04/27/2013 12:48PM

Churchill Downs: Taptowne comes off career best effort


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Derby week racing schedule has undergone quite a bit of tinkering over the years, but now that the Saturday opener is run at night, Churchill Downs officials seem to have settled on something that will work for years.

As of 2011, the first would-be Sunday of the spring meet is dark, replaced by the first (and only) Tuesday of the meet, allowing for some continuity and momentum-building into Derby weekend. And with three allowances and some decent-sized fields, the 10-race Tuesday card serves toward that end.

The richest allowance, a $61,000 route, goes as race 8 while governed by some pretty unusual conditions: Horses who have not won a graded stakes in 2012-13, or $125,000 claiming. The latter clause is moot, as none of the seven starters are in for that six-figure price.

“The way it’s written, the race actually could’ve come up tougher, although it’s definitely not an easy spot,” said Tim Glyshaw, who will send out one of the top contenders in Taptowne, the recent runner-up to Cyber Secret in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap.

Taptowne, a gray 5-year-old gelding, will have Calvin Borel back aboard when he breaks from post 6 in the 1 1/16-mile race as a lukewarm 3-1 morning-line favorite.

Glyshaw said Taptowne “probably ran the race of his life” at Oaklawn and that he is cognizant of him wheeling back relatively quickly.

“He came out of it really, really well,” said Glyshaw. “He doesn’t need the lead, although the way this shapes up, he might have the lead again. I know that Calvin is really happy with him.”

Among the main threats to Taptowne are Seruni (post 2, Corey Lanerie), a stakes-seasoned 6-year-old who stands to benefit from a recent start at Keeneland; Cool Street (post 4, Jimmy Graham), who reeled off four straight wins over the winter at Fair Grounds; and Golden Gulch (post 7, Joel Rosario), returning off a sharp series of works after concluding his 2012 campaign with a victory here at Churchill.

As for the other Tuesday allowances, race 4 is a $52,000, first-level sprint that drew a well-matched field of seven, while race 9 is a $54,000, second-level turf route matching several nice 4-year-old fillies, namely Twirl, Dame Marie, Trophy Wife, and English Class.

First post through Thursday is 12:45 p.m. Eastern, with post time on Oaks and Derby days set for 10:30 a.m.

◗ Looking a little ahead, a 10-race Wednesday card features a $61,000 allowance sprint pitting Rothko versus Sum of the Parts, as well as the first 2-year-old race of the meet.