Tapit: King of American Sires

Tapit's Book 1 topper out of Silver Colors
‘And you get a Tapit and you get a Tapit and you get a Tapit …’ seemed to be the theme of the first week of the Keeneland September Yearling sale if you were willing to open up your wallet wide enough during the first four sessions of the sale.

It seemed early in the week that Claiborne Farm’s War Front might finally get the upper hand on Tapit in the sales ring as he had three of the top five priced horses to go through the ring during the opening session and one of the top five during the second day. But Tapit wasn’t far away from the top of the list either day, with one of his colts RNAing for $1.2-million on Monday (the second highest price of the session if he would have sold) and at least one horse each day in the top 10 highest priced yearlings.

But on day three, Tapit was ready for the games to end and handily took over the top of the standings as we’ve come to expect from the stallion. While War Front had three of the top 10 most expensive yearlings in the final book one session, Tapit had the top two highest priced horses in addition to the No. 9 highest price horse.

Overall in the first two books of the Keeneland sale, Tapit had 46 yearlings go through the ring with 32 of those selling. The stallion’s sale wrapped up on Friday during the first day of Book 2 with his 32 yearlings bringing a gross price of $16.86-million and an average of $526,875.

Not too bad a return for a stallion who stood for $125,000 the year those horses were conceived. This year Tapit had the highest stud fee in all the (North American) land at $300,000 and was booked full.

Tapit's second most expensive yearling at Keeneland September, a colt out of Pure Clan.
Tapit has been in high demand since his first crop hit the track with early runners such as Breeders’ Cup winners Stardom Bound (also giving Tapit a 2-year-old filly champion in his first crop) and Tapitsfly showing that he could produce both dirt and turf horses. Since then he has had horses such as 2-year-old champion (and another Breeders’ Cup victor) Hansen, Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tapizar, Careless Jewel and Joyful Victory in the first five years of having crops on the track.

But the stallion’s 2014 season was definitely his best year so far.

With his first crop only 8 years old last year, the son of Pulpit broke the North American record for progeny earnings with $16,813,536 and taking the Leading Sire title, according to Blood-Horse’s Stallion Register. That year was headlined by siring the winners of the Kentucky Oaks (Untapable) and the Belmont Stakes (Tonalist) among his 17 stakes winners and 12 graded stakes winners. Untapable also took home champion 3-year-old filly honors and the Breeders’ Cup Distaff to really top off her sire’s unstoppable roll in 2014.

Tapiture (shown here as a 2-year-old) was one of Tapit's many graded stakes winners in 2014.
Untapable took Tapit’s Breeders’ Cup win count up to five, tying him with the legendary trio of Danzig, Kris S. and Storm Cat as the stallions with the second most wins at the Breeders’ Cup. Only Sadler’s Wells has more with six wins.

Even though Tapit started at a modest stud fee of $15,000 when retiring in the autumn of his 3-year-old year, it shouldn’t have been too surprising that he turned into a supersire. He sold as a yearling for $625,000 at the 2002 Keeneland September Sale and won the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at three and the Grade 3 Laurel Futurity at two but even more important than his race record was his pedigree.

Tapit’s sire Pulpit produced multiple Grade 1 winners with over 70 stakes winners on both dirt and turf, including Pyro, Rutherienne and Corinthian. Even though the late Pulpit was born 21 years ago, his sons are fairly young with Tapit being one of his first more ‘well-known’ sons to retire. But from the limited crops by his sons, Pulpit is the grandsire of dual-classic winner California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit), millionaires General Quarters (Sky Mesa) and Dynamic Sky (Sky Mesa) and the horses Tapit has produced.

Pulpit is by the incomparable A.P. Indy who turned into a sire-of-sires with Pulpit, Flatter and Malibu Moon among his sons who have already proven to be top notch racehorse sires (and in some cases sires-of-sires). While the stallion was pensioned in 2011, A.P. Indy still has more stallions who are waiting for their chance to shine with Astrology and Take Charge Indy among those who will have their first foals hitting the track in the next few years.

But just as important, and perhaps even more so, as Tapit’s sire line is his female family.

His dam Tap Your Heels was a stakes winner who has had three foals win on the track from six to race. Of those, Tapit is the first graded stakes winner but his half-sister Overandabeauty was stakes placed. But even more important from a production standpoint is that she is the producer of a stakes winner. Tap Your Heels is also the dam of Home From Oz, who was unraced but produced multiple Grade 2 winner Madefromlucky and stakes placed Japanese runner A Shin Gold
Madefromlucky is a graded stakes winner in 2015.
But the ability to produce doesn’t just stop with Tap Your Heels and her offspring.

She is a half-sister to champion Rubiano, who had produced 21 stakes winners in seven crops of racing age at the time of his death in 2002, and Hong Kong Squall, who produced 2009 champion 3-year-old colt Summer Bird. Four of Tap Your Heels’ other half-sisters produced stakes placed horses and two produced graded stakes winners.

Farther back in the family is Glitterman, the sire of 64 stakes winners at the time of his death, under Tapit’s third dam and leading sire Relaunch under his fourth dam.

While from a race record standpoint, Tapit probably wouldn’t have been the horse many would have imagined would become the top sire of the 2004 3-year-old crop, his pedigree backs up his success. And if this year’s yearling sales are any indication, we’ll be seeing Tapit at the top of both the leading commercial sire and racehorse sire lists for years to come.


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