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Tapit Trice Scores in Toyota Blue Grass

Toyota Blue Grass
Tapit Trice stamped his ticket to Louisville by winning the Blue Grass at Keeneland. (Photo © James Kirkikis/Dreamtime).

Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable’s Tapit Trice edged away from Verifying in deep stretch to win the 99th running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1) for 3-year-olds on Saturday afternoon by a neck at Keeneland.

Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Luis Saez, Tapit Trice covered the 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:50.00. The victory is a record-setting fourth in the Toyota Blue Grass for Pletcher and the third for Saez.

Pletcher’s other victories came with Bandini in 2005, Monba in 2008 and Carpe Diem in 2015. Saez won with Brody’s Cause in 2016 and Essential Quality in 2021.

The victory was worth 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and gave Tapit Trice 150 points, good for fourth place on the leaderboard. The Derby is limited to the top 20 point earners and invitees that pass the entry box.

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Verifying picked up 40 points and increased his total to 54. Blazing Sevens earned 30 points for finishing third to boost his total to 46. Sun Thunder picked up 20 points for finishing fourth to give him 54 points, and Raise Cain added 10 points for fifth and a total of 64 points. The current cut line is 45 points.

Next Saturday’s Stonestreet Lexington (G3) at Keeneland is the final points race for the Derby and offers 40 points on a 20-8-6-4-2 scale for the first- through fifth-place finishers.

Toyota Blue Grass Replay

In the Toyota Blue Grass, longshot Clear the Air set the pace through fractions of :23.32 and :48.04 with Verifying running second and Tapit Trice racing in midpack in the clear in the early run down the backstretch.

Midway on the backstretch, Saez made a five-wide move to close in on the leaders and by the time the field passed 6 furlongs in 1:12.57, Tapit Trice had drawn within a length of the leaders.

As the field turned for home, Clear the Air retreated leaving the two favorites to battle it through the lane with Verifying holding a narrow advantage until past the sixteenth pole when Tapit Trice inched past.

The two colts brushed a couple of times in the stretch, and an objection lodged by Tyler Gaffalione on Verifying was disallowed.

Tapit Trice’s victory, his fourth in a row, was worth $573,500 and increased his earnings to $883,650 with a record of 5-4-0-1. Tapit Trice, purchased for $1.3 million at Keeneland’s 2021 September Yearling Sale, is a Kentucky-bred son of Tapit out of the Dunkirk mare Danzatrice.

Favored in the field of 11, Tapit Trice returned $5.28, $3.12 and $2.64. Verifying returned $3.70 and $2.92 and finished 5¾ lengths in front of Blazing Sevens, who paid $3.74 to show under Irad Ortiz Jr.

It was another half-length back to Sun Thunder, who was followed in order by Raise Cain, Mendelssohns March, Hayes Strike, Classic Car Wash, Scoobie Quando, Major Blue and Clear the Air.

Champ Goodnight Olive Returns in Style by Winning Madison

First Row Partners and Team Hanley’s Goodnight Olive, the Eclipse Award-winning champion female sprinter of 2022, returned in style with a 1-length victory over Maryquitecontrary in the 22nd running of the $600,000 Madison (G1) for fillies and mares Saturday afternoon at Keeneland.

Also capturing graded stakes victories were Papilio (IRE) in the 35th running of the $400,000 Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association for 3-year-old fillies; Caravel in the 27th running of the $350,000 Shakertown (G2) for 3-year-olds and up; and Here Mi Song in the 36th running of the $300,000 Commonwealth (G3) for 4-year-olds and up.

In the Madison, Goodnight Olive covered the 7 furlongs on a fast main track in 1:23.12 and gave trainer Chad Brown his third victory in the race. Brown’s other wins came with Paulassilverlining in 2017 and Guarana in 2020.

Society and Yuugiri dueled for the early lead through fractions of :22.53 and :45.93 with Goodnight Olive just off the leading duo. On the turn, Irad Ortiz Jr. sent Goodnight Olive after the leaders and she easily swept to the lead by the time the field hit the homestretch.

In the lane, Goodnight Olive put away Society then widened her cushion to 3 lengths at midstretch and had enough to hold off a late bid from Maryquitecontrary to post her seventh consecutive victory and third Grade 1.

Madison Replay

Winner of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) here last fall in her most recent start, Goodnight Olive is a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Ghostzapper out of the Smart Strike mare Salty Strike. The victory was worth $372,000 and increased Goodnight Olive’s earnings to $1,391,950 with a record of 8-7-1-0.

Goodnight Olive returned $2.74, $2.14 and $2.10. Maryquitecontrary, ridden by Luca Panici, returned $4.20 and $3.08 and finished 4¼ lengths in front of Society, who paid $2.16 to show under Florent Geroux.

It was another 5¾ lengths back to Cocktail Moments, who was followed by Yuugiri.