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Mar 13, 2015

Razorback Handicap offers solid field of seven

By: SPORTS NETWORK


Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - Tapiture, second in last year's Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, is the 5-2 morning line favorite versus six for Saturday's $250,000 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Tapiture will leave from the rail post in the 1 1/16-mile stakes with Ricardo Santana Jr. assuming the mount after the retirement of the colt's regular rider Rosie Napravnik.

"He is coming into the race extremely well and I feel good about where he is. Saturday is a big day for him," Asmussen said about Tapiture's 2015 debut race.

Tapiture, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, won last year's Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn and was second in the Rebel before finishing fourth in the Arkansas Derby.

The 4-year-old came out of a 15th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby with consecutive wins in the Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs and West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer. He then finished second to Bayern in the Pennsylvania Derby before the Breeders' Cup. Tapiture has earned $1,388,060 with four wins and four seconds in 12 starts.

Carve and Ride On Curlin, the 3-1 co-second picks, will leave from the two far outside posts in the 1 1/16-mile Razorback with Jesus Castanon and Jon Court in the corresponding saddles.

Carve, owned by Michael Langford, is coming off a win in Oaklawn's Fifth Season Stakes on Jan. 16. The 5-year-old gelding posted wins last season in the Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows and West Virginia Governor's Stakes at Mountaineer. Carve has earned $772,415 with seven wins from 19 starts.

"I'm very pleased with him and how he's doing right now," said trainer Brad Cox. "Looking at the race, there's a little bit of speed in there and I think there will be a couple of horses in front of him. The ideal set-up would be him sitting off them up front and him making his run. He's doing awesome, couldn't ask for anything more."

Ride on Curlin, trained by "Bronco" Billy Gowan, has had success at Oaklawn with third-place finishes in last year's Southwest and Rebel Stakes followed by a second in the Arkansas Derby. The colt, owned by Daniel Dougherty, was second in Oaklawn's Essex Handicap last month after claiming an allowance race at the track in January.

"People really like this horse a lot, and they like to come out to see him," said Gowan. "He's almost a local legend and he's an Oaklawn Park horse, that's for sure. He's got a lot of loyal fans and it's fun. People are also nice to me at the same time, so I really enjoy it.

"He's good, real good. Now it's just keeping him happy until Saturday,"

Ride on Curlin has three wins, four seconds and four thirds from 14 lifetime starts for $771,287. In six starts at Oaklawn, he has banked $380,200 with two wins, two seconds and two thirds.

Here is the field for the Razorback in post position order: Tapiture, Ricardo Santana Jr., 5-2; Golden Ticket, Chris Landeros, 12-1; Midnight Hawk, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; I Got It All, Channing Hill, 20-1; Race Day, John Velazquez, 7-2; Carve, Jesus Castanon, 3-1 and Ride on Curlin, Jon Court, 3-1.

Post time for the Razorback Handicap will be approximately 5:57 p.m. ET.



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