TAPIT Duo Represent Sire in This Weekend’s Churchill Classics

One of only three stallions to have runners in both the Kentucky Derby (G1) and the Kentucky Oaks (G1) this weekend, TAPIT’s hoofprints are all over this weekend’s races.

TAPIT is the only stallion to have a Kentucky Derby (G1) runner in addition to being the grandsire and broodmare sire of two other Kentucky Derby runners. In another show of his ability to sire sires, he’s also the grandsire of a second Oaks runner.

TAPIT daughter Pauline’s Pearl will be in a spot to take the shortest route around the track in the Kentucky Oaks when she breaks from the inside post on Friday. It will be her third straight stakes race after finishing a close second in March’s Honeybee (G3) and winning the Fantasy Stakes (G3) by a length in early April.

“She’s all class,” trainer Steve Asmussen told Blood-Horse after the Fantasy. “Has a tremendous pedigree. She’s gotten better every day. She’s gotten faster with each race. She’s getting extremely good at the perfect time.”

The Stonestreet Stables homebred is a familiar one to Asmussen, who also trained her Grade 1-winning dam Hot Dixie Chick.

Also the dam of multiple stakes winner Union Jackson, Hot Dixie Chick is also a half-sister to Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming and Grade 2 winner Positivity Spirit.

The Kentucky Oaks goes off at 5:51 p.m. ET on Friday with TAPIT also represented as a grandsire by co-second choice Travel Column. Late Gainesway stallion EMPIRE MAKER also has an entry with Moraz breaking from post position eight.

TAPIT’s Champion 2-Year-Old son Essential Quality has been perfect so far in his career and handicappers expect him to stay that way in the Kentucky Derby (G1), with the colt the race favorite.

Made the 2/1 favorite in the race, Essential Quality most recently won the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) and is part of a duo giving trainer Brad Cox his first Kentucky Derby starters. If the colt wins the Kentucky Derby, he’ll also be the first winner of the race for his owner-breeder Godolphin.

“He’s obviously the best Tapit colt we’ve ever had, and he’s obviously been good since day one,” Cox told Blood-Horse after Essential Quality’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) win. “He has an amazing amount of talent. He’s an amazing animal.”

Essential Quality is looking to become the second classic winner for his family in two years with his dam’s U.S. Champion 2-Year-Old half-sister Folklore the granddam of last year’s Japanese Triple Crown winner Contrail.

Essential Quality breaks from Gate 14, one spot outside of TAPIT grandson Hidden Stash. That colt is by TAPIT son Constitution. TAPIT also plays a part in the pedigree of Derby runner Soup And Sandwich, who is out of his daughter Souper Scoop.

TAPIT is joined by AFLEET ALEX as Gainesway stallions with Kentucky Derby connections. Derby runner Bourbonic is out of AFLEET ALEX’s Grade 2-winning daughter Dancing Afleet. If the colt wins a classic he’ll be the second out of an AFLEET ALEX mare in three years after Sir Winston won the 2019 Belmont Stakes (G1).

EMPIRE MAKER is also represented as a broodmare sire in the Kentucky Derby with his daughters producing Mandaloun and Rock Your World.