12/10/2016 6:42PM

Pletcher finds at least one Kentucky Derby prospect in Pulpit winner Tapwrit

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Kenny Martin/Coglianese Photos
Tapwrit, with Eddie Castro aboard, wins the off-the-turf Pulpit going a mile.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Todd Pletcher added one and possibly two more names to his list of potential Kentucky Derby hopefuls here at Gulfstream Park this winter after Tapwrit and Master Plan finished one-two in Saturday’s $75,000 Pulpit Stakes, a race that was switched from turf to a sloppy main track earlier in the day.

Tapwrit, a $1.2 million yearling purchase, was entered for main track only for the one-mile Pulpit and responded with his second straight victory after turning in a disappointing effort to launch his career last summer at Saratoga. With Eddie Castro aboard, Tapwrit stalked the early leaders while racing three wide, gained command before six furlongs, drew off through midstretch, and then withstood a belated bid from his uncoupled stablemate.

Master Plan angled out for the stretch run and surged late, finishing with good energy while falling a length short of the winner. He was easily second-best with Hey Mike another 12 1/4 lengths farther back in third. 

Tapwrit ($5), a son of Tapit, completed a mile in 1:37.65.

“I think the horse is probably better suited for two turns, but we really didn’t have too many options so we took a shot, entered main track only, and it worked out very well for him,” said Pletcher. “I thought Master Plan ran very well, too. He closed well the last 100 yards or so.”

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Pletcher said “everything is in play now” for Tapwrit.

“We’ll target one of these stakes, I’m not sure which one yet,”  Pletcher said referring to the upcoming series of stakes for 3-year-olds leading up to the Florida Derby on April 1. “I think we’ll probably have to also give it a try with Master Plan as well.”

Party Boat wins third straight in Wait a While

Party Boat posted her third consecutive victory and first on dirt when rallying to defeat 30-1 Bitacora by a neck in the $75,000 Wait a While Stakes. The even longer-priced India Mantuana, at 40-1, succumbed grudgingly near the wire to finish third. Like the Pulpit, the Wait a While was originally scheduled to be run over turf.

Party Boat ($7) had won her previous two starts on grass but took to the sloppy main track well, while teaming up with jockey Joel Rosario for the first time in the one-mile Wait a While. She is trained by Graham Motion for owner Hope H. Jones.

Lirica scores in Hut Hut       

Lirica rallied from just off the pace, opened a comfortable advantage near midstretch, and then remained a length clear of the late-running My Cousin Martha to win the $75,000 Hut Hut Stakes for 2-year-olds on dirt. My Lerler, the tepid 2-1 favorite, finished far back in third.

Lirica, a daughter of Kantharos trained by Antonio Sano for Magic Stables LLC, won for the third time in six starts and paid $7.20. She was ridden to victory by Edgard Zayas.