In her nine previous matings, Rough Water has visited More Than Ready or his sons four times, Mr. Prospector-line sires three times, and Awesome Again’s son Paynter twice. This year, for her tenth foal, we are going to take an entirely new direction with her and will send Rough Water to Cupid, the exciting first-year son of Tapit who recently retired to Ashford Stud.
Typically, we plan our matings by finding crosses that have already worked with a mare’s female family. In this case, Rough Water’s family has not had many chances with A.P. Indy-line sires like Tapit – though her closely-related sister Giant Canal (by Giant’s Causeway, a son of Storm Cat like Rough Water’s own sire, Stormin Fever) does have a winner to her credit sired by Mineshaft. But there are plenty of reasons to think that this mating will be a successful one.
First of all, Tapit has had loads of success with mares by a large variety of Storm Cat-line stallions, including champion Hansen and Grade 1 winners Careless Jewel, Tell a Kelly, and Sweet Loretta. And when you back up to Tapit’s sire Pulpit, you find that he got Grade 1 winner Sky Mesa and Grade 2 winner Parading, among others, out of Storm Cat mares. Tapit has also had success with mares carrying additional crosses of Seattle Slew (who appears in the third generation of Tapit’s pedigree, and who is the broodmare sire of Rough Water’s sire, Stormin Fever), with examples being the Grade 1 winners Tapwrit, Frosted, and Sweet Loretta. Additionally, Tapit has sired G1 Belmont winner Tonalist out of a mare by Pleasant Colony (the broodmare sire of Rough Water’s dam), and Pulpit’s stakes winners from such mares include Grade 2 winner Sightseeing and Grade 3 winner American Freedom.
Meanwhile, Stormin Fever’s best performer thus far as a broodmare sire is the Grade 2 winner Venus Valentine, who is sired by Congrats, a son of A.P. Indy out of a Mr. Prospector mare, just like Pulpit.
We also like this match because, in addition to “sex-balanced,” 5×4 inbreeding to each of Seattle Slew and Mr. Prospector, the pedigree of this foal will also combine the similarly-bred Charge d’Affaires (Cupid’s second dam) and Storm Cat in the third generation – both of whom are by sons of Northern Dancer out of daughters of Secretariat.
Cupid himself holds plenty of appeal as a stallion, as well. A $900,000 yearling purchase (his full-sister brought $2.7 million this past September), he broke his maiden in his third start when stretched beyond six furlongs for the first time, romping by five lengths over a field that included eventual G1 Wood Memorial runner-up, Trojan Nation. Trainer Bob Baffert immediately stepped Cupid onto the G1 Kentucky Derby trail, and he responded with a romp in the G2 Rebel at Oaklawn (over the future G1 Belmont winner, Creator). After a dud in the G1 Arkansas Derby, Baffert regrouped with Cupid, and was rewarded when he collected back-to-back wins in the G2 Indiana Derby and G2 West Virginia Derby. After an off-the-board finish in the G2 Pennsylvania Derby, he hit the sidelines for eight months.
Cupid returned to the races with his best career performance, a three-length domination of the G1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita, in which he earned a very strong 108 Beyer Speed Figure at the American classic distance of a mile-and-a-quarter. A workmanlike win in the Harry Brubaker at Del Mar followed, but Cupid was unable to capitalize in the G1 Awesome Again or G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, his last two career efforts.
Cupid retired with six wins in 13 starts, good for $1.7 million in earnings. And although his dam’s pedigree (by Beau Genius out of a Vice Regent mare) is somewhat less-than-fashionable, she was a very fast Grade 2-winning sprinter and has thrown a pair of Graded stakes winners in addition to Cupid (both of them by Storm Cat-line stallions, incidentally), as well as a fourth black-type winner. Her pedigree also leaves Cupid free to be tried with many of the strains that have already worked with Tapit, as noted above.
Physically, Rough Water to Cupid is a fantastic like-to-like matchup, as both are strapping, big-boned horses with plenty of leg and length, and hopefully their foal will take after the pair of them.
Cupid wins the G1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita
Cupid wins the G2 Rebel
Cupid wins the G2 West Virginia Derby
Cupid wins the G2 Indiana Derby