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Tapit Preview: Big Score Heads Back East
Big Score winning the 2017 Transylvania at Keeneland (Credit: Coady Photography)

Tapit Preview: Big Score Heads Back East

FRANKLIN, KY – George Krikorian homebred Big Score heads back east looking for another Kentucky stakes victory in Wednesday’s $300,000 Tapit Stakes at Kentucky Downs.

The Tapit is a 1-mile and 70-yard turf route restricted to horses ages 3 and up which have not won a stakes in 2020. This year’s edition is the penultimate event on a 10-race card and has a local post time of 4:32 PM.

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Here’s a look at the full field for the Tapit:

1. Morocco 15/1 – He has shown strong improvement since trainer Mike Maker claimed him for $40k earlier this year. He broke his maiden while going 1 mile over this course during the 2017 meet and is one of four representatives from a strong barn that has an 18% win rate at this track over the past five years.

2. Get Western 15/1 – His second start for new trainer Reeve McGaughey comes as he seeks his second victory over this course and distance; he won last year’s Old Friends Stakes from gate to wire. Forgive his last-out 10th-place finish at Ellis Park that came over a very soft ground; his form suggests that he likes firm ground.

3. Hawkish 10/1 – He adds blinkers for the first time while tryng to build upon his second-place effort in the Oceanport Stakes last time out. That was his first time hitting the board since he won the 2019 Cliff Hanger Stakes, so perhaps wearing the hood will give him the improvement that he needs to contend here.

4. Ramsey Solution 12/1 – He won a May Churchill Downs allowance from gate to wire, then finished a good fourth last time out behind Digital Age, who subsequently won the Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic Stakes (G1). Jockey Gerardo Corrales and trainer Wesley Ward have a 37% strike rate together since 2019.

5. English Bee 5/1 – Though none of his 5 starts this year resulted in wins, he was always in contention and came within a neck and a 1/2-length in 2 separate graded stakes. Jockey James Graham rides for the third straight time; his first trip aboard, they just missed winning the Wise Dan Stakes (G2) behind Factor This, who won another stakes in his next start.

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6. Hierarchy 8/1 – Scratched.

7. Ritzy A. P. 15/1 – Scratched.

8. Hembree 9/2 – The second of four Maker entries needs to right his recent form of near-misses; his past 12 starts include three seconds and two thirds, but no wins. He was fourth, beaten just 1 length, in last year’s Tourist Mile Stakes and won a 7-furlong local allowance in 2018, so he seems to like the track, and Maker has won 19% with rider Ricardo Santana, Jr.

9. Empire of War 8/1 – Maker’s third runner rides a 2-race win streak into this event, having taken a mile-long Keeneland allowance before romping in an off-turf sloppy optional claiming event at Saratoga. He won the 2018 Awad Stakes as a juvenile and gets jockey Tyler Gaffalione (who put together a 9-3-1-3 record on opening day) for the third straight time.

10. Hemp Hemp Hurray 30/1 – Scratched.

11. Big Score 4/1 – The Southern Californian ships back to the Commonwealth of Kentucky riding a 4-race streak that includes 2 wins and a pair of defeats by less than 1 length. Regular rider Flavien Prat joins him after having just ended the Del Mar summer meet with the most wins by a jockey, including a record-setting 15 stakes scores.

12. Temple 10/1 – Maker’s fourth and final piece in this puzzle just missed winning the Mystic Lake Mile Stakes at Canterbury Park by a neck last time out. He has proven form over this course, thanks to a third-place finish in last year’s Dueling Grounds Derby, and Maker strikes at a 25% clip with Irad Ortiz, Jr., the recently-concluded Saratoga meet’s champion jockey.

Ricky’s Rockets covered the card – take a look!

13. Midnight Tea Time 8/1 – He came out on the losing end of a stretch duel in a 1 3/8-mile Saratoga optional claiming event. That neck defeat was the closest that he’s been to tasting victory since he narrowly bested a group of optional claimers over the local strip last year.

14. Conviction Trade 30/1 – Scratched.

15. Split the Wickets 20/1 – He won 2 of 3 starts before rallying from last to finish third in the Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Cup. That victory earned him a career-best 93 Beyer speed figure, and Rafael Bejarano – aboard that day – retains the mount for trainer Tom Van Berg, whose lone prior local start came when Split the Wickets was third in an allowance last year.

16. Vanbrugh 12/1 – Though bred in Kentucky, he spent his first 3 racing years competing in France and Great Britain before coming stateside for the 2020 season. He was second against optional claiming rivals on firm Churchill Downs turf in June but appeared to hate the soft Ellis Park lawn in the Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Sprint Stakes.

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