A victory in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic made Tripoli the first Grade 1 winner on dirt for the important sire Kitten’s Joy, one of the two top-tier sons of El Prado (by Sadler’s Wells) at stud in Kentucky. The other is Darley‘s Medaglia d’Oro, a top-class dirt racer who sires elite racers on dirt and turf.
Kitten’s Joy, an exceptional turf champion here in the States, has sired 14 G1 winners on turf, and his importance in that regard is such that he is one of the most consistently popular sires in the country for European breeders and buyers. With performers such as Hawkbill (Eclipse Stakes), Roaring Lion (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Irish Champion Stakes), and Kameko (2,000 Guineas) abroad, there is no question that the success which Kitten’s Joy has shown in America also translates directly into exceptional form overseas.
Based at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms outside Paris, Ky., Kitten’s Joy stands for $60,000 live foal this year, and he has high-class young sons at stud in Kentucky (G1 winners Oscar Performance at Mill Ridge; Divisidero at Airdrie; Big Blue Kitten and Real Solution at Calumet), in Japan (Hawkbill at Darley Japan), and in Europe (G1 winners Kameko at Tweenhills and Bobby’s Kitten at Lanwades). Roaring Lion unfortunately died after one season at stud, and his only crop are now yearlings.
An imposing individual who combines substance and scope in his physique, Kitten’s Joy gets turf performers so consistently that Tripoli made his first 11 starts on that surface, winning two. Switched to dirt three races back, the handsome chestnut has won two and finished a close second to Express Train (Union Rags) in the G2 San Diego Handicap in their prep for the Pacific Classic.
A good horse on turf, Tripoli is evidently better on dirt. With victory in the Pacific Classic, he became the seventh G1 winner for Tapit as a broodmare sire. Is the latter fact a telling point? Probably.
An unequivocal factor for both speed and for stamina, Tapit loves grass. Eats it every day.
His racers, however, are not widely tested on turf racing. Some have excelled, but with their pace and handy way of going, they tend to do quite well on dirt, and they aren’t most trainers’ first thoughts for “turf horses.” While their action and overall aptitude indicates that the Tapit stock should be as good on firm turf as over dirt, they don’t shape like horses who would prefer racing over a bog.
Bred in Kentucky by Blue Devil Racing Stable LLC, Tripoli is the second foal of Love Train, who is one of her sire’s 283 black-type horses. A winner of three races from 10 starts and $146,499, Love Train was third in the Lightning City Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs and is a half-sister to stakes winner Starfish Bay (Elusive Quality), who is the dam of stakes winner Blind Ambition (Tapit).
Love Train was bred by Gainesway and sold at the 2011 Saratoga select yearling sale for $250,000. An elegant filly with quality, typical of the Tapit fillies, Love Train showed enough ability for Blue Devil Racing to bring her back to Kentucky and put her in the broodmare band. Bred to high-quality sires annually, Love Train did not excite the commercial market with her foals, except for a chestnut colt by Kitten’s Joy.
A good-sized colt with much of his sire’s muscularity and robust stance, Tripoli was a very good yearling, and he sold like it. Bringing $450,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September sale from the Lane’s End Sales consignment, Tripoli sold for the fifth-highest price by a yearling of his sire that season.
Aside from the colt later named Tripoli, however, Love Train proved herself a noncommercial broodmare, and for the 2020 Keeneland November sale, she was entered and sold for $70,000 to Barry K. Schwartz. Although listed as in foal to leading sire Union Rags, the mare does not show a reported foal of 2020 and may have been empty at the time of sale.
Now that Tripoli has made good, both the sire and dam can bask in some of the reflected glory of their son’s G1 success.