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By making the big leap from maiden special winner to Grade 1 by winning the Champagne Stakes in his second start, Daredevil has placed himself squarely in the mix for the season’s top juvenile colt, and he is the son and grandson of racers who also figured prominently in the Champagne and in the assessment for leading 2-year-old colt of their years.

The outcomes for the sire and grandsire were quite different, however. Daredevil is by leading sire More Than Ready (by Southern Halo) and is out of a mare by Forty Niner.

A winner in five of his six preceding starts, More Than Ready would almost certainly have been champion 2-year-old of 1999 if he had won the Champagne. Instead, he finished fifth, tiring after three-quarters and appearing not to stay the mile.

In contrast, Forty Niner won the 1987 Champagne convincingly and was elected champion of his division by Eclipse Award voters. He was also one of the scant few champion 2-year-old colts who did not compete in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile since its institution in 1984. Others were last year’s champion Shared Belief, Declan’s Moon in 2004, and Maria’s Mon in 1995.

Both More Than Ready and Forty Niner returned at 3 to perform with high distinction. Forty Niner won the G1 Travers, as well as the Haskell and what was then called the NYRA Mile (now Cigar Mile), but Forty Niner missed his most sought-after goal as victory in the Kentucky eluded him when narrowly second to Winning Colors.

More Than Ready’s most important victory at 3 came in the G1 King’s Bishop at Saratoga, and although he was a very good racer, the son of Southern Halo was clearly a tick below the best of the crop. Even so, he ran a highly respectable fourth in the Kentucky Derby and in the Cigar Mile.

Put to stud, both More Than Ready and Forty Niner showed the ability to sire precocious individuals with speed and class. While leading sire Forty Niner also got classic winner Editor’s Note before the stallion’s export to Japan, More Than Ready is notable for his quick juveniles and performers at distances up to eight and nine furlongs.

The best Northern Hemisphere son of More Than Ready to this point has been Verrazano, who won both the G1 Wood Memorial and Haskell last year, and in addition to the good performances of his stock in the U.S., More Than Ready really sealed the deal on his stallion career with the exploits of his racers in Australia.

Standing Down Under, More Than Ready is the sire of three multi-millionaires – Sebring, More Joyous, and Phelan Ready – and his stud fee is higher in the Southern Hemisphere than in Kentucky, where he stood for $50,000 live foal in 2014.

If Daredevil progresses to win the Breeders’ Cup and the Eclipse Award, that may change.

One thing that will not change is the fact that Daredevil is the second G1 winner out of his dam, the Forty Niner mare Chasethewildwind.

One of the very best producing daughters of her champion sire, Chasethewildwind won three of her nine starts, earning $95,300 in two seasons of racing.

Put to stud by her breeders, Marianne and Brandon Chase, Chasethewildwind got a stakes horse in her first foal, the Touch Gold mare Chasethegold, who ran second in the G3 Ken Maddy Handicap and earned $154,945.

The mare got a really good horse in her third named foal, the Albert the Great horse Albertus Maximus. The latter won the G1 Donn Handicap and the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile before it was graded, earning more than $1.3 million.

With a pair of G1 winners and a graded-placed performer, Chasethewildwind is clearly a broodmare of high merit. She also possesses a produce record of the grittiest disappointment.

Between her first foal Chasethegold and Daredevil, who is the mare’s last reported offspring, the only foals to race that Chasethewildwind produced were Albertus Maximus and a useful winner by Malibu Moon.

There were three barren years, one year not bred, a dead foal, and an unnamed foal who presumably died. In addition, there were also three foals who were named but who have no starts.

Those mishaps must have been a grave disappointment to the breeders, who have a small but distinguished racing and breeding operation.

In 2013, Daredevil was consigned by Gainesway, agent, to the Keeneland September sale and sold for $260,000 to Let’s Go Stable. Daredevil brought the sixth-highest price for a Northern Hemisphere yearling by his sire last year, with 69 offered, and the average price for those yearlings was $118,883, with a median of $93,296.

The most important statistics, however, are those recording accomplishments on the racetrack, and to date, none of More Than Ready’s crop of 2012 has done better than Daredevil.

*The preceding post was first published at Paulick Report last week.

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