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Barn Notes: Wednesday, December 17

IN TODAY'S NOTES: UNTAPABLE AND TAPITURE ARRIVE, PREPARE FOR 2015 CAMPAIGNS; RECORD SETTER GOOD DEED HAS MORE LEFT FOR PAN ZARETA; DILIBERTO PITS GOLDEN SOUL VS. FOUR STAKES WINNERS


                                                UNTAPABLE AND TAPITURE ARRIVE, PREPARE FOR 2015 CAMPAIGNS     

Two of the more exciting racing prospects for 2015 have both arrived at Fair Grounds Race Course to prepare for their 4-year-old seasons.  Three-year-old filly champion-elect Untapable and her multiple graded stakes-winning stablemate Tapiture both arrived on Saturday and hit the track for the first time on Sunday morning.  Both charges are owned and bred by Winchell Thoroughbreds, are offspring of Winchell’s homebred star stallion Tapit and are trained by defending meet title holder Steve Asmussen. 

“They wintered great,” said Winchell Thoroughbreds racing manager David Fiske.  “They both got to the farm after the Breeders’ Cup and took about 30 days off.  Neither were a problem and they looked like they were happy to be doing something different.  Everyone at the farm really enjoyed having them, too; they’re both characters.  I don’t think they really lost all that much weight, either.  Tapiture probably came in at about 1,200 pounds and Untapable about 1,150.”

This year, Untapable put the exclamation point on her phenomenal season with a 1¼-length victory over older fillies and mares in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff.  Overall, the bay filly had won six of her seven 2014 races, including four Grade Is.  Her other two wins were Fair Grounds’ two premier races for sophomore fillies – the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks and Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes.  Her only loss came against the opposite sex in the Grade I Haskell Invitational where she finished fifth behind eventual Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern.  Comprehensively, she won $2.8 million on the year to be the third-richest earner of 2014 thus far and is one of only three horses (along with California Chrome and Main Sequence) to win four races at the highest level.

“We’ll see how quickly they get ready,” Fiske continued.  “We’ll let them tell us, obviously, but it’s really not hard for either one to get fit.  We’ll start at the Breeders’ Cup and work backwards in five-week intervals and hopefully have them ready to go at the end of March or beginning of April.  I could envision (Untapable) doing the same sort of campaign.  She does better when you space her races out and will probably run no more than seven times.  It would be nice to run her at Saratoga.  She was supposed to run in the (Grade II) Adirondack as a 2-year-old there, but colicked the day before.  We’ll focus on Grade Is with her.”

Tapiture’s prospectus is a little more malleable than his female counterpart.  A horse who seems to be getting better looking and more talented with age, the beginnings of the chestnut-red with a striking resemblance to Winchell-owned damsire Olympio did not seem so rosy.   

“Originally, in the spring of his yearling year, he was awful-looking,” Fiske said.  “Then, as time went on, he really came around.  By the time of the September sale he was looking better than some of the horses we were selling there.  A lot of the Tapits really do take a while to fully mature.  They’re on a trajectory where they get better as they get older.  He actually turned three on Derby Day last year and was giving away three-to-four months of maturity at that time but now he’s really come into his own.”

Tapiture’s 2014 season was no slouch in its own right.  In the exacta in six of his eight starts, he won three graded stakes – including the Grade II West Virginia Derby – and was a valiant second to Goldencents in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.  A year-end goal is still to be decided for the earner of nearly $1.4 million.  Unproven at the 1¼-miles Breeders’ Cup Classic distance – other than a rough trip to be 15th in the Grade I Kentucky Derby – and with the Dirt Mile distance on the lower end of his scope, a lot will be determined as 2015 progresses.      

“His year-end goal depends on how he runs throughout the year,” Fiske said.  “The Dirt Mile this year was around two turns (at Santa Anita) and that’s preferable for him, as opposed to one turn.  In 2015, if he shows that he’s adept at mile and a eighth to a mile and a quarter, we’ll stretch him out somewhere to see if the Classic is an option.  The (Grade II $400,000) New Orleans Handicap is possible (as a starting point), but we’ll really have to see how he’s coming along at that point.”

RECORD SETTER GOOD DEED HAS MORE LEFT FOR PAN ZARETA

            Richard and Bertram Klein’s high-speed homebred mare Good Deed exited her track-record setting allowance score on Dec. 14 in fine form, according to trainer Steve Margolis.  The daughter of Broken Vow out of graded stakes-winning sprint mare Hidden Assets shook off the dust of a nine-month layoff with style on Sunday – besting a stakes-quality field by 5¼ lengths under jockey Brian Hernandez in a lightning 1:02.31 for the 5½ grassy furlongs.

“She came out in good shape,” Margolis reported on Wednesday morning.  “Everything is good so far.  We were hoping for a good race off the layoff.  You hope that when they get older that they still have that spark and be competitive, especially in a tough field.  It was a stakes race with an allowance purse, but that happens with these kinds of horses.”

The bay 5-year-old mare had been off since a photo-finish third in the $60,000 Mardi Gras Stakes on March 4 and had only two works on the tab prior to the allowance – including a swift five-furlong move in 1:00.20 eight days antecedent. 

“We were actually going to train her up to the ($60,000) Pan Zareta (Stakes on Jan. 10),” Margolis explained.  “We were playing catch-up getting her ready.  I spoke with Richard Klein and decided it was best to run her while she was doing well in the allowance.  We’ll go to the Pan Zareta next.”

The prospect of Good Deed still having gears remaining after such a spectacular performance – especially considering how she was only lightly roused at the top of the stretch and quickly put her competition to bed – is not news to her conditioner.  The earner of $326,803 has always been highly regarded and has four stakes wins in her 15 starts as evidence. 

“You can see on her form that she’s always been a talented horse,” Margolis continued.  “Last year we came off a layoff into the Pan Zareta and the turf was really soft and tiring and she finished second.  Now she’s back to herself and has really done well since she’s been (at Fair Grounds).  She’s had little issues here and there, but she’s lightly raced and we’re looking forward to keeping her healthy and moving forward.  She’s a little tough to gallop, but she’s really a sweetheart and it’s rewarding to watch her develop and to also train another good one from (Hidden Assets).  She’s been a very good mare for the owners and me.”


DILIBERTO PITS GOLDEN SOUL VS. FOUR STAKES WINNERS

            Friday’s Fair Grounds Race Course feature, the $50,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial, could be the next showcase of what seems to be a gilded renaissance period in the career of 2013 Grade I Kentucky Derby runner-up Golden Soul.  After 15 consecutive losses following his excellent Fair Grounds maiden victory on Dec. 30, 2012, the Charles Fipke-homebred son of Perfect Soul has put together two eye-catching wins over Churchill Downs’ turf course.  The latter of which – on Nov. 28 – saw the chestnut charge accelerate away from a field that included stakes winner Dorsett and earn a 92 Beyer Speed Figure.  

            The Diliberto will be a chance for the always well-intended colt to prove his value even more as he takes on eight other talented foes, including four stakes winners and three other graded stakes-placed competitors.  Golden Soul will be ridden by Brian Hernandez, Jr. from post five and has been assigned a 5-1 morning line.

            Chief among those rivals is Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s homebred Gentleman’s Kitten.  From the country’s leading owners and to be ridden by leading rider James Graham for the always-dangerous Mike Maker barn, the son of Kitten’s Joy enters off a subpar effort in the Grade III River City Handicap.  Previously, the bay colt was a good second in the $100,000 Remington Green at Remington Park and won the $50,000 Cliff Guilliams at Ellis Park by nearly nine lengths (earning a 95 Beyer Speed Figure).  Gentleman’s Kitten breaks from the rail and has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite.

            Untried on the grass, but always tough on the main course, is Maggi Moss’ 4-1 morning line second-choice Grand Contender.  Trained by Tom Amoss, the son of Strong Contender was third last out when defending his $250,000 Delta Mile title at Delta Downs.  Despite being without turf form, Grand Contender’s pedigree suggests the sod should pose little issue, especially with grass stakes winner Shimmy (by Nijinsky) as a second dam and French champion Ambiorix in his immediate lineage.  Should the Diliberto come off the grass, the bay 6-year-old gelding will most likely take over the role as favorite when he breaks from his assigned six-post under Francisco Torres.

            Conditioner Wayne Catalano, who used to train both Gentleman’s Kitten and Louie Roussel-trained and -owned outsider Treasury Bill (post four, 15-1), has entered Team Valor’s graded stakes winner Infinite Magic.  Victorious in the Grade III American Derby at Arlington International Racecourse and second in the Grade II Del Mar Derby as a sophomore in 2013, the 4-year-old ridgling son of More Than Ready looks to return to form following seven consecutive poor showings since Del Mar.  To be ridden for the first time by Robby Albarado from the outside post nine, he has been assigned morning line odds of 8-1 and will look to improve upon a fourth in a grassy one-mile optional claimer last out at Churchill Downs on Nov. 7.  A few favorable aspects for Infinite Magic include a career-high Beyer of 91 earned in defeat last out and a steady and positive work pattern leading into what will be his fourth race under the tutelage of his multiple Breeders’ Cup-winning trainer.

            The field is completed by the late Jim Tafel’s Greg Geier-trained graded stakes-placed and Fair Grounds-loving All Stormy (post two, 15-1), Chuck and Ella Lou Hagaman’s Ron Moquett-trained 7-year-old Grade I-placed warhorse Bim Bam (post three, 6-1), Riverside Bloodstock and Dan Beaty’s improving Conor Murphy-trained 5-year-old Heuston (post seven, 20-1) and Diamond Racing et al’s Leo Gabriel-trained Adios Nardo (post eight, 9-2), who was second in last year’s Diliberto to Daddy Nose Best and has been off since April 16.