Hot Springs, Ark. (Friday, April 10, 2015) – Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Untapable looked every bit the champion she is as she drew off to win Friday’s $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) by 2 ½ lengths over longshot Diva’s Diamond. The 2014 champion 3-year-old filly entered the race off a second in the March 14 Azeri Stakes (G2) to Gold Medal Dancer, who had to settle for third Friday in the 1 1/16 mile race.

Breaking from post 2 under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, Untapable settled into fourth early as Sugar Shock led through early fractions of :23 4/5 and :48 1/5 for the first half mile. Pearl Turn took a brief lead after three-quarters in 1:12, but it was short lived as the champion came four wide into the stretch and came home the easy winner in a final time of 1:42 4/5 over a fast track.

“I was awfully concerned with how sharp she's been, the works that she's put in,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “I thought Johnny did a great job with her into the first turn. Once they lined out down the backside, I thought she was really in a commanding position and ran extremely well from there.”

Velazquez, who picked up the mount on Untapable this year after her regular rider Rosie Napravnik retired after the pair teamed to win the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), was just as impressed with the performance as her trainer.

“She had a race under her belt this time and obviously off a lay-off last time out she still ran a great race. Steve told me last time, ‘I’m not sure she’s a hundred percent fit’ and plus he was unsure about how she would like the track. Today, he told me she was ready and she showed it. He said she was working steadily and she was mad after her last race. That was a great effort from her today.”

Untapable, a Winchell Thoroughbreds homebred filly by Tapit, has now won nine of 13 starts, including five Grade 1s, and has amassed earnings of $3,416,725. As the prohibitive 1-5 favorite, she returned $2.40, $2.20 and $2.10.

Two races earlier, Asmussen also won the Bachelor Stakes with Jerry Durant’s Holy Boss to move within three wins of leading trainer Chris Hartman as he seeks his seventh Oaklawn title.
Ridden by Luis Quinonez and carrying 119 pounds, the son of Street Boss sat behind the sprite early fractions of 21:85 and :45 before taking over in the far turn and drawing clear to prevail by a length over A M Milky Way, the 35-1 longest shot on the board, and cover the six furlongs in 1:09 2/5 on a fast track. Hebronville was another 5 3/4 lengths back.

“He just broke good and got out there, and I just stayed out of his way and let him run. Turning for home I asked him to pick them up and he responded,” said Quinonez.

The win was the third in the Bachelor for Asmussen, who won the 2008 edition with Lantana Mob and the 1996 running with Valid Expectations.

“I just told Luis in the paddock that when he gets away well he runs well,"  Asmussen said. “Luis had him away in good order, and he looked like he was in control all of the race. It would be great for him to develop into a Breeders' Cup Sprint kind of horse. I'm very proud to have this good of a horse for Mr. Durant. Hopefully, this is the first of many stakes wins for him.”

Holy Boss paid $7 for a $2 wager and upped his record to three wins in five starts with earnings of $150,490.

Live racing resumes Saturday for the final day of the 2015 live season. The meet culminates with 12 live races highlighted by the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1), $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) and two other stakes. First post is 12:30 p.m. Gates open at 10:30 a.m.

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