Now a winner in three of his four starts, Tapit Trice (by Tapit) bounded into classic consideration with a dramatic come from behind victory in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby.
Last at the start and 11th of 12 after a quarter, Tapit Trice was still in ninth place after three-quarters of a mile, but the gray colt swung out at least five wide around the turn, advanced notably through the stretch, and won by two lengths in the manner of a colt who will prove even better at a longer distance.
Yet another classic prospect by three-time leading national sire Tapit (Pulpit), Tapit Trice was bred in Kentucky by Gainesway Thoroughbreds, and they consigned the grand gray to the 2021 Keeneland September yearling sale, where he was purchased by Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm for $1.3 million. The colt races for Whisper Hill and Gainesway.
Todd Quast, racing manager for Whisper Hill, said that, “Tapit Trice was a good-sized yearling with plenty of scope. Mandy and I had looked through the consignments, had liked him and put a price on him, and Mandy really wanted him. She makes the final decision on the purchases. I was done at $1 million, but she kept poking me in the arm, and we got this guy. Now look where he’s taking us.”
Tapit Trice is the second foal out of the stakes winner Danzatrice (Dunkirk), who was bred in Kentucky by Glenn Justiss from the Orientate mare Lady Pewitt. Fourth in her only start, a maiden special at Woodbine, Lady Pewitt was purchased privately by Gainesway.
The operation bought the mare’s 2-year-old in training, a chestnut daughter of Dunkirk (Unbridled’s Song), at the OBS April sale in 2014 for $105,000 from Grassroots Training and Sales.
From the second crop by Dunkirk, who ran second in the G1 Belmont Stakes, as well as the Florida Derby, Danzatrice won three stakes and was fourth in the G1 Acorn Stakes at Belmont. Dunkirk’s other stakes winners include G1 Champagne Stakes winner Havana, plus Chilean G1 winners El Rey Brillante (Tanteo de Potrillos) and Leitone (Dos Mil Guineas and El Derby).
Danzatrice was the second foal from her dam, and the mare produced a gray filly by the Unbridled’s Song stallion Cross Traffic in 2016. Bred by Gainesway and sold at the 2017 Keeneland September yearling sale for $190,000, that filly was named Jaywalk and became the Eclipse Award winner as a juvenile filly in 2018. Jaywalk won four of her five starts at two, including the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and Frizette. At three, Jaywalk came back to win the G3 Delaware Oaks and was third in the G1 Ashland.
The appearance of Jaywalk in the family added quite a lift to the commercial appeal of this family, which traces to Tapit Trice’s fourth dam La Paz (Hold Your Peace), a winner of three stakes and the dam of four stakes winners, including Mission Impazible (Unbridled’s Song), winner of the G2 Louisiana Derby and New Orleans Handicap, and Forest Camp (Deputy Minister), winner of the G2 Del Mar Futurity.
The year after Jaywalk’s championship season, Gainesway consigned her half-sister to the 2019 Keeneland September sale and sold the filly by Empire Maker out of Lady Pewitt for $2 million. Named Miss Jessica J., that filly is unraced.
Tapit Trice followed suit as a seven-figure yearling in 2021, and he has followed a much different trajectory and is now a highly regarded member of the 3-year-old crop. The colt’s year-younger full sister, still unnamed, brought $1.1 million at last year’s Keeneland September sale when Tapit Trice was still unraced. The buyer?
Quast said, “We already liked Tapit Trice enough last year to reach back in and buy her too,” even though the colt didn’t make his debut until Nov. 6, when he finished third in a maiden special at Aqueduct. The gray is unbeaten since.
In addition to Tapit Trice as a classic prospect, Whisper Hill also has Shopper’s Revenge (Tapit out of multiple G1 winner Stopchargingmaria), who is pointed for the Louisiana Derby next, and Classic Catch (Classic Empire), who has won a maiden special and an allowance and is expected to race next in the Wood Memorial.
Lurking in the shrubberies is homebred Magical Song (Tapit out of champion Songbird), and that 3-year-old filly is entered in a maiden special at Oaklawn on Mar. 17.
What a year it may be for Whisper Hill.