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Ramsey Solution A Key Player As Kentucky Downs Returns | 2022 Tapit Stakes Preview & FREE Picks
Ramsey Solution winning the 2020 Tapit (Coady Photography)

Ramsey Solution A Key Player As Kentucky Downs Returns | 2022 Tapit Stakes Preview & FREE Picks

Mike previews the 2022 Tapit Stakes at Kentucky Downs, then gives his top picks and longshots. The 2020 race winner Ramsey Solution looks to be a key player in the Kentucky Downs meet-opening feature, but did Mike go elsewhere on top? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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Today’s picks


Today’s picks


Today’s picks

The track press release:

If Thursday’s $400,000 FanDuel Tapit Stakes is an indication, Kentucky Downs is in for a tremendous meet. The Tapit, at a mile and 70 yards, is restricted to horses that haven’t won a stakes in 2022. But that doesn’t mean the horses aren’t accomplished.

The 15 horses entered Saturday for the Tapit include the winners of last year’s Grade 1 Keeneland Turf Mile (In Love, who won a division of the Tapit in the prior race); Grade 2 Santa Anita Mathis Mile winner (Law Professor); $750,000 Big Ass Fans Dueling Grounds Derby (Accredit, making his first start in a year); and Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks (Like the King).

The Brazilian-bred In Love, who drew post 12, is trained by Paulo Lobo for owner Bonne Chance Farm, which also teamed to win last year’s $1 million Calumet Turf Cup (G2) at Kentucky Downs with Imperador. In Love finished a respectable seventh, beaten a total of 3 1/2 lengths, in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Mile at Del Mar. He was eighth in his two starts this year, both Grade 1 races.

Also in the Tapit: Megacity finished first in the Texas Turf Classic in his last start but was disqualified to second behind his stablemate Field Pass; Peace Achieved, trying to regain his form that saw him win the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile and Keeneland’s Grade 3 Bourbon in 2019; 2020 Tapit winner Ramsey Solution, who romped in his only start this year; Woodbine allowance winner Souper Dormy, in his first stakes since finishing a very close third at 47-1 in Kentucky Downs’ 2019 Franklin-Simpson; and multiple graded stakes-placed and 11-time winner Shadow Sphinx, making his first start for California trainer Kristin Mulhall after being claimed for $50,000. The 7-year-old Shadow Sphinx would be in his first stakes in his 29th start and after earning $341,152.

Twelve horses can start in the Tapit, with Spanish Kingdom, Bakers Bay and Newsworthy on the also-eligible list and requiring defections by 9 a.m. CT on race day to run.

The Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund accounts for $200,000 of the purse, for which only registered Kentucky-breds are eligible.

Eight of the 10 races are Thursday’s card drew at least 12 horses.

Atras hoping Law Professor can hold court in Tapit

New York-based trainer Rob Atras is scheduled to make his FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs debut Thursday when he sends out Grade 2 winner Law Professor in the opening-day $400,000 FanDuel Tapit Stakes at a mile and 70 yards. The Tapit is restricted to 3-year-olds and up that haven’t won a stakes race in 2022. It goes as the ninth of 10 races, with probable post time 4:57 p.m. (Central).

A homebred for Twin Creeks Racing Stable LLC (Randy Gullatt), Law Professor will be making his first start for Atras after previously being with Southern California-based trainer Michael McCarthy. Law Professor hasn’t run since finishing last of nine in the $400,000 Oaklawn Mile (G3) for older horses April 2 at Oaklawn Park.

Atras said he received Law Professor in June after the 4-year-old Constitution gelding was freshened at Kentucky’s WinStar Farm following a troubled trip in the Oaklawn Mile, his first start outside California.

“Randy Gullatt, the owner, he mentioned this race a few weeks back,” said Atras, who has had other horses for Twin Creeks. “We were going to run at Saratoga in a three-other-than (allowance) and then we nominated for this race. We kind of took a look at it. He’s good on either turf or dirt. So, we thought a $400,000 race, that we would take a shot at it.”

Law Professor has made three starts on grass, winning a mile entry-level allowance last November at Del Mar and finishing fifth in the $500,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (G1) on March 5 at Santa Anita. Sandwiched around those two races was a victory in the $200,000 off-the-turf Santa Anita Mathis Mile Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds Dec. 26 at Santa Anita.

Law Professor was the 9-2 second choice in the Oaklawn Mile, but never a factor after having to check on the first turn under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.

“I watched the replay a couple of times and I talked to the owner, Randy, about it,” Atras said. “The horse just kind of, he loses focus and kind of had to check a little bit. He was running up on heels and after that things didn’t work out. There was nothing really to report, if anything was injured or anything happened physically to the horse. Oaklawn’s tough. You know, it’s a big field and he was a little bit rank. Johnny had to check him a little bit and then after that he kind of lost contact and it was over from there.”

Law Professor has six published workouts – all on dirt – at Belmont Park since July 18 for his comeback race. Julien Leparoux, a two-time Eclipse Award winner, will ride Law Professor for the first time in the Tapit, which lured an overflow field of 15, including three also-eligibles. The race is limited to 12 starters.

Leparoux (47 victories) is the second-winningest rider in the history of Kentucky Downs, an undulating, non-symmetrical 1 5/16-mile European-style grass venue that opened in 1990 as Dueling Grounds.

“I’m glad Julien Leparoux is riding him,” Atras said. “He knows the course. He’s done really well on it. Kentucky Downs, the track’s kind of got some hills, up and down, and the stretch is long. Definitely a track I’m not familiar with. I’m glad we got an experienced rider that knows the track, where to be, when to make your move and all that kind of stuff. I think it’s very important, especially at Kentucky Downs.”

Atras said Law Professor, who drew post 9 and is 10-1 on the morning line, figures to be his lone starter this year at the FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs, which has seven scheduled racing dates over two weeks in September. But the Canadian-born trainer indicated he could have an expanded presence in the future, if Law Professor performs well in the Tapit.

“Hoping that this goes well and maybe it will open the door to other opportunities down the road,” Atras said.

A former assistant under trainer Robertino Diodoro, Atras is best known for conditioning the now-retired Grade 1 winner Maracuja.