Hot Springs, Ark. (Friday, March 13, 2015) – The field for the $250,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses Saturday at Oaklawn is so deep that the only Grade 1 winner in the field is a 12-1 outsider on the morning line. Tapiture, the 5-2 program favorite, is among seven older horses entered in the 1 1/16-mile Razorback, the final major local prep for the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 11.
Probable post time for the Razorback is 4:57 p.m. (Central).
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Tapiture hasn’t started since finishing second in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) Oct. 31 at Santa Anita. Tapiture is one of three Razorback entrants who ran in the Dirt Mile, the others being Carve (sixth) and Golden Ticket (eighth).
Golden Ticket dead-heated for victory in the $1 million Travers Stakes (G1), among the country’s most prestigious races for 3-year-olds, in 2012. Tapiture won the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) in his 3-year-old debut last year at Oaklawn, but finished 15th in the Kentucky Derby. Tapiture flourished after being removed from the Triple Crown trail, winning two graded stakes races, including the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (G2), before running second in the Dirt Mile.
“Being a May 3 baby, I think that you saw the talent that he had, but knew time would help him,” Asmussen said.
Tapiture will break from the rail under Ricardo Santana Jr. and carry top weight of 119 pounds.
The co-3-1 second choice in the program is Carve, who is coming off a dazzling 3 ½-length victory in the $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes Jan. 16. He earned a career-high 106 Beyer Speed Figure in the 1 1/16-mile race and has continued to train sharply for the Razorback, trainer Brad Cox said. Carve, in company, worked a half-mile in :49.20 Sunday morning.
“His work the other morning was really good,” Cox said. “It was a typical Carve work. The longer it went, the better it got. Really galloped out well and came out of it great.”
Regular rider Jesus Castanon will be aboard Carve, who will break from post 6 and carry 118 pounds.
Also entered are Midnight Hawk, I Got It All, Race Day and Ride On Curlin. Ride On Curlin (3-1) and I Got It All finished second and third, respectively, in the $100,000 Essex Handicap Feb. 14.
Trainer Todd Pletcher won the Essex with Golden Lad, but returns with Race Day, a career winner of 3 of 6 starts. Race Day is coming off a third-place finish in the $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Stakes (G3) Feb. 7 at Gulfstream Park. It was the stakes debut for the 4-year-old Tapit colt. Pletcher won last year’s Razorback with Golden Lad.
Midnight Hawk (6-1) will be making his Oaklawn debut for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.
The complete field for the Razorback Handicap, in post position order, with riders and morning line odds: Tapiture, Ricardo Santana Jr., 5-2; Golden Ticket, Chris Landeros, 12-1; Midnight Hawk, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; I Got It All, Channing Hill, 20-1; Race Day, John Velazquez, 7-2; Carve, Jesus Castanon, 3-1, and Ride On Curlin, 3-1.