The following post first appeared earlier this week at Paulick Report.
Two of the more impressive stakes victories by 2-year-olds this weekend came at Keeneland and Woodbine when Spring in the Air won the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades on the opening-day card at the racecourse just outside Lexington, Ky., and Spring Venture won the G3 Mazarine Stakes to strongly support a claim as the leading juvenile filly in Canada this year.
Now unbeaten in three starts, Spring Venture had won the G2 Natalma Stakes in her previous start, and Spring in the Air had been second in that race. Now both fillies are anticipated contestants for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
More to the point, both Spring in the Air and Spring Venture are from the first crop of the Silver Deputy stallion Spring at Last, who stands at WinStar Farm and who is now the leading freshman sire in North America over Coolmore/Ashford’s Majestic Warrior. A G1 winner who earned more than $1.1 million in 13 starts, Spring at Last earned his most prestigious victory in the G1 Donn Handicap, and he finished second in the Malibu and the Strub.
The 9-year-old stallion was bred by WinStar Farm and ended his racing career as the property of WinStar and Paul Reddam.
The stallion’s sire, Silver Deputy, began his stud career in Canada at Windfields Farm, became a leading freshman sire, migrated south to spend the rest of his time at stud in Kentucky at Brookdale Farm, and became one of the most consistent and able sires of quick, athletic, and versatile racers.
In all, Silver Deputy sired 1,026 foals and 88 stakes winners, and he has become in important broodmare sire, with such major winners as G1 winner Groupie Doll and former leading freshman sire Roman Ruler being out of his daughters.
Silver Deputy also has enjoyed success as a sire of stallions, with his son Posse (who stood at Vinery in Kentucky before going to lead their stallion endeavor in New York) getting a champion sprinter in Kodiak Kowboy, now also at Vinery.
Other stallion sons of Silver Deputy include Badge of Silver, the sire of G2 winner Silver Max and four other stakes winners this year, and deceased Archer’s Bay, a champion in Canada who sired nine stakes winners from just more than 100 foals.
A foal born on May 4, 2003, Spring at Last is out of the beautifully pedigreed Winter’s Gone, by Dynaformer out of Stark Winter, by Graustark. Unplaced in six starts on the racetrack, Winter’s Gone produced three graded stakes winners from six foals. In addition to Spring at Last, her stakes winners were G1 winner Sharp Lisa (Dixieland Band) and G2 winner Sharp Susan (Touch Gold). Winter’s Gone is a half-sister to multiple G1 winner Bien Bien (Manila) and graded winner Dr. Schwartzman (Fluorescent Light).
Clearly, Spring at Last comes from good stock, had good form through his own racing career, and has produced athletic offspring who are making an impact. Gerry Duffy, who handles stallion nominations for WinStar, noted that the Spring at Last offspring are “typey animals, much like their sire, and we are very happy with their prospects.”
As an individual, Spring at Last is a medium-sized individual with good bone. He possesses a deep shoulder with a good girth, and he broadens strongly across his hindquarters. Not a pure speed horse in his own racing, Spring at Last has gotten young athletes with the speed to be competitive and also the necessary power to finish at the end of their races. To date, his stock have shown their best efforts on Polytrack, but that might be more a matter of opportunity than necessity, as both the Mazarine and Alcibiades winners are trained by Mark Casse and based at Woodbine through the milder parts of the year.
Already the home of leading sires Tiznow and Distorted Humor, as well as Bellamy Road, Speightstown, Harlan’s Holiday, and Super Saver, WinStar owns the majority interest in Spring at Last, with others having breeding rights in the horse that allow them annual access to a stallion who is now a rising star. Spring at Last stood for a fee of $7,500 live foal at WinStar in 2012.