’s not the trip that he needs,” Asmussen said. “I think we identify that and hopefully he’ll bounce back and run a huge race here. I think it (the Kentucky Derby) is a tremendously competitive race, with California Chrome possibly standing out from a ‘numbers’ standpoint. But he’s got to do that here. We’ve got nothing but respect for him, but I think everybody else is kind of in the same boat.”
Bob Baffert called an audible and worked Bayern and Chitu together Monday. The tandem worked four furlongs in :47.60 with Bayern going the best of the two. It was a strong gallop out for Bayern. It is unlikely either of these colts will enter the Derby.
From Churchill press notes:
Chitu, with Joel Rosario up, started about three-quarters of a length in front of Bayern, who was ridden by Rosie Napravnik. Fractions for the work were :12, :23.80 and :35.60 with a five-furlong gallop out time of 1:01 for Chitu while Bayern went out in 1:00.20 and six furlongs in 1:13.40.