02/10/2010 12:00AM

Tempted to Tapit eyeing Risen Star


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Steve Klesaris brought Tempted to Tapit down to Florida to see if his recent maiden winner belonged on the Kentucky Derby trail, although it might be in Louisiana where Klesaris ultimately finds out if he's got a true Derby colt on his hands.

Klesaris shipped Tempted to Tapit from New York shortly after his extremely impressive 11-length maiden victory at Aqueduct on Jan. 18, for which he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 100. His original goal was Saturday's Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa. But after deciding he needed a little extra time to prepare Tempted to Tapit for his stakes debut, Klesaris turned his attention to Fair Grounds and the 1 1/16-mile Risen Star one week later.

Tempted to Tapit tuned up for his next assignment here Wednesday, working four furlongs in 47.66 seconds in company with stablemate Adari. With jockey Jeremy Rose aboard, Tempted to Tapit was eager while being hard held and broke off four lengths behind his target. Tempted to Tapit posted early splits of 11.84 and 23.78 into a strong headwind before completing his final quarter in 23.88 under mild encouragement. He galloped out five-eighths in 1:00.28.

"He's sharp," Klesaris said. "We wanted to teach him to rate off the other one the first part of it, but he saw his target and he wanted it."

Klesaris said he continues to lean toward the Risen Star but hasn't ruled out the possibility of staying here for the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth the same afternoon.

"I like the way he's been getting over this racetrack," Klesaris said. "He's been doing it easily. I'm leaning towards the Risen Star, but we'll just take a look at both races and see how they come up. The plane for the Fair Grounds doesn't leave until the 17th, so we'll have a good idea who is going where at that point."

Klesaris said David Cohen would ride Tempted to Tapit in either spot.

* D' Funnybone continued preparations for his 3-year-old debut when he worked six furlongs in 1:12.57 and galloped out seven-eighths in 1:26.41 on Wednesday with jockey Edgar Prado aboard. D' Funnybone, a two-time Grade 2 winner at 2, will return a week from Saturday in the six-furlong Hutcheson.