Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert LaPenta’s Tapwrit (Tapit) emerged from his victory in Saturday’s GII Tampa Bay Derby in fine condition, trainer Todd Pletcher reported Sunday. The progressive gray displayed a quick acceleration on the far turn en-route to a rallying 4 1/2-length victory over pace-setting State of Honor (To Honor and Serve) to earn 50 qualifying points toward a spot in the starting gate for the May 6 GI Kentucky Derby.
“He was bright and alert and seemed very happy and very pleased with himself,” said Pletcher after observing the $1.2-million Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling purchase at Palm Beach Downs Sunday morning. “I think at this point, everything is in play [for his next start]. We all decided to see how he comes back and let him guide us in the right direction. Most likely, we’re looking at another prep race, but we’ll take a little time to decide which one it is.”
Pletcher has now won four of the last five runnings of the Tampa Bay Derby. Last year’s winner, Destin (Giant’s Causeway)–owned by Eclipse in partnership with Twin Creeks Racing Stables–trained up to the Kentucky Derby without any additional prep races. The colt reported home sixth at Churchill and went on to finish second–beaten a nose–by Creator (Tapit) in the GI Belmont S.
Pletcher also added that 5-year-old Stanford (Malibu Moon), a track record-setting winner of the Challenger S. earlier on the Festival Day card, will likely make his next start in the Apr. 22 $1.25-million GII Charles Town Classic–a race he won last year.