Sunday, February 3, 2013

Tapit, Saturday Star

Tapit hasn't let his position as one of the stallion ranks' hottest tickets get to his head.
Yesterday I posed the question, Is anyone having a better day than Tapit?

With three brand new Graded stakes winners, Tapit was in the zone on a big Saturday in U.S. horseracing. Gary and Mary West’s Flashback, trained by Bob  Baffert, wired Santa Anita’s Robert B. Lewis Stakes-G2 field (of four) to win by 6 1/4 lengths; Joseph Bucci’s Honorable Dillon (Eddie Kenneally) rallied for a half-length win in the G2 Hutcheson Stakes-G2 at Gulfstream; and Besilu Stables’ Tapicat (Bill Mott) was a wire-to-wire winner of the Florida Oaks-G3 at Tampa Bay Downs.

What is particularly impressive is that all three of these horses were three-year-olds making their stakes debuts, and Flashback only his second career start. Under the new Kentucky Derby points system, Flashback is now on the board with ten points, which places him co-fourth on the list in these early days.

It would be no surprise if stakes-placed three-year-old colt He’s Had Enough, third to Flashback in the Lewis on Saturday and second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, has a big win in him, too. He has five Derby points.

Their illustrious sire Tapit, a gray or roan colt by Pulpit out of Tap Your Heels, was bred by Oldenburg Farms LLC and was sold through Fred Seitz to David J. Fiske, agent for Winchell Thoroughbreds, at the 2002 Keeneland September Sale for $625,000, the second most expensive yearling by his sire that year.

Tapit's sire Pulpit at Claiborne Farm.
Trained by The Mad Genius Michael Dickinson, Tapit won three of six starts, including the nine furlong Wood Memorial Stakes-G1 by half a length and, at two, the Grade 3 Laurel Futurity at eight and a half furlongs. He finished a well-beaten ninth in Smarty Jones’ Kentucky Derby, ninth in the Pennsylvania Derby going nine panels, and never raced again. Retired to Gainesway Farm in Kentucky for the 2005 breeding season, he covered his first mares for a $15,000 stud fee.

Tapit at Gainesway Farm in the fall of 2012.

Tapit is one of ten Grade 1 winners by the recently deceased Pulpit (by A.P. Indy), and he has established himself as the most successful so far of the Pulpit stallion sons, with Grade 1 winner Sky Mesa next best with two Grade 1 stakes winners.  (Not to be outdone, Pulpit also got a new stakes winner on Saturday, with Guilt Trip in the Strub Stakes-G2; Guilt Trip is out of a mare by Quiet American and therefore bred on a Pulpit/Fappiano cross, like Tapit.)

In truth, Tapit was born to be a good sire, pending a flash of brilliance on the racetrack.

His dam Tap Your Heels (by Unbridled) is a three-quarters sister to champion sprinter Rubiano (by Unbridled’s sire Fappiano). Rubiano sired graded stakes winners, including Burning Roma, who won the 2000 Futurity Stakes-G1 at Belmont via DQ, and he’s the damsire of young sire War Front as well as Take Charge Lady-G1, whose three-year-old son Will Take Charge (by Unbridled’s Song) won a stakes race at Oaklawn in January.

Coincidentally, 2009 Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird’s second dam is a half-sister to Tap Your Heels. Summer Bird is one of many top horses from the Fappiano sire line in this family.

Tap Your Heels has four other foals by Pulpit, none of which has won. She is the dam of a yearling colt by Malibu Moon and was bred to Medaglia d’Oro for 2013.

The Nijinsky II mare Ruby Slippers, Tapit’s second dam, was a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Glitterman (by Dewan), whose nine graded stakes winners include millionaire Glitter Woman-G1, later the dam of G1 Suburban Handicap winner Political Force (by Unbridled’s Song).

Moon Glitter is Tapit’s third dam, and she was a full sister (by In Reality) to dual Grade 3 winner (at eight and nine furlongs) Relaunch, whose progeny included 27 Graded stakes winners. Remember when we used to have 12 furlong dirt races in this country? Well, in the late 80s, Relaunch’s son Waquoit won three of those: back-to-back editions of the Brooklyn Handicap-G1, and one Jockey Club Gold Cup-G1. Another Relaunch son, Skywalker, won the 10-furlong Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1986 and sired ten-furlong Grade 1 winner Bertrando.

There were fourteen stakes winners in Tapit’s first crop, with champion Stardom Bound one of four Grade 1 winners, although only she and Laragh earned that distinction at the age of two. Careless Jewel won hers at three and Japanese-raced Testa Matta (who won the 10-furlong Japanese Dirt Derby at three) at six in 2012.

Tapit’s graded stakes winners to date are:

~Hansen-G1 (2009; out of Stormy Sunday, by Sir Cat): champion 2-year-old; maximum win distance at top level: 8.5 furlongs
~Stardom Bound-G1 (2006; My White Corvette, Tarr Road): champion 2-year-old filly; 8.5 furlongs
~Careless Jewel-G1 (2006; Sweet and Careless, Hennessy): 10 furlongs
~Dance Card-G1 (2009; Tempting Note, Editor’s Note): 9 furlongs
~Laragh-G1 (2006; Rose of Summer, El Prado): 8.5 furlongs
~Tapitsfly-G1 (2007; Flying Marlin, Marlin): 8 furlongs
~Tapizar-G1 (2008; Winning Call, Deputy Minister): 8 furlongs; also won a G2 and G3 at 8.5 furlongs
~Tell a Kelly-G1 (2008 Evrobi, Tabasco Cat): 7 furlongs
~Testa Matta-G1 (2006; Difficult, Concern): 8 furlongs; also won a 9-furlong G3 and a 10-furlong stakes
~Zazu-G1 (2008; Rhumb Line, Mr. Greeley): 8.5 furlongs
~Concord Point-G2 (2007; Harve de Grace, Boston Harbor): 9 furlongs
~Dancinginherdreams-G2 (2008; Mayan Milagra, Menifee): 8 furlongs
~Flashback-G2 (2010; Rhumb Line, Mr. Greeley): 8.5 furlongs
~Headache-G2 (2006; Pamric, Woodman): 10 furlongs
~Honorable Dillon-G2 (2010; Shy Greeting, Shy Tom): 7 furlongs
~Joyful Victory-G2 (2008; Wild Lucy Black, Wild Again): 8.5 furlongs
~Trappe Shot-G2 (2007; Shopping, Private Account): 6 furlong; also won a stakes at 8.5 furlongs
~Hightap-G3 (2006; Don’tellmichelle, Regal Classic): 8.5 furlongs
~Tapicat-G3 (2010; Zealous Cat, Storm Cat): 8.5 furlongs
~Touching Beauty-G3 (2007; Victory Road, Ikari): 8 furlongs
~War Echo-G3 (2006 Wild Vision, Wild Again): 8.5 furlongs; also won a stakes at 9 furlongs

full siblings

Champion Stardom Bound at Keeneland in 2009.
Five of Tapit’s 21 Graded winners, including three Grade 1 winners, are out of Storm Cat-line mares. Joyful Victory and War Echo are out of daughters of Wild Again, who sired the second dam of Tapizar. Concord Point is 4x3 to the full siblings Moon Glitter and Relaunch, and three of Tapit’s other stakes winners -- Redreamit, Tapajo, and Tidal Volume -- are out of Relaunch-line mares.

Stardom Bound (Juvenile Fillies-G1), Hansen (Juvenile-G1), Tapizar (Dirt Mile-G1), and Tapitsfly (Juvenile Fillies Turf) have all won Breeders’ Cup races. Tapit gets graded stakes winners on dirt, all-weather, and turf -- their one commonality is brilliance, with many runaway winners, such as Careless Jewel by 11 in the G1 Alabama, Trappe Shot by 8 1/2 in the G2 True North, and Hansen by 13 1/4 in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile. He also adds class to his mares: Hansen’s dam, for example, had been claimed for $5,000 out of her maiden win.

Grade 1 winner Tapitsfly training at Churchill Downs last May. Katsumi Yoshida purchased her for $1,850,000 at the Fasig-Tipton November sale in 2012.
Like Rubiano and Relaunch, Tapit is a gray, and he is known for getting progeny who are almost white at a young age. It’s a distinctive trademark and makes them often easy to identify without having to look up their pedigree in the catalogue page or racing program.

Of his Graded stakes-winning sons at stud, Concord Point (at Hill ’n’ Dale) has yearlings, Trappe Shot (Claiborne) has first foals this year, and Hansen (Ashford) and Tapizar (Gainesway) will stand their first seasons in 2013.

Trappe Shot and the blacksmith in Kiaran McLaughlin's Belmont barn in June, 2011, two days before winning the Grade 2 True North Handicap by 8 1/2 lengths.

Tapizar at Gainesway on Friday.

Hansen, who resembles his sire, at Ashford Stud.
Mares who were bred to Tapit for 2013 foals include Stormy Sunday (dam of Hansen); My White Corvette (Stardom Bound); Rhumb Line (Zazu and Flashback); and Mayan Milagra (Dancinginherdreams). Yearlings include full siblings to stakes winners out of My White Corvette (colt); Winning Call (dam of Tapizar; filly); Evrobi (Tell a Kelly; filly); Mayan Milagra (colt); and Zealous Cat (Tapicat; colt). Winning Call and Wild Lucy Black (Joyful Victory) were both covered by Tapit’s son Trappe Shot in 2012.

Whether or not Tapit ever gets a winner of the ten-furlong Kentucky Derby, he has clearly risen to the top of his game: 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta is due to deliver a foal by him this spring, and 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace (not to be confused with Harve de Grace, dam of Concord Point) will be bred to him for her first foal. In North America, only Bernardini at $150,000 commands a higher stud fee than Tapit’s $125,000.


  1. Love those photos of Tapit at Gainesway! :)

  2. Beautiful photos of Tapit--he seems to respond to the camera nicely. He's one that I have yet to see. I am very glad that Pulpit passed on his legacy before he died.

  3. The most beautiful horse ever, he is just magnificent