09/25/2017 12:06PM

Tapit leads sires by average at Keeneland September

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Leading sire Tapit outslugged familiar commercial rival War Front to rank as Keeneland September’s leading sire by average sale price for the third time in his career.

Tapit, who stands at Gainesway, recorded a staggering average of $950,000 for his 17 yearlings sold. Claiborne Farm’s War Front averaged $770,000 from his 15 sold. Each finished with four seven-figure yearlings.

“When you have 24 or 25 of each of those up front like that, it’s like Hagler and Hearns battling it out – the battle of the heavyweights on the stallion side,” Bob Elliston, Keeneland’s vice president of racing and sales, said after the elite Book 1 session in which there was high demand for the progeny of both stallions. “That’s a tribute to both Gainesway and the Winchells, who stand Tapit, and Claiborne, who stands War Front. The international market wants them just as badly as we do in the U.S., and that’s pretty cool, too.”

Tapit accounted for the three most expensive yearlings of the auction – a $2.7 million full sister to Grade 1 winner Cupid, sold to Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier; a $2.6 million colt from the family of champion Saint Liam and Grade 1 winner Gun Runner, sold to Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm; and a colt out of Grade 1 winner Tiz Miz Sue, sold to Shadwell for $2.5 million. He also was represented by a $1 million filly out of Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can, sold to Don Alberto.

“I love Tapits as I buy them, breed them, and sell them,” Pope said. “I have other members of this family and I know it is going to be a continuing successful family. He is a strong horse with good bone and substance. He seems to be very good-minded.”

This year’s yearlings represent the first crop conceived on Tapit’s $300,000 stud fee, the highest in North America. As a result, commercial expectations for his progeny have been increased. The stallion was represented by a pair of high-ticket buybacks – a half-brother to champion Honor Code whose high bid was $1.05 million, the same price he sold for as a weanling, and a filly out of multiple Grade 1 winner Winter Memories who left the ring at $900,000.

War Front’s four seven-figure offerings were led by a $1.9 million colt out of multiple Grade 1 winner Iotapa, sold to bloodstock agent Donato Lanni.