Updated on 12/08/2012 10:30PM

Leading sire Pulpit dies unexpectedly at Claiborne

Barbara D. Livingston
Pulpit, shown at Claiborne Farm in 2010, sired 38 graded stakes winners, including eight Grade 1 winners.

Pulpit, a multiple Grade 2 winner and prominent sire, died in his paddock at Claiborne Farm on Thursday at age 18. The stallion had shown no signs of ill health in the weeks prior to his death.

“We are all shocked and very sad,” said Bradley Purcell, farm manager for Claiborne. “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.”

The homebred son of A.P. Indy carried the standard for Claiborne Farm his entire life. He was bred by the Paris, Ky., farm and raced under its colors while trained by Frank Brothers, winning 4 of 6 starts and earning $728,200.

Pulpit was unraced as a juvenile, but quickly established himself during his 3-year-old season in 1997, winning his first three starts, including the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes. After a runner-up effort in the Florida Derby, Pulpit rebounded with a 3 1/2-length win in the Blue Grass Stakes, making him one of the favorites heading into the Kentucky Derby.

Pulpit finished fourth to Silver Charm in the Derby and was retired after the race due to injury. He returned to his birthplace to begin his stallion career, where he has sired 415 winners in his first 12 crops of racing age for progeny earnings of $56,057,254.

Pulpit’s 38 graded stakes winners include Grade 1 winners Pyro, Rutherienne, Ice Box, Purge, Stroll, Tapit, Sky Mesa, and Corinthian, who also won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile prior to the race achieving graded status. His progeny have been successful internationally as well, winning stakes races in Canada, England, Germany, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates.

Like his sire A.P. Indy, Pulpit has been effective as a sire of sires. He has at least 30 sons standing at stud around the world, including popular commercial sires Tapit, Sky Mesa, Parading, Corinthian, Stroll, Sightseeing, Purge, plus new sires Ice Box and Pyro.

Pulpit was scheduled to stand for a fee of $50,000 in 2013. He will be buried at Claiborne Farm.

Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful legacy this beautiful stallion leaves behind. RIP Pulpit! I hope there is an inquiry into his sudden death. How does a healthy stud just die in his paddock?
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
What a handsome horse Pulpit was, the picture of him (above) is very beautiful. I'm so sad to hear Pulpit has passed away. So unexpected and sad, Pulpit passed away relatively young. This is a total shock. He's a significant sire. My deepest condolences to Pulpit's connections and fans in their grief at his passing. A major loss, Pulpit will definitely be missed. Well done, Pupit. Excellent job, buddy. Rest in peace.
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
What a surprising loss, at least he has his offspring to carry his name on. Big loss for the American breeding industry. R.I.P. my friend.
Wesley Wright More than 1 year ago
Maybe he had a heart attack. Too bad. He was a great sire.
BrandonLayer More than 1 year ago
The horses who were 3 years old in 1997 were the best group of 3 year olds in the past 20 years at least. Pulpit, Silver Charm, Captain Bodgit, Free House and Touch Gold. They ran a 115 Beyer in the Derby and a 118 in the Preakness. Too bad Pulpit and Captain Bodgit retired early.
thomas More than 1 year ago
That's one of the more sensible comments I've read in a while. Any of the aforementioned 5 could have won, if not swept this year's triple crown races.
Timothy Pettine More than 1 year ago
As good as they were, still say the 2000 3 year olds were the best crop perhaps ever. Tiznow, captain Steve, red bullet, giants causeway, fusaichi Pegasus, el corredor aptitude, Albert the great. Just saying, those 3 yrs olds all beat older horses at 3 and dominated racing.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Sadly, we are one step further away from Seattle Slew. Namaste...
John Nicoletti More than 1 year ago
Fortunately, the blood line keep flowing.
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
true pitty, wonderful sire . . . under rated grass off-springs.
Memo Viento More than 1 year ago
Tough beat for the owners and all breeders. He offered a lot more in the final 4-6 years of breeding. Years of stakes wins that will be credited to other sires now, but hopefully one of his sons at stud.
Don Daggett More than 1 year ago
a great sire and sire of sires his blood will carry his legacy a long time
Jay Romig More than 1 year ago
sorry keyboard gone wild