Tapit deserves his props on Father’s Day for a number of reasons as a sire. One of those is that he is not only the most expensive stud in North America, but he performs expertly at the dating game and continues to bring superstars into the sport.
Tapit deserves his props because the owners and breeders that pay $300,000 for one live foal are seldom disappointed.
Great sires sometimes are super racehorses that win Grade stakes in bunches but Tapit deserves his props despite a modest racing career. Tapit did something as a racer that is not easy to do and that’s win at first asking going a route of ground. Tapit had a reputation as being unpredictable and always getting into mischief. Interestingly enough, these are sometimes the traits that separate the good horses from the great horses.
The son of Pulpit started his career at a mile at Delaware Park and he won going away in 1:38.20. His connections thought enough of him to try the Grade 3 Laurel Futurity in his next race and he was up to the task. He won the Laurel Futurity by nearly five lengths with a devastating burst of speed. He also won the race despite a nightmarish trip in which he was bumped early and forced to steady for a good portion of the race. He earned a 98 Beyer Speed Figure in the Laurel Futurity and was fast becoming a hot commodity.
Tapit ran poorly in the Florida Derby but it was later discovered that he had a lung infection. Tapit responded with a win in the Wood Memorial. Tapit was conditioned by Michael Dickinson, one of the most respected trainers in the sport. He was reluctant to even try Tapit in the Wood Memorial because the colt had missed a lot of time and training due to a shin problem. Tapit pretty much won on grit alone.
That victory was his last. He was tried in the Kentucky Derby but ran into the machine known as Smarty Jones.
Tapit deserves his props just for what he has done recently in the Belmont Stakes. If it wasn’t for Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Tapit would have sired four consecutive Belmont Stakes winners. The only similar feat that comes to mind is when trainer Woody Stephens trained five straight Belmont Stakes winners in the 1980s. Tonalist, Frosted, Creator, Tapwrit are the recent Belmont Stakes winners that boast Tapit as a sire.
Tapit’s dam Tap Your Heels was gray and Tapit assumed the same color. He was easy to spot on the racetrack as are his runners.
Another reason that Tapit deserves his props is because he did it the American way. Nothing was given to this runner. He entered stud in 2005 and commanded a very modest fee of $15,000. He became the leading freshmen sire and his best horse in that first year was a champion. Tapit’s daughter Stardom Bound won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and went on to win the Eclipse Award.
Tapit’s next few years at stud were a progression as he was responsible for Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Tapitsfly and the juvenile champion Hansen.
Tapit’s domination started in 2014. That is the year he became the leading sire in North America as he set an earnings record of $16,813,536. He broke that record in 2015 with 23 stakes winners, 16 Graded winners and $18,397,691 in earnings. In 2016 he proved his consistency with 21 stakes winners, 15 Graded winners and $19,245,888 in earnings.
Tapit is not even close to being done. His runners continue to just thrive and win stakes. Cupid is a son of Tapit and he has been slinging his arrows for a couple of years now. He is trained by Bob Baffert and he took the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes in only his fourth career start. He stayed on the Triple Crown Trail last year for only one race when he popped and stopped in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. Baffert had him fit enough to win a pair of Grade 2 later in 2016 it was a nice bit of training by Baffert to have him on his game for the Grade 1 Gold Cup May 27 at Santa Anita. He sat fourth early in that race, had a two-length lead at the top of the stretch and won extending his margin while earning a career best 107 Beyer.
Unique Bella figures to live to fight another day and this daughter of Tapit has champion written all over her. She was off slowly in her racing debut last year but has now won four in a row. She won the Grade 2 Santa Ynez, the Grade 2 Las Virgenes and the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel consecutively. She was taken out of training with a shin injury but she will be nursed back to health by the exceptional trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
Actress is a homebred owned by Mary and Gary West and although she has yet to win an Oscar, she could be well on her way to a starring role in stakes down the line. She did something that is very hard to do and that is graduate in a stakes. She was bumped in her debut but her trainer Jason Servis thought enough of her to try a restricted $75,000 stakes at Gulfstream. She was caught in a duel that day and had to settle for second. Servis didn’t lose confidence in her and he put her into the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan the day before the Preakness Stakes. The filly broke ninth of eleven, made a huge middle move to reach contention and then won by a head at 12-1. The thing that is so exciting about Actress is she has the pedigree to be the real deal. Her dam Milwaukee Appeal won multiple stakes and earned over $1.1 million.
Dream Dancing and Ticonderoga are also by Tapit and have already performed solidly on the racetrack.
Sure, Tapit deserves his props on Father’s Day but there is just quality blood running through his veins. His sire Pulpit was sired by stamina-influenced A. P. Indy. His dam was sired by Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled. If you go deep into Tapit’s pedigree superstars like Mr. Prospector, Nijinsky II, Secretariat and Northern Dancer emerge.
For all the fathers out there, put your feet up, crack open the beverage of your choice. Try to bask in the limelight of being a Dad, even if that $300,000 stud fee is out of reach.
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