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.

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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.

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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.

grass is greener for a trio of top turf fillies

The winner of the 2015 Belmont Oaks a year ago was the splendid Lady Eli (by Divine Park), a velvety smooth mover who had shown her athleticism at the 2014 Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training, then proceeded to win every start in career. She is 6 for 6.

Unfortunately, shortly after the Belmont Oaks, Lady Eli developed laminitis and has spent the intervening year first surviving the malady and then recovering her health and returning to training.

Just on July 10, the grand bay worked for the second time in her process of coming back to the races, getting a half-mile in :49.50 at Belmont.

That in itself is a notable accomplishment, and it is a credit to the filly’s handlers, including trainer Chad Brown, and to the veterinary care she has received that Lady Eli has not only survived laminitis but is on her way back to her best form.

At the time that Lady Eli won the Belmont Oaks, she was the only turf filly in America that I could find who had been able to remain unbeaten through so many starts on turf. That is an unusual accomplishment in any sphere, but turf racing, both due to the congestion of typically large fields, and to the frequent switching of horses from one surface to another, doesn’t promote “unbeaten-ness” in the States or anywhere else.

Just ask Frankel, who elevated himself to being one of the greatest of the greats by winning all his starts on his home surface.

Now, a year later, we have Catch a Glimpse (City Zip). After an unplaced finish in her debut on dirt (in a race originally scheduled on grass), Catch a Glimpse has not been defeated since, winning all eight of her subsequent starts, all on turf. So, while Lady Eli has been surviving, Catch a Glimpse has been thriving.

And Catch a Glimpse has thrived to such an extent that she was elected Horse of the Year in Canada for 2015, as well as divisional champion.

By the high-class 2-year-old racer City Zip, who has become a major sire through the consistent speed and class of his offspring, Catch a Glimpse became one of the few runners by her sire to excel at distances beyond an extended mile with victory in the Belmont Oaks. Another who did was the lovely filly, Dayatthespa, winner of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at 10 furlongs.

Likewise, Lady Eli is by a sire, Divine Park (Chester House), who showed his best form at a mile, with a victory in the G1 Metropolitan Handicap. Divine Park did not manage to sire performers with the consistency or high class of his star, and Lady Eli is the best performer by her sire, who now is standing in Korea.

Lady Eli and Catch a Glimpse do share the speed and stamina and class required to perform consistently at a mile in good company. The mile is no easy distance. It separates pure sprinters from those who can carry their speed somewhat, but it is too short for the pure stayers to show their advantage. The milers of highest quality also frequently become top breeding stock because they embody the speed and general level of athleticism required to perform in stakes company, either going shorter or longer than the mile.

The two fillies share some other qualities, in addition to coming from miler sires. Both won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Turf as 2-year-olds, and both progressed in dominating fashion against their contemporaries through mid-season of their second year of racing.

So, wouldn’t you love to see them race against each other?

If Lady Eli continues her rehabilitation and regains the form that made me rank her the best of her sex and age, regardless of surface, at 2 and 3, she would be a formidable and worthy opponent for Catch a Glimpse.

Whether they meet or not in the coming months, there is another turf mare who will be waiting for these young upstarts if they get uppity ideas about winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Last year’s Mile winner, the 5-year-old Tepin (Bernstein), won the G1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot last month. She has won her last seven races in a row and 10 of her last 12, including five G1s.

I’m not sure about the grass on the other side of the fence, but the grass right here with these three top racers sure is green.

racehorses and their breeders share more than sport, reflect the character and values of their culture

The social nexus of Thoroughbred breeding is one of the most important facets in our game and one of the least appreciated. The interconnections of people and their social institutions touch and intertwine on many levels, and adding in their Thoroughbreds makes the mix truly cosmopolitan.

Taking a general overview of this deep and dominating concept of ourselves and our racehorses, we can see quickly enough that elegance is more than a word in Europe. The Japanese fancy the lithe, almost Spartan image of their own society, and we in America have more than a touch of the go-go-go in our own racing stock.

In the Group 1 Irish Derby on June 25, the great international owner-breeder HH The Aga Khan won a sixth Irish Derby with his homebred Harzand. The dark brown son of Sea the Stars (by Cape Cross) is unbeaten this year, and, earlier this month, Harzand had given the current Aga Khan his fifth English Derby, matching the feat of his grandfather.

Across the open plain of The Curragh, Harzand turned the 12-furlong classic into a test of stamina and determination. He matched strides and sturdiness with Idaho, owned by a Coolmore partnership. The pair have made a season of their confrontations, and each time Harzand had come out the winner. So it proved in the Irish Derby also, but it was no walk in the park. Idaho is as game and good as a top-class colt is supposed to be, and he fully tested Harzand.

There was no lack of willingness or worth in the Sea the Stars colt, and Harzand added another classic trophy to the Aga Khan’s glittering trophy case at Gilltown Stud in Ireland.

Around the world in Japan on Sunday, the Deep Impact mare Marialite upset the heavy favorite Duramente (King Kamehameha) in the G1 Takarazuka Kinen. The victory was the second at the premier level for the 5-year-old mare, who had won the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup last year at Kyoto.

marialite 2015

Marialite – in a Keiba photo from 2015, shows the spare frame and generous scope that are typical of the top racing stock of Japan, qualities also native to the Sunday Silence line which has been predominant in Japan for more than 20 years


Both Marialite and Duramente were waited with in the 2,200-meter race, although Duramente was even farther back. Perhaps Marialite’s slightly better placement helped her catch the leaders and then hold off Duramente, but there is no doubting either the courage of the winner, nor the high class of the runner-up.

For winning the Takarazuka, Marialite gets an automatic invitation to the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf this fall at Santa Anita, plus $100,000 in entry and pre-entry fees and a $40,000 travel stipend.

Stamped in the Deep Impact mold of the Sunday Silence stock, Marialite shows plenty of structure, and this line of horses tends toward the lean, strong, rather sinewy look of Sunday Silence himself.

And whereas that strain of horses has some of the balance, agility, and physical stealth of ninja warriors, the “American type” is more about muscle and speed.

In the G1 Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita, Lord Nelson (Pulpit) came home a winner for owner Spendthrift Farm LLC. The handsome chestnut was winning his first G1 stakes, which will be highly important for his prospects as a stallion when he retires to stud at Spendthrift.

The 4-year-old has won five of his 11 starts, earning $598,271. A good-looking young horse with good size, rounded muscle, and the presence of a movie star, Lord Nelson sold for $340,000 as a yearling for breeder Clearsky Farm.

The colt has shown the ability to lay near the pace, and he did that, as well as responding courageously to the situation of racing between horses, and then needing to come on and win his race, after looking beaten early in the stretch.

And Lord Nelson did drop his head and persevere through the stretch to win the stakes. His performance impressed trainer Bob Baffert sufficiently that this extended sprint is the proper trip for the horse that we should expect to see Lord Nelson back at 7 furlongs or a bit farther later in the year.

Speed and good looks will further aid the cause of Lord Nelson as a stallion prospect, and it is not coincidental that the economics of breeding and racing figure so prominently in decisions about our horses here in the States. It’s part of our social fabric.

The differences among nations and among strains of the Thoroughbred are signs of our individuality, our uniqueness. But the similarities are important too. In each of three horses above, we see exceptional examples of courage, determination, and gameness. The horses are different and importantly individual, but they also share core values of the breed that they display under duress and that make them Thoroughbred. We might say the same of human beings.

freshmen sires: orb has classic prospects

One of the most exciting contests among the 2013 preps for the Triple Crown was the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Orb (by Malibu Moon) and Violence (Medaglia d’Oro) fought out the finish, with the bay son of Malibu Moon winning from the near-black son of Medaglia d’Oro.

Orb went on to win the G1 Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby; Violence never ran again. Both retired to stud for the 2014 season, and the yearlings of 2016 are from their first crops of foals.

At the Fasig-Tipton July sale, Orb is represented by a pair of yearlings: a filly cataloged as Hip 163 and a colt who is Hip 312. The latter is the first foal of the unraced Speightstown mare Mullins Bay, a full sister to graded stakes winner Bridgetown.

Bridgetown is one of three stakes winners out of the Tabasco Cat producer Ellesmere. She is out of the unraced Alydar mare Empress Aly, a full sister to Kentucky Derby winner Strike the Gold. So this colt has winners of Churchill Downs’s big event top and bottom.
In addition to the recommendations of his racing class, Orb has an outstanding pedigree.

His sire is one of the leading sons of the breed-shaping stallion A.P. Indy, a Horse of the Year and son of Triple Crown winner and leading sire Seattle Slew.

A.P. Indy has transmitted size, body mass, high athleticism, and class to a notable number of his descendants, and they are passing along these desirable traits, as well as speed in the cases of Malibu Moon and Pulpit, as well as the latter’s son Tapit.

Malibu Moon struck gold as a sire with his juvenile champion Declan’s Moon, who proved to astute horsemen that his sire was an important influence on the breed. That recognition moved Malibu Moon to Kentucky, where he stands at Spendthrift Farm, and that move allowed a deeper pool of top mares access to the horse.

Among those was the Unbridled mare Lady Liberty, who descends from one of the best Janney families. Sent to Malibu Moon, Lady Liberty produced Orb.

A good-sized, well-balanced horse who stayed 10 furlongs quite well, Orb could perhaps be faulted for lacking just a touch of brilliance, of raw, wild speed. Judging from the yearlings on offer in July, breeders have come to the horse with mares that boast a supply of these traits.

Hip 312 has a family with high-class speed close up, and the filly, Hip 163, possesses a family of exceptional speed and juvenile development. Her second dam is the Mr. Prospector mare Yarn, the dam of English highweight 2-year-old colt Minardi (Boundary) and the very fast racer and good sire Tale of the Cat (Storm Cat). In addition, their half-sister, Myth (Ogygian), produced international juvenile champion Johannesburg (Hennessy), whose speed and early maturity made him a champion in England, France, Ireland, and the U.S.

With solid physical attributes and high racing class, Orb projects as a young horse who could become a major stallion and may get stock somewhat more precocious than himself.

Results from the two hips at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky’s July sale:

Hip 163                                                                   Out

Hip 312          Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners        $190,000

off the tracks is one of the performers who keeps the curlin train a-rollin’

When competing around two turns at the premium level, you better watch out, or a Curlin might just run over you.

The 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year has sired winners of the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes (Palace Malice), Preakness (Exaggerator), Travers (Keen Ice), Santa Anita Oaks (Stellar Wind), Coaching Club American Oaks (Curalina), and Mother Goose Stakes (Off the Tracks).

The latter added the Mother Goose to her sire’s list of G1 successes over the weekend, and Off the Tracks showed high speed to lead the race from start to finish. She set fractions of :22.79, :45.53, and 1:09.62. By this time, the fillies who had been tracking in the slipstream behind Off the Tracks had been cooked, and none mounted a significant challenge as Off the Tracks went a mile in 1:34.51 and galloped under the wire of the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:41.01, winning by 3 ½ lengths.

One of the common factors among the best of Curlin’s racers to date, like Off the Tracks and Exaggerator, is that most of them have shown good pace at some point or another. Yet they also stay a mile or more and do so in exalted company.

One explanation of that is that Curlin himself had good speed, although he was nothing like a tearaway sprinter. And the mares sent to Curlin have sometimes brought very good quality speed to the mix as well.

In the two G1 performers above, both Off the Tracks and Exaggerator are out of mares by champion 2-year-olds. While the broodmare sire of Exaggerator is Vindication (by Seattle Slew), Off the Tracks is out of a mare by 2-year-old champion Boston Harbor, a son of Seattle Slew’s champion juvenile son Capote.

A half-sister to the quick and talented G2 stakes winner Concord Point (Tapit), Off the Tracks also shows good 2-year-old form and speed in her ancestors. The filly’s second dam produced graded stakes winner Tasha’s Miracle, one of the first high-class performers by leading sire Harlan’s Holiday.

In addition to Tasha’s Miracle, second dam Ms. Cuvee Napa (Relaunch) also produced Deb’s Charm (Silver Charm), who was third in the G1 Alcibiades Stakes at 2 and has produced a pair of stakes winners.

Ms. Cuvee Napa is out of multiple graded stakes winner A Penny is a Penny, a daughter of Belmont Stakes winner Temperence Hill and Raise a Penny, by champion juvenile Raise a Native.

raise a native conf3 bnw

Raise a Native – overcame limited racing career to become the most influential stallion son of the great Native Dancer, whom he greatly resembles


Raise a Native and his sire, the great racehorse and stallion Native Dancer, are two of the strongest conduits for producing speed that can go a distance.

Once-beaten in his 22-race career, Native Dancer was one of the stars of American racing in the 1950s, when his gray coat allowed him to be instantly recognizable to early television watchers. A champion every year he raced from 2 through 4, Native Dancer was a favorite of racing professionals for his speed and determination.

Retired to stud in Maryland at the Sagamore Farm of owner-breeder Alfred Vanderbilt, Native Dancer was a good sire whose impact has increased over time, rather than the reverse. Neither his Kentucky Derby winner Kauai King nor Dancer’s Image, who finished first in the Derby but then was disqualified for the presence of butazolidin in his system, made an immense impact at stud.

Native Dancer’s son Raise a Native, however, made a giant imprint as a sire.

Not a particularly sound horse, Raise a Native won all of his four races. He was a lengthy, heavily built, freakishly powerful horse who worked faster than most horses raced. His factors for speed, however, did not overcome the stamina in an otherwise classic pedigree, and Raise a Native first made national headlines as a sire with 1969 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Majestic Prince, one of the most beautiful horses ever.

Among 74 stakes winners, the only one ever mentioned as better than Majestic Prince is Alydar, second in each of the 1978 Triple Crown races and a great horse whenever not in a race with Affirmed. The latter, however, was a son of Raise a Native’s first-crop stakes winner Exclusive Native.

And a sire of sires, even more so than his fabled sire, Raise a Native became a force in reshaping the breed with sons Exclusive Native, Alydar, and Mr. Prospector.

The latter is the male-line grandsire of Curlin through leading sire Smart Strike, and Off the Tracks is inbred to Raise a Native 4×4. The Mother Goose winner has won four of her six starts, with a second and a third.


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