Tapit Trice prepares for a start in the Kentucky Derby (JennyPhoto/Past The Wire)
Forte Slated to Breeze Saturday
Classic Catch Under Consideration for G3 Matt Winn
Prove Worthy Remains Possible for Belmont
Up to the Mark Prepares for G1 Manhattan
Nest Breezes, May Target G2 Fleur de Lis
NYRA Press Office
ELMONT, N.Y.— Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable’s Grade 1 winner Tapit Trice recorded his penultimate piece of preparation for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 10, breezing five furlongs over the Belmont Park main track for Hall of Fame conditioner Todd Pletcher.
Under mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s, Tapit Trice worked under exercise rider Fernando Rivera to the outside of stablemate Classic Catch [1:00.87] following the renovation break. He completed the five-furlong move in 1:00.22 over the fast main track before galloping out six furlongs in 1:12.60 and 1:25 flat for seven furlongs according to NYRA clockers.
Last Friday, Tapit Trice worked a half-mile in 49.04 seconds in his first move since finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 6 at Churchill Downs. Tapit Trice captured the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby and Grade 1 Blue Grass and entered as one of the favorites for the “Run for the Roses.”
“Super breeze, big gallop out,” Pletcher said following the work. “He seems to really like the main track here. I’m very, very happy with the way he’s been training. He hasn’t missed a beat since the Derby. He’s settled in well. He’s been galloping over the main track. He had a breeze last week and a more serious breeze today. It was a major piece of work today, we’ll come back for a maintenance-type breeze next week. We always thought the mile and a half would suit him.”
Classic Catch, an allowance winner that finished fourth in the Grade 3 Peter Pan here on May 13, has the Grade 3 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs under consideration.
Tapit Trice is by prolific sire Tapit, who has sired prior Belmont Stakes winners Tonalist , Creator , Tapwrit , and Essential Quality . His graded stakes-placed dam Danzatrice is by Dunkirk – who Pletcher saddled to a runner-up finish in the 2009 Belmont Stakes.
Tapit Trice’s pedigree along with his running style make him an ideal candidate for the Belmont Stakes’ demanding 1 1/2-mile distance, according to Pletcher.
“Tapits have had a lot of success in the Belmont. He’s out of a Dunkirk mare who I trained and ran second in the Belmont. From a pedigree standpoint, you would think he’s capable,” Pletcher said. “He’s got that big, long galloping stride. I think the main thing is making sure that he gets into that comfortable rhythm and doesn’t give himself too much to do early on. The Belmont is not necessarily a closer’s race, but it seems like he’s really coming up to it the right way.”
Pletcher also has three other potential Belmont Stakes contestants in reigning Champion 2-Year-Old Forte, Grade 2 Louisiana Derby winner Kingsbarns – who finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby – and 10-furlong maiden winner Prove Worthy.
Forte and Kingsbarns were slated to breeze this morning with the former now scheduled to work Saturday at 8:45 a.m. over the Belmont main track.
Pletcher said he is not sure when Kingsbarns will work back.
“He’s got a little bit of a bellyache today, so we weren’t able to breeze him,” Pletcher said.
Pletcher said Prove Worthy, who is stabled with his Churchill Downs division, remains possible for the Belmont.
On Friday morning, Pletcher also worked Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Up to the Mark in preparation for the Grade 1, $750,000 Resorts World Casino Manhattan on June 10. The 4-year-old son of Not This Time registered a 103 Beyer Speed Figure last out when capturing the Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic on the Kentucky Derby undercard.
“It was great. Just a maintenance type of breeze on the dirt. He seems like a happy horse,” Pletcher said.
Initially campaigned on dirt, Up to the Mark was triumphant in his first two starts on turf this winter over the Gulfstream Park turf. He was then third in the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile in April at Keeneland, three weeks prior to his Old Forester Turf Classic conquest.
“You could tell the first time we ran him at Gulfstream that he loved it,” Pletcher said.
Pletcher breezed Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House’s reigning Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Nest, who went a half-mile in 49.25 seconds on the Belmont dirt training track.
The Curlin bay was initially targeting the Grade 1, $500,000 Ogden Phipps on Belmont Stakes Day, but could regroup and target the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis on July 1 at Churchill Downs. She has not raced since finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November at Keeneland and has recorded four breezes since.
“She worked well this morning, but we’re probably running out of time for the Phipps,” Pletcher said.
Early look at G1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets
Probable: Angel of Empire (Brad Cox), Forte (Todd Pletcher), Hit Show (Cox), Il Miracolo (Antonio Sano), National Treasure (Bob Baffert), Raise Cain (Ben Colebrook), Red Route One (Steve Asmussen), Tapit Trice (Pletcher)
Possible: Arabian Lion (Baffert), Arcangelo (Jena Antonucci), Prove Worthy (Pletcher), Reincarnate (Baffert)
The Belmont Stakes headlines the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival that features a total of 16 stakes events from Thursday, June 8 through Saturday, June 10. For additional information on the 2023 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival and details on hospitality offerings, ticket packages and pricing, visit BelmontStakes.com.