Forte And Tapit Trice Breeze Together Towards Travers; Nest To Personal Ensign

Forte (outside) breezes with Tapit Trice at Saratoga | Sarah Andrew

Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable's Forte (Violence) and Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable's Tapit Trice (Tapit), both 'TDN Rising Stars', worked in company over the main track Thursday in preparation for the GI Travers S. August 26 at Saratoga.

Forte, with regular pilot Irad Ortiz, Jr. up, worked without blinkers to the outside of Tapit Trice, who was guided through the half-mile breeze by exercise rider Fernando Rivera. Both workmates stopped the clock in :48.33.

“I thought both horses worked extremely well–both were moving really well and good gallop outs,” said Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. “They came back and cooled out quickly. We got what we were hoping for.”

It was the first breeze back for both horses after Forte's narrow score in the GII Jim Dandy S. July 29 at the Spa and Tapit Trice's fifth-place effort in the GI Haskell S. July 22 at Monmouth Park.

Pletcher said he would like to see Tapit Trice be more involved early in his races.

“He reacts well to the doors opening, but he just doesn't get away from the gate real quickly and I think that's compromised his chances in a couple of races,” Pletcher said.


With Luis Saez committed to ride Kentucky Derby winner Mage (Good Magic) in the Travers, Pletcher said it is likely either Jose Ortiz or Flavien Prat would pick up the mount aboard Tapit Trice.

Meanwhile, Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House's reigning Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Nest (Curlin) worked a half-mile in :49.44 in company with sophomore maiden filly Sister Maha (American Pharoah).

“I thought she was impressive. I had her coming home in 23 and a couple and just galloped out really strongly,” said Pletcher of the work.

Nest made a triumphant return from an eight-month layoff to best MGISW Clairiere (Curlin) in the GII Shuvee S. July 23 at the Spa.

“She seems to thrive on racing,” Pletcher said. “I was little concerned running her a mile and an eighth off the layoff from the Breeders' Cup and it seems like the race moved her forward. Everything does seem to come easily to her and I'm amazed the way she maintains her fitness and comes out of her races,” Pletcher continued. “We noticed it last year in the Belmont. It was a concern running a filly against colts at a mile and a half and is there some risk it could knock her out a little bit, but it did just the opposite. It moved her forward.”

Nest is targeting the GI Personal Ensign S. August 25 at Saratoga Race Course.

Pletcher said Harrel Ventures and Starlight Racing's maiden winner and 'TDN Rising Star' Pirate (Omaha Beach), who earned a 77 Beyer for his debut win July 15, will train up to the GI Hopeful S. Sept. 4 at the Spa.

“I don't know that he needed more time, but I felt with the Grade I status of the Hopeful that we'd be taking our best shot at it by not running in between the maiden race and there,” Pletcher said.

Also targeting the Personal Ensign is Rigney Racing's GISW Played Hard (Into Mischief), who scratched from the Shuevee with a fever days before the race. She logged a five-furlong breeze in 1:00.05 in company with the stakes-placed 4-year-old gelding Warrior Johny [1:01.14] over the Saratoga main track Thursday.

“When I'm looking for a strong work, I like to give a horse a target,” said trainer Phil Bauer. “We knew the horse in front of her is a quality individual, so we were going to get the work we wanted.”

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