“We based our decision on the fact that Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. on Tapiture pushed his way out from behind the four horse (Strong Mandate) as the horses were straightening out into the stretch,” said Association Steward Larry Synder. “Jockey Mike Smith was just holding his position.”
"There was some bumping going on, but I was just holding my ground,” said Smith. “He'd already pushed me out to get out, which is fine because he was looking for racing room and I totally understand that. But, I wasn't just going to give him ground. I had to hold my ground at some point. And that's all I did. I held my ground and we bumped. It caused me to lay in and that caused me to tip.”
After several minutes the inquiry sign was removed and the order of finish remained unchanged. Hoppertunity finished a half-length in front of Tapiture, who was a half-length in front of Ride On Curlin. Strong Mandate was 1 ½ lengths farther back in fourth.
Having been bet down from a morning-line of 10-1 to 6-1 at post time, Hoppertunity was sent off as the fourth choice in the field of eight, with Tapiture and Strong Mandate sent off as co-favorites at odds of 2-1. Going into Saturday’s race, Hoppertunity had only a maiden win under his belt and was beaten seven lengths by Intense Holiday and Albano to finish fourth in the Risen Star (G2), his first stakes appearance. Unraced at age two, the Rebel wins brings Hoppertunity’s earnings to $410,720 in four starts.
Hoppertunity returned $14.20, $5.80, and $4.20. Tapiture paid $3.80 and $2.60 and completed the $2 exacta for $54.40. Ride On Curlin paid $4.60 and completed the $1 trifecta for $155.10. Strong Mandate completed the $1 superfecta for $383.70. The final time for the 1 1/16 mile race over the wet-fast dirt was 1:43.90.
Photo: Courtesy Oaklawn.com
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