Tapwrit solidified his 2017 Kentucky Derby potential with a 4 ½ length victory in the Tampa Bay
Derby (G2). He became the second son of
leading sire Tapit to capture the Tampa Bay
Derby in four years.
Tapwrit’s final time of 1:42.36
for 1 1/16 miles set a new stakes record for the Tampa Bay Derby, besting the time of 1:42.82 set by Destin last
year. In his first start as a three-year-old, Tapwrit placed second to McCraken in the 1 1/16 mile Sam F.
Tapwrit was a late-developing two-year-old.
He wasn’t quite ready for prime time in his September debut at Saratoga and
finished last of ten. Two months later, the big gray colt won his second start.
In December, Tapwrit galloped away from a field of seven colts in the one-mile Pulpit
Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Tapwrit (Tapit - Appealing
Zophie, by Successful Appeal) was bred in Kentucky by My Meadowview LLC. He was consigned
to the Fasig Tipton August Yearling Sale by Denali Stud. The handsome gray was
scooped up by the partnership of Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, and Robert LaPenta for a cool $1.2
million dollars and sent to the barn of Todd Pletcher. Jose Ortiz has guided Tapwrit in his
last two starts. Tapwrit has a 5-3-1-0 ($313,902) race record and 54 Qualifying
Points, landing him in second place behind Gunnevera on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
Tapit (Pulpit – Tap Your Heels, by
Unbridled) faced the starter only six times, due to a career beset by injury
and setbacks. He flashed signs of brilliance
but retired with a 6-3-0-0
Tapit retired to Gainsway Farm for an
initial stud fee of $15,000. He quickly
gained attention as major sire and within ten years, has sired six champions
and almost 60 graded stakes winners. He
gets a remarkable 12% stakes winners from starters. This success has caused
Tapit’s stud fee to soar to $300,000.
At stud, Tapit has more than filled the horseshoes of his deceased sire, Pulpit and is well on his way to
emulating the success of his second tail sire, A.P. Indy. Tapit’s offspring are generally best up to 1 1/8 miles,
although he has proven entirely capable of getting winners at classic
Tapit’s progeny range from precocious sprinters to later maturing
types and everything in between. His
stakes winning offspring at 1 ¼ miles and beyond include the 2014 and 2016 Belmont
Stakes heroes Tonalist and Creator; Alabama Stakes heroine Careless Jewel;
Hawthorne Gold Cup victor, Headache, and
the beautiful White Rose, winner of the 1 3/8 miles Glens Falls Stakes over
Tapit has three starters, two winners and a stakes winner out of
daughters of Successful Appeal.
The class in Tapwrit’s distaff
line skips generations.
His dam Appealing Zophie (Successful Appeal -
Zophie, by Hawkster) was a precocious
youngster. She won her first start at the 2006 Keeneland Spring Meet. She
earned Grade One status with a victory in the Spinaway Stakes. The muscular chestnut
filly was hit or miss as a three-year-old.
She kicked off the year by winning the 1 1/16 mile Silverbulletday Stakes (G3),
but was winless for the rest of her career, although she did take third place
in the Victory Ride Stakes (G3) at Saratoga. The sprinter-miler retired with a
12-3-2-1 ($497,898) record.
As one would expect, Appealing
Zophie has been bred to the best stallions in Kentucky. Overall, none lived up
to expectations until now. Tapwrit is the sixth foal and first blacktype earner
in his immediate family. He has an unnamed two-year-old
half-brother by Candy Ride who was a $45,000 RNA at last year’s Keeneland September
Yearling Sale and a yearling brother by Speightstown.
Appealing Zophie is the only
blacktype winner out of Zophie (Hawkster
- Sodeo Sodeo,
by Seattle Slew). We must go back to Tapwrit’s fourth dam Melody Tree to pick
up the stakes winning line. The mare bore 1983 Florida Derby hero Croeso, and
her descendants include the multiple G1
Stakes winning turf miler Celestine, stakes
winner and sire Ide, plus the multiple stakes winning veterans Super May and
Yates Black Cat.
Successful Appeal (Valid Appeal - Successful Dancer by Fortunate Prospect) was a
precocious graded stakes winning sprinter
on the track. His progeny win up to middle
distances (nine furlongs) and just as adept over turf as they are dirt.
Of course, there are always
exceptions when one considers horse racing and breeding. Successful Appeal’s son Closing Argument came
within a half-length of wearing the Kentucky Derby roses in 2005. Another Successful Appeal son, the gallant
old veteran Successful Affair captured the 1 5/8 miles Gallant Fox Stakes by a
head in 2002. The stallion is probably
best known as the sire of Successful Dan, the less accomplished older
half-brother of Champion Wise Dan.
Successful Appeal’s daughters
have produced 213 foals, 145 winners and four listed or graded stakes winners,
including Tapwrit. The broodmare sire’s most accomplished runner is Miss
Behavior, by Jump Start, a son of A.P. Indy. The multiple graded stakes winning
mare is a sprinter – miler.
Tapwrit’s second damsire Hawkster
was a long-winded turf router whose claim to fame was setting a new world
record for 1 ½ miles over turf. He was a
disappointing sire and has done little better as a damsire, However, Hawkster will go down in history as the damsire
of Preakness and Belmont Stakes champ Afleet Alex.
It should be noted that Tapwrit
has a 4 x 4 cross to Seattle Slew in his pedigree. Some pedigree geeks drool
over this fact, thinking that it is proof that Tapwrit can handle classic
Tapwrit’s 4 x 4 cross to Seattle
Slew doesn’t mean anything, except to show the prevalence of Seattle Slew in
Taken into context, Tapit has 13
stakes winners of mares with Seattle Slew bloodlines somewhere in their
pedigree. Of these 13 runners, only one,
Headache (Tapit – Pamric, by Woodman),
has won beyond nine furlongs. Headache’s second damsire Capote is a son of
Seattle Slew. Three other progeny of
Tapit have Capote somewhere in their
distaff line (Mohaymen, Concord Point,
and Tapa Tapa Tapa).
Tapwrit is by a solid
middle-distance sire out of a multiple graded
stakes winning sprinter-miler. Tapwrit’s damsire has speed affinities, who
has, on occasion, been the damsire of a winner past nine furlongs. However, it
takes more than pedigree to determine how far a horse will want to run.
The Gray-Roan Tapwrit physically
resembles his dam, who was a robust mare. Tapwrit may be large, but he’s shown the
athleticism to handle the sharper turns of Tampa Bay Downs. Tapwrit is built
like a distance horse, with a clear throatlatch (helps with breathing) well-angled
shoulder, short back, and powerful
hindquarters. He appears to have good bone and sturdy legs. When he runs,
Tapwrit stretches out with excellent leg extension. He runs straight, with no
paddling, although he does have slightly high knee action.
Offspring of Tapit can often be
high strung and lack the ability to relax during competition. Tapwrit was keen
in the Pulpit but showed a new maturity in
his starts as a three-year-old. He relaxed
nicely off the pace during the Tampa Bay Derby and closed with ground-eating
strides. He had his ears pricked once he was in the lead and had plenty of
Trainer Todd Pletcher is
undecided about Tapwrit’s next appearance
but is leaning towards giving the colt another start, preferably at 1 1/8
miles, before heading to the Kentucky Derby.
Pletcher doesn’t have the greatest record when it comes to the Kentucky
Derby, but for now, it appears that he may have a legitimate contender in