On Monday, Sept. 14, the cutting industry said goodbye to another legend when the great Tap O Lena was euthanized. The 25-year-old mare left behind an Equi-Stat record that reflects more than a half-million dollars and an offspring record of nearly $600,000.
In 1984, Equi-Stat Elite $8 Million Rider Phil Rapp’s father bought him a then 4-year-old mare named Tapeppyoka Peppy (Doc’s Oak x Senorita Peppy x Mr San Peppy). After earning $181,069 in the cutting arena, the mare went on to produce four money-earners, with Tap O Lena topping that record by far.
Tap O Lena was an early product of Rapp’s breeding program, and she cast a bright light on her superior genetics. She and Rapp advanced to the semifinals at the 1993 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity in the Open, and from there, the mare’s performance career took off.
In 1994, Tap O Lena won NCHA Super Stakes Open and NCHA Summer Spectacular Derby Non-Pro titles, along with several other limited-age event championships. In the next two years, she really upped the ante. The mare left her mark on Fort Worth, Texas, when she topped the 1995 NCHA Summer Spectacular Classic/Challenge in the Open and Non-Pro, followed by championships at the 1996 NCHA Super Stakes Classic in both divisions, as well.
Rapp’s wife, Mary Ann Rapp, took to the saddle for Tap O Lena’s 7-year-old season, finishing second in the NCHA Non-Pro World standings and winning the NCHA World Finals Non-Pro Show Championship. The mare continued to compete in the Open and Non-Pro through early 1999, when she retired with $502,145 to her credit. She is now ranked among the top 25 cutting horses of all time, according to Equi-Stat records.
Tap O Lena’s light shone even brighter in the breeding shed. She produced 11 money-earners who accumulated $596,026, according to Equi-Stat. Tapt Twice (by Dual Pep) picked up checks totaling $285,226 in cutting arenas to earn her place as Tap O Lena’s No. 1 performer. But perhaps more importantly, Tapt Twice went on to produce cutting’s all-time highest-earning mare, Dont Look Twice.
Dont Look Twice (by High Brow Cat), whose offspring record already reflects $134,459, amassed more than $830,000 in her career, with the possibility of returning for the NCHA Showdown In Cowtown slot cutting in December.
“Everybody says she [Dont Look Twice] is one of the greatest horses,” Rapp said in an interview with Quarter Horse News earlier this year after tying to win the NCHA Super Stakes Open aboard the mare’s stallion son Dont Stopp Believin. “She is, but I still hold out for Tap O Lena.”