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Tiago (dark brown h, 2004, by Pleasant Tap x Set Them Free, by Stop the Music)

Adena Springs, $7,500

Anyone looking for flashy looks from a son of Pleasant Tap is about as optimistic as the blind squirrel searching for acorns. If only Tiago had big, floppy ears and a spindly tail, he could pass for Eeyore’s younger brother.

But having dissed the rangy, 16.2 hand horse on cosmetic beauty, let me praise him for other qualities. A good-sized horse with plenty of bone, Tiago has very good balance, has sharply defined muscle and tendons, and looks better the longer you look at him. This is the kind of horse that Pleasant Tap was expected to sire in quantity from the start of his stud career. And had he gotten a few more like Tiago, Pleasant Tap would be a much more potent force in the stallion ranks than he is.

Rather than the input of his sire, the force for genetic consistency in Tiago’s pedigree is his wonderful dam, the Stop the Music mare Set Them Free, dam also of Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo and G2-placed Sea Jewel.

Tiago is like his classic-winning half-brother in having the well-balanced hindquarter mechanics to propel him powerfully through the final furlongs of his races for victories at G1 level twice (Santa Anita Derby and Goodwood Handicap), as well as to pick up third places in the Belmont Stakes and BC Classic.

The dark brown horse is quite lengthy and has the rugged looks of a horse who could take a lot of racing. And he earned more than $2.3 million in 21 starts from 2 through 5.

As with most horses who can gallop strongly and finish up well, Tiago would profit from matings with mares of good substance, and his rugged constitution should be an asset to more refined mares with greater body mass. Typey mares with good speed (though not purely short-speed) should do very well with him, and Tiago has the potential to pass on his dam’s excellent traits if used wisely by breeders looking to produce athletes.