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2014 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Tapiture

Our look at the contenders for the 2014 Kentucky Derby turns to Tapiture, winner of the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn this spring.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports



Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Ricardo Santana
Sire: Tapit
Dam: Free Spin (Olympio)
Lifetime Record: 7-2-2-2
Lifetime Earnings: $490,838

Future Wager Odds: Pool 1 - 4/5 (Field); Pool 2 - 38/1; Pool 3 - 17/1; Pool 4 - 15/1

Notable Races: G1-Arkansas Derby (4th); G2-Rebel Stakes (2nd); G3-Southwest Stakes (1st); G2-Kentucky Jockey Club (1st); G3-Iroquois (3rd)

The Good:

Tapiture looked really good winning the G3-Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn earlier this spring but, for me, the best part of his past performances is the pair of strong efforts over the Churchill Downs main track as a juvenile. He was a half-length second in the G3-Iroquois back on September 7th, followed by a win in the G1-Kentucky Jockey Club on November 30th. In a field where most, if not all, of the horses have yet to run a real race over the Churchill surface, Tapiture

The Bad:

His Arkansas Derby didn't leave me with a whole lotta confidence in this colt heading to Louisville. Yeah, he had to run wide at times but the way he flattened out after making what looked at the time was going to be a winning move on the turn really disappointed me. His effort at Oaklawn has me wondering if his best distance is a mile and a sixteenth and that anything longer is outside his comfort zone. Perhaps the issue was simply the jockey as after the Arkansas Derby the connections chose to go back to Ricardo Santana, the rider on board when Tapiture won the Southwest and the Ky JC, but I still don't feel great about this colt going 10 furlongs.

Final Thoughts:

As I've written in earlier contender profiles, with a 20-horse field you have to draw the line somewhere in terms of which horses you can like and which you simply have to leave off your betting slips. Tapiture's performance at Oaklawn, even though he ran some really good races earlier this spring, puts him on the outside of my selections. And that disappoints me because I was really high on this colt after he backed up his Southwest win with a strong effort in the Rebel, even if he did finish second. While I never want to place too much emphasis on a horse's last race, I just can't help feeling that Tapiture will have some issues with the distance in the Derby.