Still looking to find his stride in 2015, Winchell Thoroughbreds' Tapiture will dial back to try a one-turn mile in the $100,000 Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) Sept. 26 at Churchill Downs. Churchill Downs, Saturday, September 26, 2015, Race 8
In four tries beyond a mile this season, after a second-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) last year, the 4-year-old son of Tapit trained by Steve Asmussen has yet to reach the winner's circle. The off-the-pace runner, who will carry the highweight of 118 pounds in the Ack Ack, won three graded events in 2014—the Southwest (gr. III), Matt Winn (gr. II), and West Virginia Derby (gr. II). His nearly $1.5 million in earnings towers over the field.
While Tapiture (favored at 7-5 on the morning line) is coming off arguably his worst performance in recent memory—a far-back eighth in the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (gr. III)—other Ack Ack entrants appear to be in top form.
Viva Majorca is entering off a third-place finish in the seven-furlong Forego (gr. I), where he finished behind Private Zone and The Big Beast at odds of 32-1. The Tiago gelding has been sprinting in his past six starts and could be well-suited for the one-turn mile.
Midnight Cello also could be a live option coming off positive performances at a mile, albeit on synthetic tracks. The Midnight Lute gelding took the Hanshin Cup (gr. III) at Arlington International Racecourse two starts back and nearly struck again in the Presque Isle Mile Stakes last time out, finishing second by three-quarters of a length despite a six-wide trip.
The only other graded winner in the field is Den's Legacy , but his score came all the way back in 2012, when he took the Generous Stakes (gr. III) at Hollywood Park as a 2-year-old. He was eighth last time out in the Forego.
Stakes winners Agent Di Nozzo and Roman Unbridled, along with allowance winner Hat of Jacks, complete the field.
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1Den's Legacy (FL) Calvin H. Borel 115 Ron Moquett - 2 2Agent Di Nozzo (KY) Joseph Rocco, Jr. 116 Steve Margolis - 3 3Midnight Cello (KY) Florent Geroux 117 Michael A. Tomlinson - 4 4Hat of Jacks (KY) Francisco C. Torres 112 Charles Kardoush - 5 5Tapiture (KY) Ricardo Santana, Jr. 118 Steven M. Asmussen - 6 6Viva Majorca (KY) Julien R. Leparoux 116 Ian R. Wilkes - 7 7Roman Unbridled (KY) Jon Kenton Court 114 Aaron Shorter -
Churchill Downs, Saturday, September 26, 2015, Race 8