ghostzapper shows level of importance as a sire with woodward winner shaman ghost

By winning the Grade 1 Woodward and upsetting heavy favorite Frosted (by Tapit), the considerably talented Shaman Ghost (Ghostzapper) was carrying through on some family traditions. His sire won the Woodward Stakes as part of his Horse of the Year campaign in 2004, and grandsire Awesome Again won the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine, like Shaman Ghost did last season.

This season, Shaman Ghost had shown himself a good older horse with a victory in the Brooklyn Handicap, but the Woodward was the bay’s first victory in a G1 stakes. His sire, Ghostzapper, won four times at the premium level, with his final G1 victory coming in the horse’s only race at 5, the 2005 Metropolitan Handicap.

While winning that race by 6 ½ lengths, Ghostzapper suffered a hairline fracture of a sesamoid in his left fore ankle, and the champion was retired. Trained by Bobby Frankel, Ghostzapper won 9 of 11 starts, earning $3.4 million.

When he went to stud for the 2006 breeding season, Ghostzapper had everything going for him. He was the best-performing son of a champion sire and high-class racehorse in Awesome Again. That bay son of Deputy Minister likewise had a top record on the racetrack, winning the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic and 9 of 12 lifetime starts to earn $4.3 million.


Ghostzapper – Horse of the Year is a force for high class and strong improvement with maturity. He has been much aided in showing his potential by the support of owner-breeder Frank Stronach, who stands the horse at Adena Springs. (Adena Springs photo)

In addition, Awesome Again has proven the best stallion son of Deputy Minister, exceeding even the meritorious Silver Deputy and Dehere. Their sire had proven himself a towering talent on the racetrack, where he was a splendid champion juvenile colt in 1981, and although knocked out of a chance at the Triple Crown, Deputy Minister went on to an immensely successful stallion career at Windfields Farm, initially in Maryland, then in Kentucky when based at Brookdale Farm.

Furthermore, Ghostzapper is out an excellent producer, Baby Zip (Relaunch), who had previously foaled G1 winner City Zip (Carson City), a highly respected sire in his own right. Baby Zip was Broodmare of the Year in 2005.

Finally, Ghostzapper went to stud at Adena Springs with a highly committed owner-breeder in Frank Stronach, and just before the Metropolitan, owner-breeder Jess Jackson had taken a major position in the horse through the purchase of a one-third interest.

With two serious home breeders to back him, Ghostzapper went to stud with a fee of $200,000, and that’s where things turned sour, at least for a time.

The stud fee shut out a sizable portion of breeders who might otherwise have used the new horse, and then to make things much worse, the financial bottom fell out of the world long before Ghostzapper ever had a starter.

The radical depreciation of breeding stock and racing prospects at the sales combined to put severe downward pressure on stud fees.

Ghostzapper’s first-crop runners didn’t kill it at 2. Well, the horse had eight winners from that first crop of 2-year-olds, plus one stakes winner, and his stud fee eventually fell to about 15 percent of the initial price.

Breeders with prospective sales yearlings in the pipeline wanted to put their head in an oven.

There is no question that Ghostzapper’s first-crop racers were a little slow getting their game together. Stately Victor became the stallion’s first G1 winner with his success in the Blue Grass Stakes a month before the Kentucky Derby as a 3-year-old, and four other members of the first crop became graded stakes winners, including Canadian champion older horse Hunters Bay.

That initial crop set a tone for one of the dominating qualities of stock by Ghostzapper: they get better with age and distance. In regard to improvement with maturity, that was in keeping with both Ghostzapper, who was notably better from the latter part of his 3-year-old season onward, as well as his sire Awesome Again, whose absolute best form came at 4.

The other dominating quality about Ghostzapper as a sire is that a very significant portion of his foals have a lot of racing class. More than half of the stallion’s 48 stakes winners are graded winners, with about 10 percent of his foals age 3 and older being stakes winners.

The first crop eventually included a dozen stakes winners (15 percent of foals), and stats like those have largely restored Ghostzapper’s reputation, as well as the demand for his stock, and with eight crops of racing age, Ghostzapper stands today for $60,000 live foal at Adena Springs in Kentucky.

juddmonte tags first g1 for new american program with travers winner arrogate

When Arrogate was rolling down the stretch at Saratoga all alone, winning the historic Travers Stakes by 13 ½ lengths, he set a lot of different things in motion.

For one, he energized the contest for best 3-year-old colt, which might have started listing one way or another if Exaggerator or Creator had won.

For a second, Arrogate set up a nice payday for all the bettors who had tickets on the big gray son of Unbridled’s Song at nearly 12-1.

For a third, he set up breeder Clearsky Farm to be swamped with activity at the Keeneland September sale in two weeks. Clearsky has a dozen yearlings in its September consignment, and one of them is the yearling half-sister to Arrogate.

The yearling is by leading sire Medaglia d’Oro, the sire of current champion filly Songbird, as well as past champion Rachel Alexandra, and Medaglia d’Oro also sired the highest-priced yearling at Fasig-Tipton’s Saratoga select sale earlier in August.

Clearsky’s farm manager Barry Robinette compared the siblings: “Arrogate was a kind of raw, gangly young horse who started to come around through the summer. By the time of the September sale, he had put on muscle and filled out enough that he caught Juddmonte’s eye.

“This filly looks like a super model. She has plenty of leg and frame, but she hasn’t filled out as much as Arrogate at the same time. Still, she’s a nice prospect, doing well, and we’re pleased with her.”

Arrogate had much the same frame as a yearling, a big, scopy colt who walked well. He was also in the barn with Clearsky’s pair of Tapit colts who both sold for seven figures. One of them, two stalls over, went on to be named Mohaymen, who was a graded stakes winner at 2 and again this year at 3.

Like Mohaymen, Arrogate is a gray. Nor was he overlooked at the September sale two years ago. The gray son of Unbridled’s Song sold for $560,000 to Juddmonte Farms. That made Arrogate the third-highest lot by his sire to sell in 2014 and one of only eight yearlings that Juddmonte bought that season.

In an article published nearly two years ago, Juddmonte’s Garrett O’Rourke explained the acquisitions were an outgrowth of the international farm’s “historical success of racing in California,” and these youngsters were the third small set the farm had acquired at auction for that purpose.

Arrogate is the first foal of his dam, the stakes winner Bubbler (by Distorted Humor). Winner of six races and four stakes, Bubbler also ran third in a Grade 3 at Lone Star. At the end of her 4-year-old season, Bubbler was consigned to the Fasig-Tipton November auction and sold for $170,000 to Clearsky Farms.

Robinette described Bubbler as a “good-sized mare, standing 16.1 or thereabouts, with a good shoulder, typical of Distorted Humor, big hip, big barrel, pretty head. Overall, she’s a nice mare, but she’s a bit of a boss around the barn. She’s one of the last mares we have to wean this year. Has a nice Giant’s Causeway filly at side that we will wean soon.”

Bubbler is one of two stakes winners out of Grechelle (Deputy Minister) from six foals. Grechelle’s other stakes winner is Unbridled Femme, the mare’s first foal and a daughter of Unbridled’s Song. So it was a natural thought to send the half-sister, Bubbler, to that famous sire.

And Arrogate is the result.

Grechelle was one of five foals and four winners out of champion Meadow Star (Meadowlake), but Grechelle was the only one to earn black type, running third in the G3 Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs at 2.

Grechelle’s full sister, the good winner Field of Vision, is the second dam of G1 winner Belle Gallantey (After Market), winner of the Delaware Handicap and Beldame Stakes in 2014 and $1.1 million in earnings.

Meadow Star was a stupendous race filly, winning 11 of her first 12 starts. The flashy chestnut was an unbeaten 2-year-old champion filly, and her form looked good enough that owner Foxfield and trainer Leroy Jolley tossed her into the mix against colts for the G1 Wood Memorial. She finished fourth after a challenging trip but bounced right back to win both the Acorn Stakes and the Mother Goose.

A beautifully balanced filly with great power and a tremendous competitive drive, Meadow Star was the best produce of her famous sire and of her dam Inreality Star (In Reality). Winner of a maiden special on her debut, Inreality Star is out of Imanative (Native Dancer). The latter was a very good producer who foaled five stakes winners from 15 foals. The best of those was Fairway Phantom (What a Pleasure), winner of the G1 Arlington Classic in 1981 and the G2 Breeders’ Futurity the year before, and the full brother to Inreality Star, the gray Par Flite, won the 1985 G2 Washington Park Stakes, and he was second in the G1 Arlington Classic and third in the G1 American Derby.

Arrogate has written a further chapter of this family’s success at the top level, and we will wait to see how high he will fly.

globetrotting lady aurelia has roots in puerto rico

The picture that Scat Daddy’s daughter Lady Aurelia presented on Aug. 21 was that of a premium race filly, showing her heels to a field of colts and fillies from the start and dashing away to win the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville in France by three-quarters of a length in 1:10.61 for 6 furlongs.

When I first saw Lady Aurelia at Jim Herbener’s consignment for the 2015 Keeneland September sale, she was a stoutly made filly of average height but with very good length through the body and very good muscular development. She had a good walk and a bright, engaging attitude.

On the negative side, however, the attractive bay filly was such a strongly made animal that my next thought was, “Will she train up to be a broodmare?” The thought came to mind because the filly was already strongly made, and what, I wondered, would be the result if she built up a lot more mass with the training required to be a racehorse.

Not a broodmare yet.

But when the day comes, Lady Aurelia will make a grand one. Broad-chested and wide across the hips, she is the picture of strength and speed. Purchased for $350,000 at the September sale by George Bolton and Peter Leidel, with breeder Stonestreet staying in the partnership, Lady Aurelia has not put a foot wrong so far.

Unbeaten in three starts, this January foal began her racing early with a victory at Keeneland in April, going 4.5 furlongs in :50.85 and winning by 7 ½ lengths.

Trainer Wesley Ward took the brawny filly to Royal Ascot for her next start, and she blazed away with the G2 Queen Mary Stakes in mid-June. The Prix Morny was the filly’s third start and again showed a nearly two-month layoff, but that seems to work for her.

In comments after the Morny, Ward said the filly would ship to England and prepare for the G1 Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket on Sept. 24, then probably return to the U.S. for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Turf at Del Mar.

A filly who is a bullet out of the gate, Lady Aurelia has accomplished a great deal in a short time. Whatever she does from this point forward, Lady Aurelia has shown enough on the racecourse to ensure her future and emphasize that her family can produce horses of a very high order.

Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC, Lady Aurelia has good black type in her immediate pedigree. Three of her first four dams are stakes winners; her dam and granddam are champions.


The kink in that litany of praise is the dam and second dam were champions in Puerto Rico. Actually, racing in Puerto Rico is perfectly respectable, but the cataloging standards book that determines black type for sales catalogs (and therefore the evidence of high accomplishment) puts Puerto Rico in the Part II category for recognition of black type.

As a result, racehorses get black type for stakes in Puerto Rico, but the grades for stakes don’t count.

Count or not, some of those horses are plenty good. The dam of Lady Aurelia is a case in point. D’ Wildcat Speed (by Forest Wildcat) won 14 races in a row in Puerto Rico, was Horse of the Year there, and was champion imported 3-year-old filly in 2003.

Not shabby. Then she came to the States and won two more races, including the G2 Rampart Handicap at Gulfstream Park. In all, D’ Wildcat Speed won 16 races from 22 starts, earning $530,755. In 2005, D’ Wildcat Speed sold for $1 million at the Keeneland November sale.

D’ Wildcat Speed’s dam is the gray mare Velvet Panther (Pentaquod). She won 31 races from 55 starts and was twice champion imported mare in Puerto Rico. Brought back to the States for breeding, Velvet Panther has five winners. The best was D’ Wildcat Speed, but two others also earned black type with stakes placings.

Lady Aurelia is one of three winners out of her dam, including stakes-placed Titletown Five (Tiznow), and they have a 3-year-old half-sister training at Belmont. A $275,000 yearling at the Saratoga select yearling sale in 2014, this filly is named Sudden Fame (Congrats) and was purchased by Ramona Bass, with Steve Young as agent. Second from two starts last year, Sudden Fame is working regularly at Belmont Park and earlier this month turned in a bullet five furlongs in :59.19. Although not so suddenly famous as her sister, perhaps this filly also will find herself in the winner’s circle soon.

freshman sire dialed in picked up first graded stakes winner for this new set of sires

When Gunnevera caught Recruiting Ready (by Algorithms) in the final strides of the Grade 2 Saratoga Special on Aug. 14, his sire Dialed In (Mineshaft) became the first stallion from the current set of freshmen sires to get a graded stakes winner.

Now these are early days for the freshman class of 2016, but Dialed In has five winners to date, including two stakes winners. Other freshmen sires with early returns: Hansen (Tapit) with 6 winners, including Iowa Cradle Stakes winner Han Sense; Stay Thirsty (Bernardini) with 6 winners and a stakes winner; Shackleford (Forestry), Maclean’s Music (Distorted Humor), and Algorithms (Bernardini) with 6 winners; plus Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway), Tapizar (Tapit), Astrology (A.P. Indy), and The Factor (War Front) with 5 winners each.

Each of these stallions required support from breeders in the form of good mares, and one of the elements behind the support for Dialed In was that Darby Dan Farm instituted a share the upside program with the horse when he went to stud. By paying the advertised stud fee of $7,500 for two live foals, breeders received a perpetual breeding right in Dialed In. Darby Dan sold 50 breeding right seasons in the horse, and three entities took multiples, according to the farm.

dialed in

Dialed In – son of Mineshaft is a freshman sire at Darby Dan Farm outside Lexington and is the sire of Saratoga Special winner Gunnevera, making Dialed In the first freshman sire of the 2016 group to get a graded stakes winner. (Darby Dan photo)


One of those entities was Brandywine Farm, owned by Jim and Pam Robinson, and Pam Robinson said they “supported Dialed In because he was a great-looking horse that we loved, and the first season we sent him an older mare and a maiden,” a full sister to G1 winner Danza named Champagne Sparkle.

Bred in Kentucky by Brandywine Farm and Stephen Upchurch, Gunnevera is out of the older mare Brandywine sent, the Unbridled mare Unbridled Rage. The chestnut colt sold for $16,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale and races for Peacock Racing Stables.

The dam of the Saratoga Special winner came from the third crop of foals sired by Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled. The massive son of Fappiano had sired Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Unbridled’s Song and Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone in his first crop and was on the way to becoming an even greater success at stud than he had been on the racetrack.

Unbridled Rage did not contribute to that, however. She ran unplaced in a single start and then became a broodmare. By the time Brandywine acquired Unbridled Rage at the 2005 Keeneland January sale, the mare was a 10-year-old in foal to D’wildcat, and she already had produced stakes-placed Minstrel Queen (Cherokee Run).

Unfortunately, the mare did not produce another black-type performer until Gunnevera. Foaled in 2014 when Unbridled Rage was 19, the chestnut is his dam’s last foal.

Pam Robinson said, “The mare hemorrhaged after foaling Gunnevera. We took care of her, and she was normal for a week, then just died.”

Unbridled Rage had been the best producer by her dam, the stakes-placed chestnut Suite, a daughter of leading sire Graustark (Ribot) and full brother to leading sire His Majesty, who is a more familiar name in pedigrees nowadays thanks to the stallion success of His Majesty’s classic-winning son Pleasant Colony.

On the racetrack, Suite developed into a useful 5-year-old, placing second in a trio of listed stakes. In her only foray against G1 competition, she was fifth in the Shuvee behind Missy’s Mirage (Stop the Music), Harbour Club (Danzig), and Versailles Treaty (Danzig). The first three were separated by a nose and a head, but Suite and the others in the race were many lengths behind.

As we can see in the pedigree of Unbridled Rage, the upper half of Gunnevera’s pedigree chart has a considerable number of classic performers or classic sires. Dialed In won the G1 Florida Derby, then was 4th in the Preakness, 8th in the Kentucky Derby. Dialed In’s sire was a Horse of the Year and champion older horse and his paternal grandsire A.P. Indy was Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old after winning the Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic. Triple Crown winners Seattle Slew and Secretariat are in the preceding generations.

About the only close-up influences for precocity in Gunnevera’s pedigree are Dialed In’s broodmare sire Storm Cat and second dam, the champion 2-year-old filly Eliza (Mt. Livermore). In addition to winning four of her five starts at 2, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, Eliza trained on at 3 to win the G1 Santa Anita Oaks, then ran third in the Santa Anita Derby and second in the Kentucky Oaks.

Both Storm Cat and Eliza possessed notably more early speed than Gunnevera showed in the Saratoga Special. In this instance, the raced played to the chestnut colt’s strengths after suicidal early fractions of :21.69 and :45.04. Although the winner’s trainer called him “slow,” the colt maintained his strong gallop around the turn and through the stretch to catch Recruiting Ready near the finish and win the race.

The first three home in the Special were all by freshmen sires. In addition to the winner, second-place finisher Recruiting Ready is by the Bernardini stallion Algorithms, although Recruiting Ready was disqualified to fourth. Behind him was Tip Tap Tapizar, a son of freshman sire Tapizar, who was moved to second.

new york stallions, current and future stars

When one is asked about the best stallion in New York, the frequent answer is perennial sire leader Freud, a powerfully made son of Storm Cat and a full brother to leading international sire Giant’s Causeway.

In his patch, Freud has certainly been as dominant as his more widely known brother, who’s as different from him as chalk and cheese. The dark bay Freud is quite in the Storm Cat mold, blocky and muscular. Set a bit low and built a bit wide, he did not excel as a racehorse, placing only in the G2 Cork & Orrery Stakes in Ireland at Royal Ascot. As a sire, however, Freud has sired nearly 50 stakes winners, and he has been a splendid vehicle for the better qualities of the Storm Cat tribe: speed, strength, and courage under fire.

In contrast, Giant’s Causeway is a chestnut with a lot of white, flashy in his own way. Narrower and a bit leggier than Freud, Giant’s Causeway stayed 10 furlongs well in Europe and America, where he ventured in a sporting attempt to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He proved a gallant second in that effort.

In their future contributions, it appears that the two brothers may take different paths, as well. To date, no sons of Freud have shown the flair to set breeders on the path to their door. But the best sons of Giant’s Causeway have been otherwise. The best so far have been overseas, with the very notable exception of First Samurai, who has made a highly respectable niche for himself at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky. Although a first-class juvenile himself, First Samurai has done his best work with later-maturing stock.

The relative infrequency of top juveniles among the stock by Giant’s Causeway has been one of the quandaries about the horse as a sire; instead, most of them mature well, stay well, get at least a mile and frequently more. That was certainly the case with Frost Giant, a chestnut son of Giant’s Causeway who is bidding to fill the shoes of “uncle” Freud.

Winner of the G3 Killavullan Stakes in Ireland earlier in his career, Frost Giant came to the States and scored the most important victory of his career in the G1 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park. Possessing the narrower body type and leggier profile of his sire, Frost Giant has risen to immediate prominence among New York’s resident sires because of the success of such offspring as West Hills Giant (New York Breeders’ Futurity), Comandante, and Frosty Margarita.

With a half-dozen yearlings cataloged, Frost Giant was one of the better-represented New York sires in this year’s auction of select New York-bred yearlings.

For instance, Hip 416 is a dark bay filly out of It’s In His Kiss, a daughter of Yes It’s True. The dam of the yearling filly is a half-sister to four winners, including G1 winner A Shin Forward (by Forest Wildcat), who earned more than $3.3 million. Their dam is New York stakes winner Wake Up Kiss (Cure the Blues), and few things will cure the blues more effectively than a promising stallion prospect.

unbeaten frankel lining up his ducks for success in second career at stud

No young stallion has a more electric presence than champion Frankel, unbeaten in his racing career of 14 races over three seasons in England. Now, the first-crop of racers by Frankel is raising the pulses of breeders and racing fans with the performances of his fleet sons and daughters, which include nine winners to date and stakes winner Fair Eva amongst them.

As a result, the presence of a pair of Frankel yearlings at the famed Saratoga select yearling sale will guarantee Fasig-Tipton will receive elevated attention from fans and especially from committed owners looking to capture an outstanding prospect by an exciting new sire.

The first session of the Fasig-Tipton select yearling sale at Saratoga includes Hip 65, a bay daughter of Frankel out of the multiple graded stakes winner J’Ray, a broodmare by the high-class Mr. Prospector son Distant View. Winner of the G2 Canadian Stakes, J’ray scored three victories at the G3 level, the Matchmaker Stakes, Bayou Handicap, and My Charmer Handicap.

An earner of $745,089, J’Ray was among the very best performers sired by Distant View, a handsome and talented son of Mr. Prospector that Juddmonte bred and raced successfully, then stood at their farm in Lexington, Ky.

The dam of four foals of racing age, J’Ray has already produced the stakes winner General Jack (by Giant’s Causeway), who has earned more than a quarter-million, and two other winners.

The second Frankel yearling is Hip 148, which comes in the sale’s second session, and is a dark bay colt out of champion 2-year-old filly She Be Wild (Offlee Wild). In her first season of racing, She Be Wild won the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and G3 Arlington-Washington Lassie, and she also was second in the G1 Alcibiades Stakes on her way to an Eclipse Award for her division.

While the second-crop yearlings by Frankel will have a distinctive appeal to buyers, there are two yearlings by Frankel’s sire Galileo also scheduled to sell at the Saratoga select sale.
The first of these is Hip 20, a bay colt who was bred in Ireland out of the War Front mare Emerald Gold. The dam’s best effort on the racetrack was a third in the G1 Del Mar Debutante, and this colt is her first foal.

Emerald Gold is one of two stakes-placed performers out of the Seeking the Gold mare Dina Gold, a half-sister to stakes winner Rileys Monarch. This is the family of G1 Ashland Stakes winner Willa on the Move (Assert) and Travers winner Will’s Way (Easy Goer).

The second Galileo yearling will come in the second session of the sale and is Hip 104, a chestnut filly bred in Ireland out of the Stravinsky mare Mystical Echo. The dam is a full sister to G2 stakes winner Chinese Dragon and stakes-placed Special Interest. Their dam is Fabulous Fairy, a daughter of Alydar and 1,000 Guineas winner Fairy Footsteps (Mill Reef).
Galileo has sired more than 200 stakes winners, and breeders always give his stock special and well-deserved attention.

all aboard the tapit train

The Tapit Train never stops. At the sales, at the races, and in the hearts of breeders and racing fans, the sons and daughters of the elegant gray son of Pulpit are always at the fore.

At the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale that began on Monday evening, Aug. 8, Tapit was at his usual position as a leading commercial sire. His gray son out of Fashion Cat brought $750,000 among the earlier hips to sell at the opening session, and another gray son out of the Tiznow mare Rote was the top-priced colt at the second session on a bid of $1.25 million from John Moynihan, bidding for Stonestreet Stables and Coolmore.

2015 tapit x rote c ss16 1.25m02

Gray colt by Tapit x Rote (Tiznow) was highest-selling yearling by his sire at $1.25 million from Stonestreet – Coolmore at the Saratoga select yearling sale on Aug. 9


Over the weekend at Saratoga preceding the select sale, the Tapit Train delivered graded successes in the historic Whitney, as well as in the G2 West Virginia Derby.

Frosted was mightily impressive when taking a paceless and potentially listless Whitney and turning it into a demonstration of what a versatile horse can do when allowed to race to his natural aptitude and in a style that fits his physical and mental makeup.

Likewise, Cupid ran a strong and independent race to win the West Virginia Derby. The Tapits, a strong-willed family of horses, seem to do best with minimal restraint. Instead, they seem happiest when they take the game right to the competition, pushing the pace, running freely in their preferred rhythm, and the best of them can maintain that rhythm for a surprising distance.

Perhaps it is not surprising then that Tapit has sired two of the last three winners of the Belmont Stakes, and Frosted was second in the race last year to a certain Triple Crown winner.

So while the colt may have major potential at longer distances, both Frosted and Cupid have shown their best form at 8-9 furlongs.

The Whitney and West Virginia Derby are at 9 furlongs, and Cupid rolled home in West Virginia by four lengths.

A $900,000 Keeneland September yearling, Cupid was a well-balanced and well-grown yearling, even though he was foaled in May. Given the negative response the sales market has to immature yearlings, Cupid was obviously the real deal, although younger than his contemporaries.

And Cupid had a license to attract the interest of high-end yearling buyers.

The gray colt is one of four stakes winners out of the stakes-placed Pretty ‘n Smart (Beau Genius), and the West Virginia Derby winner is a half-brother to G3 winners Heart Ashley (Lion Heart) and Ashley’s Kitty (Tale of the Cat), as well as listed stakes winner Indianapolis (Medaglia d’Oro).

A further interesting piece of history is that Cupid was raised on the farm of George Waggoner that “used to be owned by Tom Gentry, where he bred all those famous horses like Terlingua and Royal Academy,” Waggoner said.

“When I started looking for a farm in Kentucky, I looked at the soils in different areas, really liked this piece of land, and I bought it from the bank quite a few years after Tom Gentry went out of business,” Waggoner recalled.

He bought the farm in 1993 and came to national prominence as a breeder just a few years later. He said, “My friend and adviser Les Brinsfield recommended that I buy Clever Monique, a daughter of Clever Trick. After I bought her and bred her to Is It True, the result was Yes It’s True.”

Waggoner had a good sale with the colt, selling him for $220,000 at Keeneland September, then saw Yes It’s True resold the following year as a 2-year-old in training for $800,000. Trained by Wayne Lukas, Yes It’s True won four stakes at 2 (the G3 Sapling and Hollywood Juvenile Championship), was second in the G1 Futurity, and third in the G2 Breeders’ Futurity.

The following season the quick bay won a half-dozen stakes, including the G1 De Francis Dash. Retired with earnings of more than $1 million, Yes It’s True became a good stallion in Florida and later in Kentucky.

Waggoner credits the quality of the land and the horsemanship of his staff with the farm’s success. He said, “I originally bought 80 acres, then 50 acres that I resold. Then I bought about 90 acres more to bring it up to the present acreage. My farm manager Harvey Turley produces a good horse; he’s a really knowledgeable horseman, and our clients come to the farm in part because of the care and quality of horsemanship they find there.”

As a result, more recent stakes winners from the farm include multiple G1 winner Zazu and G2 winner Flashback, who is now a popular young stallion. Both are by Tapit.

Waggoner believes the association with Tapit is far from finished. He said, “Pretty ‘n Smart, who’s owned by people who have a very large construction business in south Louisiana, has the prettiest Tapit filly I’ve seen. Olin Gentry manages the mare for the owners, and just a few days ago, we were looking over the weanlings, and I told Olin that this filly would be the highest-priced Tapit filly out there. Maybe the highest-priced Tapit period.

“She is big, tall, stretchy, and muscular. Better than Cupid when he sold. She is purely outstanding, and I have no financial interest in her, other than the pride of seeing her raised on my farm.”

Olin Gentry said Cupid’s breeder, JKG Thoroughbreds, is a partnership he manages, headed by Thomas Turner. He said Pretty ‘n Smart is currently in foal to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

The full sister to Cupid is expected to be offered at a yearling sale in 2017, and the Tapit Train keeps rolling along.

mr prospector line finding riches for breeders and owners through differing branches, including seeking the gold

The Mr. Prospector line had an enriching and enlightening month around the world. Some of the successes came through Mr. Prospector’s grandson Curlin (by Smart Strike) with Exaggerator (Grade 1 Haskell), Stellar Wind (G1 Clement Hirsch), and Curalina (G3 Shuvee); for grandson Street Cry (Machiavellian) who officially became the leading sire in Australia for the 2015-16 season in significant part due to six-time G1 winner Winx; for grandson Exchange Rate (Seeking the Gold) with Greta G (G1 Argentine 1,000 Guineas); and for great-great-grandson Midshipman with top sprint filly Lady Shipman (G3 Royal North Stakes).

Those highlights indicate some of the reasons why Mr. Prospector was such a successful, and subsequently, such an influential sire. The dark bay son of Raise a Native sired a vast number of racers who showed speed and versatility. They were able to show high speed and yet sometimes carry it a classic distance, and Mr. Prospector’s stock were notable for their ability to show their form over a variety of surfaces and in a variety of differing environments or racing jurisdictions.

mr prospector yrlg ad2

This is a less-than-perfect scan of a Tony Leonard (copyright) photo of the yearling later named Mr. Prospector. Leonard’s photo was made for Spendthrift Farm’s advertisement of the colt who went on to bring top price at the 1971 Keeneland July select yearling sale


Likewise as a sire of stallions, Mr. Prospector set up a very high bar. His son Woodman sired a pair of classic winners (Hansel and Hector Protector) in his first crop; son Fappiano became a leading sire and sired Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled, who established the most prolific and classic branch of Mr. Prospector; son Gone West sired English classic winner Zafonic, an important sire abroad, and champion sprinter Speightstown, a leading sire in the States; son Machiavellian sired two winners of the Dubai World Cup, including Street Cry, the sire of Horse of the Year Zenyatta and a stallion of international consequence; son Forty Niner sired Belmont Stakes winner Editor’s Note and leading American sire Distorted Humor; son Seeking the Gold sired three Breeders’ Cup winners and is responsible for the most internationally vibrant branch of the Mr. Prospector line.

Age 31, Seeking the Gold was euthanized at Claiborne Farm on July 28 due to the infirmities of old age. In the versatility of his offspring and his own longevity, Seeking the Gold was very similar to Mr. Prospector, who was tough as a pine knot and hung on to the bright strand of life longer than any of his great contemporaries, dying at age 29.

Out of the Buckpasser mare Con Game, Seeking the Gold was very similar to his broodmare sire in so many ways. Both sired champion fillies in their first two crops, both sired horses of great elegance and quality, and both showed high speed yet sired stock that stayed surprisingly well.

Both also suffered from an undeserved reputation as “filly sires.”

Having those top-class fillies show up in their initial crops drew breeders’ attention to the quality and athleticism of the fillies sired by Buckpasser and Seeking the Gold. But both also sired very good colts. Buckpasser’s sons at stud included Buckaroo, sire of Kentucky Derby winner and champion Spend a Buck.

The kink in Buckpasser’s sire success was that none of his sons were nearly as good as their sire, but Seeking the Gold sired a horse that was even better than himself. That was once-beaten Dubai Millennium.

Winner of nine races, including the Dubai World Cup, Prix Jacques le Marois, Prince of Wales’s Stakes, and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Dubai Millennium raced from 2 through 4 and was rated at 140 by Timeform.

Retired to stud at Dalham Hall for the 2001 breeding season, Dubai Millennium contracted grass sickness after covering only part of his first book of mares and was euthanized on April 29 of that year.

The wrenching loss of the best horse that the Godolphin/Darley complex had produced was slightly softened by the generally good results they got from the only crop of foals by the stallion. Nearly all those foals were bred or acquired by Darley, and the best of them proved to be Dubawi, a G1 winner at 2 and 3.

Significantly more precocious than average, Dubawi won the G1 National Stakes as part of an unbeaten juvenile campaign, then won the Irish 2,000 Guineas and Prix Jacques le Marois at 3.

Retired to Dalham Hall as a 4-year-old, Dubawi has proven a revelation at stud. His best offspring include Dubawi Heights (Gamely, Yellow Ribbon), Makfi (2,000 Guineas, Prix Jacques le Marois), Monterosso (Dubai World Cup), Al Kazeem (Prince of Wales’s, Eclipse), Night of Thunder (2,000 Guineas), New Bay (Prix du Jockey Club), and Arabian Queen (International Stakes). But the best of them all may be Postponed.

The winner of five races in a row, Postponed won the 2015 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes last year and the Coronation Cup this season. He is the strongest current representative of the Seeking the Gold stem of Mr. Prospector.

Whether winning classics or competing at the highest level in the U.S., as we see with the progeny of Curlin, or dominating the elite all-age competition in Europe, as we see with stock by Dubawi, the Mr. Prospector line is still delivering gold for breeders around the world.

the bold ruler male line is back on top of leading sires due to some bold reasoning

Both of the opening stakes at Saratoga, the Schuylerville for juvenile fillies and the Sanford for colts, were won by 2-year-olds from the A.P. Indy male line. Sweet Loretta (by Tapit) won the Grade 3 Schuylerville on July 22, and Bitumen (Mineshaft) won the G3 Sanford the next day.

While Tapit puts his stock into the top tier of juvenile performers with regularity, it is not a common thing for some other members of the A.P. Indy line, which can be rather demanding for time and maturity. Mineshaft, for instance, was raced overseas as a young horse, where he made only a moderate mark. Returned to the States, the scopy bay won 7 of 9 starts as a 4-year-old, with a pair of seconds, earning $2.2 million, and was named champion older horse and Horse of the Year for 2003.

Yet both leading sires fired with juvenile graded stakes winners at what is probably the toughest race meeting of the year. That’s the kind of sire power the A.P. Indy line has used to move itself to the top of the stallion rankings, and it’s interesting to look at the heritage that lies behind the line to see the characteristics that make these horses such imposing racers.

The keystone, Horse of the Year A.P. Indy, was the most-acclaimed stallion son of Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year Seattle Slew. As a leading sire in the U.S. and as a leading broodmare sire (Horse of the Year Cigar and others), Seattle Slew has carved his name among the sires of lasting importance to the breed.

So what was the genetic force that propelled Seattle Slew and his stock to such heights and that comes to us today through A.P. Indy’s many descendants?

One element would be the mass and speed of Seattle Slew’s sire, Bold Reasoning.

Unraced at 2 due to relatively minor dings, Bold Reasoning ran nine times at 3, a trio of starts at 4; from the dozen, the big, dark brown horse won eight times, earning $189,564. He won the first seven of them in a string that pushed his name into the headlines. The fifth of Bold Reasoning’s victories was the Withers Stakes, and the seventh was the Jersey Derby, in which he defeated a colt named Pass Catcher, who came back to win the Belmont Stakes that ended Canonero’s bid for a Triple Crown.

A Florida-bred by the relatively obscure Bold Ruler stallion Boldnesian, Bold Reasoning sent racing men’s heads spinning with his speed. Coming back to the races at 4, Bold Reasoning won only once, setting a record of 1:08 4/5 for six furlongs at Belmont Park. The muscular colt was also second in the Metropolitan Handicap to Executioner, beaten by a neck.

Impressed by the speed and intensity of the horse, Nelson Bunker Hunt stepped in and purchased Bold Reasoning as a stallion prospect, and he approached Claiborne Farm about standing his new acquisition. Syndicated with Hunt retaining a significant interest, Bold Reasoning was the first horse added to the stallion roster at Claiborne after the death of Bull Hancock.

Bold Reasoning was an appropriate horse to stand at Claiborne because Boldnesian had been bred and raised at the farm, where his sire Bold Ruler, male-line grandsire Nasrullah, and broodmare sire Princequillo stood. Bold Reasoning was out of the Hail to Reason mare Reason to Earn, and Hail to Reason’s sire, Turn-to, had entered stud at Claiborne in the mid-1950s, siring champion First Landing in his first crop.

Bold Reasoning made his first season at stud in 1973, and the 7-year-old stallion was euthanized on April 24, 1975, after covering 28 mares in his third year at stud. The previous week, Bold Reasoning had fallen in the breeding shed, probably cracking his pelvis at that time, and the injury led to colic and subsequent euthanasia.

A bit more than two years earlier, in his first season at stud, the stakes-winning mare My Charmer was the third mare taken to Bold Reasoning. The following year, she produced a dark brown colt later named Seattle Slew.

The future Triple Crown winner, who emulated his sire by winning seven races in a row, did not make his debut till more than a year after his sire’s death, but Seattle Slew blew through three races in such dramatic fashion that racing professionals were exhilarated by Slew’s speed and ability to carry it. A record performance in the Champagne Stakes over the best 2-year-old colts cinched the divisional championship for Seattle Slew.

A star was born, and another, not fully recognized, had already passed.

searching’s descendant i’m a chatterbox shines a light on la troienne

In the Delaware Handicap, the charming chestnut I’m a Chatterbox added her second Grade 1 victory to a career record that shows 7 successes from 14 starts, with earnings of $1,834,614.

Those accomplishments make her the most successful offspring of the young sire Munnings (by Speightstown), and I’m a Chatterbox presents a deep and fascinating pedigree to examine.

She is, for one thing, inbred 4×3 to the Secretariat mare Lady Winborne and carries two more crosses to the 1973 Triple Crown winner through his daughters Terlingua, dam of Storm Cat, and Secrettame, dam of Gone West.

Terlingua and Secrettame were both stakes winners, but Lady Winborne was a winner from two starts. Although she did not have an extensive race record, Lady Winborne did not lack pedigree. Lady Winborne was a half-sister to the great racemare Allez France (Sea-Bird), and both are daughters of the high-class filly Priceless Gem (Hail to Reason), who defeated champion Buckpasser in the 1965 Futurity Stakes.

The partnership of Hall of Fame trainer Hirsch Jacobs and Isidore Bieber bred Priceless Gem, and she raced in the name of Ethel Jacobs, the trainer’s wife. Priceless Gem was a half-sister to champion Affectionately (Swaps), and both were daughters of a War Admiral mare that Jacobs bought in May 1955 for $15,000. A mare named Searching.

man o' war2

Man o’ War – the great racehorse became a great sire, and his son, Triple Crown winner War Admiral, became the sire of the great broodmare Searching and other top producers


Bred in Kentucky by Ogden Phipps, Searching was not very big, certainly not impressive as a young racer, and she was a maiden after 20 starts. Phipps had a lot of well-pedigreed horses; another who couldn’t win wasn’t an asset.

Jacobs must have scratched her on the ears, fed her toast and jam, or something. When the filly started racing for him, Searching finished in first place for six of her first seven starts with the Ethel Jacobs Stable.

By the end of the season, Searching was a multiple stakes winner, and small was beginning to look mighty nice.

Searching came from a family of small horses. Not only was War Admiral small, but the mare’s granddam was the marvelous La Troienne, not exactly the queen of large herself. La Troienne’s first top performer was her daughter Black Helen, a very small mare with a massive talent that allowed her to win the American Derby, the Florida Derby, and the Coaching Club American Oaks.

Very high class with stamina allowed Black Helen to dominate her division, and she became the first of three full siblings by E.R. Bradley’s stallion Black Toney out of La Troienne. The most famous of the three was champion Bimelech, winner of the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, and the other was Big Hurry, winner of the 1938 Selima Stakes and three other races. As a measure of her class, only one filly was rated above her on the Experimental Free Handicap at 2.

Like all the big three and all five of La Troienne’s stakes winners, Big Hurry was bred by Bradley at Idle Hour Stud and raced for him. And she went to stud at Idle Hour like all her famous siblings.

But Bradley was quite elderly by the 1940s, and when Idle Hour was broken up in 1946 after Bradley’s death, the farm’s bloodstock was split up in large groups to Greentree Stable, King Ranch, and Ogden Phipps.

Only 10 at the time and already the dam of stakes horses Bridal Flower and Be Fearless, Big Hurry was one of the pearls of the Bradley bloodstock. She produced three further stakes winners for Phipps: Great Captain, The Admiral, and Searching.

In the division of riches, Greentree got Bimelech and La Troienne, who was already 20. The grand old mare was in foal, however, and the following year, she produced a filly for Greentree by Blue Larkspur. Named Belle of Troy, the unraced mare became the dam of Whitney Stakes winner Cohoes (Mahmoud).

Through an agent, Bradley had purchased La Troienne at the 1930 Newmarket sales for 1,250 guineas in foal to major sire Gainsborough. She became the most important mare imported to the U.S. and arguably the most important mare of the 20th century.

At her new home in Kentucky, La Troienne made history.

More noteworthy for structure than substance, La Troienne was a finely made mare who had shown form “when highly tried” during a seven-race career. She had not won but had placed in stakes and was even tried in the classics.

Brought to America and fortified with bluegrass, the elegant little mare and her offspring have made decades of racing history richer with their speed and gameness.