art princess, ben glass, birdstone, broodmare selection, corinthian, fasig-tipton february sale, Gainesway Farm, important producers, Las Virgenes, michael hernon, Mr. Greeley, officer, Pulpit, rhumb line, Santa Anita, stallion success, summerhill equine, Tapit, turbulent descent, young sires, zazu
The following post first appeared earlier this week at Paulick Report.
Zazu, winner of Saturday’s Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita, is the sixth Grade 1 winner for her sire Tapit, and the 10-year-old Wood Memorial winner by Pulpit out of the Unbridled mare Tap Your Heels has a crop of 3-year-olds bursting with promising stock, such as Dancinginherdreams and Tell a Kelly.
This Saturday, the stallion’s exciting 3-year-old colt Tapizar will contest the G2 Bob Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita. The bright bay colt began his march along the Triple Crown trail with victory in the Sham Stakes on Jan. 15.
Beginning his stud career as leading freshman sire and sire of champion Stardom Bound, Tapit is drawing the attention of breeders across the globe and is a major factor in the revitalization of the Gainesway Farm stallion program. Statistically, the handsome gray stallion moves up his mares significantly and has an extraordinary 2011 book of G1 winners and producers, champions and Breeders’ Cup winners.
Zazu became her sire’s 27th stakes winner with victory in the Las Virgenes, and she is the first stakes winner out of Rhumb Line, a daughter of Mr. Greeley that produced the very fast Officer mare Art Princess, who was second as a 2-year-old in the G2 Cherry Hinton in England.
The 5-year-old Art Princess is her dam’s first foal, and Zazu is the mare’s third foal. Zazu was bred by Summerhill Equine LLC and Michael Hernon (of Gainesway Farm), and all Rhumb Line’s matings have been directed by Hernon. With the mare’s success, the 2011 mating for Rhumb Line is likely to be selected from the Gainesway stallion lineup.
In an interview following the 2011 Fasig-Tipton February sale, Hernon described the qualities that recommended Rhumb Line to him. He said, “I found her as a broodmare prospect at the 2005 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky February mixed sale. She was a maiden, Mill Ridge consigned her, and she was an immediate ‘yes’ on physique and character. She has great balance and size and has a strong personality.”
Hernon was also aware that Rhumb Line “was a mare with quite a lot of ability of her own. She won her first three lifetime starts in open company in New York, showed great speed, was considered good enough to take her chance in the Mother Goose, and in my mind had stakes-winning ability. She figured to be a mare who would become a potential stakes producer, and she showed that with her first foal, Art Princess.”
Art Princess is a robust chestnut who made $60,000 as a 2006 Keeneland November weanling, then more than doubled that price when resold in 2007 at the Tattersalls October yearling auction. The money was well-spent because Art Princess won early at 2, then was beaten a neck in the G2 Cherry Hinton Stakes, after she had made all the running. Art Princess was bred to Tapit in 2010 and is close to foaling.
Rhumb Line’s first foal is also notable in selling for six figures, something that each of the mare’s subsequent foals have done at some point at auction.
Part of the reason for the mare’s sales appeal, Hernon believes, is that “she strongly resembles her sire, Mr. Greeley, and is a big, strong, striking mare that puts a very good foal on the ground.” The Tapit yearling colt out of Rhumb Line (and thus a full brother to Zazu) sold to Ben Glass, agent for Gary and Mary West, for $260,000 as a weanling in the 2010 Keeneland November sale.
Rhumb Line is currently pregnant to Birdstone, yet another important young Gainesway stallion. She was one of an excellent book of mares that Birdstone bred in 2010 following his extraordinary first-crop success with 2009 classic winners Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby and Summer Bird in the Belmont Stakes.
Rhumb Line’s current 2-year-old colt is by the Pulpit stallion Corinthian, thus making the juvenile closely related to Zazu, and the colt, named Corinthian’s Jewel, sold for $130,000 in September to George Weaver on behalf of Randy Hill.
Hernon recalled, “I sent George Weaver a text to recommend this colt, who was selling later in the sale. He looked the part, vetted good, and George had noted horseman Eddie Woods review the horse for him and do the bidding. The colt is in training with J.J. Pletcher in Ocala and is pleasing Pletcher very much with his initial training.”