By Lucas Marquardt
WinStar Farm is home to a quartet of stallions whose first crop of yearlings will pass through the sales rings this season, and with the arrival of Fasig-Tipton July, the level of anticipation around the farm is understandably high. In the final installment of a video series about first-crop yearling sires leading up to the July Sale, the TDN’s Lucas Marquardt sat down with WinStar’s Director of Bloodstock Services and Assistant Racing Manager Sean Tugel to discuss the prospects of Carpe Diem (Giant’s Causeway) and Constitution (Tapit), who join Daredevil (More Than Ready) and Commissioner (A.P. Indy) as new faces entering the yearling market in 2018.
LM: Let’s talk about Constitution. How many does he have at the July Sale?
ST: He has eight entered in the July Sale.
LM: He was a Todd Pletcher trainee who came on strong early in his 3-year-old year. After his maiden win, before you knew it, he was winning the GI Florida Derby. Talk about that quick progression and if it was a surprise at all to you, knowing him as a young horse.
ST: Constitution always showed a high level of ability from the time we brought him home to break him after we bought him at Saratoga with our partners Twin Creeks. He always showed a lot of precocity and a lot of ability. For whatever reason, he just took a little bit of time to get to the races, more so than some of our other 2-year-olds that year–but as soon as he hit the racetrack, he was able to show all the ability he had. He quickly became a Grade I winner in the Florida Derby and was a talking horse going in the Kentucky Derby. He replicated that form with a big 111 Beyer as a 4-year-old when he won the GI Donn H.
LM: In terms of his first year at stud, you guys always support your horses and make sure they get off to quick starts, but you also have a partner in Randy Gullatt and Steve Davison’s Twin Creeks Racing. Talk about the partnership between you two, both in racing and, more recently, breeding.
ST: Whenever Twin Creeks gets a stallion, they support it 100% and they’re all in. They’ve supported him very well with the numbers of mares bred, and they’ll be out there supporting–as we will–at the sales, trying to find some of the best Constitutions we can to go on and make him a really good son of Tapit at stud.
LM: What are you hearing from breeders about the Consitution babies? Have they come on strongly from their weanling to yearling seasons?
ST: He did have a very good showing in November with a select few, but he has quite a few entered in both the July sale and obviously Saratoga, where he was a $400,000 yearling himself. I think it’s a great representation that he gives you an early good physical. I know David Hanley, our general manager, is among many that have said that Constitutions have made a really big move forward from weanlings to yearlings, and I think a lot of people are sharing that same sentiment around town.
LM: Are you seeing some of that same progression from the weanling to yearling season with the Carpe Diems? What have you been hearing from the breeders?
ST: They’ve still been very high on the horse. Ever since they first started hitting the ground as foals, all of our breeders have been very complementary of him, very excited for him, and talking to the breeders, I know there’s a good representation of him at both Fasig July and the Saratoga sale. There are also many good physicals that will be going to Keeneland September. As far as breeders, they’re all very excited to be able to offer their Carpe Diems this year. They’re very excited for it, and many of them believe that they’re some of the best yearlings they have to offer in their consignments.
LM: Carpe Diem himself was a sales-topping 2-year-old at OBS March. Can you talk about his development as a young horse?
ST: Carpe Diem was an exceptionally good-looking yearling. He was a $550,000 [Keeneland September] yearling that went on to be a co-sales topping 2-year-old for $1.6 million. We bought him in partnership with Stonestreet. They’re always a great partner to have when trying to get a young horse started as a stallion.
LM: Do you see many similarities to his sire, Giant’s Causeway?
ST: A lot of people who have seen Carpe Diem since he came here to be a stallion have always commented on how much he resembles his sire. Giant’s Causeway was an absolutely phenomenal sire, and he is emerging as a sire’s sire through some of his young horses, especially Fed Biz–who we stand here as well. So we think that right now Carpe Diem is a great representation of his sire. He is one of the leading choices by Giant’s Causeway to breed to, and a lot of people with his initial stud fee of $25,000 respected the fact that he was a very nice individual to breed to.