Derby Profile: Tapit Has First Breeze at Palm Meadows

Laurel Futurity (gr. III) winner Tapit had his first work since arriving at Palm Meadows training center, breezing an easy 7 furlongs in 1:30 3/5 Tuesday. Trainer Michael Dickinson still has not finalized plans as to when Tapit will make his 3-year-old debut.

The son of Pulpit has won both his starts in brilliant manner, breaking his maiden by 7 3/4 lengths at Delaware Park, then overcoming a troubled trip to win the Laurel Futurity by 4 3/4 lengths. In the Futurity, he encountered traffic problems on several occasions, but showed a tremendous burst of speed once clear to blow his opponents away in the final furlong.

Dickinson was en route from Florida to his Tapeta Farm in Maryland, but his assistant and partner in life, Joan Wakefield, said the work went well and that Dickinson was pleased with the move.

If Tapit makes it to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), he will be one of the race's star attractions, just on personality alone. "He's like Dennis the Menace," Wakefield said. "He's a happy little soul who loves getting into mischief. If he were human, he'd probably have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). He just doesn't know what to do with himself. He loves to play in the morning and is always full of himself. He's a beautiful little horse, with an Arabian-like head, and he just has tons of personality."

Tapit, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, had been working steadily at Tapeta Farm, with three five-furlong breezes – two in 1:06 2/5 and one in 1:06 1/5. He arrived by van at Palm Meadows on Jan. 14.

Dickinson has been trying to come up with the best plan to get to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May, and is unsure right now whether he'll run him twice or three times before the Derby. One of the races he's been considering is the Louisiana Derby (gr. II)

Dickinson's other top 3-year-old, Paddington, has been galloping on the farm in Ocala after suffering a bruised foot, and is scheduled to van down to Palm Meadows shortly. The son of Saint Ballado, owned by Gallop U, has a world of talent, according to Dickinson and Wakefield, but has been underachieving. After finishing fourth in the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) he had dead aim on Read the Footnotes in the Nashua Stakes (gr. I), but wouldn't go by him. Jockey Ramon Dominguez told Dickinson after the race he felt certain he could go by Read the Footnotes any time he wanted, but when he asked him, the colt simply didn't respond.

Wakefield said that Paddington is a much better work horse than Tapit and that every rider who had ridden him in the morning thinks he is the better horse. But Tapit turns into a different horse in the afternoon, while Paddington still has a lot to learn.

Tapit has a fascinating pedigree. His sire, Pulpit, is by A.P. Indy, out of the Mr. Prospector mare Preach, a graded stakes winner of over $300,000. His female family has plenty of stamina through broodmare sire Unbridled and great-grandsire Nijinsky II. But the females are a different story. His dam, Tap Your Heels, is a three-quarter sister to champion sprinter Rubiano, and Tap You Heels' dam, Ruby Slippers, is a half-sister to top sprinter Glitterman. However, Ruby Slippers' dam, Moon Glitter, is a full-sister to Relaunch, who has sired such top classic-distance horses as Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Skywalker, Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) winner Waquoit, and Cee's Tizzy, the sire of two-time Breeders' Cup Classic winner Tiznow. And remember, Glitterman, although a sprinter, has sired Balto Star, winner of the 1 3/8-mile United Nations Handicap (gr. IT) and 1 1/2-mile William McKnight Handicap (gr. IIIT) on grass, as well as the Arkansas Derby (gr. II), Spiral Stakes (gr. II). Tapit has a strong dosage profile of 9-3-12-2-2 for a 1.80 dosage index.

Ironically, Paddington, with a totally different type of pedigree, has the exact same dosage profile of 9-3-12-2-2 and DI of 1.80. His dam is by the speedy Naevus, and his great-grandsire is T.V. Commercial. Most of his stamina comes from his sire, Saint Ballado.