Friday, January 1, 2016

Taking a Look at Record-Breaking Sire Tapit

When Tapit retired in October of 2004, it’s doubtful his level of success was expected by anywhere but his connections’ wildest dreams.  A Grade 1 winning son of Pulpit (A.P. Indy), he was a $625,000 yearling with strong bloodlines standing at an introductory fee of $15,000.  However, even the bluest blooded horses in the stud book aren’t expected to become the sire that Tapit has become. 

Tapit’s first foal crop hit the ground running in 2008, with his first champion, Stardom Bound, headlining that group.  Since then he has sired five other champions, including 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Hansen and Distaff winner Untapable.  His first United States classic winner came in 2014 with Tonalist winning the Belmont Stakes, and the colt later went on to win two editions of the Jockey Club Gold Cup. 

With 875 northern hemisphere foals of aged 3-years-old or older and 535 winners as of Jan. 1, Tapit has sired 43 graded stakes winners in his career with 71 stakes winners and 77 stakes horses.  Many of those horses were bred on a five-figure fee with last year’s 2-year-olds bred on his first six-figure stud fee of $125,000.  Last year’s 3-year-olds were bred on an announced fee of $80,000 with his older horses bred on a fee of $50,000 or less. 

What is scary is that the best of his foals may be yet to come, as his higher stud fee foals continue to hit the track in coming years.  In 2015 Tapit’s fee rose from $150,000 to $300,000 (a price it stays at in 2016), making him the most expensive stallion in North America. 

But while some 2016 stud fees are perceived to be a little off the wall, Tapit’s $300,000 fee is justified. 

In 2014, Tapit was the leading yearling sire for the second year running with a sales average of $611,125.  It was a feat he accomplished again in 2015 with an even higher yearling average of $615,290, which allowed him to dominate Keeneland’s September Sale, a benchmark sale for the yearling market.  
Tapit's Keeneland September sales topper
But while some sires are hot commercially but not as successful on the track, Tapit is not one of those horses.  Compared to 2014 Tapit didn’t have a banner year, but even with the absence of Breeders’ Cup or classic winners it was still a North American record breaking year. 

The stallion had 16 graded stakes winners with five of those winning Grade 1 stakes, including the aforementioned Tonalist and classic placed Frosted in addition to the 2014 champion 3-year-old filly, Untapable. Those numbers were up four and two horses, respectively, over 2014 even though he didn’t have a standout horse in 2015 like Untapable was the previous year. 
One number that was down for Tapit was his number of stakes wins, declining from 36 in 2014 to 31 in 2015.  However, he spread the wealth around in that department with 23 stakes winners compared to 17 the previous year.  More owners also went to the winner’s circle overall with 175 Tapit offspring winning, which was 19 more than 2014 with seven less runners. 

Even with his top earner, Frosted, earning nearly $900,000 less than the previous year’s top earner (Untapable), he still demolished the earnings record he broke in 2014 by $1,493,933 for a total of $18,307,469 in 2015 progeny earnings.  In 2014 he had taken the record from Smart Strike, beating that stallion’s 2007 record of $14,358,570 by $2,454,966.

Unsurprisingly, Tapit led the North American General Sires list (for the second year running) in 2015 and according to Thoroughbred Daily News, which counts earnings anywhere in the world while the Blood-Horse only counting northern hemisphere earnings in the sire rankings cited above, only Dubawi (Dubai Millennium) was able to top him on the combined Europe and North America list. Tapit has yet to lead that list with Galileo (Sadler’s Wells) beating him out by $318,518 in 2014 (Galileo was third in 2015).

Tapit has 109 3-year-olds and 119 2-year-olds in 2016 with this year’s 2-year-olds also bred on the $125,000 fee. The stallion has one of the Kentucky Derby favorites in multiple Grade 2 winner Mohaymen, who will be looking to give Tapit an accomplishment that neither his sire nor grandsire have on their resume: a Kentucky Derby winner.


  1. Great article. I'd love to see a slideshow of Tapit over the years. He's the most gorgeous horse!

  2. Thank you, Jennifer. Here is a video of Tapit in the Wood Memorial. He is gray in it but it doesn't look like he grayed as quickly as his foals seem to do.