Tapwrit tossed his hat into the spring classics ring March 11 with a brilliant performance in the Grade 2 $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby, dispatching a field of nine other hopefuls. The handsome, muscular gray son of leading sire Tapit set a stakes record for the 1 1/16-mile major prep for the Kentucky Derby and also earned 50 Kentucky Derby points.
Trained by Todd Pletcher for owners Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, and Robert LaPenta, Tapwrit broke well and settled comfortably for jockey Jose Ortiz near the back of the pack behind the early pace of State of Honor, trained by Mark Casse.
As the field passed the sixth of the 8½ furlongs, Ortiz had moved Tapwrit into fourth and prepared to challenge the leaders around the final turn. Once Ortiz asked, Tapwrit quickly turned a 3½-length deficit into a three-length advantage in midstretch, gliding to the wire in 1:42.36.
Having led from the start, State of Honor, a colt from the first crop of Gainesway’s young Bernardini stallion To Honor and Serve, completed a Gainesway stallion exacta by holding off the closing charge of Calumet Farm’s Wild Shot. Lael Stables’ No Dozing finished fourth.
My Meadowview bred Tapwrit from the Grade 1 stakes-winning Successful Appeal mare Appealing Zophie and offered him as a 2015 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling where his current owners purchased him for $1.2 million, the third-highest price of the sale.
Bred in Ontario, Canada, State of Honor is a homebred for Manfred and Penny Conrad. The Conrads bred the colt from their Elusive Quality mare State Cup.