For a stallion, one good year can be a fluke. Two good years is a promising trend, and three good years is cause for celebration. The Gainesway Farm stallion Tapit, whose fifth crop of foals will soon be racing, has gone from strength to strength. The son of the A.P. Indy stallion Pulpit was the leading first-crop sire of 2008, the third-leading second-crop sire of 2009, and third-leading third-crop sire of 2010. Last year, with four crops racing, he ranked No. 3 on the general sire lists of Bloodhorse.com, behind the older studs Distorted Humor and Smart Strike and ahead of such standouts Giant's Causeway and Malibu Moon.
Tapit is off to a very good start in 2012, ranking second behind Giant's Causeway and with his leading son, the 2011 2-year-old male champion Hansen, pointing to the $1-million Wood Memorial Stakes and Kentucky Derby over the next seven weeks.
But Tapit is far from a one-hit wonder, as his consistent pattern of success since 2008 has shown. This year alone, the gray horse out of the Unbridled mare Tap Your Heels has sired three American Graded Stakes winners, the most recent coming Sunday at Gulfstream Park when Tapitsfly won the Grade 2 Honey Fox Stakes on turf. It was the fifth win for the Dale Romans-trained 5-year-old mare out of Flying Marlin, by Marlin.
G2 San Fernando Stakes winner Tapizar and G3 Gotham winner Hansen are Tapit's two other American Graded Stakes winners of 2012. Tapit is thus halfway to his 2011 year-end mark of six AGS winners.
As a racehorse, Tapit showed tremendous ability while racing for Winchell Thoroughbreds. Unbeaten in two starts as a juvenile, including the G3 Laurel Futurity, Tapit lost his 3-year-old debut in the G1 Florida Derby, finishing a troubled sixth. Trainer Michael Dickinson sent the colt to New York for the G1 Wood Memorial, where he turned in what I considered to be the most impressive pre-Triple Crown prep race of the year, winning by a half-length with a powerful stretch run.
He ran amok in the Smarty Jones Kentucky Derby, finishing ninth on a very sloppy racetrack, then was sidelined until September, when he again ran poorly in the G2 Pennsylvania Derby, his final career start.
Tapit has turned out to be the top sire of his generation and has a very bright future indeed.
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