racing world was shocked by the announcement of Pulpit's sudden death
in his paddock last Thursday, December 6. The 18 year old
stallion's passing is a devastating blow to the breeding industry,
in particular, to Claiborne
Farm. The royally bred Pulpit was bred and campaigned by
historic Claiborne and he returned home to become one of their most
celebrated sires once his racing career concluded.
Prospector) finished out of the money only once in his career.
Unraced as a two year old, Pulpit announced his arrival on the racing
scene in early January, 1997 with a 7 ½ length score over maidens.
He flew seven furlongs in 1:21.98. The Frank
Brothers trainee duplicated his maiden feat in an allowance race,
decimating allowance runners by over six lengths. A few weeks later,
Pulpit made burst on the
Triple Crown scene scoring a 1 ½ length win in the 1 1/16 mile
Fountain Of Youth as the favorite, beating Captain Bodgit by two
was sent to the post of the Florida Derby as the heavy favorite.
Piloted by his regular jockey Shane
Sellers, Pulpit sat a little farther back than usual in the early
stages of the Grade 1 race. Pulpit passed pace setters Wrightwood
and Frisk Me Now in the stretch, but he couldn't hold off the furious
charge of Captain Bodgit. Captain Bodgit turned the tables on
Pulpit, handing him a 2 ½ length defeat.
were quick to point out Pulpit's failure to win at 1 1/8 miles might
have been due to receiving speed influences through his damsire, Mr.
Prospector. In response, Shane Sellers remarked that Pulpit wasn't
the same horse in the Florida Derby as he had been in previous races.
No matter. The brilliant colt pressed on to Keeneland, again going
to the post as the heavy favorite in the 1 1/8 mile Blue Grass Stakes
(G-2). Pulpit reverted to his previous form, waiting patiently in
second behind the pace-setting Jules. Given his head in the stretch,
Pulpit responded with an easy 3 ½ length triumph.
Captain Bodgit had parted ways with Pulpit in Florida and earned a
victory in the Wood Memorial. He was made the favorite for the
Kentucky Derby based upon his two consecutive Grade 1 victories. He,
along with the best in the west, Freehouse and his nemesis Silver
Charm, converged upon the grounds of Churchill Downs to challenge
Pulpit for the ultimate prize. Unfortunately, the brilliant Pulpit
suffered a hind leg injury in the Kentucky Derby and was retired.
1997 Kentucky Derby
(A.P. Indy - Preach, by Mr. Prospector)
Record: 6-4-1-0 ($728,200)
– Fountain of Youth Stakes (G-2)
– Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G-2)
– Florida Derby (G-1)
was bred to be a Champion. In 1997, he was a member of the highly
anticipated first crop of Horse of the Year A.P. Indy, who wound up
to be the best producing son at stud for his sire, Triple Crown
Slew. Both A.P. Indy and Seattle Slew were accorded Chef-de-race
status; A.P. Indy as an Intermediate/Classic influence and Seattle
Slew as a Brilliant/Classic influence. This sire line's tradition
of getting outstanding runners and producers can be traced back nine
generations to Phalaris arguably the most prominent sire in the
to his sire, Pulpit's dam Preach was no slouch on the track either.
The daughter of Mr. Prospector won the Frizette (G-1) in her third
start. Later in her career, Preach placed in the Test (G-1) and
Prioress Stakes (G-2) as well as winning the Bourbonette. Pulpit was
the first foal born of Preach. His dam produced two stakes placed
runners, but none approached the class of her firstborn son. Preach
was the best competitor of all of her siblings. However, her full
sister Myth bore Minardi, Champion Juvenile Colt in England and she
is also the granddam of Champion Juvenile and sire Johannesburg.
first five generations of Pulpit's pedigree contain an amazing 20
blue hens. They are superior mares who have widespread influences
through their sons and daughters. Pulpit traces back through his dam
to the Knight's Daughter, who was culled from the Royal Stud in
England and acquired by Claiborne. Knight's Daughter became one of
the foundation mares for the farm. Bred to Princequillo, another of
Claiborne's acquisitions, Knight's daughter foaled the legendary
Round Table and his full sister Monarchy, who later became Pulpit's
incomparable Mr. Prospector is Pulpit's damsire. Equally adept as
both a sire and broodmare sire, The stallion was awarded status as
brilliant/classic Chef-de-Race, as he passes both brilliant speed and
classic staying power to his offspring.
Farm traditionally doesn't over-breed their stallions, and Pulpit's
initial crop contained just 49 foals. He proved to be a solid
producer, finishing the year in the top ten of First Crop sires in
terms of earnings. Pulpit's first crop included eight black-type
runners, including Norfolk Stakes (G-2) winner Essence of Dubai, his
leading first crop money earner.
has 12 crops of racing age foals. 38 of them are graded stakes
winners. Pulpit has a lifetime juvenile winning rate of 18%, which
is superior. The average is 10%. His offspring develop their talent
as the mature. The key to Pulpit's success is that his offspring win
over all surfaces. They are best as sprinters to middle distance
runners; however, Pulpit is represented by five stakes winners at 1
¼ miles or farther. So far, Pulpit hasn't sired a Champion or
Classic winner. His son Ice Box came closest to the feat, finishing
second in the 2010 Kentucky Derby.
30 sons at stud internationally, Pulpit is carrying on the
tradition of his sire line as a sire-of-sires. For four of the last
five years, Pulpit's sons have been in the top 20 on the Freshmen
Sire list. Tapit, Sky Mesa, Corinthian and Purge have led or been at
the top of their respective Freshman Sire lists.
is a young broodmare sire. His daughters have bore 15 stakes winners,
seven of whom are graded stakes winners. Undoubtedly, that number
will grow throughout the years as his daughters retire from their
last crop will hit the track in 2015, so there is still a chance that
Pulpit will get a Classic winner posthumously. One thing is for
sure. Pulpit's legacy will live on world-wide through his many
high-class sons and daughters.