The following post first appeared earlier this week at Paulick Report.
Victory in Saturday’s Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland made Java’s War the first Grade 1 winner from the progeny of 2007 champion juvenile War Pass (by Cherokee Run). The Blue Grass winner joins G2 Louisiana Derby winner Revolutionary as hot prospects by their sire for the upcoming Triple Crown, with the Kentucky Derby being run the first Saturday in May.
Revolutionary and Java’s War are the two best racers by their sire, who unfortunately died after only two seasons at stud in Kentucky at Lane’s End Farm. The previously named colts were only weanlings when War Pass died of unknown causes after being turned out in his paddock on Dec. 24, 2010.
With his abrupt loss, the prospects of War Pass leaving an important mark on the breed seemed remote, but already the stallion’s two most prominent sons are ensuring a measure of respect and recognition for War Pass that may someday equal his fame as a racehorse.
On the track, War Pass was an exceptional performer. He was unbeaten at 2, winning both the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Champagne Stakes. War Pass was unquestionably the best colt of his crop at 2, with great strength and early maturity, but he failed to train on at 3, with his best effort from three starts being a second in the G1 Wood Memorial to Tale of Ekati, a colt owned and bred by Charles Fipke, who bred and races Java’s War.
War Pass had been a very good sales yearling, going for $180,000 at the 2006 Keeneland September sale out of the Claiborne Farm consignment. Bred by Cherry Valley Farm, War Pass was out of the Mr. Prospector mare Vue and was a half-brother to G1 winner Oath (Known Fact).
Trainer Nick Zito helped to select the colt for buyer Robert LaPenta, who raced the colt through his unbeaten juvenile season before syndicating him for stud.
War Pass entered stud at Lane’s End for the 2009 season for $30,000 live foal and had 63 reported foals from that crop. He covered 83 mares in his second year, standing for $20,000 in a rapidly declining economy, and had 61 foals that are now 2-year-olds.
By War Pass out of a mare by Rainbow Quest, Java’s War is linebred to Blushing Groom through the male line and broodmare sire line. That is both intriguing and potentially unimportant. It’s intriguing because this line in generally in abeyance in the States and worldwide; yet here it is doubly represented in this obviously good-class racer.
While Nashwan was Blushing Groom’s best racing son in Europe, although perhaps by a narrower margin than the headlines for that classic winner might suggest, Rainbow Quest was his sire’s best stallion son across the pond. Elsewhere, Runaway Groom, Rahy, and Mt. Livermore were the most prominent stallion sons in the States, with Candy Stripes taking the limelight in South America.
The linebreeding may not be of too great importance because Java’s War, from all the evidence of his racing performance, is much more a Rainbow Quest than a Blushing Groom.
In the Blue Grass, Java’s War has turned in his best performance at nine furlongs, the longest distance he has yet raced, won at the G1 level on a synthetic surface that usually suits closing horses, and shows every evidence of being a maturing colt who should improve further.
The colt’s racing style and success are thrilling to owner-breeder Charles Fipke, who purchased Java, the dam of Java’s War, for $350,000 from the Lane’s End consignment at the 2009 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. The colt was born the following spring on May 4, and Java’s War will be 3 by the calendar on Derby Day.
Fipke, a serious student of the logic of pedigrees, said at the Blue Grass post-race interview that the rationale for the mating that produced Java’s War was crossing the early speed of champion War Pass onto the classic potential of a Rainbow Quest mare.
The English-bred Java was not an average Rainbow Quest mare. Only a winner on the track, Java is a full sister to the high-class racemare Fiji, who had sold for $3.1 million as an 8-year-old in foal to Danehill in 2002, then resold in foal to Hard Spun as a 14-year-old in 2010 for $110,000 to Bluegrass Hall.
This is a robust family of good performers that have shown their best form on turf racing a mile or more. Java’s War should write further chapters in their saga.