Becoming the fifth Grade 1 winner by his sire Twirling Candy, Rombauer rocked the racing world back on its heels with a 3 ½-length victory in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md., on Saturday.
Furthermore, if we consider classic success the pinnacle of Thoroughbred achievement, then Rombauer appeared to add another dimension to his pedigree, especially to his quality female family, which has proven itself one of the fastest in the world.
The Preakness winner’s dam, the unraced Cowboy Cal mare Cashmere, is a half-sister to the tremendous sprinter California Flag, a winner five times at the G3 level sprinting. The gelded son of Avenue of Flags (by Seattle Slew) earned $1.2 million making an exhibition of speed, won the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, and set a course record at Santa Anita for 6 ½ furlongs.
California Flag’s full sister was the highly talented Cambiocorsa. She won half of her 18 starts, earning more than a half-million, and becoming the victor in a pair of G3 races. Despite those significant accomplishments, she has shown even more at stud.
And one of the most fascinating things about Cambiocorsa is that she has translated her speed into performers who race with distinction at longer distances than she excelled at herself.
Cambiocorsa is the dam of four stakes winners, and two of her stakes-winning daughters, Moulin de Mougin (Curlin) and Schiaparelli (Ghostzapper) won at the G2 level. Also, both of them showed their form at distances beyond sprints. Moulin de Mougin won the G2 John C. Mabee at Del Mar, and Schiaparelli won the G2 Royal Heroine at Hollywood Park.
As daughters of stallions who each won a Breeders’ Cup Classic at 10 furlongs, Moulin de Mougin and Schiaparelli had reason to show form over longer distances than their dam, but some families do not move up when bred to classic sires. Instead, some families lose both speed and class, becoming lesser performers at distances short or long.
In addition to the racetrack successes of these two fillies, their half-sister Vionnet, by Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, ran third in the G1 Rodeo Drive. A stud, Vionnet has produced the outstanding Roaring Lion (Kitten’s Joy), who won a quartet of G1 races in England and Ireland at distances from 8 to 11 furlongs. Roaring Lion was placed at the top of the handicap rankings in Ireland and England for performers from 9 ½ to 11 furlongs.
That is a sharp upgrade in distance and level of achievement from “just” being a good-class sprinter family.
Now Cashmere, a half-sister to Cambiocorsa and California Flag, has done her part by producing a U.S. classic winner in Rombauer. Since she was unraced, we don’t know the racing class of Cashmere, but it would appear to have been useful, at least, because she has four winners from four runners, with three of them earning well into six figures, and a pair have black type, with Cono (Lucky Pulpit) being stakes-placed.
It might seem surprising that the classic winner for this family came from Twirling Candy (Candy Ride), whose best victory was the G1 Malibu at seven furlongs. The horse also won a trio of G2 races at nine furlongs, as well as placing a close second in the G1 Pacific Classic at 1 1/4 miles. From the start, moreover, Twirling Candy has shown that his stock are not limited to sprints, and his best go a mile or more.
In addition to siring last year’s winner of the Queen’s Plate in Canada (One Bad Boy), Twirling Candy has G1 winners Gift Box (Santa Anita Handicap), Concrete Rose (Belmont Oaks), Finley’sluckycharm (Madison Stakes), and now Rombauer.
A good-sized horse with scope and good bone, Twirling Candy has sired 26 stakes winners to date and has progeny earnings of more than $34 million from seven crops of racing age.
The stallion also comes from the most classic branch of the Mr. Prospector male line, through the great stallion’s son Fappiano. This is not the omnipresent Fappiano branch through Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled, who sired winners of each of the Triple Crown races, and that has added glories to the sport such as Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
Instead, this is a branch of Fappiano through Cryptoclearance, one of the toughest of racehorses, through his grandson Candy Ride, an elite sire whose son Rock Your World won the G1 Santa Anita Derby and was one of the favored colts in the Kentucky Derby.
Instead of success there, the male line has prospered through the rapidly progressing Rombauer and his rising tide of a female family.