, , , , ,

The following post first appeared earlier this week at Paulick Report.

The successful Spendthrift Farm stallion Malibu Moon has had a great year. Sire of Kentucky Derby winner Orb and a half-dozen other 2013 stakes winners, including such major performers as Freedom Child, More Chocolate, and Kauai Katie, Malibu Moon has continued to rise higher and higher among the nation’s premier stallions.

His 2-year-old son Corfu, now an unbeaten winner of the Grade 2 Saratoga Special on Sunday, is added evidence for the argument that the 16-year-old son of A.P. Indy is an important contributor to breeding and to the competitiveness of our sport.

But a sire, no matter how good, is only part of the equation. And it is worth noting that Corfu is out of the Forest Wildcat mare Fashion Cat, which ought to add speed to the equation, whereas Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Unbridled, broodmare sire of Orb, ought to add stamina and classic quality.

Though from different lines and physical types, both matches worked out nicely and have produced athletes of enviable talent.

And nobody was unaware of the speed inherent in Corfu, the son of Fashion Cat, after he slashed through a quarter-mile breeze at the 2013 Barretts March select sale of 2-year-olds in training in :20 4/5. That was a very quick work, but it was the smooth and professional way he went about the business that caught the eye of buyers and their advisers.

In addition to generalities about the colt’s breeze, from material supplied by DataTrack International, we know that Corfu showed a stride length of nearly 26 feet for the work, more than a foot longer than the average for a sale when the stride lengths were quite long. (An average stride length at another sale would typically be 23 feet and some fraction.)

As a result of his speed, stride length, and manner of going, Corfu scored a very good BreezeFig speed figure of 67, which placed him well within the top prospects at the Barretts sale. The nice-looking colt had caught enough attention with his display of speed that Demi O’Byrne bought him for $675,000, and the colt campaigns for Michael Tabor, John Magnier, and Derrick Smith.

Corfu is now unbeaten in two starts, with earnings of $168,000.

This promising young G2 winner is the fifth foal and first stakes winner out of the winning broodmare Fashion Cat. Nearly a decade ago, the dam had been a high-priced 2-year-old in training. She brought $630,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale of in February of 2004 when it was still held at Calder racecourse. The mare had been a $120,000 yearling the previous year at the Saratoga selected yearling sale and was clearly a nice type.

In addition to her looks and speed, Fashion Cat is a half-sister to G1 winner Peace Rules (by Jules), a winner of $3 million who scored victories in the Haskell, Blue Grass, Suburban, Louisiana Derby, and other important races. An attractively balanced and muscular chestnut, Peace Rules also ran third behind Funny Cide and Empire Maker in the Kentucky Derby and is now at stud in Korea.

That Fashion Cat’s racing career was limited to three starts, with a single victory and earnings of $29,240, was disappointing, but she showed ability and was given a chance as a broodmare with both expensive and highly accomplished stallions.

Her first foal, by Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, sold for $400,000, and the mare’s first half-dozen yearlings yielded nearly $1 million at auction. Some of the early foals showed ability. Gaucho, the Ghostzapper first foal, won three of eight starts, earning $66,430, but none among the mare’s first five offspring had advanced to win black type till last weekend.

The mare has a yearling filly by leading sire Tapit, but at some point during 2012, the mare’s owners judged that she should go through the sales, and therefore was sent to auction at the 2012 Keeneland November sale. Due to the lack of black-type production, Fashion Cat went through the ring for $35,000, selling to Bethel Ridge Stable. This spring, the mare foaled a filly by Artie Schiller.