Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, and Derrick Smith's Cupid made his 2017 debut a winning one when he captured the $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) on May 27. The victory marked the first Grade 1 win for the gray, 4-year-old Tapit colt, who now has five victories in 10 starts with earnings of $1.6 million.
Bred by JKG Thoroughbreds LLC in Kentucky, Cupid was a $900,000 purchase from Book 1 of the 2014 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Out of the Beau Genius daughter Pretty 'n Smart, he was consigned by Van Meter Sales.
“His two immediate older siblings, Dream Team (Tapit) and Indianapolis (Medaglia D'Oro) had been our highest selling yearling in their respective years,” said Tom Van Meter. “Dream Team brought $1 million and Indianapolis $490,000. Both of those colts were immensely talented, but unluckily were never able to show their true abilities at the racetrack. Both those colts also raced for the Irish powerhouse partnership of Tabor, Magnier and Smith.
“We (Olin Gentry, Renee Dailey and I) always liked him physically,” he said. “While many of the Pulpit/Tapit line horses can be plenty fierce, this colt had a lovely, sweet disposition. He was a mature, correct, long-barreled yearling and a very good walker. He got to the sale in perfect order having been prepared to the “T” by Harvey Turley and his team at Waggoner farm, where he was foaled and raised.
“At the sale he was very popular and seemed to land on the list of all the big boys, (and he had) 11 pre-sale veterinary work-ups by a veritable who's who of yearling colt buyers,” Van Meter said. “We are eagerly anticipating selling Cupid's full sister this September and his American Pharoah weanling half-sister next year!”
After breaking his maiden at Santa Anita Park last February, the well-traveled Cupid went on to win the Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park, the Indiana Derby (G2) at Indiana Grand Race Course, and West Virginia Derby (G2) at Mountaineer. Trainer Bob Baffert put the colt away for the year after he ran eighth in the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) at Parx Racing in late September.
Cupid was more than ready for his debut in the Gold Cup. Jockey Rafael Bejarano settled the grey in fourth behind dueling leaders American Freedom and Prime Attraction, with Midnight Storm running third through the first three-quarters. When the leaders started to tire, Cupid got rolling and was on top as they turned for home. He scored by three and a quarter lengths, with Follow Me Crev getting up for second.
"We took the back roads with Cupid last year and made over a million dollars," said Baffert, who was winning his sixth Gold Cup. "Coolmore has been great and they kept him in training. They asked me if I thought he'd get better and I thought he should. We freshened him up and here we are. I got an important grade 1, which is very important for a horse like him."
The $300,000 winner's share of the purse boosted Cupid's earnings to over $1.6 million.