It was a Grade 1 double for TAPIT opening weekend at Keeneland. Following Essential Quality’s victory in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) Saturday, Valiance stepped up for her minute in the spotlight in Sunday’s Spinster Stakes (G1). The Todd Pletcher trainee was dismissed at 6-1 odds in a field that included the consistent Grade 1 winner Ollie’s Candy and Kentucky Oaks (G1) heroine Shedaresthedevil.
Ridden by jockey Luis Saez, Valiance stalked from midpack in the nine furlong test, drew up three to four wide around the far turn and battled against front-running Shedaresthedevil in upper stretch. Clearing that rival and pulling away, Valiance met Ollie’s Candy’s closing bid, but fended off that foe and held safe until the wire, stopping the clock in 1:49.76. A hard fought victory for the daughter of TAPIT for owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Barry Schwartz, and China Horse Club.
Now with six wins in eight starts (three of which in stakes company) Valiance has increased her earnings to nearly $500,000. She is out of the Grade 1-winning Empire Maker mare Last Full Measure and was bred in Kentucky by China Horse Club.
Valiance is TAPIT‘s 27th lifetime Grade 1 winner, the most of any North American sire – clearing the heavy-hitting sire War Front by five Grade 1 winners. The totals for sires standing for $100,000 or more: TAPIT, 27; War Front, 22; Medaglia d’Oro, 21; Candy Ride (ARG), 16; Curlin, 11; Quality Road, 11; Uncle Mo, 8; Into Mischief, 7. TAPIT also leads the general sire list with 9.32% graded stakes horses in 2020, for sires with 30 or more starters this year.