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The following post appeared earlier this week at Paulick Report.

A pair of Florida stallions took turns in the spotlight at Gulfstream Park this weekend. Pomeroy’s son Flashpoint won the Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes impressively by 6 1/2 lengths from the Trippi colt Travelin Man. And the Trippi filly R Heat Lightning won the G2 Davona Dale Stakes by 7 1/4  lengths from the Tapit filly Dancinginherdreams, with the Pomeroy filly Pomeroys Pistol in third.

Trippi’s son Gourmet Dinner was a good second in the G2 Fountain of Youth behind Soldat (a son of the Danzig stallion War Front, whose other son, The Factor, won the San Vicente last weekend at Santa Anita).

Pomeroy (by the Danzig stallion Boundary) has first-crop 3-year-olds this year, like War Front. They are part of a deep and successful group of young sires that also includes last year’s freshman sire leader Congrats (also formerly in Florida and now in Kentucky at Vinery) and Preakness winner and champion Bernardini. The latter was selected as the first mate for Horse of the Year Zenyatta and is the sire of Fountain of Youth third To Honor and Serve.

As a racehorse, Pomeroy was a sprinting fool, much like his sire Boundary, and the blaze-faced Pomeroy won the G1 Forego and King’s Bishop, as well as the G2 Alfred G. Vanderbilt at his beloved Saratoga.

Retired to stud in Florida, the medium-sized and powerfully made Pomeroy has been popular with breeders and buyers.

From his earliest returns at stud, however, he wasn’t the hottest sire on the block. As a powerful horse with tons of speed, breeders expected the stallion’s stock to race and win early and often. But the Pomeroys seemed to surprise everyone by acting like they wanted a little time, and some of them may also want a bit more distance than their sire did.

Purely on pedigree, there was no reason for Pomeroy to prefer sprinting. His sire Boundary was by Danzig, who got more milers than pure sprinters, and was out of a Damascus mare, which would tend to give a mile or more. Then Pomeroy is out of a mare by Seeking the Gold, one of the best sons of Mr. Prospector for getting quality performers at a mile and up.

But then, if breeding worked by a set formula, we would not have half the fun. The sophistication required for breeding with consistent success and the variability of results obtained by breeders with great experience or little are reasons for great humility. But when a mating works, what greater elation is there?

Surely among the most elated at present are the South African breeders who purchased Trippi in July 2008. Johann and Gaynor Rupert bought the handsome bay son of End Sweep to stand at their L’Ormarins Stud. The Ruperts purchased Trippi from a partnership that had stood the horse for his entire career at Ocala Stud in Ocala, Fla., and exported Trippi to the Southern Hemisphere.

The final Northern Hemisphere crop by Trippi are now 2-year-olds, and the stallion has been on fire. R Heat Lightning won the G1 Spinaway and ran second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last year, and Gourmet Dinner has been a model of consistency.

Part of the reason for consistency in a sire’s production is the quality of his mares. Year after year, stallion managers have to work to maintain the quality of their stallions’ books, and the success of that is seen in the stallions’ progeny on the track.

Trippi had made a name for himself as a leading stallion in Florida at the time of his sale, standing for $12,500, and Pomeroy was one of the most popular young sires in the state when he retired.

As he had done with Congrats, Brent Fernung brought Pomeroy to Florida, where the horse initially stood at Cloverleaf Farms, then moved to Vinery Florida after Cloverleaf closed its operations in Florida.

Although Pomeroy was already doing well with his book this year, a Vinery representative confirmed that the stallion’s book doubled to more than 120 mares over the weekend.

One of the good mares that Fernung enlisted for Pomeroy’s first book was the stakes winner Two Punch Lil (by Two Punch). A big, ruggedly made gray mare, Two Punch Lil was already the dam of stakes winner Uncle Sam Lee and a stakes-placed runner when breeder Silverleaf Farms sent her to Pomeroy.

The resulting colt was Flashpoint, who was nice enough as a short yearling to fetch $115,000 at the Keeneland January sale in 2009. Just two months earlier, his dam had gone through the Keeneland November sale, barren to Pomeroy. She brought $1,200. For her new owners, the mare has a yearling filly by Congaree.

 

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