05/02/2014 7:43PM

Kentucky Oaks: Untapable’s pedigree a Winchell tapestry

Debra A. Roma
Kentucky Oaks winner Untapable is the produce of several generations of the Winchell breeding program.

Even-money favorite Untapable proved emphatically that she is the best of her class in the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, and gave the Winchell family, long a major presence in American racing, its second Kentucky Oaks win after Summerly in 2005.

Through three generations, Untapable’s pedigree is comprised of nearly undiluted Winchell stock. The 3-year-old filly is a daughter of Gainesway stallion Tapit, a Winchell-owned star of the mid-2000s who took the 2004 Wood Memorial and in recent years has become one of the most successful commercial sires in North America. Untapable’s dam, the Prized mare Fun House, was bred and campaigned by the late Verne Winchell and won the Grade 2 Buena Vista Stakes at Santa Anita in 2004. Fun House is also the dam of 2010 Secretariat Stakes winner and Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Paddy O’ Prado, by El Prado, who was bred by the Winchells. 

Three close relatives are graded stakes winners: 1991 Grade 1 Hollywood Derby winner Olympio, also a multiple Grade 2 winner and later a sire; 2001 Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes winner Early Flyer, and 1994 Grade 2 Del Mar Debutante winner Call Now. All three of those runners were also bred and campaigned by Verne Winchell, who founded the ubiquitous Winchell’s Donuts chain in 1948 and managed the family’s Thoroughbred operation to much success until his death in 2002. His son, Ron Winchell, now oversees the family’s horse business.

Fun House has produced two other Winchell-bred winners – her first foal Wild Chant, by War Chant; and the Tapit-sired Double Tapped – in addition to Untapable and Paddy O’ Prado, who now stands at Spendthrift Farm. The mare is also the dam of a 2-year-old Tapit filly, Time to Tap, of a yearling Tapit colt, and of a Tapit filly foaled on April 4.

David Fiske, farm manager for Winchell Thoroughbreds, said Friday that Fun House had been sent to Antony Beck’s Gainesway the morning of the Oaks to be bred back to Tapit.

Verne Winchell also bred and campaigned Untapable’s second dam, the winning Classic Go Go mare Bistra, and campaigned Untapable’s third dam, winner Carols Christmas, by Whitesburg. Verne Winchell claimed Carols Christmas during the early 1980s.

This female family tree extends to another notable recent Winchell homebred - 2012 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner and current Gainesway stallion Tapizar. Grade 1 winners Pyro and Cuvee are other prominent names in an extended pedigree full of black type.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wish breeders could get away from Tapit. Sure the horse has produced some good ones of late but they are distance limited. 1-1/8 thats it. Remember Hansen? Same thing. The reason this filly looks great is because the other horses breeding is even worse. She beat a bunch of mediocre fillies yesterday post 13 and all. I am not trying to troll. I am just pointing out the way today's USA horses are limited in distance is mainly because the USA has a steady diet of shorter races which only encourage this type of breeding. My question to you would be this. If races started at a mile instead 6 fur and went as long as 1.5 miles instead of 1 1/8 would you be breeding to Tapit? AWD is Average Winning Distance. Tapit AWD is 7.37 furlongs / Indian Charlie AWD is 6.62 Take a look at Dynaformers AWD...9.13 furlongs. I am not talking dirt or turf. I am just talking breeding in general needs to address this and start getting smarter by using longer AW horses and for the tracks in general to start carding longer races. This would turn the breeding operations around and get them to focus on stamina and well built horses instead of speed and spindly little legged sprinters. If this doesn't turn around will the Kentucky Derby need to be shortened to 1-1/8th? Beyers are getting lower and lower. Anyone know what Secretariats beyer ratings were worked out to be by a panel of experts including Andy Beyer. Secretariat would have earned a 139 for his Belmont. Ghostzapper a 128. Even Count Fleet may have hit 150. Does anyone see anything close these days...? Nooooooooooo!!!! Bring back the art of breeding by booking longer races!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
and further point is the proof. Why is European and Japanese breeding so far superior to the US. It's because they card longer races and in turn force breeding to respond in that manner. North American breeding is going backwards.
T.W.SOCKS RACING More than 1 year ago
ADD to fact that the owner stood behind Steve Asmussen !
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Good, good story. Let's remember it was the home breeders who started it all.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Would've loved to have read this before post time, yesterday :-)