pulpit at claiborne farm video
pulpit at claiborne farm video

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Pulpit at Claiborne Farm

(filmed in October 2007) 



In the Hollywood Gold Cup, Rail Trip won his sixth race in eight starts. But as a son of the A.P.Indy stallion Jump Start, Rail Trip is the first winner at the premier level for his sire and has once more pressed home the point that Seattle Slew’s male line, through his champion son appears to be lighting the path of the future for breeding in North America. Jump Start, who stands at Overbrook Farm (for now), himself is not a household name, nor should he be. (Incidentally, Jump Start had another Graded Stakes winner this past weekend. Editor)

Winner of the Saratoga Special (Gr.2) and second in the Champagne (Gr.1) at two before injury ended his career, Jump Start has been a useful sire. But it is the “averageness” of Jump Start that makes the point. Without being a great son of his sire, nor one of the toughest, he has made a respectable name for himself as a stallion. Ranked in fourth place last year by progeny earnings for stallions with three crops of racing age, Jump Start is one of several sons of A.P.Indy who are doing well as stallions.

Among the best known are Malibu Moon, who stands at Spendthrift for $40000 and is the sire of champion juvenile Declan’s Moon; and Stephen Got Even (Lane’s End, $7,500), the sire of champion juvenile Stevie Wonderboy and I Want Revenge, who was favourite for this year’s Kentucky Derby before being scratched due to injury.

Yet none of A.P.Indy’s sons can compare with the continuing success of Claiborne Farm’s Pulpit($80000), who is one of the leading stallions in the country, and is fast becoming the hottest sire of sires also. Pulpit’s first two sons at stud, major winners Sky Mesa (Three Chimneys, $30000) and Tapit (Gainesway, $35000), are both young sires doing particularly well. And Pulpit has other well-regarded sons already at stud, including Purge (Vinery $12500), Corinthian (Gainesway, $30000) and Sightseeing (Richland Hills, $7500). Of the young sires with runners, Pulpit’s son Tapit was the leading freshman and juvenile sire in North America last year. The sire of 2008’s champion two-year-old filly Stardom Bound, Tapit also has seven other stakes winners.

His offspring, like those of Pulpit, seem bound by no surface and are certainly contenders at most any distances run here in the States. Among the Tapit stock racing well in Europe is As de Trebol, who finished first in the Group 3 Prix du Palais-Royal on May 30 but was disqualified for interference and placed second.

The stallions’ daughter Laragh won the Gr.1 Hollywood Starlet last year on synthetic and is a graded winner this year on turf. The racers by Tapit have acted on a variety of surfaces and racing environments, and one of them, the Kentucky-bred Testa Matta, won the Japan Dirt Derby on July 8 at the Ohi course. Run over 2000 metres, the Derby success made Testa Matta Japan’s leading three-year-old on its of sand track circuits.

Nearly all the horses by Pulpit and his sons have some speed, and little has been proven or explored regarding the limits of their stamina in the States, where the distances of our racing cluster between 6 furlongs and 1 mile and a furlong. Although none of the Pulpit stock have become leading cup horses abroad, one of them, the gelded Church Service, ran second in the 2008 Breeder’s Cup Marathon, run over 1 mile four furlongs on the synthetic at Santa Anita. And since that effort Church Service has been in the frame of races over similar distances in California on turf and synthetic, and that suggests at least some of the Pulpit horses would not be limited when attempting middle-distances over European conditions.

Presumably, in the future, very few of the Pulpit sons, like Church Service, are going to be gelded because of their escalating value as potential sires. Until recently, however, several quite decent performers from the stallion’s early crops have been subject to the ultimate alteration because they displayed unsporting tendencies and wayward minds.

Pulpit was not that way himself. A winner in four of six starts, Pulpit was a determined competitor, losing only the Florida Derby (second) and the Kentucky Derby, when he was fourth and returned with a fracture. In addition to being the most successful stallion son of A.P.Indy, Pulpit marked his territory as a stallion success with the variety of aptitudes that his offspring have shown, including distances and surface.

Among Pulpit’s best racers on turf was the Group 1 winner Stroll, who stood his initial season at studat his birthplace, Claiborne Farm, before being leased to stand in Italy at Azienda Agricola Mediterranea, where his 2009 fee was €12000.

From his first, rather small crop of racers last year in the States, Stroll had three stakes winners, including graded winner Van Lear Rose, and was one of the leading freshman sires.

From the growing evidence, it is quite likely that the A.P.Indy group of stallions will become the dominant sire line in the States through the next decade or so.

Rail Trip won the most important stateside race on July 11, and a week later Tapit’s daughter Careless Jewel won the Delaware Oaks (Gr.2), the equal top race of the following weekend.

The currently dominant lines of Northern Dancer and Mr. Prospector, however, are not going to fade away anytime soon. Of the 11 Graded stakes for the weekend of July 18, six were won by progeny from one of the Northern Dancer or Mr. Prospector lines. The previous weekend, 10 of the 12 Graded stakes were won by descendents of one of the two predominant lines. The other two went to the A.P.Indys.

The Mr. Prospector line has been proceeding through Fappiano, in particular, at the highest level, with Fappiano’s Unbridled, Quiet American and Cryptoclearance all exerting an effect on bloodlines. And Storm Cat, especially through Giant’s Causeway, is a continuing factor for success.

This most classic line of Mr. Prospector is already responsible for the winners of the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes in 2009. Grindstone, the 1996 Kentucky Derby winner from Unbridled’s first crop, is the sire of 2004 Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone.

Unbridled’s best known son at stud is Unbridled’s Song, whose off-spring include last year’s champion juvenile colt Midshipman, who races for Godolphin if he returns to competition after an injury earlier this year.

Although the Unbridled branch of the Fappiano-Mr.Prospector is the line’s most Classic element, the line from Fappiano’s son Cryptoclearance is also having a good first half of the year. Candy Ride, an Argentine-bred son of the Cryptoclearance stallion Ride The Rails, is the sire of seven stakes winners to date from his first crop of foals, now three.