03/11/2017 8:12PM

Tapwrit's win in Tampa Bay Derby sets stakes record

SV Photography
Tapwrit wins the Tampa Bay Derby by 4 1/2 lengths on Saturday.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – The 10,079 fans who packed Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday apparently knew how unwise it is to bet against trainer Todd Pletcher in the Tampa Bay Derby, a race he has now won a record five times, including four of the past five years.

The betting public pounded Tapwrit ($4.20) down to about even-money in the Grade 2, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby, and the horse made that look like a gift, setting a stakes record for 1 1/16 miles and scoring by 4 1/2 lengths over pacesetter State of Honor.

The Tampa Bay Derby offered 85 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to its top four finishers. Tapwrit, the runner-up in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes here last month, now has 54 points after collecting 50 for winning the Tampa Bay Derby. State of Honor now has 20 points after finishing second in the Tampa Bay Derby and third in the Sam F. Davis. He finished 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Wild Shot, who now has 11 points for finishing third in the Tampa Bay Derby and fourth in the Sam F. Davis. No Dozing earned five points for finishing fourth on Saturday.

With Jose Ortiz aboard, Tapwrit was eighth through the opening quarter-mile and seventh after a half-mile as State of Honor, breaking from the No. 8 post in a field of 10 3-year-olds, set fractions of 23.42 seconds and 46.65. Just as he did in the Sam F. Davis, State of Honor fought hard from start to finish, but as Tapwrit knifed through rivals around the far turn, he removed all doubt about the outcome, hitting the top of the stretch with a three-length lead and cruising home comfortably ahead.

Tapwrit finished in 1:42.36, breaking the stakes record of 1:42.82 set by Destin last year. His time also was faster than McCraken’s time of 1:42.45 set in winning the Sam F. Davis Stakes.

“He broke well and got me into a good position going down the backside, and I knew I was loaded going to the three-eighths pole,” Ortiz said. “I didn’t want to get boxed in like I did last time, so I went to the outside, and he was much the best. When he made the lead, he pulled himself up a little bit, waiting for competition.

“He can go a mile and an eighth, a mile and a quarter. He did it pretty easily today. I think he’s going to get much better with each race.”

Tapwrit had finished 1 1/2 lengths behind McCraken, a leading prospect for the May 6 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, in the Sam F. Davis. Ortiz said after that race that he had to wait for running room on the rail around the far turn, which might have cost him the victory. With McCraken missing the Tampa Bay Derby due to a minor ankle injury, the stage was set for Tapwrit.

Tapwrit, a $1.2 million yearling purchase, has three wins and a second-place finish in five career starts and has earned $313,902 for owners Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, and Bob LaPenta. The Tapit colt has won two stakes, including the $75,000 Pulpit in the slop at Gulfstream Park in December. Tapwrit joined Destin (2016), Carpe Diem (2015), Verrazano (2013), and Limehouse (2004) as Tampa Bay Derby winners for Pletcher.

Julien Leparoux, who rode State of Honor for trainer Mark Casse, said he was proud of his horse’s effort in defeat.

“With the post today, I was hoping I could rate him a bit, second or third, but he took me there [to the lead],” he said. “He’s just a big, big horse with a long stride, and I didn’t want to fight him to take him back, but he was very happy on the lead, and he fought back when the other one came. Second-best today, that’s it.”

After No Dozing in fourth place, the Tampa Bay Derby’s order of finish was rounded out by Beasley, Basha, Tale of Silence, Sonic Mule, Zion Valley, and The Money Monster.



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Chad mc rory 6 months ago
Wasn't that Pletcher driving the grader?
Jack Armstead 6 months ago
Like many of you have pointed out, Tampa Bay made the track as fast as I-75 or I-10.  We all know why they do this: To thrill the crowd and "Beyer Boosting" for the Breeders.  

I don't believe that Tapwrit beat that good of a field, but; he did it the right way.  He let them go, Ortiz was patient, the #8 went as long as he could... then; it was "game over."  For Tapwrit to run into that fast of a pace and then explode past everyone... makes him a legit Derby horse.

Does anyone know what became of the San Felipe winner (Baffert's #4 horse)?  Mike Smith pulled him up and removed his saddle right past the finish line.  Mastery is his name (looked it up).
Scott Merideth 6 months ago
In lamen's terms fractured leg.  Definitely off the Derby Trail and career is in question.   The only goid news is it doesn't appear life threatening. 
Scott 7 months ago
This was a visually impressive win, but I have some serious doubts about the quality of the field and the legitimacy of the race time.  And the while somebody below suggested pedigree doesn't mean as much as it used to, please name for me a horse by Tapit that has won the Kentucky Derby or a 10F winner for that matter.  And don't get me started on Todd Pletcher as a Derby Trainer.  

At best, I'll have to see how he looks at 9F and of course with the way the cream of this crop keep falling out maybe a horse by Tapit can finally break through.  Remember, Union Rags (by Dixie Union...a producer of sprinters) did win the Belmont Stakes, but it wasn't like any of his competition was any good.  I still say I'll Have Another would have beat that field on 3 hooves.  
bvalaw 7 months ago

Tonalist won the Belmont Stakes and two runnings of the Jockey Club Gold Cup.  Creator won the Belmont Stakes.  Scuba won the Marathon stakes at the Breeders Cup in 2016, as well as a couple of other stakes at 1 1/2 miles and longer.

White Rose won several stakes at 1 1/4 miles and longer, but they were on turf.

Scott Merideth 6 months ago
Thank you for Tonalist...I looked up Frosted, because I knew there was a recent Tait that had won at 10F.  The Belmont Stakes is often run like a turf race, so the 12F's doesn't impress as much as a 10F race where they actually run the whole way.  Note:  I will say Tonalist was definitely a track specialist. 

Tapit is an undeniable stud, but he doesn't tend to produce 10F horses.  Think about the win % for his progeny at 10F and you might toss Tapwrit as a Derby Horse on principal as well.  With that said, the way this year is going we can't toss any prep winner.  
Gaye Goodwin 6 months ago
You mean, you prefer "where they actually run the whole way", as in getting slower the last quarter mile.
Gaye Goodwin 6 months ago
Isn't it amusing how an old husband's tale, like "Tapits are only milers" cannot be dispelled by facts? People remember the BS rather than just opening their eyes...
sangbrulane 6 months ago
Robert 7 months ago
Why are no articles clarifying that this was a 3yo  record? The overall record was set just a few races earlier by Stanford, shading 1:41 and 4/5. The track was clearly juiced up, but this takes nothing away from the performances of these two monsters. I just wish that racetracks would quit cow-towing to breeders (who love trumpeting "Record Holder") and the tracks' own hubris by souping up these GradedStakes day surfaces. The fact that Tapwrit closed easily on such a "concrete" runway upgrades him big-time going forward, and Thomas pointed out correctly below how Tapwrit really was the only significant ground gainer all day at Tampa.
Gaye Goodwin 6 months ago
Well they had to go back TEN DAYS later to "adjust" for Arrogate's latest.
Jeff Buckshorn 7 months ago
One Liner is your DERBY WINNER (also trained by yours truly).,unless he doesn't qualify or gets injured.
Thomas 7 months ago
Great horse and great ride,  can't wait for the incompetent Watchmaker to tell us how the pace helped or race was slow or McCracken, who destroyed Tapwrit last race,  is an inferior horse.   Tapwrit closed on a track and race NOBODY closed on so it makes him that much better a race horse.   Tapwrit and McCracken are both top 5 derby horses, that's a fact. 
Michael Jankowski 7 months ago

$5k claimer went 8.5f in the 1st race in 1:43.32.  Stanford set the track record for 8.5f in the 8th at 1.41.75.  Lots of other fast times today.

Winner of the 4th was mid-pack and 3.5-4 lengths of the leader for the first two calls.  Winner of the 5th broke 6th and then was 7th at the first two calls.  Tapwrit wasn't the only one to come off of the pace.  And with the 6-8f split being 25:18...ugh.

Pedigree doesn't mean as much as it used to for the Derby, but Successful Appeal as broodmare sire is shaky.  Other stamina influences on that side for redemption, though.

Anonymous 7 months ago
thanks for showing Doubting Thomas the truth...
Some fans just like to put blinkers on and whatever is in ther head comes out of their mouth with no thought process.
Thomas 7 months ago
They walked home on a souped up track  in the TB Derby yet NO other horse closed but Tapwrit?  Very odd, nobody cares about a 5k claimer or Stanford's rail front running bias win.  Fact is nobody closed into those super slow finishing splits.  But i love your analysis of the race too.
Scott 7 months ago
Watch the replay again.  I have no criticism for the horse, but I think Jose Ortiz was pushing for a fast time.  He rode the horse home like he was in a dog fight, when he could have sat chilly.