Gainesway's marquee stallion Tapit , a three-time leading North American sire, can add his 100th black-type stakes winner to his accomplishments.
This milestone came with a bit of a mystery because his official progeny performance record showed only 99 black-type stakes winners after his actual 100th winner, Blind Ambition, had crossed the wire first in the Quick Call Stakes Aug. 9 on the Saratoga Race Course turf.
Tracking stakes winners for a stallion is something of a moving target because race records can be affected by delays in reporting from different countries or regulatory action. A horse might get taken down, only to have the decision appealed and later reversed.
In the case of Tapit, technical difficulties with computer servers in South Africa delayed for more than two weeks the reporting of Rodney's win in the Spiritual Vodka Umngeni Handicap at Greyville. Rodney, a 5-year-old gelding out of Granny Leah (by Orientate), is a South African homebred racing for Antony and Angela Beck, the owners of Gainesway. The gelding is Tapit's first Southern Hemisphere black-type winner.
"Maybe it's not insignificant that the news rolled in on the day of a total eclipse," said Michael Hernon with Gainesway. "Of course, Eclipse was who he was. And Tapit is who he is. It's another milestone for Tapit's stallion career as he keeps rewriting his own legacy."
Like Rodney, Blind Ambition is a multi-generational product of Gainesway's breeding program. The Kentucky-bred colt is out of four-time stakes winner and Gainesway homebred Starfish Bay (Elusive Quality). Trained by Todd Pletcher, Blind Ambition broke his maiden in his third start April 29 at Gulfstream Park and went on to win two of his next three starts. He now has a 3-0-1 record in six starts and earnings of $111,020.
Starfish Bay, also trained by Pletcher, is the third foal and first black-type stakes winner for Touch Love, a grade 2-winning daughter of Not For Love. Gainesway acquired Touch Love privately after she retired from racing and has produced seven winners and three black-type runners out of the mare. Touch Love foaled a filly by Empire Maker in February and has been bred back to Tapizar .
Starfish Bay has produced two winners from four starters. Blind Ambition is also her third foal and first black-type stakes winner.
Among Tapit's 100 black-type stakes winners are 61 graded/group winners and 23 grade/group 1 winners, who have captured 58 grade/group 1 stakes through Aug. 20. His top runners include six champions: Stardom Bound, Hansen, and Untapable in the United States, along with As de Trebol, Chachkova, and Tapit Girl overseas.
As further evidence of how strong Tapit's progeny fare in top competition, he has nearly as many black-type stakes-placed runners as black-type winners. To date, he is represented by 96 (8%) black-type placed runners. Tapit's progeny have earned $116,927,959 through Aug. 20 and average $134,092 per starter. Tapit's 2017 stud fee was $300,000.