Top sire Pulpit died in his paddock at Claiborne Farm on Thursday, according to an announcement made by farm manager Bradley Purcell. The 18-year-old stallion had shown no signs of ill health in the weeks and days prior to his death.
"We are all shocked and very sad," said Purcell. "Pulpit has meant so much to Claiborne Farm, first as a racehorse and later as a stallion. Thankfully, we know his legacy will continue on through his sons and daughters."
Bred and raced by Claiborne, Pulpit was by leading sire A.P. Indy and hailed from the Grade 1-winning Mr. Prospector mare Preach. He did not race at two due to a couple of small setbacks. However, early in his three-year-old season, the long-striding colt jumped onto the national stage with two sensational wins at Gulfstream Park. Off those performances, he was made the favorite for the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and Pulpit came from off the pace to win by 1 1/2 lengths.
After a second in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, Pulpit rolled to an impressive victory in the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. Unfortunately, the bay was injured while finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby and Pulpit entered stud at his birthplace, where he made an immediate mark as a stallion.
Pulpit's first crop included Grade 2 Super Derby and Group 2 U.A.E Derby winner Essence of Dubai, and his next two crops yielded Grade 1 stakes winners Sky Mesa, Stroll, Purge and Tapit. Long recognized as a stallion with remarkable versatility, Pulpit sired top level two-year-olds, three-year-olds and older horses, outstanding colts and fillies, as well as runners that have excelled on dirt, turf and synthetic surfaces.
In addition, he became known as a "sire of sires," with his successful sons at stud including the aforementioned Tapit.
Sire of 11 U.S. Grade 1 stakes winners, Pulpit is responsible for 38 graded stakes winners, 63 stakes winners and more than 100 stakes horses. This year, Pulpit had been represented by 10 stakes winners, including standout two-year-olds Power Broker, winner of the Grade 1 FrontRunner, and recent Grade 2 Pocahontas heroine Sign.
Pulpit will be buried at Claiborne Farm.