In a crowded and often fickle stallion landscape, one North American sire at Gainesway Farm has stood out above all the rest for over a decade strong now. He may not win the general sires title every year, but no stallion in this country has produced the consistent excellence of Tapit since he went to stud in 2005, and Saturday was yet another elite-level reminder when his champion son Essential Quality streaked across the wire as his remarkable fourth GI Belmont S. winner. Wednesday morning, Gainesway's director of stallion sales and recruitment Sean Tugel joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland to discuss the gray giant's everlasting and ever-improving legacy.
“It's a real pleasure and privilege to get to work in this business and be so close to an absolute legend,” said Tugel, calling in via Zoom as the Green Group Guest of the Week. “I can remember when I first came to Kentucky and Storm Cat was still breeding and commanding $500,000. I would take mares over there when I was at Hill 'n' Dale and you just remember that allure of a legendary stallion. Tapit is that now. You're in awe of him. Every year, he continues to raise his stature and produce champions. He's a horse that makes people's dreams come alive.”
Tapit is on pace to pass Giant's Causeway and become the all-time leading North American sire at some point this summer, as his progeny have banked, at last count, $170,556,107 on the racetrack (Giant's Causeway sits at $172,393,625). Tugel talked about what that would mean for the farm and the Beck family, whose patriarch Graham Beck bought Gainesway from founder John R. Gaines in 1989.
“One thing about Gainesway is it's steeped in the history of the game,” Tugel said. “Part of our farm is the old Greentree facility and farm of the Whitney family. So horses like Peter Pan, Domino, some unbelievable stallions have stood here. When Mr. Gaines had the farm he stood Lyphard, Riverman, Cozzene. Now there's a new chapter in the long history of Gainesway with the Beck family, who have stood what is arguably the best sire of modern history. For him to be the all-time leading North American sire, that's what Mr. Beck bought the farm for and what his son Antony has been able to carry on the legacy with. So for them, I don't think anything would be more special.”
Elsewhere on the show, which is also sponsored by West Point Thoroughbreds, the Minnesota Racehorse Engagement Project and Legacy Bloodstock, the writers reacted to a monster Belmont Day card, questioned the merits of the latest legal action by Bob Baffert and Amr Zedan, and remembered the great Rick Porter. Click here to watch the podcast; click here for the audio-only version or find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.