Sports Betting

Untapable has unfinished business in 2016

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February 5, 2016

Say you saw a horse with a six-start campaign who raced in four Grade 1 races, a Grade 2, and a Grade 3, winning one of those Grade 1’s and never finishing worse than third. That would be an absolutely fantastic season, but for Untapable, it felt like a bit of a letdown. In retrospect, perhaps it was presumptuous to assume that Untapable could duplicate her remarkable 3-year-old campaign of 2014, when she won 6 of 7 races, recorded three Beyer Speed Figures greater than 100, and briskly disposed of all comers in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Untapable got sick a few days before she could try to win the Distaff again in 2015, and there was widespread assumption that Untapable would be retired as a broodmare by owner and breeder Ron Winchell. Instead, she is back at Fair Grounds with trainer Steve Asmussen, one published workout into her 5-year-old campaign. “We thought long and hard about retirement, but when it got right down to it, Ron thought she’s sound, she’s never really had any problems, so why not run her again?” said D.J. Fiske, Winchell’s longtime racing manager. “It was a big disappointment to miss the Distaff. There’s a sense of unfinished business.”

At 3, Untapable’s only loss came in the Haskell Invitational against males, but last year, she started her season with a second-place finish to Gold Medal Dancer, a nice enough filly who would’ve been overwhelmed by Untapable at her best. Untapable bounced back to win the Grade 1 Apple Blossom, but she had to work for it in a race that looked a lot like the rest of her 2015 starts: very good, but not the Untapable of 2014. Will 2016 be different? It shouldn’t take that long to find out.

Untapable will have her second work this weekend and probably won’t take that long to get ready. She spent December on a holiday (hyperbaric chamber, ice baths, round pens) at a Kentucky farm before joining up with Asmussen again in New Orleans, where she did the legwork for her two Oaklawn races last spring. “I think we’re just kind of scheduling backward from the Breeders’ Cup,” said Fiske. “Between now and then, I think about everything’s on the table. She might make the Apple Blossom; we might break her out Kentucky Derby weekend. By all accounts, she looks fantastic and is training as well as she’s ever trained.” Asmussen said Wednesday that he thought the Apple Blossom was a reasonable early-season goal for Untapable. “She’s truly a special horse,” he said. “There’s a lot more of her now. She’s an older, more mature mare now in every sense of the word. She’s easier to be around.”



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