northern dancer’s influence sweeps into the future with high-class performers, including graded winner stolen weekend

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With thousands of airline flights canceled across the country over the past holiday weekend, many would-be vacationers can identify with the subject of this week’s column: Stolen Holiday.

This highly pedigreed daughter of leading sire War Front (by Danzig), however, isn’t a taker. She’s a giver, and she gave an impressive front-running performance in the Grade 3 Eatontown Stakes at Monmouth Park on June 18. The bay 5-year-old led at every call under Jose Lezcano, and after she had set opening fractions of :25.51 and :25.10, the message was clear to those chasing her: come with your running booties on.

Stolen Holiday clearly had hers. The third and fourth quarters were raced in :23.61 and :22.37, with the final sixteenth in :05.71. In a beautifully ridden example of “waiting in front,” the Eatontown showed a pace profile very similar to a European event (steady early, fast late), and nothing got closer to Stolen Holiday than her stablemate Vigilantes Way (Medaglia d’Oro), who won this race a year ago and was a length behind at the wire this time.

Bred in Kentucky by Orpendale (one of the Coolmore associated entities), Stolen Holiday was sold for $750,000 out of the Denali Stud consignment at the 2018 Keeneland September yearling sale. The Eatontown was the mare’s first stakes victory and her fourth success from 10 starts.

Owned by Annette Allen, wife of Joe Allen, who bred and raced War Front, Stolen Holiday was unraced at two, then won a maiden from a pair of starts at three. Patience paid off, however, and the athletic filly has progressed steadily for trainer Shug McGaughey to work through some conditions, place second in the Sand Springs Stakes at Gulfstream, and now become a graded stakes winner.

That credit on her record is extremely important because Stolen Holiday is the fourth stakes winner out of her dam, the Sadler’s Wells mare Silk and Scarlet. The mare’s earlier stakes winners are Minorette (Smart Strike), winner of the G1 Belmont Oaks; Eishin Apollon (Giant’s Causeway), winner of the G1 Mile Championship in Japan; and Master of Hounds (Kingmambo), winner of the G1 Jebel Hatta in the UAE and the G2 Topkapi Trophy in Turkey.

This is a family that has shown excellence quite literally all around the world, and that is surely a good part of the reason for the strong price paid for this mare as a yearling.

The dam of this quartet of achievers is Silk and Scarlet, winner of the G2 Debutante Stakes in Ireland and currently living in Kentucky at Ashford Stud. The mare’s most recent foal is a yearling filly by Justify likely to go in the September sale, and the mare was covered by Justify for 2023.

Silk and Scarlet is one of two stakes winners out of Danilova (Lyphard), and the unraced Danilova is a daughter of Ballinderry (Irish River), winner of the G2 Ribblesdale and third in the G1 Yorkshire Oaks. Ballinderry produced a pair of stakes winners, and the better of those was Sanglamore (Sharpen Up), winner of the G1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) and second in the G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Ballinderry herself is one of five stakes winners out of the marvelous mare Miss Manon (Bon Mot). In addition to Stolen Holiday’s third dam, Miss Manon produced Lydian (Lyphard), winner of the G1 Grosser Preis von Baden and G1 Gran Premio di Milano; Sharpman (Sharpen Up), winner of the Prix Omnium, second in the G1 French 2,000 Guineas, third in the G1 French Derby; Mot d’Or (Rheingold), winner of the G2 Prix Hocquart and third in the G1 Grand Prix de Paris; and Miss Summer (Luthier), stakes winner and dam of multiple G1-placed Most Precious (Nureyev).

Stolen Holiday’s pedigree in itself is fascinating, and not least among its elements is that Northern Dancer, a foal of 1961, figures twice in her third generation. The 1964 Kentucky Derby winner is the grandsire of Stolen Holiday in the male line; he is also the sire of her broodmare sire Sadler’s Wells. Northern Dancer appears twice more in Stolen Holiday’s pedigree: in the sixth generation as the sire of Triple Crown winner Nijinsky and in the fourth generation as the sire of the second dam’s broodmare sire Lyphard.

The four presences of Northern Dancer are noteworthy, but the pair in the third generation are remarkable.

It is rare to find a horse from 60 years ago so close up in a contemporary pedigree, but Northern Dancer is no ordinary Thoroughbred. The repetition of his name in this pedigree is a reminder of the vast difference the small, Canadian-bred bay has made in the breed.

Inbreeding to a horse of lesser genetic significance would likely be discouraged but not so with the great little bay. Certainly, inbreeding to Northern Dancer 3×2, 3×3, and 3×4 has succeeded on the racetrack as seen with this mare, as well as with classic winners Enable and War of Will, G1 winners Hit It a Bomb, Brave Anna, Roly Poly, US Navy Flag, and others. The next question is whether horses with this kind of close-up inbreeding to Northern Dancer make a significant mark as breeding stock in the coming years.

in belmont stakes victory, mo donegal leads exacta for classic breeders

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The results of the 2022 Belmont Stakes produced a double of different kinds for both the sire of the winner Mo Donegal (by Uncle Mo) and for the breeders, the Lyster family’s Ashview Farm and Richard Santulli’s Colts Neck Stables, which bred and sold the winner, as well as the runner-up, Nest (Curlin).

With a winner of the Belmont, champion juvenile Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie) has his second classic winner. The bay stallion’s first came from his first crop in 2015 champion juvenile Nyquist, who won the 2016 Kentucky Derby.

One of 25 stakes winners (16 percent of foals) from Uncle Mo’s first crop, Nyquist was unbeaten at two, winning all five of his starts, including victories in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity, Frontrunner, and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The next season, the well-conformed bay progressed enough to win his first three starts, including the G1 Florida Derby and the Kentucky Derby. Nyquist was third in the Preakness, then fourth in the Haskell and sixth in the Pennsylvania Derby before retiring to stud at Darley‘s Jonabell Farm in Lexington.

Mo Donegal comes from the seventh crop by Uncle Mo, who stands at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud outside Versailles, Ky., where Uncle Mo has sired 1,054 foals aged three and up. From those, the stallion has 768 starters (63 percent), 521 winners (43 percent), and 77 stakes winners (7.3 percent). Had the percentage of stakes winners for subsequent crops been able to match the extraordinary results of the first, Uncle Mo would have the highest stud fee of any sire in the country, and as it is, he stands for $160,000 live foal on a stand and nurse contract.

The 11th G1 winner for Uncle Mo, Mo Donegal was bred in Kentucky by Ashview and Colts Neck, and they sold the bay to Jerry Crawford, agent for Donegal Racing, for $250,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September sale.

The Belmont Stakes winner is out of Callingmissbrown, a Pulpit mare that the Lysters acquired privately for their breeding partnership, and she “is a beautiful mare who has a beautiful foal,” said Gray Lyster. The quality and balance of the dam no doubt helped when Ashview brought the Uncle Mo colt to the 2020 Keeneland September yearling sale and sold him for a quarter-million, then brought the mare’s 2021 yearling, a filly by leading sire Into Mischief, to the Keeneland sales last year.

By the hot sire but out of a mare who hadn’t at that time produced a black-type winner, Callingmissbrown’s 2021 September yearling brought $500,000 from Frankie Brothers, agent, and Litt/Solis. To bring twice what Crawford paid for the mare’s Uncle Mo colt a year before, this filly was quite nice.

Clearly, being by Into Mischief put a bull’s eye on the filly among discerning horsemen, she looked the part, and she brought a premium for it. Now named Prank, the Into Mischief filly has had a pair of official breezes at Saratoga.

The family that produced Mo Donegal also accounted for Canadian classic winner Niigon (Unbridled), winner of the 2004 Queen’s Plate. He was out of Savethelastdance (Nureyev), who also produced Sue’s Last Dance (Forty Niner), the third dam of the classic winner and dam of Pozo de Luna (Famous Again), champion juvenile colt in Mexico, and Island Sand (Tabasco Cat). The latter earned $1.1 million with victories such as the G1 Acorn Stakes, as well as a second in the G1 Kentucky Oaks.

Island Sand has produced a pair of stakes-placed winners, including Grade 1-placed Maya Malibu (Malibu Moon), second in the G1 Spinaway, and a daughter of leading sire Pulpit (A.P. Indy), Callingmissbrown, who won two of her four starts and is the dam of Mo Donegal.

The second foal of his dam, Mo Donegal has won four of his seven starts, including the Belmont, Wood Memorial, and Remsen, with a pair of thirds. The colt has been out of the money only in the Kentucky Derby, when fifth after a difficult trip.

Callingmissbrown “is a dark bay mare with no white on her legs but has a small star on her forehead like Mo Donegal,” Lyster said, “and she’s by Pulpit, whom we love as a broodmare sire.” Unfortunately, the mare lost a “beautiful Curlin colt four days after the Wood,” he noted, “but is now pregnant at 20 days gestation to Uncle Mo.”

Could there be “Mo” classic prospects in the future for this partnership?

galileo put the stamp of classic performance on the breed, as well as in the record books

There were a trio of classics over the weekend of June 3-5: at Epsom, the Oaks on June 3 and the Derby on June 4, then the next day at Chantilly, the Prix du Jockey Club. Those might as well have been held as benefits for the great stallion Galileo (by Sadler’s Wells).

Vadeni (by the Galileo classic winner Churchill) won the latter, and Desert Crown (by the Galileo G1 winner Nathaniel) won the Derby. The Oaks went to Tuesday, a daughter of Galileo himself.

A son and daughter of Galileo’s greatest racing son, Frankel, were third in the Derby (Westover) and the Oaks (Nashwa), and Frankel is the sire of this year’s Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Homeless Songs.

So the train of Galileo’s successes continue to increase for his own record of performance, as well as amplify his influence on the breed today and into the future.

At this point, Galileo is the sire of 3,140 foals, 2,371 starters, 1,608 winners, 354 stakes winners, 238 group stakes winners, and 94 G1 winners.

Galileo died almost a year ago on July 10 at his home at Coolmore Stud in Ireland, but his influence continues. The great sire’s number of G1 winners is poised to punch through 100 in the coming months. That will surely happen; it’s only a matter of time till we find which horse is the memorable 100th.

Tuesday was the 94th G1 winner for her sire, and she is the third G1 winner from the Danehill Dancer mare Lilly Langtry, a winner of the G1 Matron Stakes and Coronation Stakes. The other G1 winners for the mare are last season’s Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Empress Josephine, as well as 2016 1,000 Guineas and Oaks winner Minding. All three are by Galileo.

Minding had an exceptional career, winning nine of 13 starts, among them seven G1 races, including the pair of classics mentioned above and the Moyglare Stud Stakes, Fillies Mile, Pretty Polly, Nassau, and Queen Elizabeth II.

A hearty campaigner, Minding had quite a lot of speed and precocity for a Galileo, seemed to prefer eight to 10 furlongs, and both the rider Ryan Moore and trainer Aidan O’Brien noted that Tuesday appears to hold considerable promise for staying farther than her sisters or high-class dam did.

In winning the Oaks, Tuesday became the most recent classic winner for Galileo, and he has sired a winner of a universally recognized classic in every crop, except that of 2006. That is a phenomenal perspective on the great sire’s record at stud, but in more respects than that, Galileo has exceeded expectations.

His sire, Sadler’s Wells, was a classic winner and major son of the great sire Northern Dancer. Yet at stud, Sadler’s Wells exceeded all reasonable expectations to become the leading sire in Europe for more than a decade. Yet for all his immense success, Sadler’s Wells had never sired a winner of the Derby at Epsom after many years at stud, entering stud at Coolmore in the mid-1980s, and yet Sadler’s Wells had written breeding history with the exploits of his offspring. By 2000, Sadler’s Wells was unequivocally the most important European-based sire since his own great-grandsire Nearco.

Then in 2001, Galileo won the Derby. High Chaparral followed the next year with a second Derby for Sadler’s Wells.

One hex had been broken, and one more hoodoo was yet to be vanquished.

At stud, the sons of Sadler’s Wells had been generally disappointing until Galileo and the two years older Montjeu began to get major results. Montjeu (Sadler’s Wells) – who had won the 1999 Prix du Jockey Club, Irish Derby, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and the 2000 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes – sired a pair of Derby winners in Motivator (2005) and Authorized (2007); Galileo followed with his first Derby winner in 2008 (New Approach), and the Sadler’s Wells male line took its place at the top rank of breeding in Europe.

Although none of the other sons were as good this pair, El Prado became a leading sire in North America and continues to influence racing here with his sons Medaglia d’Oro and Kitten’s Joy.

Montjeu sired four winners of the Derby before dying at 16 in 2012, and Galileo has sired a record five winners of the classic at Epsom: New Approach (2008), Ruler of the World (2013), Australia (2014), Anthony Van Dyck (2019), and Serpentine (2020).

Galileo has three further crops of foals that may include more classic winners, perhaps even more winners at Epsom.

Whether that proves to be the case or not, the brave bay’s place in the history of the breed is secure.

piggott put his stamp on the breed through the exploits of his derby winners and other classic successes

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The legendary jockey Lester Piggott, who died in Switzerland on May 29, exerted an unexpected influence on breeding due to his mastery of the craft of race riding, and its components of pace, balance, and timing.

The Long Fellow’s mindfulness in the saddle allowed him to maintain his composure under pressure, and those qualities were of special value in the most prestigious races, such as the Derby Stakes, and the Derby’s importance to the Thoroughbred is paramount. The great breeder and trainer Federico Tesio famously remarked that the winning post of the Derby had exerted greater influence on the breed than any other single factor.

Piggott rode nine winners of the Epsom classic, beginning in 1954 as an 18-year-old with Never Say Die (by Nasrullah), and that fact alone is an indicator of the importance of this rider to the development of modern breeding.

The Maestro’s subsequent winners of the Derby were Crepello (Donatello) 1957 (in which year he also won the Oaks with the Queen’s Carrozza), St Paddy (Aureole) 1960, Sir Ivor (Sir Gaylord) 1968, Nijinsky (Northern Dancer) 1970, Roberto (Hail to Reason) 1972, Empery (Vaguely Noble) 1976, The Minstrel (Northern Dancer) 1977, and Teenoso (Youth) 1983. Piggott retired for the first time in 1985, and yet his influence on the breed has lived on through the accomplishments of many of those classic winners at stud.

In particular, Piggott was effective at evaluating a horse’s turn of foot and knowing when to ask for it to get the most effect in a race. This is especially important at Epsom, with its gradients and turns, and the rising ground to the finish has found the bottom of more than one doubtful stayer. So a rider who understands the course and who understands the horse he is riding is a serious asset in the quest for classics. This made Piggott the most sought-after jockey in racing.

Once the young riding star had proven his talents in the classics of the 1950s, Piggott was able to pick and choose from the prospects for the race, and he was known to accept rides on horses from differing stables and then to ride them in the classic preps with as much interest in evaluating their capacity to cope with Epsom as with winning the race at hand. This practice was not always popular with owners, trainers, or punters.

As a regular rider for the stable of the great trainer Vincent O’Brien, Piggott rode the first two Derby winners by the 1964 Kentucky Derby winner Northern Dancer (Nijinsky and The Minstrel), and it is famously reported that, after Piggott’s split with that elite outfit, their hot favorite El Gran Senor (Northern Dancer) had just finished a close second to Secreto (Northern Dancer) in the 1984 Derby, and Piggott walked through the unsaddling area on his way to the jockey’s room and remarked archly, “Missing me yet?”

In addition to helping showcase the importance of Northern Dancer and his adaptability to the European racing environment, Piggott was a great evaluator of a horse’s ability. He said of the only English Triple Crown winner from 1935 to the present that “Nijinsky was one of those horses you could win on really easily yet – and this is hard to understand – he never felt as good to ride as he actually was.”

Sent to stud at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky, Nijinsky became the first great stallion son of his famous sire and an immense influence on the classics, both in Europe and the States. Nijinsky sired three winners of the Derby (Golden Fleece 1982, Shahrastani 1986, and Lammtarra 1995); and two grandsons of Nijinsky – Kahyasi (Ile de Bourbon) 1988 and Generous (Caerleon) 1991 – won the Epsom classic during this period.

Although many of the sons and daughters of Nijinsky were sent to race in Europe, the stallion’s foals were just as effective in the U.S., and Ferdinand won the 1986 Kentucky Derby, as well as the 1987 Breeders’ Cup Classic, and was named Horse of the Year that season, as well.

Prior to the 1970 Derby, there had been no shortage of speculation that the 12 furlongs would find out the stamina of Nijinsky. He was, after all, by that small American stallion who hadn’t stayed the distance in the 1964 Belmont Stakes. As the classic and subsequent racing proven beyond question, Nijinsky himself was eminently suited to the full classic distance.

In that race, Piggott rode the bay son of Northern Dancer and Flaming Page for speed, which he showed with a flair up the rising ground to the winning post at Epsom, then again in subsequent starts at the Curragh and Ascot. Piggott rode Northern Dancer’s second Derby winner, The Minstrel in 1977, who needed a strong rider to get the most out of him over the full classic distance, but that is what his jockey supplied.

In Piggott’s Derby victories immediately prior to the one with The Minstrel and the rider’s final success in 1983, both Empery and Teenoso were colts who needed to make the classic as strong a test of stamina as possible because they possessed strength and stamina far in excess of acceleration. Realizing their needs, Piggott controlled the pace and the race, bringing them home victorious. Piggott could not make either of them a good sire – they were both lamentable – but his tactical understanding and ability to adapt to what the horse required gave them as much opportunity as they could hope for.

Adaptability and presence of mind made Piggott a masterful competitor for the classics, and he won more of them than any rider in history, even though “it’s easier to lose a race than to win ’em, y’know.”

a kingdom for this horse: gun runner adds fifth g1 winner with preakness victor early voting

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“Now is the winter of our discontent

Made glorious summer by this sun of … Gun Runner”

— William Shakespeare, King Richard III

“Frank, are you misquoting Shakespeare again?”

“Well, sort of. I prefer to think of it as expanding the context of the immortal Bard, Ray.”

“I don’t believe the greatest writer in the language needs you to improve him. Consider your poetic license revoked.”

“Now don’t be hasty, Ray. I’m searching for an angle to write about the greatest young stallion in contemporary breeding … ahem, Gun Runner.”

“Oh, Secretariat! Not that again.”

But, yes, the chestnut shark from Three Chimneys has surfaced once again, this time carrying off a classic.

Gun Runner (by Candy Ride) picked up his first classic winner when Early Voting won the 2022 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 21 by 1 ¼ lengths over Epicenter (Not This Time). Early Voting also became the fifth Grade 1 winner for his sire, following juvenile champion Echo Zulu, 2021 Hopeful Stakes winner Gunite, then a trio in the past two months: Taiba (Santa Anita Derby), Cyberknife (Arkansas Derby), and the Preakness winner.

Of course, Gun Runner isn’t doing all this by himself. He was bred to some very nice mares, such as the dam of Early Voting, the Tiznow mare Amour d’Ete. As a 2013 Keeneland yearling, Amour d’Ete sold for $1.75 million to Borges Torrealba Holdings. As sometimes happens, the well-regarded filly never raced and then was bought back at the 2016 Keeneland November sale for $725,000 when in foal to Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver (Maria’s Mon).

One reason for the appeal of the mare as a yearling and broodmare is that she’s a full sister to Irap, winner of the G2 Blue Grass Stakes and G3 Ohio Derby and Indiana Derby, as well as being the second-place finisher in the G1 Pennsylvania Derby and Los Alamitos Futurity.

A further reason is that Irap and Amour d’Ete are half-siblings to champion sprinter Speightstown (Gone West), a leading national sire standing at WinStar Farm, as Tiznow had done. All three siblings are out of Silken Cat (Storm Cat), a winner in three of her four starts and champion 2-year-old filly in Canada. Silken Cat produced four daughters who have gone on to be broodmares, and Amour d’Ete is the third to produce a graded stakes winner.

The others are the unplaced (in two starts) Cableknit (Unbridled’s Song), the dam of Capezzano (Bernardini), winner of the G1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3; and the unraced Gone Purrfect (Gone West), who is the dam of Golden Hawk (Tapit), winner of the G3 Grey Stakes.

The dam of Silken Cat is the Chieftain stakes winner Silken Doll, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Turk Passer (Turkoman).

This family traces back through some distinguished racers and producers to a bay daughter of 1926 Kentucky Derby winner Bubbling Over (North Star III). Her name was Hildene.

Bred in 1938 by the Xalapa Farm of Edward F. Simms, Hildene sold as a yearling for $750 to engineer and entrepreneur Christopher Chenery, and she was once third from eight starts. At stud, however, she was something else.

Chenery sent his broodmare to a young sire standing in Virginia at Arthur B. Hancock’s neighboring Ellerslie Stud. The young stallion was named Princequillo, and the offspring from the mating of 1946 was a bay colt of 1947 that Chenery named Hill Prince.

Voted the top juvenile colt of 1949 in the Racing Form poll, Hill Prince was highly regarded for the 1950 classics and won the Wood Memorial on his way to the Kentucky Derby. Middleground (Bold Venture) won the Derby, with Hill Prince second. Then Hill Prince won the 1950 Preakness by five lengths from Middleground.

Racing through the rest of the year, Hill Prince won the American Derby and Jockey Club Gold Cup, among other good races, and was named champion of his division, as well as Horse of the Year.

Hildene went on to produce multiple other stakes winners, including champion juvenile First Landing (Turn-to). Among her foals that didn’t win stakes was the dam of champion filly Cicada, all bred by Chenery and racing in his Meadow Stable silks. Hill Prince was the Meadow Stable’s first national champion, and more than 20 years later, Secretariat was its last.

Seventy-two years later, the family has won another Preakness Stakes with another son of a young sire with his first crop of classic age.

secret oath challenges to join an elite set of fillies in preakness

With the entry of Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath in the 2022 Preakness, the daughter of the late champion Arrogate (by Unbridled’s Song) bids to become the seventh filly to win the classic.

Most recently, Rachel Alexandra (Medaglia d’Oro) in 2009 and Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) in 2020 defeated colts to claim the classic at Pimlico racecourse, but four earlier fillies had also won the race: Flocarline (St. Florian) had been the first filly to win a Preakness in 1903, then Whimsical (Orlando) won the race in 1906, Rhine Maiden (Watercress) won in 1915 (the same year that Regret won the Kentucky Derby), and Nellie Morse (Luke McLuke) won in 1924.

In 1924, the order of the races was different, and Nellie Morse first won the Pimlico Oaks, then four days later the Preakness itself on May 12. In the classic at Pimlico, Nellie Morse took the lead from the start, repelled challenges from subsequent Travers winner Sun Flag (Sun Briar) and Belmont Stakes winner Mad Play (Fair Play), and finished first by 1 ½ lengths over Harry Payne Whitney’s Transmute (Broomstick).

Owned by the famed cartoonist H.C. “Bud” Fisher, Nellie Morse then ventured from Maryland to Kentucky for the Oaks. In the race at Churchill Downs, the filly ran well but was interfered with by first-place finisher Glide (Manager Waite), who was disqualified and placed third behind Nellie Morse, but that left Hall of Fame racer Princess Doreen (Spanish Prince) to scoop the prize after finishing second without interference.

Nellie Morse was generally ranked alongside Princess Doreen as the best three-year-old fillies of 1924, and Fisher sold Nellie Morse, who became an important producer for Calumet Farm after retirement, with Count Morse (Reigh Count), winner of the Clark Handicap, and the top filly Nellie Flag (American Flag) as her most successful offspring.

Bred and raced by Calumet Farm, Nellie Flag was ranked as the best juvenile filly of 1934 and started favorite for the 1935 Kentucky Derby but finished fourth in that race and seventh in the Preakness.

In producing a filly of championship caliber, Nellie Morse succeeded in “reproducing herself,” getting a racer of equal or nearly equal consequence. This is not as easy as it may sound, even for a top performer.

In a filly like Secret Oath, Arrogate sired a racer capable of something he had not done in his storied career on the racetrack: becoming a top-class performer in the first half of the season. A good-sized, though not enormous, son of the very large stallion Unbridled’s Song (Unbridled), Arrogate had still taken considerable time to come to full strength and fill out his frame for trainer Bob Baffert and owner Juddmonte Stables.

The gray did not start at two, then dawdled through the spring of second season of potential racing. When he came to race, however, Arrogate put the dawdling aside and impressed from the start. His second and third starts brought victories in a maiden and allowance in June, and then the gray colt went to Saratoga, testing Grade 1 competition in the historic Travers Stakes.

Taking command of the race early, Arrogate led at every call, extended his lead through fractions in :23.23, :46.84, 1:10.85, 1:35.52, and won by 13 ½ lengths in record time of 1:59.36.

From that point until after the 2017 Dubai World Cup, Arrogate was the best horse in training in North America. Maybe anywhere. With large gaps between starts, the galloping gray won the Breeders’ Cup Classic in late 2016 and inaugural Pegasus in early 2017 over California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit), who was nonetheless named Horse of the Year, then ventured for Dubai for his final breathtaking victory in the World Cup over Gun Runner (Candy Ride).

For whatever reason, Arrogate trained off his championship form after the trip to Dubai and was many lengths and several seconds behind his best thereafter.

Retired to stud at Juddmonte Farms in Kentucky, Arrogate had winners from his initial crop of racing age in 2021, but like their sire, they were quite slow to come to hand, and he did not have his first stakes winner until New Year’s Day of 2022. Since then, the picture has become clearer with regard to the quality of the stallion’s offspring. Some have already proven they are quite good, with Secret Oath having risen to the top of the crop at this point.

A victory against colts in the Preakness would give her an immense boost in prestige and make her the odds-on choice to take the Eclipse Award as the best 3-year-old filly of the year. A loss would count little, if any, against her.

To the bold goes the glory.

rich strike gets 10th kentucky derby for calumet farm in 82 years

When Rich Strike swept under the wire a winner in the 2022 Kentucky Derby, he became the 10th winner of the race bred in the name of Calumet Farm.

Under Warren Wright’s ownership, the farm bred 1941 winner Whirlaway (by Blenheim), 1944 winner Pensive (Hyperion), 1948 winner Citation (Bull Lea), 1949 winner Ponder (Pensive), and 1952 winner Hill Gail (Bull Lea), a yearling at the time of Wright’s death. Under the tenure of Wright’s widow Lucille and her subsequent husband Gene Markey, Calumet bred 1957 winner Iron Liege (Bull Lea), 1958 winner Tim Tam (Tom Fool), and 1968 winner Forward Pass (On-and-On), following the disqualification of Dancer’s Image. The Wright heirs were in charge of breeding 1992 winner Strike the Gold (Alydar).

Bull Lea — bought as a yearling by Warren Wright for $14,000, the bay son of Bull Dog finished eighth as the second favorite in the 1938 Kentucky Derby. At stud at Calumet, Bull Lea was the country’s leading sire in 1947, 1948, 1949, 1952, 1953 and sired Horses of the Year Twilight Tear, Armed, Citation, and Coaltown, as well as Kentucky Derby winners Citation, Hill Gail, and Iron Liege.

Brad Kelley’s ownership has meant many things for Calumet, and Kelley brought the farm its 10th Kentucky Derby winner with Rich Strike (Keen Ice).

One of the things that Kelley brought to Calumet was a broad spectrum of stallions, from Grade 1-winning sprinters like Ransom the Moon (Malibu Moon) to Melbourne Cup winner Americain (Dynaformer). But the most prescient of Kelley’s stallion acquisitions might well be the Curlin horse Keen Ice, the winner of the 2015 Travers over Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile).

Racing for Donegal Stables, Keen Ice showed other evidence of Grade 1 form – second in the Haskell, Whitney, and Jockey Club Gold Cup; third in the Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic – and Calumet bought the stallion rights to the handsome son of Curlin, as well as becoming a racing partner in Keen Ice toward the end of the colt’s time on the track.

Now, from the bay’s first crop of racing age, Keen Ice has sired a Kentucky Derby winner. Rich Strike is also the leading earner and second stakes winner for his sire, whose first crop are now three.

Calumet bred the Derby winner from Gold Strike (Smart Strike), Canada’s champion 3-year-old filly of 2005, whom the farm had purchased at the 2015 Keeneland November sale for $230,000 in foal to Sky Mesa. The mare was carrying a full sibling to G2 winner Llanarmon, winner of the 2013 Natalma Stakes.

For Calumet, Gold Strike foaled a full sister to the G2 winner that was named J and J O’Shea, then My Blonde Mary (Oxbow), had a barren year, and the Kentucky Derby winner. Rich Strike was a foal of April 25, 2019, and his dam was pronounced in foal on a June 15 cover to Calumet stallion Ransom the Moon.

Unfortunately, Gold Strike lost that pregnancy prior to arriving at the 2019 Keeneland November sale. Empty for the second time in three years, the mare did not attract much favorable attention at the auction and sold for $1,700 to Tommy Wente.

Wente said, “I’m known for buying those well-bred mares that nobody wants, and she fit the bill. She was a graded winner and the dam of a graded winner, but she had some bad produce years there at the end. I’ve always got people calling me before the sale asking me to keep my eyes open for a mare or two that could be worth having. I usually end up buying 12-15 mares and have flipped quite a few by the end of the sale, then keep a few for myself.”

Wente ended up passing the mare on to an associate, M.C. Roberts of Indiana, who tried to get a foal from her until a few weeks ago. Then Roberts gave the mare to Austin Nicks, who said, “I didn’t do nothing; it’s just a freak deal. We’d love to get her in foal.”

To that end, Nicks shipped the mare from Indiana to Tracey and Clay Caudill’s Watershed Farm near Lexington last week, and the attending veterinarian, Rocky Mason DVM of Lexington Equine Medical Group, is “going over her with a fine-tooth comb to see if she could get in foal.”

Wente’s observation was: “That mare needed a reproductive specialist but never got to one till now. It took her getting a Derby winner to get the specialist she needed.”

The Derby winner is the eighth and most recent foal out of Gold Strike. He is the mare’s second graded stakes winner and biggest earner. Rich Strike earned $1,860,000 in taking the $3-million Kentucky Derby, elevating his earnings to $1,971,289, with a record of 2-0-3 in eight starts.

By a Travers winner out of a champion filly in Canada, Rich Strike “was a colt that we liked right along,” according to Calumet’s farm manager Eddie Kane. “We kept this colt for the racing stable, sent him to Florida for breaking and early training with April Mayberry down in Ocala, and she liked him.

“April said this was a good colt and that there was a lot of upside to him, because he wasn’t a sprinter, and we always thought a lot of him because he was such a good-looking son of a gun.”

Now the team at Calumet, the farm that has produced more winners of the Kentucky Derby than any other farm in the Bluegrass, has to gaze out over the lush pastures full of young prospects and wonder. Is there another one out there?

where are the kentucky derby winners now (at stud)?

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All the most recent winners of the Kentucky Derby who have retired – through 2020 winner Authentic (by Into Mischief) – are at stud in Kentucky. This includes 2018 winner Justify (Scat Daddy), who stands at Ashford Stud outside Versailles, Ky. Both Justify and 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming (Bodemeister) have their first juveniles this year because Always Dreaming raced on at four, then retired to WinStar Farm.

But what of the preceding winners of the Run for the Roses?

Among the Derby winners with racers, 2016 winner Nyquist (Uncle Mo) has 4-year-olds, and he has sired eight stakes winners and 18 stakes-placed racers. One of the members of his first crop was champion juvenile filly Vequist, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Nyquist was the leading freshman sire in 2020, and he stands for $55,000 live foal at Jonabell Farm as one of Darley‘s American stallions.

The 2015 Kentucky Derby winner was American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile), also winner of the first Triple Crown in 37 years, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Classic of 2015, when he was named champion 3-year-old colt and Horse of the Year. Sent to stud at Ashford amid great acclaim, American Pharoah was the leading freshman sire in 2019 and stands for $80,000 live foal.

To date, American Pharoah has sired 24 stakes winners and 20 stakes-placed racers in the Northern Hemisphere; the horse also stands in the Southern Hemisphere at Coolmore’s satellite operation in Australia, where he has three stakes winners and two stakes-placed there from two crops of racing age. American Pharoah had several sons being trained for the classics in 2022, most notably Forbidden Kingdom, winner of the G2 San Vicente and San Felipe earlier this season before suffering an entrapped epiglottis in the G1 Santa Anita Derby.

The 2014 Kentucky Derby winner is even more widely traveled than American Pharoah. California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) ventured to the Middle East, where he won the Dubai World Cup.

Retired to stud in 2017 at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky, the handsome chestnut was sold to stand at Arrow Stud in Japan in 2019, when his oldest foals were yearlings. The popular winner of the Derby and Preakness stands for a fee of approximately $35,000. California Chrome is the sire of three stakes winners and five stakes-placed and has been represented by such 2022 stakes winners as Cilla (Orleans Stakes) in Louisiana and Matwakel (JCSA Challenge) in Saudi Arabia.

The 2013 winner of the Derby was Orb (Malibu Moon), who was a handsome athlete, possessed a notable pedigree, and received significant opportunities on retirement to stud at Claiborne Farm.

In 2018, the stallion’s second-crop daughter Sippican Harbor won the G1 Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga to give a much-envied top-level success. Nevertheless, Orb’s results from his initial crops at the races did not meet the high standard of success required for a commercial stallion in Kentucky, and he was sold in 2021. The bay stallion now stands in Uruguay at Haras Cuatro Pietras.

I’ll Have Another (Flower Alley) won the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, then was sidelined and eventually retired. Not long thereafter, he was sold to a group of breeders from Japan and exported to enter stud there. In 2019, I’ll Have Another was sold to American interests and was returned to the States for the 2019 breeding season and stands at Ocean Breeze Ranch in California for $10,000 live foal.

The 2011 Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kingdom (Leroidesanimaux), began his stallion career in Australia, although he found his greatest successes in America with the Derby and then the UAE at the Dubai World Cup. But the big chestnut with the slashing stride attracted the interest of Aussie breeders, who shared him with the Northern Hemisphere, where he stood at Darley’s Jonabell Farm in Lexington. In late 2019, Animal Kingdom was sold to the Japan Bloodstock Breeders Association and began breeding mares at their Shizunai Stallion Station in 2020.

Super Saver (Maria’s Mon) won the 2010 Kentucky Derby for owner-breeder WinStar Farm, and the bay entered stud there in 2011.

In all, Super Saver sired 28 stakes winners and 31 stakes-placed runners. His best offspring included champion Runhappy (Breeders’ Cup Sprint), Letruska (Apple Blossom Handicap twice), Embellish the Lace (Alabama Stakes), Happy Saver (Jockey Club Gold Cup), and Competitive Edge (Hopeful Stakes). The Jockey Club of Turkey purchased the horse in 2019 and stands him at their stud near Istanbul for a fee of approximately $13,000.

The winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby was a smallish bay gelding named Mine That Bird (Birdstone). Although he could not have a breeding career, Mine That Bird has had a varied and productive life. He has been the Derby winner in residence at the Kentucky Derby Museum and now is a pony horse guiding young racehorses around the track at HV Ranch in Texas.

Big Brown (Boundary) won the 2008 Kentucky Derby, as well as the Preakness, and off those victories, the colt was acquired for stud by Three Chimneys Farm in a very expensive stallion deal. Big Brown entered stud there in 2009 for $65,000 live foal and was moved to stand in New York in 2015, the same year that his best son, Dortmund, finished third in the Kentucky Derby behind American Pharoah. The sire of 28 stakes winners stands at Irish Hill and Dutchess Views Stallions for $5,000 live foal.

Champion at two, when he also won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Street Sense (Street Cry) progressed to win the 2007 Kentucky Derby. Retired to Darley’s stallion operation at Jonabell in 2008, Street Sense has become one of the two most successful sires among living Kentucky Derby winners, along with American Pharoah.

To date, Street Sense has sired 74 stakes winners and 50 stakes-placed runners. Among his best are Maxfield (Breeders’ Futurity, Clark Handicap), McKinzie (Los Alamitos Futurity, Malibu, and Whitney), Sweet Reason (Acorn), Call Back (Las Virgenes), Street Fancy (Starlet), and Wedding Toast (Beldame). Last season, Street Sense had Concert Tour on the classic trail, and this season he has the top 4-year-old Speaker’s Corner, winner of the recent G1 Carter Handicap.

The 2006 Kentucky Derby winner: Barbaro (Dynaformer). Let us not forget what might have been.

In 2005, Giacomo (Holy Bull) managed to win the Kentucky Derby, with subsequent Preakness and Belmont winner and divisional champion Afleet Alex third. The gray entered stud at Adena Springs, but unfortunately, Giacomo did not match his famous sire’s accomplishments at stud. Today, Giacomo stands in Oregon at Oakhurst Thoroughbreds for a fee of $2,500.

The 2004 Kentucky Derby went to the unbeaten Smarty Jones (Elusive Quality), who next won the Preakness and was then upset in the Belmont Stakes by Birdstone (Grindstone), who sired two classic winners: Mine That Bird (Kentucky Derby) and Summer Bird (Belmont).

Smarty Jones was retired after his only loss and spent his first term at stud in Kentucky at Three Chimneys Farm. The medium-sized chestnut was moved to Pennsylvania, then returned to Kentucky to stand at Calumet Farm, while shuttling to Haras la Concordia in Uruguay, and he has most recently returned to Pennsylvania and stands at Equistar Training and Breeding for $3,500.

When Funny Cide (Distorted Humor) won the 2003 Kentucky Derby, he was the first gelding to do so since Clyde Van Dusen (Man o’ War) in 1929. He added a third Grade 1 to his record with the 2004 Jockey Club Gold Cup and retired at age seven with 11 victories and earnings of $3.5 million in 2007. He moved to the Kentucky Horse Park in 2008.

The two other surviving Kentucky Derby winners, Fusaichi Pegasus (Mr. Prospector; 2000 Kentucky Derby) and Silver Charm (Silver Buck; 1997 Kentucky Derby), are pensioned from breeding.

Fusaichi Pegasus had some noteworthy successes at stud, including Grade 1 winners Roman Ruler (Haskell) and Bandini (Blue Grass). He remains a pensioner at Ashford Stud, where he was retired.

Silver Charm sired Preachinatthebar, winner of the 2004 San Felipe, and Miss Isella, a three-time winner at the Grade 2 level. Silver Charm was purchased by the JBBA and stood in Japan for a decade before returning to Old Friends, where he is a fan favorite. With the deaths of Grindstone (1996 Kentucky Derby) and Go for Gin (1994 Kentucky Derby) in March 2022, Silver Charm is the oldest living winner of the race.

Kentucky Derby success is a major accomplishment in the life of a racehorse, but it does not guarantee subsequent greatness. With the intense competition for stallion success, only a minority of such talented athletes as these become stars in their second careers.

a hot tip from history: scalding traces to a mare imported by travers & hunter

For most of his potential racing career, Scalding, winner of the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland on April 23, has looked like a hot mess.

Unraced at two and only placed second from a pair of starts at three, the dark bay son of champion and leading sire Nyquist (by Uncle Mo) had cost $400,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale. Great things had been expected.

Now, they are being fulfilled.

Scalding is unbeaten from four starts this season at four, and he has won a pair of Grade 3 stakes. So far.

Bred in Kentucky by Godolphin and Cobalt Investments LLC, Scalding is from the first crop by champion juvenile Nyquist, who also included champion juvenile filly Vequist among his first-crop racers. Scalding didn’t even make it to the starting gate in his first season of training.

In fact, Scalding didn’t debut until November last year, finishing last of eight, but he made great headway in learning the task at hand and finished second the following month. Thenceforth, the colt has been spotless.

He won a nice maiden, then allowance, and accepted the jump to graded stakes company with the elan to draw praise from veteran trainer Shug McGaughey, who said, “It’s a big job going from an ‘allowance/other than’ condition to this spot” in the G3 Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay.

“But we’ve always liked this horse,” McGaughey said in a Tampa Bay Downs news release. “He has been training forwardly and from what we saw” in the Challenger, “his future is definitely (bright).” The Challenger was the colt’s third start of 2022, and the Ben Ali was his fourth.

He is one of the hot prospects among the older horses this season, and the colt’s development is a hint that things could heat up further for this family.

The historical relations that produced Scalding have run hot and cold, though mostly hot, through the past century and a half. The first mare in the female line imported to the States was the English-bred chestnut Lady Lumley (1872 by Rataplan). William Travers, for whom the Travers Stakes is named, and John Hunter, who was the first president of the Jockey Club, imported the filly as a yearling in 1873.

Lady Lumley traveled in elite circles and traded to Erdenheim Stud, then Neponset Farm, where the mare died in May 1893 at age 21.

Her descendants included Elwood (Free Knight), winner of the 1904 Kentucky Derby; Sir Huon (Falsetto), winner of the 1906 Kentucky Derby; Borrow (Broomstick), winner of the Middle Park Stakes in England and the 1917 Brooklyn Handicap, in which he defeated Kentucky Derby winners Regret 1915, Old Rosebud 1914, and Omar Khayyam 1917; and Twenty Grand (St. Germans), winner of the 1931 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes.

Twenty Grand’s dam Bonus (All Gold) was a half-sister to Memento and Wendy (both by the Whitney stallion Peter Pan (Commando), and this trio of mares from the Lady Lumley family provided quite a lot of success for the Whitneys’ Greentree stud and stable in the early through mid-20th century.

Although Bonus produced the best racehorse, Memento and Wendy both produced a trio of stakes winners each, and for this story, Wendy’s daughter Elf (Chicle) is of most importance.

Elf won the Hudson Stakes and Youthful as a 2-year-old and produced a pair of stakes winners, most notably Boojum (John P. Grier), winner of the 1929 Hopeful Stakes.

In addition to the stakes winners, Elf also foaled a daughter of St. Germans named Crauneen who produced Pukka Gin (Firethorn), winner of the 1943 Champagne Stakes. Exactly a decade later, Crauneen’s daughter Crawfish (Halcyon) produced the 1953 Champagne Stakes winner Fisherman (Phalanx), who won a major race every year he was in training, including the Washington DC International, Travers, and Gotham, among others.

A horse of exceptional soundness and racing character bred and raced by C.V. Whitney, Fisherman was one of the best horses ever produced by this family. He also finished second in the Belmont Stakes, Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Whitney Stakes. And in 1956, he had the ambiguous honor of racing for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, along with stablemate Career Boy (Phalanx), who had won that year’s United Nations Handicap on turf and finished second in the Belmont.

Over the heavy going at Longchamp, Fisherman popped out of the gate and established a five-length lead by the half, and the dark brown horse continued to lead the race until just before entering the straight, when Ribot sneezed and catapulted into a length lead. The unbeaten champion’s lead extended thereafter, and Fisherman slogged on at one pace to finish ninth, although Career Boy picked up the pace to finish a good fourth over the extremely testing conditions.

Crawfish’s daughter Hukilau (Native Dancer) produced four stakes winners, including Wood Nymph, winner of the Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs and the sixth dam of Scalding.

A couple of soft generations, from this family, brought us to the small, dark brown, nearly black filly by the little-known stallion Dixieland Heat. His daughter out of Begin (Hatchet Man) was despised at the sales, sold for a relative pittance, and yet went into the hands of a trainer who thought of her a pure racehorse.

Was he ever right.

Xtra Heat proceeded to win 26 of her 34 lifetime starts, including the G1 Prioress Stakes, earning $2.3 million and being named Eclipse champion 3-year-old filly.

As a broodmare, the blocky racing machine found some success as the dam of stakes winner Southwestern Heat (Gone West) and Elusive Heat (Elusive Quality). The latter is the second dam of Scalding, from her unraced Medaglia d’Oro daughter Hot Water.

From five foals to race, Hot Water has four winners, including the stakes winners Scalding and Tracksmith (Street Sense), as well as the stakes-placed Tortuga (Bodemeister).

Hot Water appears to have the temperature just right.

pompa dispersal continues racing legacy

The legacy of the late Paul Pompa is still playing out on the racecourses of the world. Just a few weeks ago, the owner-breeder’s Country Grammer – who had sold to WinStar Farm for $110,000 at the Pompa dispersal in the 2021 Keeneland January sale – won the Group 1 Dubai World Cup for WinStar, Zedan Racing Stables, and Commonwealth Thoroughbreds LLC, with the latter two entities buying in as partners after the colt won the G1 Hollywood Gold Cup last year.

At Keeneland on Saturday, April 16, favored Regal Glory (by Animal Kingdom) won the G1 Jenny Wiley, racing the 8.5 furlongs in 1:40.97 to win by a length over second-choice Shantisara. Sold for $925,000 to Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm at the Pompa dispersal, Regal Glory was already a graded stakes winner at the time of sale, but she has done nothing but improve since.

Lane’s End managed the Pompa dispersal, and sales director Allaire Ryan recalled that “under the tutelage of Chad Brown and with the patience of Mr. Pompa, Regal Glory was just starting to peak, and it was a fortuitous outcome that Mr. Brant saw the potential in her.

“She was a big, stretchy filly with great depth, a truly lovely race filly and broodmare prospect, and Regal Glory was in such good condition that she shipped straight to Palm Meadows to resume training after the sale.”

From seven starts since her sale, Regal Glory has won five, including her first Grade 1 race, the Matriarch Stakes at Del Mar last November, and the mare has won her only two starts after the Matriarch: the Pegasus Filly and Mare Turf and the Jenny Wiley.

To date, Regal Glory has won 11 of 18 starts, with four seconds, and she has total earnings of more than $1.8 million.

Bred in Kentucky by Pompa, Regal Glory is one of three stakes winners from her dam, the More Than Ready mare Mary’s Follies.

As a racer, Mary’s Follies won four of 12 starts, including the G2 Mrs. Revere at Churchill Downs and the G3 Boiling Springs at Monmouth Park. At the Pompa dispersal, Mary’s Follies sold for $500,000 to BBA Ireland when not in foal.

Pompa had purchased Mary’s Follies in a private transaction following her victory in the 2009 Boiling Springs and raced her the next year, as well. The mare’s first foal was Night Prowler (Giant’s Causeway), and he raced extensively for the breeder, winning a pair of graded stakes, the G3 Transylvania at Keeneland and the G3 Dania Beach at Gulfstream. The gelding was subsequently claimed from Pompa and went on to win the Barbados Gold Cup.

Regal Glory is the fourth foal of her dam, and the mare’s fifth foal is Café Pharoah (American Pharoah). Purchased out of the OBS March Sale Of 2-Year-Olds In Training for $475,000 in 2019, Café Pharoah is also a two-time Group 1 winner in Japan, with earnings of more than $3 million to date.

The sire of his half-sister Regal Glory is now also at stud in Japan. Regal Glory is the third G1 winner by Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom (Leroidesanimaux). After his illuminating racing career, Animal Kingdom was sold as a stallion to stand in Australia, and Darley bought the stallion rights to the horse in the Northern Hemisphere.

Animal Kingdom started his sire career respectably, but clearly his stock are better suited when asked to race a distance of ground, frequently are more effective on turf, and by the end of 2019, he was sold to the Japan Bloodstock Breeders Association and stands at their Shizunai Stallion Station on Hokkaido.

Animal Kingdom entered stud at Shizunai for the 2020 breeding season, and his oldest foals in Japan are yearlings. With a racing program that features a broad range of distances and surfaces, stock by Animal Kingdom should find something that suits their aptitudes, with surfaces of dirt or turf, distances short or long.

Of them all, however, the best racer by the gifted and versatile sire is his daughter Regal Glory, a tribute to the patience and diligence of her breeder, as well as her present connections.