©2017 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby takes us to Tampa Bay Downs, Saturday, where Tapwrit has been tagged as the 3-1 morning line favorite in the 37th running of the $350,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2). Post time for the race is 5:27 p.m. ET.
Tapwrit, ranked 31st in Kentucky Derby Point Standings, comes into this race for trainer Todd Pletcher with a 2-1-0 record in four starts including a win in the Pulpit Stakes and a second-place finish in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3). Here’s the video and chart call of the Sam F. Davis:
TAPWRIT raced off the pace, had a ground saving trip, angled out at the furlong marker and finished well for the place award.
Tapwrit finished well and appeared to have more in reserve at the finish.
Tapit, the sire of Tapwrit, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 3-0-0 record in six starts with $557,300 in career earnings.
As a two year old, Tapit was undefeated in two starts including a win in the Laurel Futurity (G3). Tapit was troubled by a lung infection for much of his three year old season but he did win the nine-furlong Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) in route to a ninth-place finish in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.
At stud, Tapit has been America’s leading sire for the past three years and he’s the sire of the Belmont Stakes (G1) winners Tonalist and Creator.
With an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® rating Tapwrit is one of the best bred colts in this race and another move forward will make him competitive in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2).
A long shot I like in this race is Tale of Silence (15-1) who comes into the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) with a 1-1-0 record in six starts for trainer Barclay Tagg including a second-place finish in his last start: Here’s the video and chart call:
TALE OF SILENCE veered inward at the start then trailed in the back, saved ground along then began to pick up the pace, came under strong left handed encouragement, quickly kicked in along the rail and produced a solid finish for second best.
The fractions were fast in this race and the strong finish of Tale of Silence indicates that he could like the stretch out in distance in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2).
Tale of the Cat, the sire of Tale of Silence, was a graded stakes winner that compiled a 5-1-2 record in nine starts with $360,900 in career earnings.
As a three year old, Tale of the Cat won the seven-furlong Kings Bishop Stakes (G2) and finished third in the Vosburgh Stakes (G1). At the age of four, Tale of Silence finished second in the nine-furlong Whitney Handicap (G1) and he was third in the Vosburgh Stakes (G1).
Tale of Silence struggled as a two year old but his second-place finish in his last start could indicate that he is improving at the right time of year. With an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® rating he has the breeding to be competitive in this race.
In his last race, Wild Shot (5-1) finished fourth to McCraken in the Sam F. Davis Stakes and he comes into this race for trainer George Arnold with a 1-2-1 record five starts. Here’s the video and chart call of the Sam F. Davis:
WILD SHOT settled three wide off the pace, made a four wide bid on the far turn, dueled into the stretch and weakened.
It appeared that Wild Shot did not really take to the track as he has in previous races. He was only beaten by 3½ lengths and if he can improve off of that he can be a factor in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2).
Trappe Shot, the sire of Wild Shot, raced mostly in sprints from the age of two to four, compiling a 6-2-0 record in 12 starts with $703,884 in career earnings. His best stakes victories were in the six furlong Waldoboro Stakes, True North Handicap (G2) and he did stretch out to win the 8½ furlong Long Branch Stakes. In other route races, Trappe Shote finished second in the nine-furlong Izod Haskell Invitational (G1) and ninth in the Travers Stakes (G1).
To date, Trappe Shot’s best runner on the Kentucky Derby Trail has been My Man Sam who finished second in the nine furlong 2016 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) stakes.
With only one out-of-money finish, Wild Shot is a proven competitor and he also has an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® ranking. However, Wild Shot has yet to fully live up to his breeding and it remains to be seen if he can earn graded stakes honors.
State of Honor (4-1) comes into this race with a 1-2-2 record in eight starts for trainer Mark Casse including a third-place finish in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
STATE OF HONOR set the pace on the inside, dueled on the far turn and dug in gamely inside through the stretch run.
State of Honor should be on or near the lead in the Tampa Bay Derby. However, I’m not keen on him for the win.
Honorable mention goes to Sonic Mule (8-1), No Dozing (6-1) and Beasley (9-2) who will need to improve off their last start in order to secure the win.
Under the points system implemented by Churchill Downs to determine which horses will qualify to enter the Kentucky Derby starting gate, the winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) will receive 50 points, the second-place finisher will receive 20 points, the third-place finisher will receive 10 points and the fourth-place finisher will receive five points.
Beginning with the UAE Derby (G2) and Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 25, the points will increase to 100 points for the winner, 40 points for second place, 20 points for third and 10 points for fourth place.
Here’s a look at the current top twenty Derby qualifiers:
2017 KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Gunnevera, 64, Antonio Sano, $1,042,800
2. J Boys Echo, 53, Dale Romans, $255,000
3. Girvin, 50, Joe Sharp, $249,800
4. Practical Joke, 34, Chad Brown, $766,000
5. Classic Empire, 32, Mark Casse, $1,493,820
6. El Areeb, 30, Cathal Lynch, $330,000
7. Untrapped, 24, Steve Asmussen, $120,000
8. McCraken, 20, Ian Wilkes, $285,048
9. Gormley, 20, John Sherriffs, $260,000
10. Cloud Computing, 20, Chad Brown, $60,000
11. Guest Suite, 15, Neil Howard, $144,040
12. Lookin At Lee, 12, Steve Asmussen, $325,600
13. Uncontested, 11, Wayne Catalano, $100,729
14 One Liner, 10, Todd Pletcher, $300,000
15. Irish War Cry, 10, Graham Motion, $272,660
16. Mastery, 10, Bob Baffert, $240,000
17. Mo Town, 10, Tony Dutrow, $188,000
18. Three Rules, 10, Jose Pinchin, $142,240
19. Royal Mo, 10, John Sherriffs, $90,000
20. Local Hero, 10, Steve Asmussen, $40,000
x-Not This Time, retired to stud at Taylor Made Farm.
In addition to the current top 20, Churchill Downs has partnered with the Japan Racing Association to feature the Cattleya Sho Stakes and Hayacinth Stakes as two qualifying races in the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby. The horse with the most points from those races will receive an invitation to compete in the 2017 Kentucky Derby. Here’s the video of the Cattleya Sho Stakes. Here’s the video of the Hayacinth Stakes.
2017 JAPAN ROAD TO KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Epicharis (JPN), 50, Kiyoshi Hagiwara, $450,374
2. Mont Saint Legame (JPN), 40, Koji Maki, $90,154
3. Adirato (JPN), 20, Naosuke Sugai, $154,951
4. Caucus (JPN), 16, Hideaki Fujiwara, $35,850
5. Foggy Night (JPN), 5, Noriyuki Hori, $23,801