In what was a bumper crop of incoming new stallions for the 2023 breeding season, one of the most interesting prospects was the exquisitely-bred and very talented Greatest Honour — if he had not been forced to the sidelines before the Triple Crown and subsequently missed a big chunk of time prior to his retirement, he would’ve come to stud with a flashier profile and likely would’ve stood for more than his introductory fee of $7,500 at Spendthrift. As it was, he quickly booked full at that price despite the plethora of new options, and he’s a good bet to remain popular in 2024 at a fee that looks like solid value.
Greatest Honour rose to prominence on the Derby trail in Florida, breaking his maiden impressively despite a troubled trip and then reeling off victories in both the G3 Holy Bull and G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes in off-the-pace style for trainer Shug McGaughey over a Gulfstream surface and configuration that would not have played to his strengths. He overcame wide trips with a wicked turn-of-foot to earn strong speed figures in his trio of victories, and put him near the top of many Kentucky Derby future lists.
His incredible pedigree combines a sire, in Tapit, who is the all-time leading North American sire by money won and a three-time Leading General Sire (responsible for the likes of Flightline, Essential Quality, Constitution, Tonalist, Frosted, Untapable, Unique Bella, Tapizar, Tapiture, Tacitus, etc) with a dam who was a $2.2 million purchase and is half to the Belmont-G1 winners Rags to Riches and Jazil, all of them out of the Broodmare of the Year Better Than Honour, herself a daughter of Blue Hen broodmare and Kentucky Oaks-G1 winner Blush With Pride. This is the female family also of Eclipse Champion Close Hatches, the dam of Tapit’s multiple classic-placed and exciting young sire son Tacitus, as well as of 2023 Belmont and Travers winner Arcangelo and 2023 multiple Grade 1 winner Idiomatic.
Greatest Honour is a big, strapping, beautifully-made horse and we expect his foals to be very popular if they take after him physically.
In addition to his general qualifications as a sire prospect, Greatest Honour makes an interesting match for the six-time winner and young broodmare Super Twenty Five more specifically for a variety of reasons:
- As a stoutly-made, above-average size mare with speed who scored her victories between 5-1/2 and 7 furlongs on dirt (mostly wire-to-wire), she will complement Greatest Honour’s own physical and the proclivities that he displayed during his career, and perhaps sharpen him up just a tad.
- The Tapit/Maria’s Mon cross is a strong one, good for an “A+” on TrueNicks thanks to Grade 1 winners Americanrevolution (by a son of Tapit out of a Super Saver mare, just like the foal from this pairing will be) and Dream Dancing, plus two additional stakes winners from just 41 runners.
- This foal will be inbred 4×5 to Deputy Minister, inbreeding to whom has long been a successful pattern, and 4×4 to A.P. Indy. Inbreeding to A.P. Indy is becoming more successful as he hits further removes in pedigrees, and the two Grade 1 winners inbred to him 4×4 are both by sons of Tapit and one is out of a Super Saver mare (the aforementioned Americanrevolution) and the other is out of a mare by Bluegrass Cat, whose dam is a full-sister to the dam of Super Saver (and those full-sisters are the source of A.P. Indy in this case, as he’s their sire).
- Looking more broadly as this pedigree cross, it will also feature Tapit on top and War Front on bottom, and they have combined successfully in numerous instances (more with War Front on top of Tapit mares, but the Tapit over War Front cross has produced graded winner Personal Best) — likely attributable — at least in part — to the presence of Ruby Slippers in both (once through her son Rubiano, and once through her daughter Tap Your Heels, who are similarly-bred being by Fappiano and his son Unbridled, respectively)
All of which, we hope, adds up to a foal that proves to be a talented and tough Maryland-bred runner for its breeder and future connections!