Tapiture faces 9 in the Oaklawn Handicap.

Tapiture faces 9 in the Oaklawn Handicap.

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Tapiture Looks to Bounce Back in Oaklawn H.

Tapiture enters April 11 Oaklawn Handicap off fifth in Razorback Handicap.

Winchell Thoroughbreds homebred Tapiture  will look to rebound in the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) Saturday, April 11 at Oaklawn Park.

Coming off a successful 3-year-old campaign where he won three of eight starts, including a victory in the West Virginia Derby (gr. II) and a runner-up finish in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I), Tapiture was a disappointing fifth in his 2015 return to the races in the Razorback Handicap (gr. III) March 14 at Oaklawn.

Racing over a track labeled good and sealed, Tapiture never fired in the Razorback, making his first start since finishing second in the Oct. 31 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. He finished fifth as the 2-1 second-choice.

The chestnut colt by Tapit saved ground early in the Razorback racing in fourth before tipping out five wide on the turn for home, weakening to fifth. He finished more than ten lengths behind winner Race Day, who he'll face again Saturday.

Since the dull return, Tapiture has worked three times for trainer Steve Asmussen, including an easy breeze on April 6, when the 4-year-old worked four furlongs in :50 over Oaklawn's main track.

Tapiture will break from post three in the Oaklawn Handicap in the 10-horse field and will be ridden again by Ricardo Santana Jr. in the 1 1/8 mile contest.

Razorback winner Race Day  is one of two starters in the Oaklawn Handicap for trainer Todd Pletcher along with Golden Lad , who enters off a win in the Feb. 14 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn. Race Day drew the rail and will be ridden by John Velazquez, who was aboard for the Razorback score, while Golden Lad drew the five hole and will be ridden by Mike Smith.

"Race Day is pretty seasoned so the inside post shouldn't bother him," said Pletcher, who saddled Lawyer Ron to victory in the 2007 Oaklawn Handicap.

Race Day, who is also by Tapit, has won four of seven career starts for owner Matthew Schera, winning four of his past five decisions. His lone loss in that span came Feb. 7 when he finished third as the favorite behind Valid in the Fred W. Hooper Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.

In the Razorback, Race Day was prominent from the start pressing the pace of Midnight Hawk before scoring a gutsy neck victory as the 2-1 favorite. Race Day has breezed twice for Pletcher since the Razorback score, breezing an easy half-mile in :48.77 on April 4.

Golden Lad was won six of 12 career starts for owner E. Paul Robsham, including a victory in last year's Razorback Handicap. In his most recent start, the 5-year-old son of Medaglia d'Oro  won the listed Essex.

"Golden Lad is adaptable no matter the pace scenario, so I'm happy with both of them," Pletcher said.

The Oaklawn Handicap will go as race seven of a 12-race card that also features the $100,000 Northern Spur Stakes and the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. I).

Entries: Oaklawn H. (G2)

Oaklawn Park, Saturday, April 11, 2015, Race 7

  • Grade II
  • 1 1/8m
  • Dirt
  • $600,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 3:56 PM (local)
11Race Day (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez116Todd A. Pletcher-
22Sammy Mandeville (KY)Kent J. Desormeaux114Doug F. O'Neill-
33Tapiture (KY)Ricardo Santana, Jr.117Steven M. Asmussen-
44Carve (KY)Jesus Lopez Castanon116Brad H. Cox-
55Golden Lad (KY)Mike E. Smith117Todd A. Pletcher-
66Irish You Well (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateChanning Hill113Wayne M. Catalano-
77Hard Aces (KY)Victor Espinoza114John W. Sadler-
88Russellin (KY)M. Clifton Berry112Chris A. Hartman-
99For Greater Glory (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoseph Rocco, Jr.113Steve Hobby-
1010Street Strategy (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateCalvin H. Borel113Randy L. Morse-