Pin Oak Stud Presents Bloodlines: Fappiano’s Influence Lives On

by | 03.10.2015 | 11:05am
Ring Weekend, winner of the G1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile

Over the course of a weekend riddled with high-quality racing that featured many of the best horses in the country, two bloodlines were repeatedly present. First, A.P. Indy's son Honor Code won the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap, and Tapit's son Ring Weekend captured the G1 Kilroe Memorial.

But even with the success that fell to descendants of Lane's End Farm's great stallion over the weekend, an earlier star of the Lane's End operation had a more extraordinary set of successes.

Fappiano (1977 Dark bay by Mr. Prospector x Killaloe, by Dr. Fager) was an excellent racehorse who won the G1 Metropolitan Handicap. He had speed and high class, and he was very highly regarded by breeder-trainer-adviser John Nerud.

Sent to stud in Florida at Tartan Farms, Fappiano became leading freshman sire and moved to Kentucky, where he spent his remaining innings at stud in the stallion barn at Lane's End. From 410 foals, Fappiano sired 48 stakes winners (12 percent) before his demise.

Fappiano didn't live nearly long enough. Like his famous broodmare sire, Fappiano died young, but both left a high proportion of quality offspring behind them. Unlike Dr. Fager, Fappiano left sons behind who have carried on this branch of Mr. Prospector as the most classic manifestation of that famous sire.

Chief of Fappiano's sons was Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic winner Unbridled. Out of the Le Fabuleux mare Gana Facil, Unbridled was a sure-fire classic performer whose best trip was 10 furlongs, but he also had the speed and versatility to defeat champion sprinter Housebuster at seven furlongs.

Sent to stud, Unbridled rode a classic groove like few other stallions. The giant sire's best performers included Kentucky Derby Grindstone, Preakness winner Red Bullet, and Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker. The latter was the best of that trio at stud, but he is now in Japan. And unquestionably, the best of Unbridled's sons at stud was his “other” first-crop son, Unbridled's Song.

From a family of big stallions – Dr. Fager, Fappiano, Unbridled, Le Fabueux, Caro – Unbridled's Song was as tall and long and leggy as horses need to be. He sired that type, typically bigger than average allied with extra scope and bone.

For all that size, Unbridled's Song was freakishly fast. He was a star at the 2-year-olds in training sale, topping the Barrett's select sale before being turned back for a “flake” in an ankle. The gray colt came on at 2 so progressively that he won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, then the Florida Derby at 3, before running unplaced in the Kentucky Derby won by Grindstone.

Speed and precocity were the factors that made Unbridled's Song a sire of superior performers. The sire of 1,542 foals, Unbridled's Song has sired 100 stakes winners so far. His sons at stud include Old Fashioned, Rockport Harbor, First Defence, Even the Score, and Midshipman, as well as the young stallions without runners: Cross Traffic, Graydar, and Will Take Charge.

The dominance of Unbridled's Song as a sire has not fully translated in the male line, but his presence as a broodmare sire is astonishing. G1 winner Carpe Diem, who won the G2 Tampa Bay Derby last weekend, is out of one of his daughters. Likewise, these stakes horses from the weekend are out of mares by Unbridled's Song: El Kabeir (Gotham), Senor Grits (Swale 3rd), and Lismore (Florida Oaks 3rd), among others. The stallion is second on the leading broodmare sires list behind only Storm Cat, the broodmare sire of divisional leader Shared Belief.

Shared Belief also descends from Fappiano. The dark brown son of the Argentine-bred Candy Ride has Fappiano in the fourth generation of his male line. Fappiano's hickory son Cryptoclearance was a classy racer who won the Florida Derby, Donn, and Widener, and finished second in the Belmont, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup. He made a good sire, although his stakes-winning son Ride the Rails did not find a home at stud in the States and went to South America, where he sired Candy Ride.

The other star turn for Cryptoclearance last weekend was Ring Weekend (Tapit), who is a classy chestnut out of Free the Magic, a multiple stakes-placed daughter of Cryptoclearance. Now 17, Free the Magic is out of Pompoes, a G2 winner bred in Denmark who ran second in the G1 Criterium des Pouliches in 1979. As a broodmare, Pompoes produced three stakes winners: Three Generations (Alydar), Forest Wind (Green Forest), and Flash of Joy, a full brother to Free the Magic.

With these different antecedents through various lines, Fappiano's contribution will play out for years to come.

Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is chief of biomechanics for DataTrack International and is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in central Kentucky. Check out Frank's lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.

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