Updated on 12/08/2012 9:30PM

Leading sire Pulpit dies unexpectedly at Claiborne

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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.