Gainesway’s flagship stallion Tapit is on his way to a third consecutive North American leading sire title and has once again set a single-season earnings record. Propelled by the worldwide success of his progeny during Thanksgiving holiday racing, Tapit bankrolled his 2016 earnings to more than $19.2 million.
Leading the fray was St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Ring Weekend, who determinedly held off a fast-closing Vyjack to win the Grade 2 Seabiscuit Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on Del Mar’s turf course. Trained by Graham Motion and ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, the Gainesway-bred chestnut gelding now has career earnings of more than $1.4 million.
Ring Weekend was not the only impressive Tapit winner on the Nov. 26 Del Mar card. One race earlier Don Alberto Stable’s Unique Bella wowed the crowd with a 10¼-length rout of seven other 2-year-old fillies in a 6½-furlong maiden special weight over the main track. Don Alberto purchased the gray filly for $400,000 from Gainesway’s consignment to the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale. Bred by Brushwood Stable, Unique Bella is out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Unrivaled Belle, who, in foal to Tapit, topped the recent Keeneland November breeding stock sale at $3.8 million.
On the East Coast Tapit’s 4-year-old son Divining Rod got the “tuck” end of a nip-and-tuck stretch battle in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct, falling only a head shy of Connect. Nevertheless, the Lael Stable standard bearer added $100,000 to his and his sire’s coffers.
A maiden race in Japan began the Tapit march to his third straight single-season record earnings. Rabbit Run, a $750,000 purchase from Gainesway’s 2015 Keeneland September consignment, was a seven-length debut maiden winner at Kyoto for owner Kazuko Yoshida. Bred in Kentucky by Helen Alexander, Helen Groves, and Dorothy Matz, Rabbit Run is out of the stakes-winning Dixieland Band mare Amelia.
From only seven crops racing, Tapit gained his first North American leading sire title in 2014 with record earnings of $18,788,944. His 2015 honors came with another single-season best of $19,196,972.