Tapit has started off 2016 where he left off at the end of 2015, and his headliners this week are Frosted, a very impressive winner in Dubai yesterday, and Mohaymen, the pro-tem leader of the 3-year-old division. Top sons will mean stallion sons, and Tapit will have every opportunity to establish his credentials as a sire of sires down the road. This year he has such as Tonalist (Lane’s End $30,000), Constitution (WinStar $25,000), Tapizar (Gainesway $15,000), Trappe Shot (Claiborne $10,000), Flashback (Hill ‘n’ Dale $7,500), Tapiture (Darby Dan $7,500) and Race Day (Spendthrift $7,000) at stud at the major Kentucky farms at fees above $5,000, and many more at or below that level in Kentucky and elsewhere. (Hansen started off at Ashford at $12,500 but has since been sold to Korea.)
Of this group, only Trappe Shot (pictured; photo courtesy of Frances J. Karon) will be represented by 3-year-olds of 2016, and he will be an interesting horse to follow. Last year he finished 11th on the Blood-Horse Freshman Sire list with 11 winners and $562,957 in progeny earnings behind leader Uncle Mo — not a bad position from which to progress. For instance, Claiborne’s Flatter was 16th on the list in 2007 and has since become a very good sire, and the same can be said for Claiborne’s First Samurai, 15th on the list in 2010 — the same year the farm’s War Front was 4th.
Like Frosted and Mohaymen, Trappe Shot was conditioned by Kiaran McLaughlin. Bred by Hobeau Farm in Florida, Trappe Shot is from the Private Account mare Shopping. He was purchased by Steve Young from the Hobeau Dispersal (Cary Frommer, agent) at the 2009 Fasig-Tipton May Maryland 2-year-olds in training sale for a record price, $850,000. Young bought the chestnut colt, a half-brother to G1 winner Miss Shop and two other stakes winners, for Nicholas Brady’s Mill House, a longtime patron of Claiborne. Brady, a former Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan, and Claiborne knew Trappe Shot’s pedigree well: Shopping, his dam, was bred by Arthur B. Hancock III; Shopping’s sire, Private Account, was an Ogden Phipps homebred and Claiborne sire; Trappe Shot’s 2nd dam, Impish, was bred by Dinny Phipps; Trappe Shot’s 3rd dam, Lady Be Good, and 4th dam, Past Eight, were bred by the Wheatley Stable of Gladys Phipps.
The horse only made one start at 2 — a fifth in a maiden special at Saratoga — but won his debut at 3 at Gulfstream like a good thing, by 10 1/4-lengths in 1:09.57. He reeled off four wins in a row through conditions, culminating the streak with a win in the Listed Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth over a mile and a sixteenth. He was then sent into the G1 Haskell Invitational Stakes where he finished second to Preakness winner Lookin at Lucky. After an unsuccessful run next in the Travers, Trappe Shot was reverted again to sprint races and won the $60,000 Waldoboro Stakes at Belmont in 1:09.03 and the G2 True North in 1:08.86 by 8 1/2 lengths. After that, he lost the G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt by a nose in 1:09.71 and finished his career with two fourth-place performances in the G1 Vosburgh and G1 BC Sprint. All told, the horse retired with six wins from 12 starts and $703,884 in earnings.
He entered stud at Claiborne for $10,000 in 2012, and after his foals started appearing in 2013 the word got out. In 2014, his first auction yearlings — 73 of them — averaged a staggering $115,712 with a median price of $85,000, quite a return on investment versus the stud fee. One of them, a Juddmonte purchase, made $600,000.
The fourth year at stud for a stallion — the year his first crop runs at 2 — is usually the toughest for stud managers, who frequently have to solicit mares and deal sometimes, but this wasn’t the case for Claiborne. In the winter/spring of 2015, Trappe Shot seasons were selling for as high as $22,000 NG — again, quite a testament to the stallion’s foals, buzz, and commercial appeal.
Because Trappe Shot wasn’t a 2-year-old himself and didn’t win until 3, his first 2-year-olds can be excused for not doing more. But beneath the lines, what they did was pretty good, and here’s a telling clue: All except two won maiden specials, and the two that didn’t won $50,000 maiden claimers — an indication of class. Plus, they won at tracks like Belmont, Churchill, Gulfstream, Aqueduct, and Santa Anita. He also had a stakes colt, Fish Trappe Road, who ran second in the $250,000 Sleepy Hollow at Belmont.
To date, Trappe Shot now has 16 winners from his first crop, including another stakes filly, Kalabaka, who was second in the $100,000 Ruthless at Aqueduct. But his talking horse is an Aqueduct maiden winner from this weekend, My Man Sam, who won at a mile and a sixteenth by eight lengths and was named a ‘TDN Rising Star.’ On the same day, Jan. 31, a daughter, Miss Meteor, won a 7 1/2-furlong turf maiden special at Gulfstream after two fourths on dirt. So, things are starting to heat up for him.