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.

orb earning respect among malibu moon sons at stud with initial 2yos

A good-looking horse from a family with class and speed, Kentucky Derby winner Orb went to stud at his birthplace, Claiborne Farm, for co-owners Stuart Janney and Phipps Stable and has been well-appreciated and well-received there. Judging from the initial reception of his first-crop 2-year-olds, the bay son of Malibu Moon is going to stay popular.

In part, this is due to the selection of prospects by Orb for the in-training sales. Among these bright and shiny young athletes, their young sire appears to be channeling Malibu Moon, who is a force mightily in favor among 2-year-old sales consignors and buyers. They have muscularity and early development that suggests speed at 2.

Overall in the variety of offspring by the stallion at the yearling sales and in early training, however, Orb is reproducing many of the classic qualities of his famous classic-winning grandsires, A.P Indy (Belmont Stakes) and Unbridled (Kentucky Derby). Niall Brennan, who handled Orb through his breaking and early training, has worked with several 2-year-olds by the young sire and said that they are shaping up like “late-summer or fall 2-year-olds.”

From what we’ve seen of the juveniles in training to this point, the Orb horses appear to be good, average-sized, and athletic, with “great cardios and mental attitudes for their training,” Brennan added.

That is all great news for breeders and buyers looking to find the next “good thing” among the young stallions producing the next generation of racehorses. At the Gulfstream sale, one Orb juvenile went through the ring, and that colt out of Spring Awakening brought $500,000 from China Horse Club and WinStar Farm.

At the OBS March sale this week, there were 15 juveniles by Orb cataloged, which is an indication of how the stallion’s young horses in training are being assessed by their consignors and owners. Among the interesting lots by Orb are colts and fillies of differing sizes and colors.

Hip 589 is a gray filly out of stakes winner Her Sweet Saint, a full sister to stakes winner Saint Knows (both by the Saint Ballado stallion Sweetsouthernsaint). This is the family of the bob-tailed wonder, Sea Cadet, winner of the G1 Donn Handicap.

Hip 628 is a chestnut colt out of stakes winner Jaramar Rain (Thunder Gulch), and Hip 677 is a bay colt out of a stakes-producing Johannesburg mare. The latter worked a furlong in :10, which puts him in a tie with Hip 127, a striking big bay colt out of the Forest Wildcat mare Remember, as the fastest sales workers by their sire.

Eleven of the Orb juveniles worked a furlong, and the most common work time for the Orbs was :10 3/5, which is a “little slow” for headlines and sale glory but is plenty fast for any other consideration. The works ranged from the pair at :10 to a quartet at :10 3/5, and the spread in work times is probably as important as the difference in coat color. Coat color doesn’t mean anything if a stallion’s progeny can run.

Class and athleticism are the stallion’s ace cards, and some are sure to win early, while the best are likely to be seen in the fall.

Below are the sales results from the OBS March sale for the Orb juveniles consigned:


8 10.1 F Orb Maracuya Crupi’s New Castle Farm, Agent II 140,000 Not Sold
110 out F Orb Quick Flip Niall Brennan Stables, Agent XVIII Withdrawn Out
127 10.0 C Orb Remember Crupi’s New Castle Farm, Agent V Solis / Litt 1,250,000
172 10.1 F Orb Sheer Beauty Sequel Bloodstock, Agent John P. Fort 260,000
240 10.1 F Orb Sweet Belle Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent XXII Eddie Kenneally, Agent 120,000 PS
247 out F Orb Tazarine Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent XXIII Withdrawn Out
265 out F Orb Trendsetting SGV Thoroughbreds (Steven Venosa), Agent Withdrawn Out
289 10.3 C Orb Wallstreeter Eisaman Equine, Agent T. McGreevy, Agent for Fox Hill Farms, Inc. 150,000
365 out C Orb Barbette Niall Brennan Stables, Agent XII Withdrawn Out
424 out C Orb Charming N Lovable Halcyon Hammock Farm, Agent I Withdrawn Out
427 out C Orb Cherryblossommiss Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent X Withdrawn Out
461 out F Orb Court of Appeal Eddie Woods, Agent XLIX Withdrawn Out
589 10.2 F Orb Her Sweet Saint Best A Luck Farm LLC, Agent 95,000 Not Sold
628 out C Orb Jaramar Rain Eddie Woods, Agent IX Withdrawn Out
677 10.0 C Orb Lynnette de Meric Sales, Agent XXXVI Todd A. Pletcher, Agent 600,000



malagacy speaks volumes for shackleford and for the legacy of darby dan

With a victory in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn, Malagacy (by Shackleford) remained unbeaten in three starts, put himself squarely in contention for the classics, and became the third Triple Crown candidate this year by a sire standing at Darby Dan Farm.

Darby Dan owner John Phillips has been in the horse business long enough to realize the good fortune he is reaping, but the historic farm is having as a strong a year in 2017 as it experienced with Phillips’s grandfather John Galbreath, who stood such icons as Ribot, Sea-Bird, and Swaps and who bred classic winners Proud Clarion and Roberto.


Proud Clarion, winner of the 1967 Kentucky Derby, was one of two classic winners bred by Darby Dan from Hail to Reason; the other was English Derby winner and leading sire Roberto.

Both the latter were sons of champion juvenile Hail to Reason (Turn-to), and Roberto became a sire of great international significance. Winner of the 1972 English Derby and the only horse to defeat the great Brigadier Gerard (in the Benson & Hedges Gold Cup), Roberto figures in the pedigree of Malagacy, and the Rebel Stakes winner is inbred to Pleasant Colony, the classic-winning son of leading sire His Majesty, one of the stars of the Darby Dan breeding program during the 1980s and ’90s.

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Pleasant Colony appears 4×3 in Malagacy’s pedigree, and the classic winner was the best son of his famous sire both on the racetrack and at stud. Although a confirmed two-turn performer, Pleasant Colony sired some stock that were notably quicker and more precocious than himself.

Shackleford, in possessing pace and stamina, inherited the best elements of his classic forebears Pleasant Colony, plus classic winner and champion Unbridled, who is Shackleford’s broodmare sire and whom Shackleford resembles in many respects, though not in color.

In the 2011 Preakness, Shackleford showed his pace, stamina, and courage to best effect as he held off Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom. Because Shackleford is a blend of elements, many breeders didn’t know what to make of the tall, handsome chestnut. When his stock came to the in-training sales a year ago, some made a dramatic impression with their stride length and speed.

As time has proven, however, they are not really sprinters. The nicer ones so far have fallen into the Unbridled pattern of possessing good speed but requiring patience. They also seem to be following this profile and maturing nicely in their 3-year-old season, and the Rebel victory moved Malagacy to the head of the class.

Bred in Kentucky by John Trumbulovic, Malagacy is out of the Dehere mare Classiest Gem. Trumbulovic purchased the mare in foal to Whywhywhy (Mr. Greeley) for $20,000 out of the Gainesway consignment at the 2006 Keeneland November sale, and then Trumbulovic sold the mare, carrying a full sibling to Malagacy, at the 2014 Keeneland November sale for $17,000 to Twilight Stables.

For her new owner, Classiest Gem foaled a full sister to the Rebel Stakes winner, and that filly has since been named Classy Shackles. The filly was a $27,000 RNA at the 2015 Keeneland November sale as a weanling and then resold as a yearling for $26,500 at the 2016 Minnesota Thoroughbred Association auction.

In contrast to his sister, Malagacy has been in sales prep most of his life and has made money every time he changed hands. He went through the 2014 Keeneland November sale for $45,000, sold to Stoney Lane Farm. Then, consigned to the 2015 Ocala Breeders Sales auction of yearlings in August, the good-looking chestnut sold to De Meric Stables, agent, for $130,000 out of the Stuart Morris consignment.

Then De Meric Sales brought the colt to the Fasig Midlantic sale, and agent Steve Young bought Malagacy out of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic auction of 2-year-olds in training at Timonium last year for $190,000. Malagacy races for Sumaya US Stable.

Young said, “I thought this colt was a strong and well-balanced horse who worked really well. I think he’s changed as much as a horse can change in the past few months, all in the right direction. He’s gotten better with each race, has improved mentally and physically. Took a little while to come to hand, but his last 60 days have been phenomenal. He’s going in the right direction.”

At the 2-year-old sale last year, the powerful chestnut worked a furlong in :10 2/5, which earned him a BreezeFig of 63, and he showed a stride length of 24.7 feet coming down the stretch at Timonium. The colt’s internal scoring and performance numbers indicated the potential to be a stakes horse, and he has come on in the manner his connections have hoped for.

The colt’s performance in the Rebel was the best stallion advertisement that money cannot buy, and Shackleford, who has had books of more than 100 mares each season, according to Darby Dan’s Ryan Norton, “is booked to more than a hundred mares, although we still have room for a few good mares.”

The winner of $3 million during his racing career, Shackleford is at Darby Dan for $15,000 live foal on a stands and nurses basis.

relaunch extending the man o’ war male line through multiple sources

In Reality’s grand gray son Relaunch has tried single-handedly to resurrect the male line of Man o’ War – Fair Play and their male-line ancestors Matchem and the Godolphin Arabian. In reality, Relaunch has done a damned good job, and the victory of Brazilian-bred Bal a Bali in the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita gave his sire Put It Back a second G1 winner in the Northern Hemisphere.

That distinction is important because Put It Back has sired several G1 winners south of the Equator, especially in Brazil, where Put It Back has been leading sire and Bal a Bali was the best of his best, earning a title as Horse of the Year before his importation to the States.

Put It Back was a useful stallion during his innings at stud at Florida’s Bridlewood Farm, and G1 winner In Summation was the sire’s most highly ranked runner in the U.S. before Bal a Bali. In Brazil, Put It Back sired champion 2-year-olds Skypilot in 2008 and Nitido in 2007, both G1 winners. Bal a Bali has carried his form across several campaigns and two continents, and he was expected to enter stud this spring at owner Brad Kelley’s Calumet Farm, but the 7-year-old’s form is going to send him through another year of racing.

man o' war in hd photo 1920

Man o’ War, one of the greatest American racehorses in history, also became one of our sport’s great sires. He is widely represented in pedigrees, although principally through his son War Relic in the male lines of Europe and the Americas.


The high-profile success in California, and perhaps others through the year, will make Bal a Bali more familiar to breeders as a more significant representative of his famous male line.

Put It Back is one of several fast sons of Metropolitan Handicap winner Honour and Glory, one of three sons of Relaunch who have carved niches at stud for themselves. After his racing career, Honour and Glory sired the Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old filly Caressing (G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies) and sired the very fast Argentine juvenile Mach Glory (Estrellas Juvenile). The beautifully balanced bay stallion also showed his international flair and versatility by siring a pair of UAE Derby winners (Blues and Royal, Honour Devil), a winner of the Gran Premio Jockey Club in Argentina (Indio Glorioso), and a winner of the Tenno Sho in Japan (Name Value).

Early on in his stud career, Relaunch sired his first important son, Santa Anita Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Skywalker. Retired to stud, Skywalker proved a very useful stallion, getting the Eclipse Award-winning older horse Bertrando as the best among a steady supply of stakes horses. For class and durability, Bertrando was a sliver of an improvement on his sire and grandsire as a racehorse, winning the Norfolk Stakes and Del Mar Futurity at 2, when only the absurdly impressive finishing kick of Arazi deprived Bertrando of victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the championship as top 2-year-old colt.

The following season, Bertrando was not as effective but returned in even better form at 4 to win the Pacific Classic and Woodward Stakes in a nationwide campaign that earned him the Eclipse Award and more than $3 million in career winnings. Bertrando became an indispensable asset for California breeding, but the grand old frontrunner’s best son, Officer, ended up being sold to Korea, and a third son of Relaunch is responsible for the majority of this line’s prominence in breeding today.

The only one of these sons who was gray like Relaunch was Cee’s Tizzy, who found the match of his stud career in the Seattle Song mare Cee’s Song. Their offspring included Budroyale (earnings of $2.8 million) and two other stakes winners, but the foal of foals out of Cee’s Song was Horse of the Year Tiznow, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic twice, with earnings of $6.4 million, and established as an important sire in Kentucky both in his own right and with good young sons like Gemologist, Strong Mandate, and Tourist, the winner of last season’s Breeders’ Cup Mile. The first and last of that trio are at stud at WinStar, like their sire.

Tiznow has been the epitome of versatile stallions, siring a champion 2-year-old filly in Folklore, as well as major winners at a mile (Tourist) to a mile and a quarter. At the latter distance, Well Armed won the Dubai World Cup, and Colonel John won the Travers. At nine furlongs, the sire’s major winners include Tizway (Whitney), Bullsbay (Whitney), and Gemologist (Wood Memorial), and at a mile or less, Tiznow’s top performers were Folklore (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies) and Strong Mandate (Hopeful).

This is a male line that is famous for its toughness, plus the versatility to show speed and stay well. Adding Bal a Bali to the mix should be a positive addition for breeders and the breed.

derby winner animal kingdom has first-crop 2-year-olds at the sales

Despite the towering influence of the Kentucky Derby in the narrative of each year’s racing season, winners of the Run for the Roses don’t play an over-sized role in the sales of 2-year-olds in training that present some of the most forward young racing prospects at auction each winter and spring.

Two Kentucky Derby winners, however, have a sizable segment of their first crops in the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s March sale of select 2-year-olds. Both Animal Kingdom (by Leroidesanimaux) and Orb (Malibu Moon) went to stud in Kentucky the same year, 2014, and have juveniles in the March sale.

In the case of Animal Kingdom, 2014 was his second covering season because he initially entered stud at Arrowfield in Australia for the Southern Hemisphere season in 2013, then migrated north to Darley’s Jonabell operation. The rangy chestnut son of champion turf horse Leroidesanimaux, therefore, has his first crop of juveniles already racing in Australia, and he recently had a sharp-looking maiden winner, Earth Angel, who won a maiden special last week.

Such was the reputation of Animal Kingdom’s great victories in the 10-furlong Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup that many fans think of him as a pure stayer, but the horse was also a cracking second in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Mile behind Horse of the Year Wise Dan, who was essentially invincible at the distance.

So there is form at a mile for the 2011 Eclipse champion 3-year-old colt, and there are pedigree elements that suggest Animal Kingdom could be bred in the direction of speed to get quicker, handier horses that would mature earlier, would be adaptable to 2-year-old racing and preparation.

Animal Kingdom is, after all, from the Blushing Groom branch of Nasrullah, and the Kentucky Derby winner’s sire earned the Eclipse Award as leading turf horse of 2005 for his high form with trainer Bobby Frankel in races at a mile. Furthermore, Animal Kingdom is inbred 4×4 to the top miler and top international sire Lyphard (Northern Dancer).

From the limited evidence of the 2017 sales season, Animal Kingdom may prove quite popular. At the Gulfstream sale two weeks ago, an Animal Kingdom colt bred by Walter Zent, Tony Holmes, and Tim Thornton and sold through the Eddie Woods consignment, went to West Point Thoroughbreds for $300,000.

At the OBS March sale, there are nine more juveniles consigned who are sons or daughters of Animal Kingdom. Of these, Hip 19 at Halcyon Hammock is a chestnut colt out of the Sky Mesa mare Mesa Fresca, which makes the juvenile a half-brother to 2016 G1 stakes winner Harmonize (Scat Daddy), winner of the G1 Del Mar Oaks and second in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland. Both of those races were on turf, and a turf thread is present in several of these precocious young prospects like Hip 227, a chestnut colt from the Eddie Woods consignment and the first foal of a young Street Cry mare who is a half-sister to Mr. Speaker (Pulpit), a G1 winner on turf.


The following are sales results for the Animal Kingdom 2yos at OBS March 2017:

Hip, Breeze time, sex and pedigree, consignor, buyer, price

19 10.4 C     Animal Kingdom x Mesa Fresca Halcyon Hammock Farm, Agent III
75,000 Not Sold

27 21.0 C     Animal Kingdom x Miss Lombardi Eddie Woods, Agent IX Solis / Litt

36 out C     Animal Kingdom x Mooji’s Empire Top Line Sales LLC, Agent X Withdrawn

65 10.1 F     Animal Kingdom x Oregon Lady (IRE) Craig L. Wheeler, Agent Leroy Jolley, agent for Willow Pond Stable

102 10.2 C     Animal Kingdom x Private Dining King’s Equine, Agent II 57,000
Not Sold

227 out C     Animal Kingdom x Street Dancer Eddie Woods, Agent LV Withdrawn

271  out C     Animal Kingdom x TulipmaniaCrupi’s New Castle Farm, Agent V Withdrawn

389 10.2 C    Animal Kingdom x Boleyn Eisaman Equine, Agent Plesa, Ellman & Melin 205,000

547 out F     Animal Kingdom x Four Gifts de Meric Sales, Agent VIII Withdrawn

dialed in is ringing the bell; leading freshman sire now has two classic prospects

Although Horse of the Year Mineshaft (by Horse of the Year A.P. Indy) had a good weekend with Grade 2 Gotham Stakes winner J Boys Echo, Mineshaft’s son Dialed In had a great weekend. The Darby Dan Farm stallion fielded a pair of stakes winners from his first crop of 3-year-olds, led by G2 Fountain of Youth winner Gunnevera, who was a multiple stakes winner at 2 and had been a good-looking second in the Holy Bull Stakes last month at Gulfstream Park.

Then on the evening of March 4, Dialed In’s son It’s Your Nickel won the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park, and the previous weekend on Feb. 25, the sire’s daughter Attiya ran second in the Melody of Colors Stakes, also at Gulfstream.

In addition to Gunnevera, Dialed In had two previous stakes winners, including Ms Locust Point, who won the Gin Talking Stakes at Laurel on the last day of 2016 to clinch the freshman sire title for her sire. Dialed In led the year-end freshman sire list by total earnings of $1,544,836, with Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags (Dixie Union) in second with $1,457,070. The 2011 champion 2-year-old colt Hansen (Tapit) and unbeaten McLean’s Music (Distorted Humor) led all freshmen by number of winners (20), and Hansen’s son En Hanse was second in the Battaglia to It’s Your Nickel.

As one might expect, Dialed In has become one of the most popular young stallions in the world with his freshman title and continuing 2017 successes.

Darby Dan owner John Phillips said that Dialed In’s book is “as full as we feel comfortable with; so we’re not adding any more mares.” That means there are no seasons available from the farm at the advertised price of $15,000 live foal.

But what do market-conscious breeders do when there are no seasons available to the year’s hottest young sire? Due to that demand, Phillips noted, “There is a lot of activity trading seasons among those breeders who committed earlier. In some cases, they can trade up to another stallion [for instance, with someone who has a different stallion season available] or make a little money by selling their 2017 season.”

This commerce is “mostly activity among shareholders and breeding right holders,” Phillips said, because Darby Dan was one of the farms quickest to use the “share the upside” stallion investment scheme created by Spendthrift Farm owner B. Wayne Hughes, whose Into Mischief (Harlan’s Holiday) was initially offered in this manner and has been a major success.

The concept of the share the upside program is that a breeder pays a stud fee for breeding a foal by a new stallion prospect, typically for two years, and then owns a breeding right in the animal for the rest of his stud career.

Spendthift’s Ned Toffey said, “John Phillips called me when he was considering using this approach with some of the Darby Dan stallions and asked if it was all right to use our concept and call it the same thing. Mr. Hughes not only said it was absolutely fine but also said, ‘Why would you call it anything else?’”

In the case of Dialed In, Darby Dan used a hybrid approach that included traditional shareholders, as well as breeding right holders in the Spendthrift model.

Phillips said, “It’s a fairly large group of 80 people and a diversified group of breeders, largely designed by Doug Cauthen, who’s been instrumental in this. The shareholders hold an equity position in the horse, can vote, and can make decisions when called upon. Breeding right owners do not have pool interest or voting power, and that’s the distinction.”

One of the rationales behind using breeding rights in stallion management is to incentivize breeders to use the horse in his third and fourth years at stud, when commercial involvement tends to decrease dramatically.

When Cauthen bought Dialed In as a stallion prospect for his clients Bill Casner, Dixiana Farm, and Siena Farm, with owner Robert LaPenta retaining equity in the horse, Cauthen helped Darby Dan structure the resulting blend of shareholders and breeding right holders that have kept Dialed In busy at stud. Phillips said, “Doug deserves a lot of credit for putting the arrangement together, and we couldn’t be happier with the result.”

Darby Dan’s Ryan Norton noted the program has worked well for Dialed In. He had 91 third-season mares in 2015, resulting in 54 currently reported foals last year, and the stallion covered 105 mares from his fourth book in 2016, which are being born this spring.

Due to the current successes of the Dialed In offspring, those foals and yearlings are going to be in demand and selling for a premium because “It’s not just one horse that’s driving this,” Phillips said. “Also, Dialed In does stamp them: he is attractive, and he gets attractive horses. That means they will be well-received at the commercial markets, and that suggests to me a real upside for all those who bought shares and breeding rights.”

And what would happen if Gunnevera or another son of Dialed In should find himself wearing roses later this spring? The prospects truly boggle the mind.

background for gunnevera’s sire dialed in

Those seeking more detailed information about the sire are referred to the following. The first is my column on Dialed In after he won the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

dialed in wins fla derby

The second is a post on Dialed In’s dam Miss Doolittle, a talented mare with a tremendous pedigree.

dialed in’s dam

The information in the produce record for Miss Doolittle is not current, but I have updated her produce information below, including the name of the Curlin filly. The Ghostzapper foal noted in the produce record above was never named, is presumed dead. Beneath the name of each foal is a summary race record, if there is one.




leading sire malibu moon has proven an “incredible success story” with his tenure at stud

The results of the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra, won by Farrell (by Malibu Moon), and the G2 Risen Star, won by Girvin (Tale of Ekati), provided plenty of fodder for ruminations on their pedigrees.

The most striking point is that the A.P. Indy stallion Malibu Moon was sire of the first and broodmare sire of the second. The winner of a 5-furlong maiden special at Hollywood Park as a juvenile, Malibu Moon is one of a handful of stallions in the past 100 years to retire to stud without a significant race record and yet make an indelible mark as a sire.

Of the other noteworthy stallions in this small group of overachievers, Danzig (Northern Dancer) and Drone (Sir Gaylord) were unbeaten; Alibhai (Hyperion) was unraced.

Today, I wonder where a stallion prospect of this ilk would even find a place at stud. It certainly wasn’t easy when B. Wayne Hughes sent Malibu Moon to stud at the Pons family’s farm in Maryland for the 2000 breeding season.

But the striking 3-year-old with the rangy frame went to stud for a modest fee, and due to the reputation of the Pons family and the quality of the colt’s pedigree, by Horse of the Year A.P. Indy out of a G1 winner by Mr. Prospector, Malibu Moon attracted sufficiently large books that resulted in 62 foals from his first crop and 66 in his second.

The star of the first crop was the early-maturing Perfect Moon (Hollywood Juvenile Championship), and from the second came champion 2-year-old Declan’s Moon (Hollywood Futurity, Del Mar Futurity), plus the later-maturing Malibu Mint (Princess Rooney).

Sid Fernando, a well-known pedigree commentator and president of Werk Thoroughbred Consultants, said Malibu Moon is an “incredible success story. Like Danzig and Drone, he wasn’t a stakes winner, but he has kept on improving his mares, not just the lesser mares he got earlier but also after he had success and got stronger books.”

Those better and better books of mares followed when the stallion was brought to Kentucky in the wake of the Eclipse Award season by Declan’s Moon in 2004, and the resulting racers have included Orb (2013 Kentucky Derby), Devil May Care (2010 Coaching Club American Oaks), Eden’s Moon (2012 Las Virgenes), Funny Moon (2009 Coaching Club American Oaks), and Gormley (2016 Frontrunner).

The latter is among the better classic prospects of the 3-year-old colts this season, just like Farrell has placed herself prominently among the classic fillies.

Bred and raced by Coffeepot Stable in Kentucky, Farrell is one of four stakes winners out of her dam, the stakes-winning Unbridled’s Song mare Rebridled Dreams. The mare’s earlier foals include G1 winners Carpe Diem (Giant’s Causeway) and J.B.’s Thunder (Thunder Gulch), both of whom won the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, and Carpe Diem also added the Blue Grass Stakes to his resume before retiring to stand at WinStar Farm.

A similarly positive producer is Girvin’s dam, the Malibu Moon mare Catch the Moon. Unraced, Catch the Moon has produced two graded stakes winners from her first two foals. The elder is Cocked and Loaded (Colonel John), who won the G3 Iroquois Stakes as a 2-year-old, and Girvin is the second.

The sire of Girvin is the Tale of the Cat horse Tale of Ekati, named after the famous Ekati diamond mines in northern Canada.

Bred and raced by Charles Fipke, Tale of Ekati won the G1 Wood Memorial and Cigar Mile, as well as the G2 Futurity and Jerome. An earner of nearly $1.2 million, Tale of Ekati ranked 12th among third-crop sires in 2016 and has been quietly tapping on the door as another quality sire son of Tale of the Cat, in addition to G1 winner Lion Heart.

Fernando, also a consultant to Fipke, said “Mr. Fipke supports his horse and believes in Tale of Ekati pretty strongly. He feels that the best is still to come. Last fall, the horse started a streak of stakes winners for Mr. Fipke, including Tale for Ruby and Verve’s Tale. Also last fall, we began to hear from trainer Dallas Stewart, whose own Tale of Ekati colt, Saint’s Fan, won nicely in a maiden special with a Beyer Speed Figure of 82 and has since become a stakes winner. Mr. Fipke has several more promising Tale of Ekatis who should be running soon.”

A handsome and strongly muscled bay who is very similar in phenotype to his sire Tale of the Cat, Tale of Ekati is out of a Sunday Silence mare (second dam is the Alabama Stakes winner Maplejinsky, by Nijinsky), and this brings in some interesting elements that are playing out in the progeny of the young sire.

Although Tale of Ekati looks like the quick and early type associated with Storm Cat and his son Tale of the Cat, Tale of Ekati is getting more than his share of performers who come to their best form at 3 and appreciate going a mile or more. From the stallion’s first crop, for instance, came Tale of Verve, who ran on through the stretch to be second in the 2015 Preakness Stakes behind Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

From the evidence of this and other racers by Tale of Ekati, the classic effects of Sunday Silence and Nijinsky are an important part of the contribution from the sire and should give Girvin the promise to improve as the distances lengthen.