04/21/2014 2:13PM

Kentucky Derby: Hope remains for final spots

Barbara D. Livingston
Tapiture, in his first work since finishing fourth in the Arkansas Derby, drills five furlongs in 1:02.80 on Monday at Churchill Downs.

With Cairo Prince out of the 140th Kentucky Derby with an injury and Midnight Hawk removed from consideration following his second-place finish in the Illinois Derby on Saturday, spots opened in the prospective field for Vinceremos and Harry’s Holiday, and more scoreboard watching will be done as horses begin to arrive at Churchill Downs for their final works for the May 3 Derby.

A trio of prospects worked Monday, and their status will affect the final lineup for the Derby, for which entries will be drawn April 30. A maximum of 20 horses can run, with up to four also-eligibles.

Tapiture, the winner of the Southwest Stakes but fourth in the Arkansas Derby in his most recent start, worked five furlongs in 1:02.80 on Monday at Churchill Downs. It was his first drill since the Arkansas Derby.

“I thought he worked really well,” said trainer Steve Asmussen. “He was nice and relaxed early. Being as he ran just nine days ago, we weren’t looking for anything quick. I was very pleased with it.”

Asmussen said Tapiture will work again next Monday, but that as of Monday, “all systems were go” for a start in the Derby.

Like Tapiture, Chitu – the Sunland Derby winner – is among the top 20 in Kentucky Derby qualifying points, so those with horses on the bubble are keeping a keen eye on their progress. Chitu worked in company with his Bob Baffert-trained stablemate, Bayern, on Monday, and each received a time of 47.60 seconds for a half-mile.

Bayern appeared best at the wire and galloped out stronger, though Chitu is a notoriously indifferent workhorse.

“He always gets outworked. That’s him,” Baffert said.

Baffert, who was in California on Monday, said he would not make any Derby decisions regarding either horse until he sees them in person Wednesday. However, he said Chitu would run in the Grade 3, $150,000 Derby Trial, a one-turn, one-mile race Saturday, the opening night of the Churchill Downs meeting. Joel Rosario has the mount. Baffert said there was still the possibility that Chitu could come back a week later in the Kentucky Derby.

As for Bayern, Baffert said he had come forward noticeably since the Arkansas Derby.

“He needed that race badly,” Baffert said.

Bayern is 23rd on the points list. He earned 20 points for his third-place finish in the Arkansas Derby but ranks behind Vinceremos, Harry’s Holiday, Commanding Curve, and Pablo Del Monte – all of whom have 20 points – due to the tie-breaker, earnings in nonrestricted stakes races.

Bayern is ahead of Social Inclusion, who was third in the Wood Memorial, which was worth 20 points, but who earned $10,000 less for that race than Bayern did for his third in the Arkansas Derby.

As of Monday, all those with 20 points were still under consideration for the Derby. Wesley Ward, the trainer of Pablo Del Monte, said, “It would be unbelievable if he could get in.”

Baffert’s top Derby contender is Hoppertunity, the runner-up to California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby last time out. Both Hoppertunity and Candy Boy, third in the Santa Anita Derby, flew to Kentucky on Monday. California Chrome is not scheduled to travel until April 28 on a flight that also will include Dance With Fate.

Vinceremos, 19th on the points list owing to the tie-breaker, has been training at the farm of his owner, WinStar Farm, since a poor try in the Blue Grass, his first start on a synthetic surface. Trainer Todd Pletcher said Vinceremos was scheduled to come to Churchill Downs on Wednesday and was scheduled for a workout Sunday, after which Pletcher said he and Elliott Walden, the former trainer who is the president and chief executive of WinStar, would discuss whether to run in the Derby.

Pletcher’s other Derby prospects – Danza, Intense Holiday, and We Miss Artie – also are scheduled to have their final Derby works Sunday at Churchill Downs.

Trainer Mike Maker could send out three in the Derby. Maker has General a Rod, Vicar’s in Trouble, and Harry’s Holiday, who slipped into the top 20 after Cairo Prince and Midnight Hawk came out.

Maker on Monday said he was scheduled to meet with the owners of Harry’s Holiday that afternoon to discuss whether to run in the Derby and, if so, which rider to employ.

Maker’s horses are stabled at Churchill’s Trackside Training Center, eight miles from Churchill Downs, but were scheduled to move to Churchill itself this week and then remain there through the Derby. General a Rod is scheduled for a workout Wednesday, while Harry’s Holiday and Vicar’s in Trouble are scheduled to have their final drills Saturday, Maker said.

– additional reporting by Marcus Hersh and Marty McGee

Doyle Hall More than 1 year ago
Shoot! I left Danza out of it. What to do???
Doyle Hall More than 1 year ago
I really have no idea which horse will win. But I certainly will enjoy watching the race. Lots of top horses, a lot of nervous energy. This race will be thrilling. Can't wait to see who crosses that finish line first (as well as second and third). I'll put some money on Ride on Curlin, Sumraat and Hoppertunity. But I won't be too surprised if a longshot comes from out of nowhere.
Russell Strange More than 1 year ago
I am surprised that the question of running in the Derby Trial to get earnings in the tie breaker was not brought out. Any of those with 20 points could leap ahead in earnings to get the 20th spot with a win. Use it as their final workout and get paid to do it.
psell2flat03 More than 1 year ago
The Derby Trial no longer offers points.
Jason Hart More than 1 year ago
What Russell is saying is there are several horses tied for the 20th spot to get in the Derby. The tie breaker is graded earnings. If one of those horses tied for 20th, like Bayern (hint hint) wins the Derby Trial (earning another $87,420.00 in graded earnings) they are in the Derby.
sjm80s . More than 1 year ago
Want to talk about Tapiture? Lets talk about how horses going into Derby win. You are not going to get a winner off of a bouncing loss. The horse at the top of his form cycle wins. Tapiture needs a couple of good efforts again. He may be a good Saratoga horse but Derby? Not with my money. California and Vicars are going to have a lot to say in this race.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
History doesn't support your premise..
psell2flat03 More than 1 year ago
Hail No is still cashing his win tickets on Pyro.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Never bet Pyro, not even on the 4th of July, just still cashing, you did get that right.
Steve Durham More than 1 year ago
We all talk about the early speed this year. I am almost to think that no one will really want to go to the lead and they will craw, being most of these horses cant make a 1 1/4. We may have horse get out on the lead and no one catch her. Did I say her? It maybe Rosie's Derby........................
Millicent Dawkins More than 1 year ago
Tapiture is not a problem wether he runs or not he is just not good enough right now In my opinion he will not finish in the first five
J Mae Hodges More than 1 year ago
I beg to differ this will be another year of controversy , it would be poetic just to win. He would've won the AD had the left the kid on him. I have 40 dollar to dedicate just on him spread out in multiples I won't like CC beat me I got 5 horses in my first leg. My second and third leg will be 5 closers
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
I cant believe TAPITURE is still in there.Can you imagine the public relations nightmare if TAPITURE wins. just by being there it will resuscitate the PETA video and probably prompt more footage.but a win would bring this issue to the masses and turn them off the derby permanently something racing can ill afford..i have him in my futures exactas bets but as a racing fan I know his presence is a disaster for racing.
Kenny More than 1 year ago
Its the United States of America my man, who cares about PETA video......you ever hear of due process, innocent until proven guilty, real evidence, hearsay rules and laws etc
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
I understand what Ray is saying.Guilty or not,the Kentucky Derby is viewed by more Americans than any other horse race by far .It is the only race many watch.PETA and other activist will love if Tapiture wins so they can get their agenda right to the forefront to crucify this sport most on this site love.Ever heard of the term ,Take one for the team?Asmussen should sit this year out and let the storm pass and run the horse under another trainers name.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Kenny More than 1 year ago
The industry has a lot of problems....the thing that it doesnt need is more regulation and oversight, case study is NY where the state government absolutely decimated the industry over the last 40 years.....and there will be bad people in all walks of life but 99% of the people dealing with these animals on a daily basis have the animals best interest in mind
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Well said Kenny
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
Well said Bereaver and Ray
LDL More than 1 year ago
Ray,,,,come on man.......steve wasnt in those video's...that were taped illegally ..I may add.....Your a "disaster to racing and America...to pass guilt on someone from one edited video...why no outrage for the Owners of the horses? you think they dont see the vet bills...Where is you out cry for Zyat??? good odds he knew about his horses bad feet...hell he was paying the bill each month...Blasi called him a @#$%@$#@ for still runnin the Horse...then everyone gets bent cause Blasi used profane words...hell it was the Owner who keept runnin the Horse and Blasi was Pissed off that the Owner kept runnin him.....
Daisy1Oopsy . More than 1 year ago
Please Mr. Sousa, don't hang what has happened to other horses on Tapiture. He is a fine horse. He knows nothing, i hope, about shoddy training tactics in the shadow of barns like were shown in 'that video.' Let's hope his treatment was lacking in the abuse.
Brodieville More than 1 year ago
47.6 is Chitu's listed workout time for yesterday at Churchill. that doesn't sound like a poor workout to me. keep a little something in the tank!
sjm80s . More than 1 year ago
Lightning fast workouts do nothing for me.
Brodieville More than 1 year ago
I can't find ANY Derby hopefuls with a lick of Professional Dosage in their lineage. who are the "Professional" chef de romans?
D Lange More than 1 year ago
There are two. C Curve and M Count.
Fred Colon More than 1 year ago
There are many in this field in comparison to last year and the year before. I'd tell you only I did my homework and it is time consuming. That's why many charge for what you are seeking for free. Sorry, do your own homework!
Brodieville More than 1 year ago
Looking at Dosage index among Derby hopefuls: gotta like Samraat, Pablo del Monte, Candy Boy, and Dance with Fate. Too bad Midnight Hawk is out.
Fred Colon More than 1 year ago
Although the Hawk has the dosage you couldn't possibly expect him to run right back with two weeks rest. His last race took a lot out of him and Baffert knows that. That's why he isn't running.
mtbiebel More than 1 year ago
Midnight Hawk cannot get a mile and quarter on a flat bed
Paul More than 1 year ago
Does anyone actually still use that dosage voodoo junk?
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
Learn the difference between an overlay and an underlay . Then pop off !