By Dick Downey
Tapiture, a maternal grandson of 1991 Arkansas Derby winner Olympio. and the 9-5 morning line favorite for the race on Saturday, got a new jockey after Joel Rosario asked for the mount.
“With how important a race this is, and with Joel wanting the mount, this provided us a unique opportunity, said trainer Steve Asmussen on Friday. “We’re trying to give him the best chance to win the Kentucky Derby. We’re dreaming the Derby dream, just like everyone else.”
Ricardo Santana, Jr. previously rode Tapiture.
Asmussen said that Tapiture’s energy level is higher than it was for the Rebel and that he is extremely pleased with how well he has trained and progressed since being part of the roughly-run Rebel on Mar. 15.
Hoppertunity, the 2-1 second choice in the early line, is very relevant in the race, Asmussen said.
“Bayern is a physically impressive horse with two brilliant races, and he concerns me. If he gets loose on the lead…Bob comes prepared. He does not run a short horse,” the trainer observed.
Knock Em Out Opts for Northern Spur
Donnie K. Von Hemel said he’d scratch Knock Em Flat from the Arkansas Derby, reducing the field to eight .
Knock Em Flat was cross-entered in the one-mile Northern Spur, which attracted 10 entries.
“The Arkansas Derby is a pretty tough field,” said Von Hemel.