Jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. celebrates his win aboard Tapiture in the Southwest Stakes (Photos by Coady Photography).
Adding 10 more points to his Kentucky Derby trail total, Tapiture won his second graded stakes in a row in the $300,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Tucking into a spot on the rail, Tapiture sat off the hip of leader Tanzanite Cat during the early part of the race. But about half way down the backstretch, he moved forward to take on Ride On Curlin and Tanzanite Cat for the lead before sticking his head in front going into the turn.
In the stretch, the colt was in front by a few lengths and Strong Mandate was close enough to give him a slight concern down the lane. But there was no real threat for Tapiture as he pulled away to win the race by 4 1/4 lengths. Tapiture covered the 1 1/16-mile distance in a time of 1:44.95 with Strong Mandate in second and Ride On Curlin third.
Trainer Steve Asmussen plans to bring Tapiture back for the Rebel Stakes on March 15.
“The [Oaklawn] series sets up really well for him. He had a few good races as a 2-year-old, winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. … I thought this was a good start for him [this year],” Asmussen said.
Tapiture has 22 points on the Kentucky Derby trail after his win in the Southwest, putting him at the top of the Kentucky Derby qualifiers’ list. The colt broke his maiden last November when he won the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs by 4 ¼ lengths. He had previously finished third in the Iroquois Stakes, which had earned him his first two points on the Kentucky Derby trail.
Bred in Kentucky by Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC, Tapiture runs for Ron and Joan Winchell. The chestnut is a full brother to stakes winners Remit and Retap.
Going off at odds of 5.50-to-1, Tapiture paid $13 to win on a $2 win ticket.
For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.
TAPITURE ROLLS IN THE SOUTHWEST STAKES