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Hartford in ultra-impressive debut at Gulfstream Park

Thursday, January 16, 2014 | Tapit
Hartford, the most expensive Tapit yearling sold in 2012, broke his maiden Thursday at Gulfstream Park with an effortless performance for Barbara Banke's Stonestreet Stables.

After off just a beat slow, Hartford jumped right into the fray, ultimately taking over the top spot at the head of the lane. With Javier Castellano not moving a muscle in the irons, Hartford powered away from the field en route to a 5 ¾-length triumph. The final time for the seven furlongs on a fast track was 1:24.47.

“That was what we’d hoped for,” winning trainer Todd Pletcher said of the striking white-gray sophomore. “He had trained well. I thought he did everything right. He did break a half-step slow, but he recovered quickly and put himself in a nice spot, and he finished well. We’ll see how he comes out of it and then make a plan.”

Acquired by Banke for $700,000 out of the 2012 Keeneland September Yearling sale, where he was consigned by Gainesway, Hartford is a full-sibling to Tempted to Tapit, who placed in a pair of graded stakes at three, and Dance Card, the 2012 Gazelle S. (G1) winner.

Hartford is just one of a handful of Tapit 3-year-olds that have turned in eye-catching performances within the past week. Constitution, also trained by Pletcher, broke his maiden last Saturday at Gulfstream, and is another that could well show up in a Kentucky Derby (G1) prep for his next start. On the filly side, both Cassatt and Tapiteao were both recent maiden special weight winners, while Macaroon won a first-level allowance race.