This is the 22nd and last installment in a series of notes and impressions about the new stallions in Kentucky for 2009. The horses have been reviewed alphabetically.
War Pass (2005 dark brown by Cherokee Run out of Vue, by Mr. Prospector)
Stands at Lane’s End for $30,000.
It is a peculiar irony that two of the three sons of Cherokee Run entering stud this year come as the last two horses on the list, as they would not have been so on the racetrack.
Unbeaten in four starts as a juvenile, War Pass was a relatively late-maturing 2-year-old who appeared to improve markedly through the fall of his first season and finished 2007 with a smashing victory over the slop at Monmouth Park in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Off his form in that race, he should have been able to win the Kentucky Derby. Yet, through the mishaps of chance and equine development, War Pass did not show the same level of dominance in his three starts of 2008. He won once and was second in the Wood Memorial before an injury ended his career.
That was all too tame an end for such a talented horse, and his new career as a stallion at Lane’s End, stalled next door to Horse of the Year Curlin, offers War Pass an opportunity to add further chapters to his story.
Led from his stall, War Pass gives the initial impression of great mass and strength. Standing right at 16.2, War Pass is a bigger horse than he appeared on the racetrack.
He has outstanding length through the body, with impressive development through his hindquarters. He has a very well-constructed hind leg that gives him extra fluency at the walk or gallop, and his body has the strength required to perform at championship level.
War Pass is clearly the best representative of his sire at stud and likewise offers the best hope of reproducing Cherokee Run’s success.
Zanjero (2004 dark brown by Cherokee Run out of Checkered Flag, by A.P. Indy)
Stands at Millennium Farms for $10,000.
A good-class colt who ran second in the Remsen late in his juvenile season, Zanjero improved markedly at 3 to win a pair of Derbys (West Virginia and Indiana) and run third in two more (Louisiana and Pennsylvania). With form like that, he proved a money spinner, winning more than $1 million, and he combined speed with the stamina for nine furlongs or so.
That is a potent combination in American racing, which places most of its better purse money in races from eight to nine furlongs, and Zanjero had the talent to make the most of it.
Although not quite as tall or massive as War Pass, Zanjero has very good scope and balance. He is a typical son of his sire, the Runaway Groom horse Cherokee Run. The latter was a champion sprinter who also ran second in the Preakness Stakes. Cherokee Run passed on the best traits of a top-class miler: speed, versatility, and tractability. And he sired top-class racers from his first crop, which included champion Chilukki.
In addition to his general balance and quality, Zanjero was such a good-looking yearling that he brought $700,000, the highest price of 2005 for a yearling by Cherokee Run. What more can you ask?