LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Trainer Todd Pletcher has his first Kentucky Derby qualifier of the year as Tapwrit won the Tampa Bay Derby in stakes record time of 1:42.36.
The big gray son of Tapit took advantage of the absence of McCraken, who had beaten him in the Sam F. Davis, the major prep for Tampa's Derby.
McCraken dominated the Davis but was sidelined with a minor ankle injury.
On this day, Tapwrit started well back in the big field but caught front-runner State of Honor in the stretch and won by 4 and a half lengths.
With 54 Derby points, Tapwrit has easily enough points to qualify for Louisville.
Pletcher is well known for qualifying multiple horses for the Kentucky Derby every year, although he has won the race only once with Super Saver in 2010.
Tapwrit's form may translate nicely to Churchill Downs because Tampa runners have been known to perform well in the Derby.
However, a Tapit offspring has never won the Derby, despite the sire's commercial success.
And a footnote on the Florida three-year-old division: McCraken, who missed the Tampa Bay Derby is back on the track after the ankle problem took him out of training two weeks ago.
Ian Wilkes is now pointing McCraken toward the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland. It's not known if Tapwrit will run again before the Derby.