fastnet rock has made himself an international force in breeding and racing, like his sire danehill

The Irish-bred mare Zhukova turned the Grade 1 Man o’ War Stakes at Belmont Park into a procession with her six-length victory on Saturday (May 13). Rating in front over the soft course, Zhukova kicked for home with an impressive turn of foot and won the day.

The 5-year-old mare’s sire, Australian champion Fastnet Rock, proved a top-end racer due to his speed, and his stallion career has been marked by the capacity to produce individuals who can race effectively and produce speed at some point in a race.

They are not, however, limited to sprints. Both Fastnet Rock and his sire Danehill (by Danzig) were rated “sprinters” because of their exceptional speed, and Fastnet Rock was an Australian highweight of that division.

Typically to become top sires, however, sprinters need to sire stock that does more than sprint, and in that both Fastnet Rock and Danehill, as well as the fabled Northern Dancer stallion Danzig, all excelled far outside the norms and expectations of breeders.

fastnet rock_coolmore

Fastnet Rock – son of international star Danehill has followed a similar pattern on the racetrack and at stud. Coolmore photo


In the case of Fastnet Rock, he has 114 stakes winners to date, predominantly in Australia but increasingly around the world as those opportunities come to the horse.

In addition to G1 winners Down Under like Atlantic Jewel (Caulfield Guineas and three other G1s), Awesome Rock (Mackinnon Stakes), Catchy (Blue Diamond Stakes), Planet Rock (New Zealand Bloodstock 1,000 Guineas), and Mosheen (Australian Oaks, among four G1s), Fastnet Rock has spread his influence around the globe.

In South Africa, the robust dark bay stallion has been represented by G1 winners Driefontein (Sangster Stakes) and Lone Rock (Goodwood Handicap). The G1 winners for Fastnet Rock in Ireland are Intricately (Moyglare Stud Stakes), in England are Diamondsandrubies (Pretty Polly), Fascinating Rock (Champion Stakes), Qualify (Oaks), and Rivet (Racing Post Trophy, also third on Saturday in the French 2,000 Guineas); and in the States we have Zhukova.

It is also worth noting that every one of the stallion’s Northern Hemisphere G1 winners are out of mares by Northern Dancer line stallions, and Intricately, Qualify, Rivet, and Zhukova are out of mares by Galileo.

That is the way that Fastnet Rock himself is bred. He is a grandson of Northern Dancer’s son Danzig and is out of Piccadilly Circus, a mare who is a granddaughter of Northern Dancer’s son Nijinsky, the last winner of the English Triple Crown.

Piccadilly Circus is a G3 winner by Royal Academy (Nijinsky), winner of the G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Belmont and a good sire. The mare is a full sister to G3 winner Raheeb. Both are out of the Australian listed stakes winner Gatana (Marauding), who was also second in the G1 Newmarket Handicap.

This is not a “stallion” pedigree of the sort that stallion managers covet, but there are some useful animals past the first couple generations, and the female line traces to a half-sister of 1941 2,000 Guineas winner Lambert Simnel (Fair Trial).

More to the point, there is no getting around the fact that Fastnet Rock is a very good sire and continues to prove it.

A few hours prior to Zhukova’s G1 success on Saturday, the 4-year-old Fastnet Rock filly Turret Rocks won the G3 Blue Wind Stakes at the Currah, and she is out of a Galileo mare.

Already G1-placed, Turret Rocks is being aimed for the Yorkshire Oaks later this year, where she may have to contend with Zhukova.

The latter was bred in Ireland by Mrs. C.L. Weld, the mother of trainer Dermot Weld, and the late Mrs. Weld is also the breeder of Zhukova’s dam, Nightime. The latter is a daughter of Galileo and won the 2006 Irish 1,000 Guineas.

So highly was Zhukova regarded that the filly passed out of the ring unsold for 540,000 guineas (upwards of $1 million) as a yearling at the Tattersalls October sale in 2013.

Racing for owner John Murrell, Zhukova won the 2016 renewal of the Blue Wind Stakes for her first group success, then added the Kilternan Stakes later in the season. Now the winner of a G1 and 7 of 10 lifetime starts, Zhukova has total earnings of $479,310 and a value that stands considerably higher.

Nightime has a 2-year-old colt named Pitch Dark (Dubawi) who brought 1.1 million guineas as a weanling at Goffs November sale in 2015, and the mare has a yearling filly by Zoffany.

always dreaming sets all irish eyes to smiling with his victory in the kentucky derby

When Always Dreaming pulled away from his opponents to win the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 6, two of the people cheering loudest for the elegant bay were Irishmen from different counties of the Emerald Isle.

Those two were Mike Ryan and Gerry Dilger. Operating under the name of Santa Rosa Partners, they are the breeders of Always Dreaming. They bred the colt from the stakes-winning mare Above Perfection (by In Excess), who lives at Dilger’s Dromoland Farm.

The breeders “first met in Kentucky in 1976 or 1977,” Mike Ryan recalled. “I was working at Windfields Farm in Canada, had come down to the Keeneland July sale for my vacation, and Gerry was working at Murty Farm, which was the name of the property next door to Keeneland at the time, [now the Keeneland Entertainment Center and Library complex]. We have been friends ever since.”

The years between have been prosperous for the friends, and Santa Rosa Partners bought G3 winner Above Perfection for $450,000 out of the ClassicStar dispersal at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky’s 2006 November sale. The In Excess mare was then 8, had three previous foals, and was carrying a filly by Dixie Union. Twenty-one months later, the resulting yearling sold out of the Dromoland Farm consignment for $340,000 to W.K. Warren Jr. at Fasig-Tipton’s 2008 Saratoga select yearling sale.

Returned to the sales at Fasig-Tipton’s Florida sale in 2009, the filly sold for $435,000 to Grace Stables. Named Hot Dixie Chick, she became the first graded stakes winner bred by the Santa Rosa Partners, and Hot Dixie Chick’s greatest success was a victory in the G1 Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga.

Now Hot Dixie Chick’s half-brother, Always Dreaming, is the partnership’s first classic winner.

Like Hot Dixie Chick, Always Dreaming was born and raised at Dilger’s Dromoland Farm outside Lexington. Dilger said, “Since this colt was born, he was nice. Always was a nice young horse that we thought had class. He developed into a nice-sized, straightforward yearling with good angles. We followed our usual sale approach in preparing him, and they’re all treated the same. The big majority are raised here, and the staff here work with them all along, trying to keep them happy.”

Always Dreaming, on his day in the spotlight at the September sale, had developed into a robust and very appealing type of premium commercial yearling. He had the size, the muscular development, plus the look and attitude of a serious racing prospect.

 As a result, “we were very happy with what we sold him for. He showed himself well, took the sales experience very well. A number of people out there at the September sale were interested in him,” Dilger recalled. And that’s what made the colt sell so well.

The colt brought $350,000 from Steve Young, agent, and subsequently, a number of entities have purchased equity in the colt. The colt now races for MeB Racing, Brooklyn Boyz, Teresa Viola, St Elias, Siena Farm, and West Point.

At that price, Always Dreaming ranked 11th among the 80 yearlings by Bodemeister that sold in 2015, and he is the most accomplished by far, thanks to his classic victory.

Dromoland has sold the past two Kentucky Derby winners. At the 2013 Keeneland November mixed sale, Dilger, Ted Campion, and Pat Costello purchased a weanling colt by Uncle Mo for $180,000 that they returned to the sales at the 2014 Keeneland September auction, where they sold the progressive youngster for $230,000 to Mike Ryan and Niall Brennan, who pinhooked him through the 2-year-old sales the following season.

At the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale of juveniles in training, that bay colt sold out of Brennan’s consignment to Dennis O’Neill, agent for Reddam Racing, for $400,000. Unbeaten at 2 and named Nyquist, that colt won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, was 2-year-old champion colt, and took home the roses at last year’s Kentucky Derby.

After Nyquist’s successful first campaign, Darley purchased the stallion rights to the colt, and Nyquist is standing his first season at stud at Jonabell.

One of the mares scheduled to be bred to Nyquist this year is Above Perfection.

Ryan is optimistic about Nyquist’s prospects, and he believes the mare fits the freshman stallion well. “She’s a big, strong, deep mare,” Ryan said. “Great substance to her. Stands about 16.1 – 16.2. Was brilliantly fast on the racetrack and has a great rear end on her.”

Those physical assets have been significant contributions to the mare’s two fastest foals, and Ryan said, “Always Dreaming covers the ground so effortlessly I think his mechanics – the way he moves – help him.”

The motion of the Derby winner isn’t the only thing that is moving. For the partners, like all breeders, “the day he won the Florida Derby was special because winning a G1 is a great accomplishment,” Ryan said. “Winning our biggest race here in the States is past anything. Breeding a good horse is a great satisfaction, but at this level, it’s amazing.”

kentucky derby connections spice up the bewitching pedigree of quiet business

This Kentucky Derby week column won’t feature a Derby horse because there are no remaining preps to the Run for the Roses. So the question for an avid writer is how many references to the Kentucky classic can we come up with, anyway?

Naturally, it’s a filly who allows me to get into the spirit of classic week here in Kentucky, and Quiet Business won the Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland to provide the vehicle for this essay.

Her sire is the Grade 1 winner Quiet American (by Fappiano), who won the G1 NYRA Mile at 4 as part of a quartet of victories from 12 starts for earnings of $754,419. Bred in Florida by Tartan Farms, Quiet American sold as a yearling at the Tartan dispersal in September 1987 at Fasig-Tipton in Kentucky.

There, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum purchased the scopy colt for $300,000. At the same auction, a year-younger colt later named Unbridled sold to Frances Genter.

Three years later, Unbridled won the 1990 Kentucky Derby. That was the most visible popular success in a very good stallion career for Fappiano, the sire of both Unbridled and Quiet American. Fappiano, who died young at age 13, became the most important conduit of Mr. Prospector’s male line in America, largely due to these two sons.

While Unbridled gathered greater celebrity from his victory in the Derby, plus success in the 1990 Breeders’ Cup Classic, Quiet American polished his credentials and went to stud at Gainsborough outside Versailles, Ky., then moved to Darley’s Jonabell facility near Keeneland when Sheikh Mohammed purchased that property as his American stallion station.

The sire of Eclipse Award winner Hidden Lake, Quiet American is also an important broodmare sire. His daughter Cara Rafaela – also winner of the G1 Hollywood Starlet and G2 Alcibiades Stakes – produced classic winner and champion Bernardini (A.P. Indy), and the Quiet American mare Quiet Dance foaled 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam (Saint Ballado).

To date, Quiet American has sired 55 stakes winners, and there are likely to be a few additions to the list. The stallion was pensioned in 2013 and died October 16, 2016.

But the most famous of all Quiet American’s offspring was a colt born in 1995 and later named Real Quiet. A tall, narrow yearling who fetched the pittance of $17,000 at auction, Real Quiet developed into a beautifully proportioned racer who matured late at 2 to win the G1 Hollywood Futurity, then grew into a classic performer who won both the 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

Real Quiet’s second dam, Meadow Blue, was a full sister to 1969 Kentucky Derby winner Majestic Prince (Raise a Native), and Meadow Blue is the fourth dam of Quiet Business. Real Quiet’s half-sister Mining My Business (Mining) is the second dam of Quiet Business. Mining My Business has produced G2 Fair Grounds Oaks winner Real Cozzy (Cozzene), also second in the G1 Kentucky Oaks, plus the unraced A.P. Indy mare Indy Business. The latter is the dam of Quiet Business, one of the numerous good horses out of A.P. Indy mares.

A.P. Indy is a living legend at Lane’s End Farm, where he was bred and raised and where he returned – after earning Horse of the Year in 1992 with victories in the Belmont, Santa Anita Derby, and Breeders’ Cup Classic – to begin a historic tenure at stud.

In his long career at stud, A.P. Indy has sired Horse of the Year Mineshaft (sire of Derby prospect J Boys Echo and grandsire of Gunnevera) and leading sire Pulpit (sire of three-time leading national sire Tapit). Both of those stallions are out of mares by Mr. Prospector, and A.P. Indy’s first-crop star Pulpit was in the vanguard that established this as the preferred pedigree cross for A.P. Indy, who was scratched out of the 1992 Kentucky Derby due to a foot problem that trainer Neil Drysdale was able to resolve quickly enough to put the dynamic colt into contention for the Belmont Stakes and a championship season that ended with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

In addition to the numerous classic performers that A.P. Indy sired, the bay son of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew is a prominent broodmare sire, and A.P. Indy has two prospects for the Kentucky Derby out of his daughters: Hence, out of Floating Island, and Patch, out of Windyindy. Also, more than a half-dozen Derby prospects descend from A.P. Indy in the male line, with a nearly equal number coming from Mr. Prospector’s male line.

With all these different, but classic connections, the Bewitch winner has “Derby” written all over her pedigree.

shanghai bobby is generating profits and showing speed with his first crop of racers

When an unbeaten 2-year-old champion goes to stud, there is a certain amount of fanfare, and with the retirement of 2012 Eclipse Award champion Shanghai Bobby (by Harlan’s Holiday), who had gone undefeated in his five starts at 2, commercial breeders were queuing up immediately to breed to the quick and good-looking dark brown horse at Ashford Stud.

Part of the reason for their interest is the horse’s pedigree. Shanghai Bobby is by the successful and highly popular stallion Harlan’s Holiday (Harlan), a grandson of leading sire Storm Cat and a factor for speed and early maturity in racing stock that made him quite popular with buyers and breeders.

When Shanghai Bobby went to stud in 2014, Harlan’s Holiday was receiving accolades as a sire of stallions because of the high-class performers resulting from the first crops by the young Harlan’s Holiday horse Into Mischief. Further, Shanghai Bobby is out of a good mare by champion sprinter Orientate (Mt. Livermore). So the champion juvenile colt unifies two of the fast and classy lines in America breeding: Storm Cat and Blushing Groom.

Breeders were anticipating that Shanghai Bobby would get attractive foals that became irresistible 2-year-olds, and the international breeding behemoth, Coolmore Stud, acquired Shanghai Bobby as a stallion for its Ashford Stud in Kentucky as part of their sequential acquisition of American 2-year-old champions that include Lookin at Lucky (Smart Strike), Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie), Hansen (Tapit), and American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile).

Of those, the undeniably most successful so far has been Uncle Mo, and Shanghai Bobby fit right in with the group as a fast, attractive horse who seems well-suited to the racing and sales program here in the States.

The fast-acting breeders got it right.

From his first-crop yearlings in 2016, 71 young prospects by Shanghai Bobby brought an average of $109,324 and a median price of $85,000. Those figures represent a very healthy 5x and 4x multiple over the horse’s 2014 initial stud fee of $20,000 live foal. The first-crop yearlings sold so well that Shanghai Bobby’s 2017 fee is listed as $25,000, a rise of 25 percent for a fourth-year horse over his entering fee.

That is virtually unheard of.

With the level of first-crop cash assessments that Shanghai Bobby’s yearlings achieved, observers would have expected to see the Shanghai Bobby stock go through the roof at the premium sales of 2-year-olds in training. That has not happened prior to last week’s OBS April sale (25-28), with only a half-dozen previously sold for an average price of $167,500 and a median of $117,500. That isn’t hamster feed; so we shouldn’t read too much into the initial figures.

With 22 consigned to the OBS April sale, we have learned a good deal more about how they have matured and how they stand in the assessment of racehorse buyers from around the world. Sixteen of the 2-year-olds worked (six were declared out), and four sped a furlong in :10 flat. Five more went down the lane in :10 1/5, and we can say the prospects will not fail for lack of speed. Sales results are below:


110 out C Shanghai Bobby Anabaa’s Fortune de Meric Sales, Agent III Withdrawn Out
168 10.1 F Shanghai Bobby Betty Spaghetti Scanlon Training & Sales, Agent Fergus Galvin, Agent for Marc Detampel 60,000
170 10.2 F Shanghai Bobby Billex Doux Julie Davies, Agent Bradley Thoroughbreds LLC, Agent 105,000
230 out F Shanghai Bobby Casino Glory SBM Training and Sales, Agent IV Withdrawn Out
290 10.0 C Shanghai Bobby Consider Thesource de Meric Sales, Agent VIII Eddie Kenneally, Agent 100,000
322 10.3 C Shanghai Bobby Deborah’s Moment Starting Point Thoroughbreds Edward J Smith 16,000
337 10.1 C Shanghai Bobby Diamond Corner Top Line Sales LLC, Agent for Kinsman Farm 220,000 Not Sold
448 10.3 C Shanghai Bobby Force de La Nature Timber Creek, Agent Barby Racing 3,500
462 out C Shanghai Bobby Fusaichi Lady Q Bar J Thoroughbreds LLC, Agent I Withdrawn Out
603 10.1 F Shanghai Bobby Izzie’s Gold Boutte Sales, Agent III Ruben Valdes 20,000
604 10.2 C Shanghai Bobby Jack’s Flame Top Line Sales LLC, Agent XXI Triton Thoroughbreds LLC 30,000
644 21.2 F Shanghai Bobby Kind Turn Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent Have Fun Racing 65,000
684 out C Shanghai Bobby Leave a Message Sescan LLC, Agent Withdrawn Out
698 10.0 C Shanghai Bobby Lily’s Hope Julie Davies, Agent Eddie Plesa, Agent 42,000
728 out F Shanghai Bobby Magnet King’s Equine, Agent XI Withdrawn Out
736 out C Shanghai Bobby Mama Tia Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds LLC, Agent Withdrawn Out
847 10.1 C Shanghai Bobby Oelectra Randy Bradshaw, Agent VIII Happy Tenth Stable 100,000 PS
915 out F Shanghai Bobby Proud Dame Southern Chase Farm, Inc. (Greg & Karen Dodd), Agent Withdrawn Out
980 10.1 F Shanghai Bobby Ruby’s Prize RiceHorse (Brandon & Ali Rice), Agent 95,000 Not Sold
991 out C Shanghai Bobby Salut d’Amour (IRE) Scanlon Training & Sales, Agent VIII Withdrawn Out
1017 10.3 C Shanghai Bobby Seraphic Too Crupi’s New Castle Farm, Agent I Michael Langford 30,000
1134 10.3 F Shanghai Bobby Suroof Brick City Thoroughbreds, Agent Saud Saad 20,000


collected is another example of why his sire city zip continues to prosper in the bluegrass

Collected is snorting fire in his desire to become the leading son of sire City Zip (by Carson City). Collected would be within sniffing distance of the earnings leadership for sons of City Zip, except for a quintet of millionaires, and the glamorously good-looking Collected moved his earnings to $600,500 with victory in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes, his sixth success from nine lifetime starts.

Those pesky millionaires include champion sprinter Work All Week (G1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, $1.5 million), Palace (G1 Forego, G1 Vanderbilt; $1.5 million), City Style (G3 Strensall Stakes; $1.3 million), plus Alert Bay and Get Serious, who are G2 and G3 winners with earnings of $1.1 million each.

It is exceptional for a stallion to get five winners of $1 million or more, but these are only City Zip’s seven-figure earners from the Y chromosome side of the street. He has three daughters who have earned more than a million: Dayatthespa (champion turf filly; Breeders’ Cup Filly Turf), Catch a Glimpse (Canadian Horse of the Year; BC Juvenile Fillies Turf), and Finest City (BC Filly Sprint).

Not bad for a little chestnut horse.

And in the best-son category, City Zip is hands-down the best stallion son of the celebrated Mr. Prospector sire Carson City. Best known as a broodmare sire, Carson City has had some good results with sons like Pollard’s Vision (Kentucky Oaks winner Blind Luck), Cuvee (G1 Breeders’ Futurity winner Noble’s Promise), and Hear No Evil (G1 Forego and Carter winner Jackson Bend). None of the Carson City sons, however, has shown the consistency and high quality in their racing stock that is a hallmark of City Zip.

Most of the stock by City Zip also have plenty of zip, and that is what he displayed in his own racing career.

From 23 starts at 2 and 3, City Zip won eight stakes and placed second or third in eight more. His most notable victory came in the G1 Hopeful, when he deadheated with Yonaguska for the prize. City Zip loved Saratoga, also winning the G2 Saratoga Special and Sanford there at 2 and adding the G2 Amsterdam Stakes at 3.

To date, 67 racers by City Zip have become stakes winners (6 percent from foals), and 70 more are stakes-placed. In addition to transmitting his own innate speed, City Zip sires horses with quite a bit more distance capacity than he showed on the racetrack, and many of them show high form on either dirt or turf. His stock mature well, stay sound, and appear to enjoy being racehorses.

Many of these qualities are also found in the stock by City Zip’s famous younger brother, Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, who is 17. They are out of the Broodmare of the Year Baby Zip, who died last week at age 26. She was the daughter of top sire Relaunch (In Reality).

Collected, bred in Kentucky by Runnymede Farm and Peter Callahan, is the third foal from his dam, the Johannesburg mare Helena Bay. Collected was such a good-looking yearling that he brought $150,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September sale, which was the fourth-highest price of 55 City Zip yearlings sold that year. In 2015, Collected sold for $170,000 at the OBS March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.

In addition to his high class and good looks, one of the things of great interest about Collected is that he has three successive lines of Northern Dancer in his dam. Helena Bay is from the Storm Cat male line (Storm Bird); her dam, Josette, is by Danehill (Danzig); and the third dam is Loure (Lyphard). Those are three of the six most important sons of Northern Dancer, and City Zip adds a fourth son, Nijinsky, through Carson City.

So Collected’s pedigree is essentially a fascinating take on the most popular breeding cross of the past generation: Mr. Prospector crossed with Northern Dancer. And the element that makes this one special is the sequential layering of Northern Dancer lines, which are then crossed to Mr. Prospector’s grandson City Zip.

I doubt that we will see many mares bred this way because it takes years of planning to develop the male-line layering we see in Helena Bay and her son Collected, but Runnymede Farm followed the program with the mare to get a yearling colt by Lookin at Lucky (Smart Strike) for the Mr. Prospector cross.

Then last year, they sent the mare to the Danzig stallion Hard Spun. That resulted in a foal of 2017 with four successive male lines of Northern Dancer, and the mare produced a colt earlier this month.

If he grows up to match that pedigree, he will be a racehorse indeed.

violence’s first crop generates buzz at the obs april sale of 2-year-olds in training

“Pretty is as pretty does” and “proof in the pudding” are time-worn bits of wisdom suggesting that results are more important than good looks or good intentions. That wisdom is never truer than when applied to horse racing.

In racing, results are everything. Quite understandably as the first races for 2-year-olds are decided, owners and managers of young stallions like Violence (by Medaglia d’Oro) are hopeful and anxious at the same time.

For owners, for trainers, jockeys, breeders, and all those associated in auxiliary roles, the winning post signifies the measure of success for each. And that’s part of the reason that so much attention is paid to the leading sales of 2-year-olds in training.

The works leading up to the sales aren’t races, but you won’t see a horse being asked for a harder drive of energy to the finish than some coming down the lane with a flaming furlong.

So, success in the sales, such as the Ocala Breeders Sales Company’s April auction held April 25-28, tells us some things; doesn’t tell us others.

One of the final results left hanging is whether young sires who are the repository of great hopes will find success through the medium of their young racers.

Grade 1 winner Violence himself was a star juvenile. Unbeaten in three races in a coast-to-coast campaign, Violence won the Hollywood Futurity in California and the G2 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct. He was one of the highest-ranked juveniles of his crop, and great things were expected of the tall, dark, and very handsome colt as a 3-year-old.

Unfortunately, Violence’s second season ended after a single start, when he was a hard-fought second in the 2013 Fountain of Youth to eventual Kentucky Derby winner Orb (Malibu Moon).

Retired to stud in 2014, both have their first crops coming through the in-training sales this year, and along with Preakness winner Oxbow (Awesome Again), they represent the 2013 classic crop with a significant number of prospects in their initial crops of racers.

Standing at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm outside Lexington, Ky., for a $15,000 stud fee, Violence is the leader of this group by number of foals in his first crop with 188, and he already has his first winner.

At Keeneland on April 20, Violence’s gray daughter Buy Sell Hold won by 4 ½ lengths, going 4 ½ furlongs in :51.84.

Violence was big and fast; his offspring are tending toward large and look fast. Therefore, people want to buy them.

From his first crop of yearlings, Violence had 84 sold for an average price of $79,727 and a median of $50,000.

This season, 11 of his 2-year-olds have sold for an average of $167,751 and a median price $100,000. At the OBS sale, the sire had 27 youngsters cataloged (seven outs). From his workers, three went in :10, and a half-dozen more sped a furlong in :10 1/5.

For their size and work speed, the Violence stock are generating interest, and maiden special events across the country will feature their debuts in the coming months.


OBS April results:

23 10.2 F Violence Vindi Princess Top Line Sales LLC, Agent XII Richard Perkins 45,000 PS
29 out F Violence Walloon Eddie Woods, Agent XXXVIII Withdrawn Out
61 10.3 F Violence Wonder Lady Brick City Thoroughbreds, Agent Michael Dubb, Kim Valerio, Agent 40,000
180 out F Violence Blush SGV Thoroughbreds (Steven Venosa), Agent Withdrawn Out
232 out C Violence Cat Fighter Off the Hook LLC, Agent IV Withdrawn Out
280 out F Violence Coastal Wave Woodford Thoroughbreds, Agent Withdrawn Out
377 20.4 C Violence Dying to Dance Top Line Sales LLC, Agent XV Paul Reddam 225,000
404 10.2 F Violence Ever Adored Niall Brennan Stables, Agent III Mike Ryan, Agent for E 5 Racing 250,000
405 21.1 C Violence Ever Elusive Tom McCrocklin, Agent IV Bradley Thoroughbreds LLC, Agent 225,000
423 10.1 C Violence Fear This SGV Thoroughbreds (Steven Venosa), Agent Saul Berenson 235,000
446 out F Violence Fontanne Mayberry Farm, Agent III Withdrawn Out
453 10.2 F Violence Form Fitting Excel Racing (Rudy Delguidice), Agent II Southern Springs Stables 38,000
483 21.2 C Violence Glengarra Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent VI Neal Maharaj 30,000 PS
495 out F Violence Gone Bye Bye Eisaman Equine, Agent Withdrawn Out
572 10.1 F Violence Ididntmeantoo SGV Thoroughbreds (Steven Venosa), Agent Eddie Plesa, Agent for Karl & Cathi Glassman 165,000
612 10.1 C Violence Jenny’s So Great Sequel Bloodstock, Agent Nick J. Hines, Agent 142,000
701 10.0 C Violence Littlebitabling Excel Racing (Rudy Delguidice), Agent I Art Sherman 75,000
767 10.1 C Violence Misgoldy de Meric Sales, Agent XXV Gary Contessa, Agent 40,000
799 10.0 C Violence Mother Ruth Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent Sagamore Farm 225,000
838 11.0 C Violence Northern Vacation Brick City Thoroughbreds Jeffrey Englehart 10,000
868 10.0 F Violence Palomanegra Eddie Woods, Agent IV Ben McElroy, Agent 190,000
870 22.2 C Violence Parchisi Woodford Thoroughbreds, Agent JKC & Stu Bloodstock 12,000 PS
931 21.3 C Violence Queen’s Triomphe Niall Brennan Stables, Agent I Spendthrift Farm LLC / Town & Country Racing LLC 280,000
946 out F Violence Ready Love de Meric Sales, Agent XLV Withdrawn Out
1062 10.1 C Violence Sky Hosoya Blas Perez Stables, Agent I H & E Ranch 50,000
1079 20.3 C Violence Something Brewing Envision Equine, Agent III Solis / Litt 450,000
1165 10.1 F Violence The Calypso Myth Woodford Thoroughbreds, Agent Narvick International 320,000

is native dancer the power behind oaklawn handicap winner inside straight?

Inside Straight (by Super Saver) won the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap on April 15. It was neither the most important race, nor the most impressive performance of the weekend, but Inside Straight has a pedigree with some exceptional distinctions, as well as a nearly universal commonality.

The great majority of all the top-tier racehorses today descend from a single male line, that of Lord Derby’s extraordinary stallion Phalaris. Born just over a century ago in 1913, Phalaris was a dark brown son of the good stallion Polymelus out of the mare Bromus. On the racecourse, Phalaris was a horse of high speed and immense strength, but at stud he was a miracle.

Phalaris sired horses of such speed, combined with reasonable stamina, that he got top juveniles, classic winners, and outstanding older horses. The success of his racing stock made him the leading sire in England, home to the most competitive breeding and racing in the world a century ago.

The single thing that has set apart Phalaris from all the other great English sires – Saint Simon, Swynford, and Hyperion, for instance – is that the sons of Phalaris spread that success around the world, and the sons and grandsons carried on.

Through the male line, in particular, the descendants of Phalaris have covered the world, and the two primary branches of this overachieving line of stallions come to us through Northern Dancer and his broodmare sire Native Dancer.

The latter stallion is a point of great interest.

Beaten only once, by Dark Star in the 1953 Kentucky Derby, Native Dancer was a gray goliath. By the high-class sprinter-miler Polynesian (Unbreakable), who also won the Preakness Stakes, Native Dancer was out of the gray Discovery mare Geisha. The 1954 Horse of the Year as a 4-year-old, Native Dancer was the only stakes winner out of Geisha, but he wasn’t a good horse.

Native Dancer was a great one.

Champion at 2, 3, and 4, Native Dancer towered over his contemporaries, and of all the horses racing at the same time, only Tom Fool, who was a champion at 4 and unbeaten in 1953, was considered a serious challenger for Alfred Vanderbilt’s great gray.

The two never met.

That is a peculiar irony because they descend from full brothers. Native Dancer is a great-grandson of the imported stallion Sickle, and Tom Fool is a grandson of the imported stallion Pharamond.

Bred in England by Lord Derby, Sickle and Pharamond were both sons of Phalaris and out of the great broodmare Selene (Chaucer), thus half-brothers to Lord Derby’s great champion racer and sire Hyperion.

Both full brothers were considered surplus to the needs of Lord Derby’s stud, like nearly all colts. Sickle sold to Joseph Widener and went to stand at Elmendorf Stud in Kentucky, and Hal Price Headley bought Pharamond to stand at his Beaumont Farm, just south of Lexington.

Sickle was a year older and became a quicker success at stud, but both were important sires. Pharamond, however, sired the best son: Menow. A really fast, ruggedly made individual, Menow was out of Headley’s wonderful broodmare Alcibiades (for whom the stakes is named), and he became a really good sire.

For a time, it appeared that Pharamond might be the one to breed on in the male line more strongly than Sickle, but Menow’s classic-winning son Capot was virtually sterile (15 foals), although Tom Fool was a very serious stallion who sired Horse of the Year Buckpasser and other good horses.

Native Dancer, however, changed everything for the fortunes of the Sickle branch of Phalaris.

In Europe through Atan (Sharpen Up and his sons Kris and Diesis) and Dan Cupid (Sea-Bird), Native Dancer has played a key role in stallions with speed and classic potential, and at home in the States, the gray superhorse has become an exceptional influence, primarily through Raise a Native and his son Mr. Prospector, but also through Alydar, Exclusive Native, and numerous others, including Kentucky Derby winner Majestic Prince, the male-line connection for Inside Straight.

Then also as the broodmare sire of good horses, most prominently Northern Dancer, Native Dancer has proliferated through pedigrees to the extent that it is not common to find one without him, and many have multiple presences.

Inside Straight has seven crosses of Native Dancer, which would be one of the stronger pedigrees in that regard. Since he is a gelding, Inside Straight will not be changing the history of breeding, but he is a reminder of the heavily muscled gray and all he did for racing and breeding.

historic connections highlight pedigree of blue grass winner irap, who also is a half-brother to leading sire speightstown

It’s not every day you see a major winner with a Buckpasser third dam. A foal of 1963, Buckpasser died all too young at age 15 in 1978, making his last-crop fillies born in 1979, 38 years ago.

That’s fourth-generation territory because pedigrees average out to about 10 years per generation. So, typically, we would see Buckpasser in the fifth generation or further back, but Blue Grass Stakes winner Irap (by Tiznow) has some notable older influences closer up in his pedigree, which is fascinating at many levels.

For one thing, the Bluegrass Stakes winner is a half-brother to champion sprinter Speightstown (Gone West), also a leading sire. The 19-year-old Speightstown has sired just over a thousand foals, with 76 stakes winners to date and progeny earnings of more than $76 million.

tiznow in padd

Tiznow – galloping in his paddock at WinStar Farm – where he stands alongside Speightstown. They are sire and half-brother to 2017 Blue Grass Stakes winner Irap. (WinStar photo)


For another, Speightstown and Irap are bookends to the 17-year producing career of their dam Silken Cat (Storm Cat). Speightstown was the mare’s first foal, and Irap was her last. Most of the reason for the compression of generations is Silken Cat, a stakes winner and champion 2-year-old filly in Canada, where she was unbeaten in all three of her starts at 2.

Silken Cat, who wasn’t bred the last two years of her life, died last year at age 23.

Many commercial advisers and buyers are intensely critical of the produce from older mares, even hypercritical. As a result, it is difficult to sell young prospects out of older mares, but Silken Cat had the last laugh.

Bred in Kentucky by Aaron and Marie Jones, Irap was born when his dam was 21, and he was a very nice foal. The prejudice, however, against “old-mare foals” was evident when Irap went through the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale. He was led out unsold at $140,000.

At the following year’s Ocala Breeders’ Sales March auction of 2-year-olds in training, Irap left no questions unanswered. He whipped through his work with a stride length of nearly 24 feet and earned a BreezeFig of 66, which is quite good. Irap was one of the typically good-looking and well-prepared juveniles that Bobby Dodd brings to the premium auctions, and Irap sold like it.

Dennis O’Neill, among other astute judges, spotted the talent and secured the bay colt for the account of Reddam Racing for $300,000.

Prior to the feature at Keeneland, the major knock on Irap was that he came into the Blue Grass a maiden, but he was what the English would call “highly tried” because although Irap had not won, the good-looking colt had not been wasting his time thumping on maidens. Irap had been second in the G1 Los Alamitos Futurity to Mastery, plus second in the Robert Lewis Stakes earlier this year.

While he was no Buckpasser, who won 15 races in a row at one point in his career, Irap was promising and came to the Blue Grass with a mission. Mission accomplished.

The Blue Grass winner shares the generational compression of his own female line with his famous ancestor, champion and Horse of the Year Buckpasser.

In Buckpasser’s case, the third dam was born 37 years earlier, and she is the great broodmare La Troienne (Teddy), foaled in 1926.

Irap’s third dam is even older; the Buckpasser mare Insilca was foaled in 1974, 40 years before Irap. Insilca foaled two stakes winners, and the most prominent was Turf Classic winner Turk Passer, one of two G1 winners by champion Turkoman (Alydar).

Insilca’s other stakes winner was Silken Doll, a quick and classy daughter of Chieftain (Bold Ruler), and Silken Doll’s stakes-producing daughters include champion Silken Cat, the dam of Irap and Speightstown.

Looking the other direction in Irap’s female line, Insilca is out of the stakes winner Copper Canyon, whose sire Bryan G. (Blenheim) was most famous for siring champion Cicada. Copper Canyon is out of First Flush, who also produced Sorority Stakes winner Bold Experience and Dade Metropolitan Handicap winner Virginia Delegate (both by Bold Ruler).

First Flush, a daughter of the little-known Mahmoud stallion Flushing, was a nonwinning half-sister to some pretty hot horses. Her siblings included champions First Landing (Turn-to) and Hill Prince (Princequillo), plus three other stakes winners.

They are all out of the great broodmare Hildene, one of the foundation mares of Christopher Chenery’s Meadow Stud. Copper Canyon was bred by Meadow Stud, then later acquired by Mrs. Charles Engelhard, who bred Insilca, and this family has continued to reward its owners with quality and class through the decades.

always dreaming is shining the light for young sire bodemeister

Galloping under the wire of the Grade 1 Florida Derby a five-length winner of the race in 1:47.47, Always Dreaming (by Bodemeister) set all those connected with him to dreaming of roses. The performance was an emphatic victory, and it also reminded breeders and racing fans of the sire’s classic season in 2012, when he was second in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

This colt is the third stakes winner and first G1 winner for his sire Bodemeister (Empire Maker) and is a member of that young sire’s first crop of racers. Retired to stand at WinStar Farm for the 2013 breeding season, Bodemeister covered large books of high-quality mares, and he has 131 foals in his first crop.

A front-running horse who stayed 10 furlongs, Bodemeister was noted for his speed, which allowed him to win the G1 Arkansas Derby, as well as finish a highly respectable second in the classics above. The speed that Bodemeister showed on the track made him intensely sought-after as a stallion prospect. As respected as any other colt of his year, Bodemeister’s acquisition by WinStar was regarded as a major coup.

In a commercial market attuned to the significance of early speed and its advantages, breeding farms coveted Bodemeister’s speed and potential as a sire in preference to the colt who beat him twice in the classics, I’ll Have Another (Flower Alley). A tractable front-runner with first-rate pace (:22.32, :45.39, and 1:09.80 for the first three fractions in the Derby), Bodemeister missed winning the Preakness by only a neck, and I’ll Have Another was a top-class stretch finisher.

Out of the Storm Cat mare Untouched Talent (G3 Sorrento Stakes), Bodemeister recorded Beyer Speed Figures as high as 109, and a large pool of breeders and owners considered the handsome colt a signature talent.

Additionally, he is one of two major sons by Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker (Unbridled), and the other one is Pioneerof the Nile, the sire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and other notable racers.

All these positive factors contributed to making Always Dreaming a sought-after yearling when he came to auction in 2015.

Bred in Kentucky by Santa Rosa Partners, Always Dreaming sold for $350,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale, with Steve Young signing the ticket as agent. Although 10 Bodemeister yearlings brought more money than Always Dreaming, the bay colt is leading the group on speed and accomplishments.

The speed comes naturally for a colt by the front-running Bodemeister and out of the intensely quick Above Perfection (In Excess), who won the G3 Las Flores Handicap with a Beyer Speed Figure of 113 and ran second to champion Xtra Heat (Dixieland Heat) in the G1 Prioress Stakes.

The 19-year-old mare is now the dam of two G1 winners from 10 named foals of racing age.

The first G1 winner out of Above Perfection was Hot Dixie Chick (Dixie Union), a sizable and quite strongly made filly who won three of her first four starts and achieved her peak form by August of her juvenile season with victory in the Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga.

In contrast, Always Dreaming was second and third in his two starts as a 2-year-old and has progressed massively this year at 3. He is unbeaten in 2017 and has graduated from maiden special to allowance to graded stakes in three starts.

If the good-looking colt progresses further in the quest for the classics, it will result in considerable appreciation to the value of other members of the family.

California-bred dam Above Perfection is the dam of an unnamed 2-year-old filly by Medaglia d’Oro that sold for $485,000 as a weanling at the 2015 Keeneland November sale. The mare has a yearling filly by Pioneerof the Nile and was bred to Honor Code.

Above Perfection’s speed and graded success sprang her from the California breeding program to Kentucky, where she has had so much success. She is, however, a model for some of the best elements of California breeding over the past 30 years.

Most notably, her sire In Excess was the best stallion to stand in California since Gummo, at least. He was a hardy, immensely talented horse who became a national influence from his California base at Vessels Stallion Station.

Above Perfection’s dam is by Somethingfabulous (Northern Dancer), whose principal claim to fame was that he was the younger half-brother of Triple Crown winner Secretariat and Kentucky Derby favorite Sir Gaylord. Somethingfabulous wasn’t up to their standard on the racetrack, placing third in the G1 Flamingo Stakes, but he became a useful stallion in the California breeding program and figures in more than a few pedigrees of good horses.

The mare’s second dam is by the terrifically fast and rugged racehorse Terrang, a son of the legendary Khaled (Hyperion), the best stallion to stand in California and a first-rate stallion anywhere. Terrang counted the Santa Anita Handicap and Santa Anita Derby among his dozen stakes victories, and he is one of the sources of speed and ability that litter the pedigree of this year’s Florida Derby winner.

man o’ war’s century of influence

A classic winner and unbeaten at 3 in 1920, Man o’ War closed out his historic career with an emphatic victory over the previous year’s star Sir Barton, who is recognized as the first winner of the Triple Crown.

Such is Man o’ War’s renown as a racer that some fans do not know his time at stud – 22 seasons until he was pensioned after the breeding season at age 25 – was both exceptional and lasting. In an article a couple of weeks ago, I delved into the contemporary male lines tracing to Man o’ War. That is the most competitive position in pedigrees, and most lines die out.

man o' war2

man o’ war at stud: his presence is widely dispersed through pedigrees today

Man o’ War has not, but his male line is relatively scarce. In other positions within pedigrees, the great son of Fair Play and Mahubah is almost as common as cockroaches.

Among Man o’ War’s sons, Triple Crown winner War Admiral was prominent during his lifetime and particularly through his daughters, War Admiral is an important part of the fabric of pedigrees. His daughters produced such major racers and breeding stock as Buckpasser and Hoist the Flag.

The other highly visible son of Man o’ War who has come down in pedigrees is War Relic, especially through In Reality and his stock.

Man o’ War, however, is widely distributed through pedigrees and through numerous sources. A measure of how pervasive the chestnut son of Fair Play has become is seen from a quick count of the number of times that Man o’ War appears in some of the major stakes winners over the past weekend.

The Sunland Derby winner Hence (by Street Boss) carries 15 pedigree presences of Man o’ War, and Dubai World Cup winner Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song) has 23 in his.

In all likelihood, the breed average for pedigree presences of Man o’ War probably lies in the 15 to 20 range. He is not in pedigrees from strongly European sources such as Teddy, Blenheim, Nearco, and Hyperion, but for the strains coming out of the old American lines, Man o’ War is present in spades.

One overachiever in this regard is Fast and Accurate (Hansen), the winner of the Spiral Stakes at Turfway. The gray son of champion 2-year-old Hansen (Tapit) has 34 presences of Man o’ War, which makes Fast and Accurate the winner of this particular sweepstakes, as well.

This volume of presences of a horse from a century ago is a sure indication of the importance of Man o’ War as contributor to our modern pedigrees; otherwise his name would have died out.

There was every reason for Man o’ War’s influence to continue because he was a powerful factor for class and staying ability, plus a surprising amount of speed.

From 381 registered foals, Man o’ War sired 62 stakes winners (16 percent), and from his total foals, 199 were fillies. Due to the small books of mares that the champion covered, he led the general sire list by total earnings only once (1926) and never led the broodmare sire list, which was dominated by the remarkably prolific Sir Gallahad III. But Man o’ War was second to Sir G III no fewer than eight times as leading broodmare sire.

One of the interesting things about researching my archives with regard to Man o’ War’s influence as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth is the realization that quite a number of the great horse’s daughters, as well as sons, have survived in contemporary pedigrees.

This is a considerable accomplishment because most mares do not have a large number of foals, unlike stallions, and the likelihood that the mares’ lines of descent will live on are naturally smaller.

As an example, consider two full sisters out of the Hainault mare Baton. The better racer was Wand, winner in three of her four starts, including the Matron Stakes at 2. She produced a pair of high-class performers in Caduceus (Sickle) and Halberd (Blenheim). The former was third in the Futurity Stakes, and the latter won the Saratoga Special. Those were two of the mare’s only three foals, however, and all were colts.

In contrast, Wand’s full sister Baton Rouge was a nonwinner from six starts. At stud she produced eight foals, with five winners. Among them were the top racehorses Firethorn (Sun Briar), winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup twice, Suburban Handicap, and second in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Firethorn’s sibling out of Baton Rouge was Creole Maid (Pharamond II), winner of the Coaching Club American Oaks.

Baton Rouge is one of the Man o’ War lines still vibrantly present in pedigrees today.

So, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Man o’ War’s birth, it is inspiring to note the influential and continuing legacy he has bequeathed to our sport.