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Apr 11, 2014

Nine to do battle in Arkansas Derby


Hot Springs, AR ( - Rebel Stakes runner-up Tapiture heads a field of nine 3-year-olds for Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.

The 1 1/8-mile race offers a total of 170 points as part of the Kentucky Derby points system. The winner acquires 100 points toward a spot in the 20-horse Run for the Roses on May 3.

Trained by Steve Asmussen and owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, Tapiture has drawn post 3 with Joel Rosario getting the mount for the first time.

The chestnut 3-year-old finished just a half-length back in second behind Hoppertunity in the Rebel at Oaklawn four weeks ago as the 2-1 favorite. Last week Hoppertunity was second to California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby.

Tapiture has never been worse than third in his six starts, posting wins in the Kentucky Jockey Club and Southwest Stakes. He has earnings of $440,838.

The much talked about Bayern, owned by Kaleem Shah Inc., will make his first stakes appearance on Saturday. Trained by Bob Baffert, Bayern will start from post 8 with Gary Stevens riding.

Unraced in 2013, Bayern won his maiden race at Santa Anita on Jan. 4 and captured an allowance race on Feb. 13 at the track.

Ride On Curlin, third in the Rebel, will break from post 4 with Jon Court in the saddle. The colt is owned by Daniel Dougherty and trained by William Gowan.

Ride On Curlin began the year with an allowance win and finished third in Oaklawn's Southwest Stakes to Tapiture. Last year he was fourth in the Iroquois at Churchill Downs and third in both Belmont Park's Champagne and Street Sense Stakes at Churchill.

The colt has earned $214,087 with two wins in eight starts.

Here is the field for the Arkansas Derby from the rail out: Danza, Joe Bravo; Knock Em Flat, Luis Quinonez; Tapiture, Joel Rosario; Ride On Curlin, Jon Court; Thundergram, Norberto Arroyo Jr.; Commissioner, Mike Smith; Conquest Titan, Calvin Borel; Bayern, Gary Stevens and Strong Mandate, Luis Saez.

The Arkansas Derby has an approximate post time of 7:07 p.m. ET.

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