Tapit Trice Fulfilling Dreams for Owner in Blue Grass

April 7, 2023

Tapit Trice wins an allowance Feb. 4 at Gulfstream Park (Ryan Thompson)

Keeneland Press Release

LEXINGTON, Ky.— Mandy Pope’s journey with Tapit Trice returns to its beginning in Saturday’s $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1). Under her Whisper Hill Farm banner, Pope purchased the son of Tapit for $1.3 million at Keeneland’s 2021 September Yearling Sale from the consignment of breeder Antony Beck’s Gainesway, which subsequently bought back in as a partner. (Click here for a video of Tapit Trace in the sales ring at the September Sale.)

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Tapit Trice has won his past three races, including the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G3), and is the 5-2 morning line favorite for the Toyota Blue Grass. The colt, who will be ridden by Luis Saez, will be Pope’s first starter in Keeneland’s signature race.

“One of Mandy’s goals has always been to run in the Blue Grass,” Whisper Hill Farm Manager Todd Quast said. “So it is a very big deal to come full circle and have a horse with one of our steady partners that we purchased at Keeneland.”

Tapit Trice is out of the stakes-winning Dunkirk mare Danzatrice, a half-sister to champion Jaywalk. At the September Sale, Quast and Pope budgeted $1 million for the colt but went to $1.3 million to secure him. Tapit Trice sold for the sixth highest price of the auction.

“I always try to set a realistic price, but Mandy has been known to push the envelope when she really likes a horse,” Quast said. “I knew who we were (bidding) against, and I knew we had to stay strong.”

With his flashy good looks, impeccable physical presence and glitzy pedigree page, Tapit Trice was a natural choice for high-end buyers. Pope, who is especially fond of Tapit’s offspring, gray horses and Gainesway, also was charmed by the colt’s demeanor.

“He was very kind at the sale,” Quast said. “Very relaxed every time we went to the (sales) barn to look at him. We had been outbid on several horses earlier in the sale, so she was pretty determined to get this one. (Gainesway General Manager) Brian Graves is a very good judge of horses, and he always felt that Tapit Trice was one of their best yearlings that year. For them to buy back into him gave us a lot of confidence and makes it more fun.”

In Tapit Trice’s early training at Whisper Hill on the fringe of Ocala’s horse country, Quast said the colt displayed a boldness when working with other horses that indicated that he could fulfill his potential. He debuted with a third-place effort at Aqueduct last November then won at Aqueduct in December.

“Mandy is not one to race 2-year-olds early, so that is why he did not start until November,” Quast said. “He seemed like he would relish longer distances so there was no reason to run him early in sprints.”

Tapit Trice opened his 3-year-old campaign by capturing a Gulfstream Park allowance race in February. He won the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G3) on March 11 by 2 lengths over Toyota Blue Grass entrant Classic Car Wash.

Jonathan Stettin is a New York Legend. He's been a Horseplayer, earning his living at the track, since he was 19 years old. @jonathanstettin

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