, , , ,

A victory in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans moved the race record of Pretty Mischievous (by Into Mischief) to four wins from five starts, with earnings of $421,310. The filly’s sole loss came as a third in the G2 Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill last fall.

She has come along nicely from her debut win at Churchill in September, and at each step in the progression from maiden to graded stakes winner (accepting the placing in the Golden Rod as a thoroughly creditable effort), Pretty Mischievous has shown evidence of greater strength and maturity.

She is a very nice filly, and both trainer Brendan Walsh and owner-breeder Godolphin must be well-pleased with the result of this mating.

Bred in Kentucky by Godolphin, Pretty Mischievous is the second foal of the G1 winner Pretty City Dancer (Tapit), whose most important success came in the 2016 Spinaway Stakes at two. Pretty City Dancer won Saratoga’s premier race for juvenile fillies in a dead heat with another daughter of Tapit, Sweet Loretta, who won four of her six starts, including the Schuylerville at Saratoga and the Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland.

A lovely gray, Pretty City Dancer was bred in Kentucky by Gainesway and was presented by them at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale, where she sold for $825,000 to John Oxley. The filly won the 2016 Spinaway and ran second in the 2017 Forward Gal Stakes. At the end of the filly’s 3-year-old season, Oxley retired her, bred her to Medaglia d’Oro the following spring, and sold her at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale. There, Godolphin bought the young mare for $3.5 million.

The foal Pretty City Dancer was carrying at the time of sale is the now 4-year-old Ornamental, and she is the winner of a maiden special.

Godolphin is not the only breeder to have noticed that matching Tapit mares with Into Mischief is a productive cross. This month alone, Interpolate, winner of the Ruthless Stakes at Aqueduct on Feb. 5, and Rocket Can, winner of the G3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream on Feb. 4, are other stakes winners bred on the cross of Into Mischief with daughters of Tapit. In the Rachel Alexandra, odds-on favorite Hoosier Philly, who ran third after an eventful trip, is bred on the same cross. She was unbeaten coming into the Rachel Alexandra, including among her victories the Golden Rod last year over Pretty Mischievous.

Tapit is proving himself as important a broodmare sire as he is a sire of racers, and he was the leading broodmare sire by number of stakes winners (26) in 2022, finishing in a tie with Giant’s Causeway (Storm Cat). The wave is rolling on even stronger this year, with a half-dozen stakes winners already, and Tapit is second in earnings behind Distorted Humor (by Forty Niner), the broodmare sire of 2023 Pegasus winner Art Collector (Bernardini).

In addition to his stakes winners this year by Into Mischief, Tapit is also the broodmare sire of Hit Show (Candy Ride), winner of the G3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct and a winner in three of his four starts.

As a broodmare sire or as a sire, Tapit does not match simply a few sire lines. The grand gray denizen of Gainesway Farm’s fabled stallion complex matches a broad spectrum of lines and types. If a mare is big and coarse or rangy and unfurnished, Tapit will bring their offspring back toward the norm, and one of the remarkable qualities of Tapit as a sire is how much he can do to improve the proportions and functionality of broodmares.

As a sire and obviously also as a broodmare sire, Tapit works to normalize leg lengths, body lengths to height, and frame to overall substance. You might say he imparts a good deal of quality and overall balance because that is the visual effect.

Those are good things to add to a mating, and Tapit is a generally dominant force in normalizing the characteristics of his mates.

With Tapit’s two best sons (multiple champion Essential Quality and Horse of the Year Flightline) retired to stud for 2022 and 2023, the best results from Tapit as a sire of stallions is yet to come, but his daughters have given an indication of what can result from judicious matings. There will be more to this story.