Horse Racing

Tapit Trice wins Tampa Bay Derby, earns Kentucky Derby points Manny Franco rides 5 winners on Aqueduct card Practical Move takes San Felipe; Forte wins Fountain of Youth

TAMPA, Florida – The Tapit Trice rose from last place to win the $360,000 Tampa Bay Derby by two lengths and earn qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.

Led by Luis Saez, Tapit Trice ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.37. The 1-2 favorite out of 12 players paid $3 to win. The three-year-old colt earned 50 qualifying points, placing him in the top 20 horses for the Kentucky Derby on May 6.

Hall of Famer coach Todd Pletcher increased his record for most Tier 3 race wins to six. He already has an early favorite for the Kentucky Derby at Fort, which won the Fountain of Youth in the Gulf Stream last weekend.

The Classic Car Wash was second, with the Classic Legacy trailing another 1 1/4 lengths in third.

Tapit Trice made his betting debut by winning two out of three starts.

“Once he got down the track, he really stretched out,” Pletcher said. “I liked the way he finished. He enjoyed two corners, and the longer he rides, the better he gets.

NEW YORK. Jockey Manny Franco has won five winners in eight races at the Aqueduct, two months after he won a six-win day at New York Racetrack.

The 28-year-old Puerto Rican jockey led the first four races and was the favorite in three of them. Franco returned to win sixth in a photo finish.

He leads the jockey standings with 56 winter event victories. His six wins on January 6 set a New York Racing Association record.

“It means a lot to me. Every win here is special,” Franco said. “It’s hard to win, especially here in New York.”

ARCADIA, California. Tim Yaktin got the better of his former boss Bob Baffert with a 2.5x victory in the $400,000 San Felipe Stakes tournament at Santa Anita.

At Gulfstream in Florida, Forte easily won the $400,000 Fountain of Youth, a 1-2 favorite in his three-year debut. Early favorite Kentucky Derby ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.12.

Forte earned 50 points to qualify for the 20-horse Derby. He hasn’t raced since winning the Junior Breeders’ Cup at Keenland in November, which helped earn him the junior title last year.

At the New York Aqueduct, Raze Kane won $300,000 in Gotham and paid $49 to win on a busy day of preparation for the Kentucky Derby across the country. He also earned 50 Derby qualifying points.

At Santa Anita, Yaktin was busy saddling three other foals recently handed over to him from Baffert’s barn. The trio of Hijazi, Fort Bragg and Mr. Fisk finished in fourth, fifth and sixth place. The transfer was necessary in order for them to earn Derby qualifying points. Baffert is serving a two-year ban from Churchill Downs Inc., which will keep him out of the Derby for the second consecutive year.

National Treasure, another Baffert foal donated to Yaktin, was scratched due to a bruised right front paw. Most likely, he will again take part in the races at the end of this month.

But it was the Practical Move, the foal that Yaktin himself bred, that eclipsed everyone.

“He developed very well from a 2-year-old to a 3-year-old,” said Yaktin, who was Baffert’s assistant many years ago. “Just a gifted, gifted man.”

Practice run ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.01 led by Ramon Vazquez. He paid $10.40, $5.20 and $3.20. The foal scored 50 points in qualifying for the Kentucky Derby.

“This horse is getting better and better every day,” Vasquez said.

Geaux Rocket Ride, 5-2 favorite, returned $5 and $3.20. Skinner was another 1 1/4 lengths behind and finished in third place and paid $2.80 to show himself.

The practice move was bred by renowned trainer Chad Brown and was purchased for $230,000 by Leslie and Jean-Pierre Amesta along with another partner. The Amestoi family, who have had the most success in New Mexico with quarter horses, doesn’t mind that Yaktin might be babysitting Baffert’s foals in the Kentucky Derby.

The pair noted that they have beaten Baffert-trained horses three times, including a Practical Movement victory at Los Alamitos Futurity in December.

“We’re fine,” said Leslie Amestoy, smiling.

Her husband added, “I like my horse.”


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