Tapit Trice Might Give Todd Pletcher Another Kentucky Derby Contender

Published on April 12, 2023, 5:41 am
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Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher is on the brink of a trifecta. He already has two Kentucky Derby hopefuls primed and ready to go – Florida Derby winner Forte and Louisiana Derby champion Kingsbarns. Now, let’s see if he can add even more magic with one last entry this Saturday.

Pletcher’s Tapit Trice has certainly made its presence known on the racetrack, entering this weekend’s $1 million Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland as a 5-2 favorite with an impressive run of three consecutive victories.

Smooth Criminal spiced up the Tampa Bay Derby in true “gray son of Tapit” style as he finished strong for a 2-length win over Classic Car Wash.

After a slow start, Pletcher was won over by the horse’s performance; “He fought hard and finished with more gusto than expected,” said the trainer. He continued to praise his equine athlete saying that he believes that it gets better each time they go out – possessing an impressive stride of endurance.

Legendary horsemen Mandy Pope and Antony Beck came together to make a splash at the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, where Tapit Trice was snapped up for an impressive $1.3 million.

Tapit Trice showed early promise as a 2-year-old, finishing third debut and then breaking his maiden in December. He blew the competition away with an 8-length victory on February 4th at Gulfstream before taking home first place at the Tampa Bay Derby – making it clear that this powerful horse is one to watch.

Pletcher commended jockey Luis Saez for an outstanding performance, and the two will pair up again in what is sure to be a thrilling race at Blue Grass.

Pletcher observed that Luis is a perfect match, noting his keen understanding of the riding style required. In addition, he knows not to expect too much speed right out of the gate.

Tapit Trice is looking strong heading into Saturday’s Derby, boasting a secure spot among the top 11 on this season’s leaderboard with 50 points. He will be gunning for that finish line and hoping to make an even bigger splash.

Tapit Trice is rising the ranks in the Kentucky Derby watch list, currently sitting comfortably at fourth behind Forte and two of this season’s biggest contenders – Angel of Empire from Arkansas Derby and Santa Anita’s favorite Practical Move.

It’s been over three decades since a Blue Grass winner has gone on to take the Kentucky Derby, but that trend could be changing. In the past five years, Good Magic finished second in 2018 and Essential Quality placed fourth last year; this year looks promising too with Zandon coming up third. Will we see another horse add their name to the history books? We will have to wait until June 5th for an answer.

This Saturday, Tapit Trice has a tough job ahead of him as regards the updated Kentucky derby odds. Although the strong late-running form is in his favor, he’ll need to overcome two obstacles: lack of speed from the field and an unfavorable draw with gate No 1. It’s looking like it may be a challenge for this contender at the Blue Grass.

Pletcher noted that the horse had not been as successful in past races, but was triumphant in his most recent start at Gulfstream Park from a prime starting position.

Verifying, Raise Cain and Blazing Sevens are the top contenders for the Blue Grass Stakes race. With odds of 3-1, 9-2, and 6-1 respectively, they’ll be sure to make this event an exciting one.

After honing his skills with renowned trainer Brad Cox, Verifying is ready to make a splash. The two-time winner finished fourth in the Grade 2 Rebel at Oaklawn on February 25th, marking an impressive start for this son of Justify who’s already notched five starts under his saddle.

Cox is positive that the newcomer will be ready for Saturday’s big game – their training has been going great and they appear to have some of the rookie jitters firmly under control. It’s almost time to see if his hard work pays off.

On March 4, Aqueduct held a thrilling race featuring the remarkable Raise Cain. Under the guidance of master trainer Ben Colebrook, this talented son of Violence surged to victory in Grade 3 Gotham Stakes – his sixth career start – and cemented himself as one to watch.

Blazing Sevens, trained by the renowned Chad Brown and sired by Good Magic, has been making a name for himself since his debut. With five starts under his belt resulting in two wins and one place finish, most recently an impressive eighth at Gulfstream’s Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on March 4th – not bad for just getting started.

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