Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Tapiture , an unlucky second in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II), indicated his sharpness for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park April 12 by breezing five furlongs in a bullet 1:00 4/5 March 31, fastest of 11 works at the distance.
The son of Tapit, trained by Steve Asmussen, had a rough trip in the Rebel under Ricardo Santana Jr., experiencing trouble on the first turn and then having to bull his way through a traffic jam turning for home and getting bumped from both sides during the stretch run. He continued to battle, fighting on for second in a three-horse tight finish, beaten a half-length by the Bob Baffert shipper Hoppertunity, earning a 99 Beyer Speed figure.
Prior to the Rebel, Tapiture won the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs and the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn, both by 4 1/4 lengths.
The Baffert-trained Bayern, undefeated in both his career starts, also worked five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 March 31 at Santa Anita Park. Baffert has yet to commit to the Arkansas Derby, waiting to see how the Offlee Wild colt worked.
In addition to the Arkansas Derby and the Twinspires.com Wood Memorial (gr. I) April 5, Calder will run the 1 1/8-mile Calder Derby, which is expected to attract Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) winner Ring Weekend.