TAPWRIT (c, Tapit—Appealing Zophie, by Successful Appeal)
O-Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners & Robert V. LaPenta. B-My Meadowview, LLC (KY). T-Todd A. Pletcher. Sales History: $1,200,000 Ylg ’15 FTSAUG. Lifetime Record: GSW, 7-3-1-0, $343,902.
Last Start: 6th, GI Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands., CD, May 6
Accomplishments Include: 1st, GII Tampa Bay Derby, TAM, Mar. 11, 1st, Pulpit S., GP, Dec. 10
This $1.2-million yearling has a disconcertingly high “perceived potential to delivered results” ratio, yet I’m still clinging to my earlier-season prognostication that his athleticism and attitude will sync up one of these days to put him in the winner’s circle against top-level competition at a Classic distance. The scrum at the gate break in the Kentucky Derby wasn’t as much of an issue for Tapwrit as it was for some of the other high-drawn horses. But what did trouble me was that later in the Derby, Tapwrit appeared to only run in spots, and even though he was only about five lengths off the leaders between calls in the stretch run, the colt never appeared to lock in mentally and put up a serious fight. The five-week freshening between starts is a potentially beneficial wild card. But that storyline also holds true for the four other Derby horses in the Belmont who skipped the Preakness, so it’s not like Tapwrit holds an exclusive license on the fresh-face angle. Whether or not he’s going to fire in the Belmont S. should be obvious within the first four furlongs of Saturday’s race: I want to see the Tapwrit who looked confident jostling for position through the clubhouse turn in the Tampa Bay Derby, then was able to switch deftly into cruise mode while willingly responding to the subtle cues of his rider. If that happens in the early stages of the Belmont, then Tapwrit has a solid shot to remain focused through the finish, at which point his athleticism should stand him in good stead to close with authority.