08/06/2017 7:59PM

Sparkman: Tapping the well

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Debra A. Roma
American Gal, by Concord Point, wins the Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga.

The only thing missing from the burgeoning resume of three-time leading American sire Tapit is a reputation as a sire of sires. At 16 years old, the son of Pulpit has not yet had many opportunities to prove himself on that score, but with more than 30 sons currently at stud, it is highly likely that his eventual success in that sphere is more or less inevitable.

Hansen, the best colt from his first few crops, was handicapped in breeders’ eyes by a light female line, and he was exported after standing only one season in the United States. Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tapizar has yet to set the world alight, and Grade 2 winner Trappe Shot has enjoyed only moderate success.

The distinction of being the first son of Tapit to sire a Grade 1 winner, though, goes to Concord Point, whose brilliantly fast daughter American Gal ran away with Saratoga’s Test Stakes last Saturday.

Bred in Kentucky by Lee McMillin and Ed Rudley, Concord Point is the second foal out of Harve de Grace, by Boston Harbor, whose name should not, of course, be confused with that of Horse of the Year Havre de Grace. A winning half-sister to multiple graded winner Tasha’s Miracle, by Harlan’s Holiday, from a solidly middle-class family, Harve de Grace has since produced Grade 1 winner Off the Tracks, by Curlin.

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Purchased as a weanling at the 2007 Keeneland November sale for $70,000 in the name of Easy Come Easy Go Stable, he was pinhooked to the 2008 Keeneland September yearling sale, where Coleton Stable was listed as the buyer for $220,000. Pinhooked once more to the 2009 Barretts March sale, he failed to meet his reserve at $280,000.

He began his racing career for Pete Bradley and Oxbow Stable on the opening day of Santa Anita’s 2009 winter meeting, winning his maiden comfortably over 6 1/2 furlongs for trainer Bob Baffert. Kaleem Shah bought Concord Point privately shortly thereafter, but he finished only fourth as the 1-2 favorite in his first outing in Shah’s red, white, and blue colors. After winning a Santa Anita allowance, the gray Tapit colt finished second, beaten only a half-length by Smiling Tiger, in the Grade 3 Laz Barrera.

Concord Point neither ran nor looked like a sprinter, and he proved the point in his first start around two turns in the Grade 3 Iowa Derby, drawing off by 8 1/2 lengths and breaking the track record for 1 1/16 miles in the process. He raced only once more, leading most of the way around Mountaineer’s bullring to win the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby.

Retired to Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm later that year, Concord Point sired four stakes winners in his first crop, the best of which was multiple listed winner My Point Exactly (out of My Golden Quest, by Coronado’s Quest). His second crop included a couple of minor stakes winners, but American Gal – from his third crop – is the first graded winner among his eight stakes winners from 131 foals age 3 and up.

Bred in Kentucky by her owner, Kaleem Shah, American Gal is the second foal out of American Story, by Ghostzapper, a talented filly who placed in the Grade 2 Milady Handicap for Shah. Purchased for $400,000 at the 2009 Fasig-Tipton Florida sale of 2-year-olds in training, American Story is half-sister to Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen winner Reynaldothewizard, by Speightstown, and to Grade 1 Apple Blossom and Go for Wand Stakes winner Seventh Street, by Street Cry.

That duo’s dam, Holiday Runner, by Meadowlake, was a fast and early 2-year-old who won the Juvenile and Fashion stakes and ran third in the Grade 2 Adirondack. Holiday Runner is granddaughter of Grade 3 Anoakia Stakes winner Really Fancy, by In Reality, and descends from a solid but not spectacular family that has been thoroughly American since the mid-19th century.

American Story has since produced a gelded 2-year-old full brother to American Gal named American All Star and a yearling full sister named America’s Starlet. Her 2017 filly by Bayern has already been named American Model, and she was bred back to Tapit this year.

With three Belmont Stakes winners, plus top Grade 1-winning colts with superb pedigrees like Frosted and Constitution at stud, Tapit’s coronation as a successful sire of sires is almost certainly just a matter of time. Concord Point, however, will not benefit from that reflected glory, since he was exported to South Korea in 2016.