Tapit The Undisputed King In The Final Leg Of The Triple Crown

by | 06.05.2019 | 4:27pm

Currently standing for $225,000 at Gainesway in Lexington, Kentucky, Tapit has produced three of the last five Belmont Stakes winners in Tonalist (2014), Creator (2016) and Tapwrit (2017). On Saturday, three sons of Tapit will contest the final leg of the Triple Crown – Tacitus, Intrepid Heart and Bourbon War.

Mark Hernon, Director of Sales at Gainseway, said that the Belmont success has added to Tapit's legacy as a stallion.

“I think it's very significant,” Hernon said. “What really stands out is their competitive nature and will to win. Some of them were won by short margins but that's part of their DNA and their will to win. I've watched them race over the years and if a race comes down to a photo finish and there's a Tapit in it, you want to be holding a ticket for the Tapit because they really seem to come out on top. They have that ability combined with soundness and ability to carry at a distance.”

Tacitus, the first progeny out of 2014 Champion Older Filly Close Hatches, is the 9-5 morning line favorite for the Belmont Stakes. The two-time Grade 2-winning Juddmonte homebred, who finished third in the Kentucky Derby, is conditioned by Hall of Famer Bill Mott.

“Tacitus stands out and he had an unfortunate trip in the Derby,” Hernon said. “He closed well and he looks good from the videos I saw of him training. He's out of a champion mare [Close Hatches]. He'll love the distance. He's had a break and three works over the Belmont track.

“I'm pretty excited about Tacitus,” Hernon continued. “He overcame trouble in the Wood Memorial. He was very strong finishing up that day and made up a lot of ground in the latter part of that race. He's a big, strapping horse and he's going to be running at a distance that he'll relish. I expect him to make a big account for himself.”

While Tacitus has the most attractive resume of Tapit's three sons in the Belmont, Hernon was also excited to see graded stakes placed Intrepid Heart and Bourbon War in the race as well.

Also boasting highly prestigious pedigrees, Intrepid Heart is out of Flaming Heart who is by Touch Gold – winner of the 1997 Belmont Stakes – and also produced graded stakes winner Commissioner who was a close second behind Tonalist in the 2014 Belmont. Bourbon War is the first foal out of Grade 1 winner My Conquestadory.

“The other horses are legit as well,” Hernon said. “It seems like Todd Pletcher [trainer of Intrepid Heart] is always competitive. He got nosed out with Destin a few years ago and won with the filly Rags to Riches, who beat Curlin. I expect his horses to jump up and run. Bourbon War's last race [Preakness Stakes] can be looked past. He's a nice horse and has a license to be running well when it really matters.”

Tapit has stamped himself as an effective broodmare's sire as well as a sire of sires. Last year, his son Tapizar produced the eventual Champion 3-Year-Old Filly in Monomoy Girl.

“We stand his son Tapizar who won the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and produced that fabulous filly and champion Monomoy Girl,” Hernon said. “Tapit has a big book of quality mares and he positioned himself to become the sire that he is today. We've even seen plenty of good progeny coming out of Tapit's daughters. He's got several sires at various other farms as well.”

Tapit also has runners in four of the 10 stakes events carded for Saturday, including stakes winner Nitrous in the Grade 1, $400,000 Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun, who is out of multiple stakes winner Speedinthruthecity and Bellavais in the Grade 1, $700,000 Longines Just a Game, whose dam La Cloche was out of Memories of Silver, who won the Just a Game in 1997.

Tapit currently leads all sires in North America in black type winners with a total of 18. He has sired eight graded stakes winners in 2019, trailing only Curlin, who has sired nine.

“He put himself in this spot,” Hernon said. “He's having a tremendous year so far and we're only at the beginning.”

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