Tapwrit seized the spotlight with a 4 ½-length victory in the March 11 Tampa Bay Derby (G2), registering a career-best 101 BRIS Speed rating while establishing a new stakes record in the Kentucky Derby qualifier.

A $1.2 million yearling purchase, the gray colt by leading sire Tapit displayed a terrific turn of foot beneath jockey Jose Ortiz, rallying boldly past rivals on the far turn before dispatching pacesetter State of Honor in upper stretch, and strode home much the best. He completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.36 and jumped to second on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with a total of 54 points.

Tapwrit captured the off-the-turf Pulpit at Gulfstream in mid-December when making his stakes debut and followed with a commendable second to McCraken in the February 11 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa. After registering 98 and 97 BRIS Speed numbers for those efforts, respectively, he displayed the improvement needed by earning a triple-digit figure in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Owned by Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert V. LaPenta, Tapwrit will try to give trainer Todd Pletcher a second Kentucky Derby win. Favored at even-money in the Tampa Bay Derby, Tapwrit now shows an overall 5-3-1-0 record.

2016 Tampa Bay Derby winner Destin trained up to the Kentucky Derby for Pletcher, finishing sixth at Churchill Downs after an eight-week rest, but another prep race remains under consideration for Tapwrit.

(S V Photography)