09/26/2016 11:16AM

Tapit tops Keeneland September sale sires

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Tapit had the Keeneland September sale's most expensive filly, going for $1.4 million to Whisper Hill Farm.

The commercial juggernaut Tapit finished as Keeneland September’s leading sire by gross for the fifth consecutive year, with 31 yearlings sold for $19,835,000. A distant second was the late Scat Daddy, with 54 sold for $13,379,000, led by the $3 million sale-topper. Tapit also led by average sale price among stallions with three or more offspring sold at $639,839, a position he also held in 2014. He narrowly edged out War Front, who finished at $633,947.

Tapit accounted for four of the auction’s seven most expensive offerings, including the second-highest price, a half-brother to 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man who sold to the partnership of Bridlewood Farm and Coolmore for $2 million. He also had the sale’s most expensive filly, a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Gun Runner who sold to Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm for $1.4 million.

Tapit, who stands at Gainesway Farm, is North America’s two-time reigning leading sire, last year breaking his own single-season record for progeny earnings. He is atop the general sire list again through Sunday.

“Tapit, he’s the king, he’s unique,” Gainesway director of sales Michael Hernon said. “You breed to Tapit or you buy a Tapit yearling, you really have a great chance to [have] a graded stakes winner, if not a Grade 1 winner. They run on all surfaces, colts, fillies, they go short, they go long. He’s thoroughly proven, he’s in international demand, and he’s becoming a collector’s item. He filled [his book] this year at $300,000. He bred 125 mares. We look after the customer base with those kind of numbers, we look after the horse. And I think we’re going to see a whole lot more by Tapit.”

The top first-crop yearling sire by both gross and average was 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb, who finished with 43 sold for $6,092,500, an average of $141,686. Standing at his birthplace, Claiborne Farm, Orb was led by a $450,000 colt.

“I’m very impressed with the Orbs, and obviously the market has been too because they’re selling very well,” said pinhooker and bloodstock agent Niall Brennan, who worked with Orb prior to his racing career. “There’s a great consistency to them. They’ve all got great movement, and there’s a lot of consistency to Orb.

“Some of them are a little plain through the head. That’s the Malibu Moon, but they have a sleeker-type body. The good Malibu Moons are like that, and that’s the way Orb was,” Brennan added. “He had that Unbridled influence. He wasn’t a heavy-bodied horse, and I think a lot of his stock look like that. He’s the most impressive freshman sire to me so far in consistency.”