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Forte, Tapit Trice Work Together for Travers

When the $1.25 million Travers Stakes (G1) rolls around on Aug. 26, stablemates Forte  and Tapit Trice  will be competing against each other for the top prize in the Midsummer Derby.

On Aug. 10, they were working together at Saratoga Race Course.

The two colts breezed in company after the break at 8:45 a.m. ET. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr, Forte’s regular rider, was in the saddle and exercise rider Fernando Rivera was with Tapit Trice. They both were clocked in 48.33 seconds for the four-furlong work.

“I was a little anxious about that,” Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher said back at the barn when asked about the two stakes caliber horses working together. “But they are both pointed to the same race and they needed similar works. It went smoothly.”

Forte, owned by Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable, has won seven of nine career starts, the latest being the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) at Saratoga July 29. Tapit Trice won Keeneland‘s Blue Grass Stakes (G1) and was last seen finishing fifth in the Haskell Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park July 22.

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Ortiz said Forte, a son of Violence  , completed his work in his usual workmanlike way.

“He loves the competition,” Ortiz said. “It takes him a few strides to get going, but he always responds.”

Pletcher is hopeful that Tapit Trice, a son of Tapit  , will get more involved early in the Travers, something he has lacked in recent races.

“He reacts well to the doors opening,” Pletcher said. “He just doesn’t get away from the gate quickly and I think that has compromised his chances in a couple of races.”

Pletcher also had his star 4-year-old filly Nest  out for a work, her first since winning the Shuvee Stakes (G2) July 23. That was the first start for the daughter of Curlin   in eight months.

Nest was clocked going a half-mile in 49.44 seconds while working in company with 2-year-old filly Sister Maha . Nest was ridden by exercise rider Nora McCormack. Owned by Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House, Nest is on target for a start in the $500,000 Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga  Aug. 25.

“That race (Shuvee) took nothing out of her,” McCormack said. “She feels really good and she has a bit of sass to her. I mean, she gets (ticked) off when she doesn’t get to breeze.”

Pletcher laughed when told of that. He wasn’t disagreeing.

“Today has been her scheduled day for a few days and I think she was hoping it was a few days ago,” Pletcher said. “She is relaxed, but competitive. She was impressive. Everything she does seems to come pretty easy to her. I am amazed the way she maintains her fitness and the way she comes out of her races.”


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