08/26/2004 11:00PM

Tapit works, likely for Pa. Derby

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Prospects look good for Tapit, the Wood Memorial winner, to make his return to the races in the Grade 2, $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 6 at Philadelphia Park.

On Friday at Delaware Park, Tapit breezed seven furlongs in 1:27 under regular rider Ramon Dominguez. According to David Fiske, the racing manager for owner Ron Winchell, Tapit began his breeze five lengths behind stablemate Reflector and finished two or three lengths ahead of him.

According to Fiske, trainer Michael Dickinson said after the work that "from his vantage standpoint in the grandstand he looked great, was traveling good. If everything goes the way it went this morning," Tapit will run in the Pennsylvania Derby, Fiske added.

Tapit has not run since finishing ninth in the Kentucky Derby on May 1. Tapit battled a chronic respiratory problem through the spring, and missed the Belmont Stakes because of it. He was being prepared for the Haskell Invitational on Aug. 8 when he entrapped his epiglottis during a workout at Delaware Park on July 31. A week later, he underwent throat surgery to correct the problem.

"I think that was pretty straightforward," Fiske said of the surgery. "They lasered that flap out, and he's been acting good."

Tapit has had two works since the throat surgery and will likely have one more breeze next week at Dickinson's Tapeta Farm in North East, Md.

The Pennsylvania Derby may look very similar to the Wood Memorial. Master David, Swingforthefences, and Royal Assault - the second-, fourth-, and fifth-place finishers behind Tapit in the Wood - are also expected to run. The Pennsylvania Derby is run at nine furlongs.

Illinois Derby winner Pollard's Vision, Queen's Plate winner Niigon, Haskell runner-up My Snookie's Boy, Separato, Pies Prospect, and Love of Money are also expected to run.

Post positions for the Pennsylvania Derby will be drawn on Sept. 3.