"Not long after foaling she started to hemorrhage," said Gerry Dilger of Dromoland Farm, where the daughter of Unbridled was boarded the past 15 years for owner Barbara Facchino's Barouche Stud. "The foal is alive, a colt by Super Saver."
"We are sad to announce that Tap Your Heels, dam of two-time champion sire Tapit, died from complications during foaling early yesterday morning," Barouche Stud shared via Facebook. "We would like to thank Gerry Dilger and all his staff at Dromoland Farm, who have looked after her like royalty over the past 15 years.
"She will be sadly missed by her owner, Mrs. Barbara Facchino, and all at Barouche Stud and Dromoland Farms."
Tapit, by Pulpit, was the first foal out of Tap Your Heels. The gray mare was bred by Heronwood Farm from the Nijinsky II mare Ruby Slippers, and was a half sister to grade I-winning champion sprinter Rubiano. Ruby Slippers is also the third dam of champion and classic winner Summer Bird.
Tap Your Heels, an $85,000 Keeneland September purchase campaigned by Jayeff B Stables and trainer Alan Goldberg, broke her maiden in the 1998 Hildene Stakes at Colonial Downs, but never won again. She was retired in 1999 with a modest 1-1-2 record from nine starts and earnings of $47, 275.
She may not have lit up the racetrack, but Tap Your Heels certainly set off fireworks in the auction ring. In 2000, Oldenburg Farm bought her at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale for $750,000 in foal to Pulpit, and grade I winner Tapit was the result. Now the nation's leading sire, he stands at Gainesway for a $300,000 fee.
Tap Your Heels was again offered at the Keeneland November sale in 2002, this time in foal to Forestry, and sold for $900,000 to Nesco. Her final sales appearance resulted in an RNA, when she failed to sell for $1.8 million at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall mixed sale in 2010.
Of the 12 live foals produced by Tap Your Heels, nine have gone through the sales ring. All brought at least six figures, topped by her 2012 Malibu Moon foal Aldrin—a $1 million acquisition from the 2014 Keeneland April 2-year-olds in training sale by Gainesway, Mt. Brilliant Stables, and Robert V. LaPenta. The chestnut ridgling broke his maiden March 4 at Tampa Bay Downs for trainer Chad Brown.
Tap Your Heels foaled an Elusive Quality filly in 2014 and was barren last year.
"She was very similar to Tapit himself," Dilger said. "She was a real sweetheart—my 11-year-old daughter used to lead her in and out.
"With a stallion like Tapit, she's had a big impact on the breed, for sure."