Tampa Bay Derby and Tapit Trice 2023 Prep Race Recap

Kentucky Derby prep race recap of the 2023 Tampa Bay Derby and winner Tapit Trice.
Kentucky Derby prep race recap of the 2023 Tampa Bay Derby and winner Tapit Trice. / Morry Gash / Associated Press

The Championship Series races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby featured 15 major prep races that awarded 50 to 100 points to the winner and a spot in the starting gate for the May 6 Kentucky Derby.

The 1 1/16 mile Tampa Bay Derby on March 11 was won by Tapit Trice (1/2) as the heavy favorite in his stakes debut. The son of Tapit broke last and raced at the back before unleashing a powerful kick to pass seven horses in the stretch and win by 2-lengths in a final time of 1:43.27.

"I loved the way he finished up, and he really extended himself," said trainer Todd Pletcher, who won the race for a record seventh time. "He relished the two turns, and the longer he goes, the better he'll get."

Tapit Trice then went on to win the 1 1/8 mile Blue Grass Stakes on April 8, and solidified his standing as one of the Kentucky Derby favorites along with Florida Derby winner Forte.

Luis Saez rode Tapit Trice for all three of the horse's wins in 2023 for two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher. Saez will be making his third trip to the Kentucky Derby. Saez finished fourth in the 2021 Kentucky Derby with Essential Quality, and first with Maximum Security in 2019 only to have the horse disqualified for interference in the stretch.

FanDuel is a proud partner of the Kentucky Derby, and you can bet on the Run for the Roses on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Tapit Trice Kentucky Derby Top Win Contender

Tapit Trice will be one of the main win contenders in the 2023 Kentucky Derby, according to FanDuel Racing odds. He's won four straight races entering the Kentucky Derby and his speed figures have continued to improve.

The top two finishers in the 1 1/8 miles Blue Grass Stakes came home strongly with final 3/8 mile times less than 37.5 seconds. Tapit Trice came home in 37.34 seconds with a winning time of 1:50.00.

Nine of the last 11 Kentucky Derby winners and 19 of the last 25 finished the final three furlongs of their final prep race in less than 38 seconds.

The Tampa Bay Derby has been run since 1981 at Tampa Bay Downs in Tampa, Florida. In 2007, Street Sense became the first Tampa Bay Derby winner to also win the Kentucky Derby. In 2010, Super Saver won the Kentucky Derby after finishing third in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Two other sons of Tapit had success in the Tampa Bay Derby, and went on to finish pretty well in the Kentucky Derby. Tapwrit won the 2015 race as the 6/5 favorite and set the then speed record with a winning time of 1:42.36. Tapwrit finished 6th in the Kentucky Derby but went on to win the Belmont Stakes. In 2019, Tacitus won the Tampa Bay Derby and finished 3rd in the Run for the Roses and 2nd in the Belmont Stakes. Also, Destin won the 2016 Tampa Bay Derby, and finished 6th in the Kentucky Derby.

bet now. Horse Racing Now Available on Sportsbook. dark

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.