October 6 brought the news that Pulpit, a leading commercial sire for almost a decade and a half, had died in his paddock. The 18-year-old stallion was bred by Claiborne Farm, raced in the Claiborne colors, and stood his entire stud career at the Paris, Ky., nursery.
A member of the first crop of A.P. Indy, Pulpit was in several ways a trend-setter for his sire. With his sire’s initial get being headlined by grade I-winning fillies, Pulpit—the only colt from that crop to win above grade III level—played an important role by underlining that A.P. Indy could also get a top-class male. Pulpit didn’t actually win a stakes at the highest level, but after being unraced at 2, he established himself as one of the most exciting performers on the Triple Crown trail the following spring. The bay captured his first three starts, stamping his credentials as a Kentucky Derby (gr. I) candidate with a 1 1/2-length win in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II). He was upset by Captain Bodgit, who he’d defeated in the Fountain of Youth, when odds-on for the Florida Derby (gr. I), but rebounded to take the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II) by 3 1/2 lengths. Third choice for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Pulpit battled for the lead in the early stages, was in front at the three-quarters, but then faded gradually faded to take fourth behind Silver Charm, Captain Bodgit, and Free House. Subsequently, he was found to have suffered a career-ending injury.
Pulpit was also was also among the first horses to establish his sire as a premier cross for daughters of Mr. Prospector. Along with grade I-winning filly Tomisue’s Delight and grade III-winning colt Accelerator, Pulpit was one of three first crop A.P. Indy stakes winners bred on the cross, and the direct A.P. Indy/Mr. Prospector cross (TrueNicks A), would eventually produce 21 stakes winners from only 101 starters, an astonishing strike-rate for a cross with that many opportunities, even given the quality of the stock in question.
Subsequently, Pulpit went on to lead the way in showing that the A.P. Indy/Mr. Prospector nick was also a sire-producing one, his example being followed by Malibu Moon,Mineshaft, Flatter, Congrats, and very successful South American sire Indy Dancer. Pulpit himself was tied (with Malibu Moon) as A.P. Indy’s leading sire son by stakes winners, with 63, at the the time of his death. His best included grade I winners Pyro, Rutherienne, Corinthian, Ice Box, Purge, Stroll, Sky Mesa, Tapit, Mi Sueno, and Power Broker, who captured the the FrontRunner Stakes (gr. I) at 2 this year.
Pulpit has also led the way in extending his the A.P. Indy line. His young son Tapit is now one of the most in demand stallions in North America (his 2013 fee of $125,000 being second only to Bernardini), and is already represented by several sons who are in the early stages of, or about to commence, their stud careers, among them are Hansen, Tapizar, Concord Point, and Trappe Shot. Other Pulpit sons to sire grade I winners are Sky Mesa, Essence of Dubai, and Sightseeing, a promising young son who died in Chile just two days after his sire.
As a broodmare sire, Pulpit is responsible for the dams of 15 stakes winners, including grade I winner Karlovy Vary, and graded scorers Buenas Cosumbres, O’Prado Again, Newsdad, I’m Boundtoscore, and Clearly Foxy.