Pulpit Half-Brother Pontiff Registers His First Winner After Relocating To California

October 31, 2021

Elk Grove, California — Freshman sire Pontiff, a Giant’s Causeway half-brother to the major sire Pulpit, was represented by his first winner on October 29, when his 2-year-old colt Octavius Prime dominated a one-mile maiden turf race at Golden Gate Fields.

Piloted by jockey Frank Alvarado for trainer Tim McCanna, Octavius Prime broke on top and led at every call of the $20,000 maiden claiming race, which he completed in 1:42.31 while holding off his nearest rival by a non-threatening 1 1/4 lengths. The colt had signaled his readiness for this test with a narrow runner-up finish at the same level, course and distance in his previous outing on September 24.

Octavius Prime is the second foal, runner and winner out of Basket of Gold, an unplaced daughter of Harbor the Gold who is back in foal to Pontiff for 2022. He is campaigned by breeder Tim Floyd’s Warlock Stables in partnership with Kyle Digges, Gena Loper and Helen Myrick, and has earned $11,510 from four starts to date.

“There are few things in horse racing that are more fulfilling than watching your homebred carry your silks across the finish line first, especially if you can celebrate the achievement with terrific partners,” Floyd said. “I believe Pontiff is the best-bred Giant’s Causeway stallion in North America, and I have every confidence that his runners will improve with age and added distance.”

Floyd’s belief in Pontiff encouraged him to relocate the 11-year-old stallion from his small, private farm in Washington, where he has stood since he entered stud in 2018, to Daehling Ranch in Northern California, a large, commercial farm where he will be given more opportunities to attract outside mares at a 2022 fee of $2,500. Pontiff departed Washington in mid-August and still reigns as the state’s leading freshman sire of 2021.

Bred by Claiborne Farm and produced by the breed-shaping broodmare Preach, a Grade 1-winning daughter of Mr. Prospector, Pontiff is a half-brother to the highly successful, late sire Pulpit, whose sons at stud include multiple leading sire Tapit.

A dual-surface winner and $126,481-earner, Pontiff is standing in California for the partnership of Warlock Stables, Daehling Ranch owners Justin and Julia (Daehling) Oldfield and California Chrome’s former co-owner Perry Martin.

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Thoroughbred Information Agency Press Release

Photo: Pontiff (Ron Mesaros)

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