One of the new sires for 2018 that I find intriguing is Cupid a first year stallion standing at Ashford (Coolmore America). You know right away if he is standing at Coolmore he is going to get support and they see something they like in the stallion. Cupid has a lot to offer breeders and we can see why they added him to their roster. Cupid is the first son of Tapit that Coolmore has acquired for breeding. You may remember Cupid from the Derby trail where he won the G2 Rebel Stakes beating future Belmont winner Creator and G2 winner Whitmore. He ran poorly in the Arkansas Derby (finishing 10th) which ended his Derby dreams though he went on to win the second tier Derbies later that summer taking the G2 West Virginia Derby and the G2 Indiana Derby. Cupid would get his G1 score as a 4yo, taking the G1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita defeating American Freedom (stallion prospect by Pulpit) and Midnight Storm (very intriguing stallion prospect by Pioneerof the Nile). Cupid ran poorly in his last race, finishing 10th in the Breeder’s Cup Mile – a race which had he won would have elevated his stud fee to double his current $12,500. Bob Baffert (Cupid’s trainer) always had extremely high praise for Cupid while he was on the track. Winner of 6 races in his career with earnings at $1.7 million, Cupid was a winner, and as we shall see, comes from a great family, which checks many of the boxes for a successful stallion.
Standing for $12,500, he represents tremendous value. In SIM terms I have been acquiring shares for around 150 so he is affordable and somewhat popular having a regular 5 bids or so for him each week. Being a son of Tapit, one of the two best sires in the world, certainly is a bonus and he likely will have some juice in him based on this alone. Secondly, Cupid comes from an outstanding family. His mom, Pretty n’ Smart is the dam of four stakes winners including G3 winners Ashley’s Kitty and Heart Ashley. Pretty n’ Smart’s 2017 yearling (by Tapit) just sold for $2.7 million at the Keeneland September sale. Cupid himself was a $900,000 yearling purchase. For our international players it may be of interest that both Ashley’s Kitty and Heart Ashley were purchased and sent to Australia. Heart Ashley who is being bred to Fastnet Rock, had her first runner, Ameristralia, who was a black type filly down under.
Cupid is fairly inbred with many significant strains in his pedigree. He is 4×5 to Mr. Prospector (through Tapit himself), 5×4 to Secretariat, 5×5 to Raise a Native, 5×5 to Bold Ruler, 5x5x4 to Northern Dancer and, most uniquely, 5×4 to the mare Victoria Regina through the brothers Vice Regent and Viceregal. Victoria Regina was one of those tragic stories in the horse industry as she died in a barn fire in foal to Northern Dancer. She only had two offspring – Viceregal who was the Canadian Horse of the Year and Vice Regent who was Canada’s leading sire 13 times. Who knows how many great horses were lost due to that fire?
Astute SIM breeders have the option of reinforcing some of these strains. You don’t often get the chance to breed back to Vice Regent. He himself was the victim of unfortunate circumstances, being retired after a freak accident in which he fell into a ditch after being frightened by a car. The fall left him unsound and he was retired. Vice Regent broke his maiden by 14 lengths so we will never know how good he may have been and he joins the list of elite sires who never had a great racing career. SIM breeders can bring more Vice Regent into the pedigree of Cupid’s offspring by targeting mares by Deputy Minister and stallions from his line like Dehere, Awesome Again and Ghostzapper.
Coolmore has full pedigree notes on their website coolmore.com/stallions/cupid/?farm=america so the interested breeder can do a full dive into their recommendations. There are a few that stand out to me which I’ll highlight here. Breeding to Tale of the Cat creates a pedigree which features the sisters Preach (the dam of Pulpit) and Yarn (the dam of Tale of the Cat). I used this nick with my colt Tarnhelm who ran 2nd in his debut. Lion Heart (son of Tale of the Cat) is also interesting here because Heart Ashley was by Lion Heart and in the SIM pedigree he gives a 5×5 inbreeding to Mr. Prospector and 5×5 to Narrate (the dam of Preach and Yarn). Of course you may be saying to yourself, just write it already, you know you want to and I do as one of my SIM maxims is when in doubt breed a new stallion to Storm Cat. Tapit has had excellent success with the Storm Cat line getting graded winners from seven different sons of Storm Cat. Breeding to Storm Cat himself gives you 5×4 inbreeding to Northern Dancer and Secretariat. Many of you may also like the numerous options which Mr. Prospector offers Cupid. Tapit has a boatload of graded winners from Mr. Prospector sons so the breeder has the full spectrum to work with. Those of note whom I like here are (expensive) Gone West, Seeking the Gold, City Zip (cheaper) Woodman, Carson City and Grand Slam.
Cupid broke his maiden at 8.5f and all of his major wins were at 8.5-9f so I believe he will be a miler type of sire which can be swung a bit either way depending on the mare or DS/DDS used. Of the suggestions I have given above one can likely insert more speed into Cupid’s offspring by breeding to Tale of the Cat, Lion Heart, Storm Cat, City Zip, Gone West, Carson City or Grand Slam. You can try for a more classic distance horse by going with Awesome Again, Ghostzapper, Deputy Minister, Giant’s Causeway, Seeking the Gold or Woodman. This versatility should suit breeders and allow them to try for the type of runner which they prefer.
In summary, Cupid is an excellent choice for the SIM breeder at a good price point. I would expect his prices to rise a bit after people try out some of the suggestions listed here but for the most part he should remain around 150-300 for 2018. Cupid was a highly visible horse by a famous trainer, a G1 winner, a son of Tapit and stands at one of the major horse farms in the world. All this likely adds up to an above average SIM rating and great value for those looking to use a son of Tapit. He also offers a whole boatload of Cupid inspired names. And he is likely going to get you a grey horse if that is what you’re looking for. A little bit of something for everyone.