Tapit Trice – Kentucky Derby Context

May 6th, 2023

A powerful late runner, Tapit Trice will bring a four-race win streak into the Kentucky Derby, including stakes tallies in the Blue Grass (G1) and Tampa Bay Derby (G3).

The long-striding gray colt has not broken sharply from the starting gate in those stakes appearances, waiting until the far turn and stretch to blow past rivals in the Tampa Bay Derby, but Tapit Trice progressed when stretching out to 1 1/8 miles in the Blue Grass, advancing closer on the first turn to stalk just behind the leaders along the backstretch. The hard-fought neck win may toughen him up for the Kentucky Derby, and if he can get into position by the top of the stretch, Tapit Trice will have every chance to prove best.

Top Brisnet Speed: 102

Top Brisnet Late Pace: 107

Owner: A prominent owner and breeder, Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm will make its third Kentucky Derby appearance, finishing fifth with Mylute in 2013 and 17th with Charge It last year. Breeder Gainesway Farm retained an ownership interest of Tapit Trice after selling at auction. Owned by Graham Beck, Gainesway has placed twice as an owner in partnership, finishing second with Hot Rod Charlie in 2021 and third with Timber Country in 1995.

Trainer: A two-time Kentucky Derby winner, conditioning Super Saver (2011) and Always Dreaming (2017), Todd Pletcher holds the record for Kentucky Derby starts, compiling a 62-2-2-4 record since saddling his first runner in 2000. The Hall of Famer won a record eighth Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer in 2022. Pletcher also has Forte and Kingsbarns in the main body of the 2023 Kentucky Derby field, and Major Dude will seek to draw in from the also-eligible list.

Jockey: Luis Saez hopes the 10th time is the charm. A top three jockey by earnings and wins multiple times in recent years, Saez finished first in the 2019 Kentucky Derby on Maximum Security, but the colt was disqualified and placed 17th. Saez’s best result from nine previous starts is a third aboard Essential Quality, who went on to earn champion three-year-old male honors in 2021 following wins in the Belmont (G1) and Travers (G1).

Breeder/Sales: Bred by Gainesway Farm, Tapit Trice sold for $1.3 million as a yearling at the 2021 Keeneland September sale. The historic Central Kentucky farm will seek its first Kentucky Derby victory as a breeder.

Sire: Tapit has produced the four winners of the Belmont, but the three-time leading sire still seeks his first Kentucky Derby winner. By Pulpit, Tapit won the 2004 Wood Memorial (G1) but finished ninth in the Kentucky Derby. He’s had an immense impact upon the breed, siring undefeated 2022 Horse of the Year Flightline and U.S. champions Essential Quality, Hansen, Stardom Bound, Unique Bella, Untapable, and Tapit is the broodmare sire of four horses in this year’s Kentucky Derby - Disarm, Hit Show, Kingsbarns, and Rocket Can. Tapit stands at Gainesway Farm.

Dam: Tapit Trice is the first winning foal from three-time stakes winner Danzatrice, a daughter of Dunkirk. After an unplaced finish in the 2009 Kentucky Derby, Dunkirk finished second in the Belmont. Danzatrice counts as a half-sister 2018 champion two-year-old filly Jaywalk. Tapit Trice is the first North American stakes winner for Dunkirk as a broodmare sire.