Tapiture Faces Almost Famous In First Outing Since Derby; A Little Bit Sassy, Istanford Head Wide-Open Regret; Champion Arabian Valiant Boy SBFAR Heads President of UAE Cup

Jun 12, 2014 John Cox

After finishing 15th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), Winchell ThoroughbredsTapiture looks to bounce back in the $100,000-added Matt Winn (Grade III) on Saturday night at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Tapiture will meet six 3-year-old rivals in the 1 1/16-mile contest, the seventh race of 11 on the Downs after Dark card, which begins the first race at 6 p.m. (all times EDT).  The homebred son of Tapit is the 9-5 favorite in Churchill Downs handicapper Mike Battaglia’s morning line odds for the Matt Winn, which has an approximate post time of 8:30 p.m.

The 17th Running of the Matt Winn will be the fifth start of 2014 for the son of Tapit, who won the Southwest (GIII) at Oaklawn in his sophomore debut, followed by a runner-up effort in the Rebel (GII) and a fourth-place finish in the Arkansas Derby (GI) prior to the Kentucky Derby.

Jockey Rosie Napravnik, who rode Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) winner Untapable for the owner and trainer, will ride Tapiture for the first time Saturday.

Coming off an impressive 7 ¾-length victory over older horses in an allowance race at Churchill is Chuck and Maribeth Sandford LLC’s Almost Famous for trainer Pat Byrne. Almost Famous is seeking his first stakes win and will do so under guidance from regular rider and Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel.

Almost Famous, the 2-1 second choice in Battaglia’s morning line odds, has three wins in seven starts with earnings of $114,379. All three of his wins have been on dirt at Churchill Downs.

Paul and Andrena Van Doren’s Rise Up is trying for his second consecutive stakes win after taking the Robert Hilton Memorial at Charles Town by 10 ¾ lengths in his last outing. Trained by Tom Amoss, jockey Leandro Goncalves has the call for the son of Rockport Harbor who also captured the Delta Downs Jackpot (GIII) as a 2-year-old.

The field for the Matt Winn from the rail out (with jockeys, weight and morning line odds): Rankhasprivileges (Robby Albarado, 118, 201-), Tapiture (Rosie Napravnik, 123, 9-5), Rise Up (Leandro Goncalves, 120, 3-1), Conquest Titan (Shaun Bridgmohan, 118, 10-1), Almost Famous (Calvin Borel, 118, 2-1), The Admiral (Miguel Mena, 118, 8-1) and Ulanbator (Julien Leparoux, 118, 12-1).


A tough field of 3-year-old fillies, headlined by Edgewood Stakes winner A Little Bit Sassy, Arlington Classic (GIII) winner Istanford, Bourbonette Oaks (GIII) winner Aurelia’s Belle and Delta Downs Princess (GIII) winner Tepin, will face off in Saturday’s 45th running of the $100,000-added Regret (GIII) at 1 1/8 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course.

The Regret, named in honor of the filly who became the first of only three members of her gender to win the Kentucky Derby in 1915, is scheduled as Race 9 at 10:11 p.m.

Ramona S. Bass LLC’s A Little Bit Sassy, a 1 ¼-length winner of the Edgewood at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day, will bid for her second consecutive stakes win and first in graded company Saturday. She has won two of five starts and earned $155,788. Jockey Luis Saez will ship in to ride the Michael Matz trainee.  The daughter of More Than Ready is the 7-2 favorite in Churchill Downs handicapper Mike Battaglia’s morning line odds for the Regret.

Sam Alley, Janet Alley, Dawn Thrash and Ike Thrash’s Istanford is looking for back-to-back graded stakes wins for trainer Michael Stidham after she defeated males in the Arlington Classic. Regular jockey James Graham will be back in the saddle aboard the 9-2 second choice in Saturday’s race.

James F. Miller’s Aurelia’s Belle, coming off a ninth-place effort in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), will make her first start on the grass in Saturday’s Regret, under jockey Channing Hill for trainer Wayne Catalano. She has earned $186,450 in six starts, with her only two wins both coming on Polytrack.

Robert E. Masterson’s Tepin, eighth in the Miss Preakness in her first and only start of 2014, looks to bounce back in her second start off a layoff for trainer Mark Casse. She will be ridden by Miguel Mena and has earned $342,084 from two wins in five starts.

The field for the Regret from the hedge out (with jockeys, weight, morning line odds): Kiss Moon (Corey Lanerie, 118, 6-1), Tepin (Rosie Napravnik, 118, 6-1), V V Goodnight (Luis Saez, 118, 6-1), A Little Bit Sassy (Irad Ortiz Jr., 118, 7-2), Personal Diary (Irad Ortiz Jr.,118, 15-1), Aurelia’s Belle (John Velazquez ,118, 6-1),  Istanford (James Graham, 120, 9-2), Stellaris (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118, 15-1.), Share the Sugar (Julien Leparoux, 118, 6-1) and Handmade (Robby Albarado, 118, 12-1).


 VALIANT BOY SBFAR, the 2012 Arabian Horse of the Year, will attempt to defend his title in Saturday’s $100,000-added President of the United Arab Emirates Cup (Grade I) in a field of seven purebred Arabian horses.

The fifth edition of the President of the United Arab Emirates Cup marks the third time the race has been run under the Twin Spires. It is the 10th of 11 races on Saturday’s card with an approximate post time of 10:42 p.m. EDT.

VALIANT BOY SBFAR, trained by Ron Martino, is riding a four-race win streak entering Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile dirt test for 4-year-olds and upward. The 6-year-old took the Valour Farms Arabian Stakes (GII) in his last outing back in July of 2013 at Delaware Park. Jockey Joe Rocco Jr., who rode VALIANT BOY SBFAR to victory in the 2013 edition, will be back for Saturday night’s contest.

RB CHAMPAGNE TASTE is bidding for his second consecutive graded victory for trainer Randy Nunley. The 4-year-old colt won the Arabian Diamond State Stakes (GII) in his last effort and gets the services of Juan Torres, the Champion Arabian Jockey of 2013.

Also seeking a second consecutive stakes victory is 2010 Champion 4-year-old Colt or Gelding and 2011 Champion Older Horse GRILLA for trainer Bill Waldron. GRILLA took the Nahyan Cup (GI) in his last start and will have Miguel Mena up.

SMOKE HOUSE, the 2013 Champion 4-year-old and 2012 Champion 3-year-old Colt or Gelding, finished third in last year’s race for trainer Randy Nunley and will be ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr. as he seeks his first victory of 2014.

The field for the President of the United Arab Emirates Cup from the rail out (with jockeys): BRUTE (Calvin Borel), BURNING FLEET (Stewart Elliott), SMOKE HOUSE (Ricardo Santana Jr.), VALIANT BOY SBFAR (Joe Rocco Jr.), RB CHAMPAGNE TASTE (Juan Torres), GRILLA (Miguel Mena) and IN X HESS (Corey Lanerie).

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