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The old Aga, the present Aga Khan’s grandfather, was quoted many years ago saying that the three most important qualities of the Thoroughbred were “speed, speed, and speed.”

A great breeder and an incisive thinker, the Aga Khan raced classic winners and plenty of classic pretenders, and the truism of his statement was not that speed was the end all of the Thoroughbred but that it was the fragile commodity most likely to be lost in breeding for the classic horse.

So one of the long-held precepts of the Aga Khan, as well as world-class breeders here in the States like A.B. “Bull” Hancock and E.R. Bradley, was the importance of juvenile form in the classic colts who grew up to become champions and the most sought-after stallion prospects for creating the next generation.

And, in a day when 2-year-old racing is minimized and relatively unimportant compared to what it was 50 or 100 years ago, the 2-year-old sales have become a trying ground for precocity in a significant part of the breed, with several thousand youngsters annually being prepped for the juvenile in-training sales. There was a revelation last year with the first progeny of Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver (by Maria’s Mon).

A good 2-year-old himself whose juvenile successes included the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, Super Saver is an illustration of the old model that quality juvenile form is an important factor in choosing a stallion prospect, and the good-looking bay trained on to become a classic winner at 3 before trundling off to stud.

That lack of a notable racing career after his Derby success caused some difficulty with breeders, not all of whom were strongly committed to the horse, but standing at an influential and successful stallion operation, WinStar Farm, some breeders gave the horse a chance, and when the sire’s first-crop juvenile youngsters came to the sales last season, buyers went wild for them.

As few expected, the juveniles by Super Saver were the sensation of the juvenile sales season, with multiple strong sales that were backed up by some salty performances in mid-summer and fall at the better racetracks around the country.

Super Saver’s top seller last year at the 2-year-old sales was Competitive Edge for $750,000, and that colt came along nicely through the summer and won the G1 Hopeful at Saratoga to be ranked among the best of his division. At $600,000 was I Spent It, also a graded winner at Saratoga and currently racing successfully in stakes this season.

Not surprisingly, the yearling buyers for the juvenile market were strong on the stallion for this sales season, and for the OBS April sale alone, Super Saver has a dozen offspring cataloged.

There are, for instance, a couple of fillies from good families that are representative of the second-crop Super Savers. Hip 509 at McKathan Bros. is a chestnut filly out of a young Cozzene mare with a second dam who produced five stakes horses and two additional mares who are multiple stakes producers. There is some depth to the family, but it’s not real flashy in the first dam.

Likewise, Hip 590 from Scanlon Training Center has a young dam with a serious second dam. The second dam is Guilded Times, by Crafty Prospector, and she produced G2 winner Icecoldbeeratreds (In Excess) and four other stakes horses.

One of the most promising young sires with classic form, Super Saver will offer much for buyers and breeders to savor with his second crop of juveniles to test on the racetrack.

* Hip 509 sold to Rockingham Ranch for $100,000, and Hip 590 sold to Barry Dolan, agent for Alan Cook, for $62.000.