With his victory in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, Classic Empire (by Pioneerof the Nile) has put himself in the chase for leading 2-year-old colt, and his next start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, should put the matter to rest, at least for the time being.
A good-sized, progressive colt, Classic Empire is improving with every race, and he is just the sort of young prospect to continue getting better and turn into a very appealing classic type for next year.
That is the profile of the better stock by Pioneerof the Nile, and that is the pattern of development for Pioneerof the Nile himself, as well as his sire Empire Maker and grandsire Unbridled. Both of the latter won a classic at 3, and Pioneerof the Nile was second in the Kentucky Derby.
In a further hint of high potential, Classic Empire is the fourth foal and third stakes winner out of Sambuca Classica, by the Storm Cat stallion Cat Thief. Like the dam of American Pharoah, the dam of Classic Empire didn’t win a race, but Sambuca Classica is out of the good stakes winner In Her Glory (Miswaki). The second dam of Classic Empire was a winner in the Garland of Roses Stakes at Aqueduct but showed more of her class when placed third in the G1 Acorn and Gazelle Stakes.
In Her Glory was the best performer out of the winning Hoist the Flag mare Forever Waving. The latter is a half-sister to champion Revidere, a big and ruggedly made chestnut daughter of Reviewer (Bold Ruler). A winner in 8 of 11 starts, Revidere progressed through her 3-year-old season like a freight train. She won the G1 Coaching Club American Oaks, Monmouth Oaks, and Ruffian Stakes, plus the Gazelle and Cotillion, which were G2 stakes at the time.
Revidere was the second-best racer sired by the massively talented Reviewer behind only Ruffian, who very much resembled her sire in dark coat color and in speed that defied the competition to keep up.
In physical type, Revidere was bigger and brawnier than Ruffian. Retired to stud at her birthplace, Claiborne Farm, Revidere did not prove to be a notably successful broodmare. She produced only a single stakes winner, Escarpment (Green Dancer), who was a useful performer over longer distances in England.
Revidere’s full sister Resume was a more successful producer. Her best offspring was Bio (by the Hoist the Flag stallion Linkage), who won the G2 Sapling Stakes and was second in the G1 Arlington Classic and the Futurity. Resume also produced stakes winner Order (Damascus) and G1 stakes-placed Bookkeeper (Private Account).
Like Forever Waving and Revidere, two other siblings produced a single stakes winner, making their dam a prolific source of black type. That mare was the Princequillo producer Quillesian, and she was a full sister to Hollywood Gold Cup winner Princessnesian and a half-sister to Santa Anita Derby winner Boldnesian (Bold Ruler).
Foaled in 1965, Quillesian was from the final crop by her illustrious sire Princequillo, who was born in 1940 like Nasrullah and Count Fleet. Quillesian did not become a notable racehorse like her sister Princessnesian, who was as inclined to outrun colts as the fillies. Their dam Alanesian was a high-class performer, winning the Spinaway at 2 and the New Castle Handicap at 4.
Although there are no classic-winning colts in the direct female line, there is classic success in Classic Empire’s ownership.
Sold at the Keeneland September sale in 2015, Classic Empire brought $475,000, the third-highest price among the 55 yearlings by Pioneerof the Nile sold last year. John Oxley was the buyer, and 15 years earlier, Oxley had purchased a gray 2-year-old colt for $170,000 at Fasig-Tipton‘s February sale of select 2-year-olds in training. The next year, Monarchos won the 2001 Kentucky Derby, as well as the Florida Derby.
The year-older half-sister to Classic Empire, stakes winner Uptown Twirl (Twirling Candy), sold for $110,000 at the 2014 September sale and then resold at the 2015 OBS March auction for $630,000. To date, she has won two stakes, placed second in another, and has earnings of $170,714. The mare’s third stakes winner is Anytime Magic (Fusaichi Pegasus), and the mare’s only other foal of racing age is also a winner.
Clearly, Sambuca Classica has already crushed the odds in her producing career, and if Classic Empire takes the step up and secures a divisional championship or becomes a contender for the classics next year, the sky is truly the limit for this overachieving broodmare from a fabled old family.