Forecasting the Broodmare Career of Untapable

June 25, 2016 04:26pm

The illustrious career of Untapable came to a close after the gallant mare recorded a pair of fourth-place finishes in her last two starts. Now a five-year-old, Untapable crossed the finish line first in six of seven starts as a three-year-old and captured the hearts of race fans. The daughter of Tapit took the Fair Grounds by storm, beating her rivals by over seventeen lengths combined in the Rachel Alexandra and Fair Grounds Oaks. 


Untapable then proved to be unstoppable in the Kentucky Oaks. She conquered her rivals by 4 ½ lengths, galloping 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.68, practically tying the race record of 1:48.64 set by Bird Town in 2003. For an encore, despite early trouble in the Mother Goose Stakes, the Steve Asmussen trainee flew to a 9 ¼ length triumph.  


Fans were clamoring for the seemingly unbeatable filly to face the boys.  That’s exactly what she did in her next start. Untapable drew post seven of nine in the Haskell Invitational. After getting bumped at the start, Untapable and her jockey Rosie Napravnik took the scenic route around the track, going three and four wide the entire way. Understandably, the filly tired and finished fifth. The victor, Bayern, stopped the clock in 1:47.82, which was the second fastest Haskell time of this century. 


Untapable rebounded to capture the Cotillion Stakes and topped off her incredible year with a 1 ¼ length triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.  Naturally, Untapable earned a shiny Eclipse Award trophy for 2014 Champion Three-Year-Old Filly. 


The following year, Untapable appeared to have lost a step against the competition. Although she was never off of the board in six graded stakes events, her sole win was in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap. Untapable was brought back this year as a five-year-old. After a runner-up finish in the Azeri Stakes (G2), Untapable finished fourth in the Apple Blossom and Fleur de Lis Handicaps. Her owner, Ron Winchell of Winchell Thoroughbreds noted that the courageous mare had more than proved herself as a racehorse and retired her. Untapable left the track with a 20-9-5-2 race record and $3,926,625 in earnings.


So, what’s next for Untapable?  She’ll have a nice, long vacation while her connections mull over prospects for her first boyfriend. Let’s have some fun and take a look at Untapable’s pedigree and potential mates.


Untapable (Tapit - Fun House, by Prized) is what happens when a breeder spends thirty years developing his mares. Let’s start at the back of the pedigree this time instead at the front.


The late Verne Winchell spent $4,000 in 1978 for a yearling filly named Carol’s Christmas. Just your average race mare, Carol’s Christmas hit the board in seven of twelve starts and earned just over $39,000 in California. Her exploits in the breeding shed, or rather, her descendant’s accomplishments on the race track, is what set Carol’s Christmas apart. 


The mare’s first foal, Dana Nichole (Flying Paster) was unraced. While her first stakes earner Carol’s Wonder (Pass the Tab) was still a yearling, Verne Winchell sent Carol’s Christmas to the 1985 Keeneland January Sale. She was in foal to his homebred stallion, Classic Go and Go (Pago Pago - Classic Perfection, by Never Bend), a multiple stakes placed runner. Fortunately for Winchell, Carol’s Christmas failed to sell for her reserve price of $8,000. Long story short, the dark bay mare bore ten foals. All eight that raced were winners. Among them were “Mr. Derby,” Olympio (Naskra) won four Derbies and placed in a fifth. Unfortunately, none of those Derbies were held in Kentucky, but Olympio won or placed in 13 of 17 starts and racked up almost $1.5 million dollars. The stallion spent most of his stud career as a good California sire.


Carol’s Christmas’ other stakes winners were a pair of fillies. Call Now (Wild Again) earned over $368,000 and 10 of 15 starts, including the Del Mar Debutante. Her full sister Your Call won or placed in 8 of 12 races and earned almost $100,000.


Carol’s Christmas’ four daughters set about making their dam a Rene de course, (known informally as a blue hen) and the mare is a foundation mare for Winchell Thoroughbreds.   


Call Now is the second dam of Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile Champ and new sire Tapizar (Tapit), who is owned by Winchell.  Carol’s Wonder, is the grand-dam of Louisiana Derby Winner Pyro (Pulpit) and his full brother, the multiple stakes horse Longview Drive. Pyro’s ¾ sister War Echo (Tapit) won the Silverbulletday, and her full brother Farrier is a multiple stakes winner in the UAE. Another full sister, Teardrop, is stakes placed.


Christmas Star gave us the precocious sire Cuvee (Carson City), and the graded stakes-winning sprinter Will He Shine (Silver Deputy).  Dana Nichole is the dam of the hardy stakes mare Bien Nicole, who won or placed in 22 of 26 starts, most of them stakes races.


Then we come to Carol’s Christmas’ fourth foal Bistra (Classic Go Go).  She didn’t earn blacktype but won or placed in six of seven starts.  Bistra gave us the graded stakes winner and sire Early Flyer (Gilded Time), and the stakes placed Roundabout (Kris S.) and Rush Around (Wild Rush). 


Bistra’s daughter Fun House (Prized) hit the board in 22 of 29 starts, mainly over the lawn, including a victory in the Buena Vista Handicap (G2). Like her dam, Fun House is proving to be an accomplished broodmare. Besides her Champion daughter Untapable, Fun House bore the new sire Paddy O’Prado (El Prado). The pretty gray stallion proved to be best on the lawn, but also finished third in the Kentucky Derby.   Fun House’s famous daughter has six other full siblings. Her two-year-old full sister Untapped has been breezing at Keeneland.


This brings us to the top stallion himself. Tapit (Pulpit - Tap Your Heels, by Unbridled) was campaigned by Winchell Thoroughbreds. We all know that Tapit’s offspring win stakes everywhere. The 15-year-old stallion is at the apex of his career. His daughters are just starting to assert themselves as broodmares. 155 of them have produced 184 named foals of racing age. 84 of those are runners, and 36 have won. So far, four have won stakes races, and three are stakes placed.


Tapit’s progeny are starting to emerge and produce their own runners. Discussing Tapit’s legacy is, at this point, speculation and a review of his sons and daughters is a focus for another article. 


So now we get to the fun part, the horsie version of The Dating Game. For those of you not familiar with the archaic reference, the television show was a shorter, less dramatic version of The Bachelor. Many components are involved in choosing a stallion.  Physical traits and flaws of both sire and dam must be considered. Pedigree charts to study and research into the affinities of the families. Some people swear by nicking reports.  They have a use, but shouldn’t be relied upon as a sole indicator. 


The old cliché “history repeats itself” is alive and well in Thoroughbred breeding. While there’s no guarantee that what worked once or twice or even a dozen times will work in the next instance, sometimes it does. We need to look no further than Untapable’s distaff line to see the correlation between the mares and the A.P. Indy sire line.


War Front (Danzig - Starry Dreamer, by Rubiano)

Stud fee: $200,000

Why he’s a contender: This is the perfect scenario for the history repeating itself adage. War Front stands at Claiborne Farm, home of the late Pulpit, so there were plenty of opportunities to breed to that stallion’s daughters. The pairing has excelled with 19 starters, 18 winners, and 5 stakes winners, with combined earnings of almost $4 million dollars.  War Front’s sire Danzig has ten stakes winners each out of mares by Pulpit and Prized.

The bond between Pulpit and War Front’s distaff line is apparent. War Front has a stakes-winning half-brother by Pulpit and a multiple stakes winning half-sister by A.P. Indy.

The War Front x Untapable foal would have Rasmussen Factor inbreeding (inbred to a superior mare through different individuals within five generations) to Ruby Slippers. War Front’s damsire Rubiano is a son of Ruby Slippers and Fappiano. Ruby Slippers is Tapit’s grand-dam. Her daughter Tap Your Heels (Unbridled) is a ¾ sister to Rubiano. The War Front x Untapable foal has the potential to be a winner from sprints to classic distances. War Front Untapable both carry a dominant large heart (X-Factor) gene. There would be a 50 – 50 chance of their offspring inheriting a dominant gene.

war front untapable hypomating



Medaglia d'Oro (El Prado (IRE) - Cappucino Bay, by Bailjumper)

Stud Fee: $150,000

Why he’s a contender:  He’s one of the nation’s leading sires, especially of fillies. Untapable’s distaff line has a good history with El Prado. Note that Untapable’s half-brother Paddy O’Prado is by Medaglia d'Oro’s sire.  El Prado has blacktype earners out of mares by Tapit’s sire Pulpit and Untapable’s damsire Prized. 

Stakes winners with breeding similar to this pairing include the multiple stakes-winning turf router Dark Cove (Medaglia d'Oro – Crystal Cove, by Kris S.) and Remsen Stakes winner El Prado Again (El Prado – Leh She Run, by Pulpit).

The Medaglia d'Oro x Untapable foal could be capable at classic distances.  Medaglia d'Oro and Untapable both carry a dominant large heart (X-Factor) gene. There would be a 50 – 50 chance of their offspring inheriting a dominant gene.

medaglia d'Oro untapable hypomating


Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie - Playa Maya, by Arch)

Stud fee: $75,000 and rising

Why he’s a contender: The hottest young sire since…well, Tapit. But that’s not the only reason to pair the two champions. The cross doesn’t carry a lot of history, but the small signs are promising. Uncle Mo has one starter out of a Tapit mare. He has one runner, an earner of over $58,000, out of a Pulpit mare. Uncle Mo’s sire Indian Charlie had one runner/winner out of a Tapit mare and five starters, four winners (earnings of $229,000) out of Pulpit mares. Uncle Mo’s third sire In Excess has two graded stakes winners out of daughters of Prized; Romanceisdiane and her full sister Romanceishope. The Uncle Mo x Untapable foal could be a miler to middle distance type. The foal could also be a recipient of a dominant large heart gene.

Uncle Mo Untapable hypomating


There’s no guarantee that Untapable will bear offspring who can live up to her record. Yet, the descendants of Carol’s Christmas are just getting started and already they’ve proven to be treasured broodmares. Here’s hoping that Untapable can continue the line and gift her many fans with adorable winning babies.


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Through hands-on work at barns, I learned valuable lessons about Thoroughbred conformation, gait, and temperament and later worked withThoroughbred rescue/re-train organizations. I have committed my passion for horses to the intensive study of pedigree and breeding theory for the last 20 years. 

I support clients with all aspects of pedigree/breeding analysis, research, sales, catalogue review, and recommendations on claims or private sales. Clients include national leading owners, racing/breeding syndicates, the little guy with one mare, and everyone in between. 10-20% of all proceeds are donated to Thoroughbred rescue & retraining groups. Check out my website, Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds, and the IMTBreds blog.

I welcome your questions regarding pedigree, handicapping, and breeding. If you would like me to cover a specific topic, please contact me. 

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