Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable’s Kentucky-bred Tapit Trice forged ahead of a stubborn Verifying in deep stretch to narrowly win the 99th running of the $1,000,000 Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland on Saturday, April 8.

Ridden by Luis Saez and trained by Todd Pletcher, Tapit Trice covered the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:50, and the hard-fought victory gave Pletcher a record-setting fourth victory in the prestigious race. The win was worth 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, giving Tapit Trice 150 total points (good for fourth place on the leaderboard).

“The distances, as they stretch out, we always felt like would make him better,” said Pletcher. “I think the (1 ¼ miles of the Kentucky Derby) is right in his wheelhouse.”

The win marked the fourth consecutive victory for Tapit Trice who captured the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs in his previous outing. The $573,500 winner’s share of the lucrative Blue Grass purse increased his lifetime bankroll to $883,650. Purchased for $1.3 million at Keeneland’s 2021 September Yearling Sale, Tapit Trice is a son of Tapit out of the Dunkirk mare Danzatrice. He was bred in Kentucky by Gainesway Thoroughbreds LTD.

“It’s so awesome (to get a Grade 1 win). It’s unbelievable for me,” said Mandy Pope of Whisper Hill Farm. It is dreams come true and a lot of hard work from a lot of people.”

On the motivation behind her commitment to the Thoroughbred industry,” Pope said, “It’s the determination that quality does pay off and quality is worth all the effort. From pedigree, to the physical, to the trainers, to the barn crew at each of our farms who raise the horses and break them—they’re all quality people and it’s a quality effort. Hopefully, quality continues up the road.”

Antony Beck of Gainesway, added of Tapit Trice, “He’s absolutely outstanding. It’s wonderful to be partners with Mandy. It’s a great friendship. We both love horses; we both love the sport. Tapit has been an incredible stallion, and this is another of his incredible horses.”