Winchell Thoroughbreds' Tapit, winner of the Wood Memorial (gr. I), may make his next start in the $1 million Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Monmouth on Aug. 8, racing manager David Fiske said Tuesday.
The son of Pulpit
has been working steadily at trainer Michael Dickinson's Tapeta Farm in North East, Md. and is scheduled to work this Saturday at Delaware Park.
"He's doing as well as he's ever done," Fiske said. "If he continues to work the way he's been working, he's a real possibility for the Haskell. If Michael feels he needs another week or two, we'll have to figure out another way to get to the Travers (gr. I). We can try to find some other little race, or Michael will just train him up to the race.
Although Tapit was credited with a half-mile work in :50 1/5 on the turf Monday, there was much more to the work than it appeared. According to Fiske, Tapit actually worked a mile, breezing a half-mile on the turf, then working another half on the all-weather dirt track.
"Michael likes to keep him guessing," Fiske said. "Joan (Wakefield, Dickinson's assistant) told me, in past cases like this, two works were sent in, but it seems the powers that be printed only one, so now she just submits the fastest one."
Tapit has not run since his ninth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), in which he failed to handle the sloppy track. A recurring lung infection kept him out of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
If Dickinson winds up training Tapit up to the Travers, his past performances indicate the horse will be ready to run, despite the layoff. Following his feats with Da Hoss and A Huevo, both of whom made miraculous comebacks to win big races after long layoffs, Dickinson will never be taken lightly with horses who have been off for a long time.
When Tapit won the Wood, he was not 100% fit, according to Dickinson, having had only one race – the Florida Derby (gr. I) – in five months, and missing a good deal of training due to the lung infection and a foot abscess.
Last year, Tapit captured the Laurel Futurity (gr. III) by 4 3/4 lengths in only his second career start.