Monday, July 30, 2012

Paynter Dominates the Haskell

The Haskell Invitational (GI) has consistently proven to be a top race for the best three-year-olds in the nation, seeing such champions as Lookin at Lucky, Rachel Alexandra, and Big Brown capture the victory in Monmouth Park’s most esteemed race in recent years. With a three-year-old division that has fallen apart with the retirement of both of the Triple Crown race winners, the Haskell served as a launching pad for any sophomore colt to jump up and take the lead in the second half of the season.

Paynter certainly made a case for himself when he dominated the Haskell on Saturday. A colt I have followed since his maiden, Paynter did not break sharply from the third gate in the six-horse field that included two grade one winners and was forced to gallop behind Wood Memorial (GI) winner Gemologist into the first turn. He was visibly rank, throwing his head up in the air, but eventually settled beneath Rafael Bejarano. With a position on the outside, Paynter remained just off the steady pace as Gemologist led the six-horse field down the backstretch.

As the field entered the far turn, Paynter inched up beside Gemologist without any urging from Bejarano, garnering a slight lead as the field neared the quarter pole. Before the far turn ended, Paynter had a one-length lead on the others, appearing home-free as the three-year-olds turned for home. Despite a rally from Nonios, Paynter accelerated, continuing to kick clear as the others struggled to keep up. With ease, Paynter flashed under the wire 3 ¾ lengths ahead in a good final time of 1:48.87 for nine furlongs, giving Bob Baffert his sixth Haskell victory and third consecutive win in the $1,000,000 race.

Paynter first caught my attention when he captured his debut in style in February, coming from off the pace to dominate the small field in a maiden special weight sprint at Santa Anita by 4 ¼ lengths. His head toss in late stretch confused many, but it was revealed that his forelock had become unbraided and flew into his ear, bothering him but not keeping him from easily coasting to victory.

The son of Awesome Again has remained on my radar ever since then, and before he even contested in a stakes race, I declared him a future superstar. Paynter made his stakes debut in the Santa Anita Derby (GI), finishing a respectable fourth behind eventual Kentucky Derby (GI) and Preakness Stakes (GI)-winning I’ll Have Another. He then finished a close second behind another colt I have followed since the early stages of his career, Hierro, in The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial Stakes (GIII) over an off track at Churchill Downs.

Paytner returned to the winner’s circle at Pimlico on Preakness day, dominating an allowance. This set him up for a race that caught the attention of many: the Belmont Stakes (GI). Setting the pace in the mile and one-half journey, Paytner battled Union Rags – a colt I followed from his second start until the end of his career – in late stretch, only to fall a neck short.

Though Paynter did not receive a trip to the winner’s circle, he received the recognition of many. Several dubbed him and his stablemate, Derby and Preakness runner-up Bodemeister (a colt I have followed since his second start), the best three-year-olds remaining after the retirement of both I’ll Have Another and Union Rags.

With his impressive Haskell victory, Paynter confirmed himself as one of the top three-year-olds in the nation, if not the best still in training. In order to catch up with I’ll Have Another as far as the Eclipse Award is concerned, the Taylor Made Sales graduate will need to capture more grade ones and defeat elders, but this colt is clearly very talented and has a great chance to do so.

It is certainly a stretch to declare him as this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner, especially with several top older horses and Bodemeister waiting in the wings, but if Paynter is bred for any race, it’s the Breeders’ Cup Classic. His sire is Awesome Again, winner of the 1998 Classic and sire of Awesome Gem (third-place finisher in the 2007 Classic), Game on Dude (runner-up in the 2011 Classic and one of the leading contenders for this year’s Classic), and Ghostzapper (winner of the 2004 Classic). Intriguingly, Paynter’s dam, Tizso, is a full sister to the only horse to ever win the Classic twice, Tiznow.

No one knows what Paynter’s future holds, but you can be sure that I readily await what it does. This is certainly one of the top racehorses in the country and with a career that has only see him race six times, Paynter likely has more in store for racing fans.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Juvenile Spotlight: Teen Pauline

Stonestreet Stables has certainly proven itself to be a major force to be reckoned with when it comes to juvenile filly maiden special weights at the Spa. Last summer at Saratoga, a bay filly by the name of My Miss Aurelia won her debut at Saratoga to commence a campaign that witnessed her seize the Eclipse Award for Champion Two-Year-Old Filly. Just days ago, another brilliant Stonestreet filly – Kauai Katie – dazzled spectators with a stunning twelve-length victory in her debut. Less than a week later, yet another Stonestreet filly greatly impressed racing fans – Teen Pauline.

In her debut on July 25, the filly did not immediately go to the lead after breaking from the gate, but loomed on the outside of Gadget Girl before sticking her head in front around the far turn. She lengthened her advantage near the end of the curve, beginning to draw away from the field under Julien Leparoux. My Happy Face attempted to chase after her, but the race clearly belonged to Teen Pauline, who effortlessly galloped towards the wire without much asking from Leparoux. In fact, Leparoux was practically a statue in the saddle as Teen Pauline flashed across the wire alone, posting a spectacular final time of 56.63 – a new track record for five furlongs. Notably, Teen Pauline completed the final furlong in 11.80 seconds despite the brisk fractions of 21.82 and 44.73, coupled with barely being urged in the final stages of the race.

Sired by Tapit, Teen Pauline shares the same sire as 2011 Champion Two-Year-Old Male Hansen, as well as 2008 Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Stardom Bound. Tapit is also the sire of such grade one winners as Careless Jewel, Tapitsfly, and Zazu. Tapit is a son of Pulpit, who is also the sire of the successful stallion Sky Mesa. Pulpit is of course a son of the great A.P. Indy, the sire of twenty-six grade one winners, including Bernardini, Flashing, Mineshaft, Little Belle, Music Note, and Rags to Riches. The A.P. Indy sire line from which Teen Pauline descends has been highly successful, as A.P. Indy is also the sire of such productive studs as Bernardini, Congrats, Malibu Moon, Mineshaft, and Stephen Got Even. Interestingly, Kauai Katie is also a descendant of the A.P. Indy sire line.

Teen Pauline’s dam is Effectual, a mare who raced just three times but won two of those starts and earned $108,582. The winner of the 2005 Debutante Stakes (GIII) at five and one-half furlongs, Effectual is also the dam of No La Hace, an earner of $61,200 who won his first two starts by a combined 24 ½ lengths.

Effectual is a daughter of Carson City, giving Teen Pauline the same broodmare sire as the Kentucky Derby (GI)-winning Barbaro and 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace. Carson City is a son of the great Mr. Prospector, an incredible broodmare sire responsible for producing the dams of such champions as Lailani, Mineshaft, and War Pass.

Teen Pauline is a direct descendant of the Reine De Course mare Cherokee Rose, winner of the Coaching Club American Oaks and granddam of Horse of the Year Ack Ack. Cherokee Rose herself is a daughter of Reine De Course mare The Squaw and the great Princequillo, damsire of the great spectacular Secretariat and carrier of the X-Factor, which is credited with large hearts in horses.

Teen Pauline appears to be bred more for speed than stamina, which is no surprise considering her record-breaking performance in her debut. However, with the presence of such horses as A.P. Indy, Skywalker, and Unbridled – all winners of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) – in just the first three generations of her pedigree, Teen Pauline could certainly stretch out in distance with success. Whether she pursues a career in route races or not, this is a filly with a bright future.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Pedigree of a Champion: Royal Delta

What is the definition of a champion? Well, in horse racing, often a horse that is honored with an Eclipse Award. But to me, a champion is any horse that captures fans’ hearts and imaginations while inspiring them. A champion is no ordinary being. A champion is a hero. A champion is worth going through troubles to see. A champion will light up your eyes and bring a smile to your face. *See footnote
Royal Delta
Photo by Terri Cage

Royal Delta fits each of those definitions. The 2011 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (GI) winner was honored with the Eclipse Award for Champion Three-Year-Old Filly following a sophomore campaign that saw her capture three graded stakes races – two of which were grade ones. Yes, she is a champion by the horse racing definition, but she is also a champion in that she has captured the hearts and imaginations of many racing fans.

It’s easy to see why Royal Delta is so popular with race fans. When she’s on the top of her game she puts on a spectacular show, either displaying her brilliance with dominant victories or showing her grit and determination to prevail. Perhaps her action is not the most attractive, but at a standstill or in the post parade, Royal Delta is a great example of a stunning Thoroughbred.

But what makes her the tremendous Eclipse Award-winning champion she is? Of course, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott has quite a bit to do with it, as well as the accomplished jockeys who have ridden her. But her success is, in large part, due to her breeding. Foaled in Kentucky on February 2, 2008, Royal Delta’s bloodlines certainly are royal.

Bred by Palides Investments N.V., Inc., Royal Delta is sired by Empire Maker, who won three grade ones throughout his career, including the Belmont Stakes (GI). In that Belmont, Empire Maker spoiled the Triple Crown bid of Funny Cide, a horse he had finished second to in the Kentucky Derby (GI). Empire Maker has not only produced Royal Delta, but also the grade one-winning Derby runner-ups like himself, Bodemeister and Pioneerof the Nile. The Juddmonte homebred is also the sire of the additional grade one winners Acoma, Country Star, Grace Hall, Icon Project, and Mushka.

Empire Maker is a son of the brilliant racehorse and sire Unbridled, who is a tremendous sire of sires. Other sons of the dual-classic winner that have gone on to be successful stallions include Broken Vow, Grindstone, and, of course, Unbridled’s Song. This is the Mr. Prospector sire line, which has interestingly produced the last four winners of the Ladies’ Classic.

Royal Delta is out of a mare that was quite successful at the track in Delta Princess. The mare, who was actually trained by Bill Mott as well, won three grade three races on the turf. Delta Princess is also the dam of Empire Way, a graded stakes-placed colt. Delta Princess herself is out of a productive broodmare, being a daughter of a mare who also yielded the grade/group one-winning runners Biondetti and Indy Five Hundred, in addition to the sire A.P. Delta. Intriguingly, Royal Delta’s third dam, the multiple grade one-winning Proud Delta, was the Champion Older Mare of 1976.

Why stop there? It must not be ignored that Royal Delta’s broodmare sire is the great A.P. Indy, who is a renowned sire and sire of sires. Yet, he is also a productive damsire, having sired the dams of such grade one winners as Bluegrass Cat, Mr. Sidney, Plum Pretty, Super Saver, and Wait a While. As if his roll of grade one winners produced as a broodmare sire wasn’t impressive enough, A.P. Indy has been among the top twenty-five damsires on the continent for the past six years, peaking at number four last year.

A.P. Indy
Photo by Terri Cage
Notably, the sire of Royal Delta’s second dam is the great Lyphard, a son of Northern Dancer who was the leading sire in not just North America, but France and Great Britain as well. The sire of 115 stakes winners, Lyphard was the broodmare sire of such grade one winners as Hatoof, Passinetti, and Skimming.

Royal Delta has the true makings of a champion. Her pedigree, combined with her charisma, brilliance, and accomplished connections, aid her in being a tremendous racehorse – one that delights fans with her triumphs and appeal. With hopes and dreams attached, we await the rest of this spectacular filly’s racing career and once it is over, we can only hope that her remarkable bloodlines hold up in assisting her in producing more Thoroughbreds like herself.

Royal Delta
Photo by Terri Cage
*Sentences 4-7 from my post “To See a Champion,” dated September 30, 2011

As for Royal Delta, I believe her gritty win in the July 21 Delaware Handicap (GII) was much more impressive than people are giving her credit for. She should not be knocked for the short margin of victory over a mare claimed to be mediocre, as Tiz Miz Sue is not only a classy graded stakes winner, but Royal Delta was carrying TEN more pounds than her. In addition, Royal Delta showed what I view as the most important characteristic in a racehorse: heart.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Luxury of Time

The loud sound of cicadas filled the air under the shade of a grove of large pine trees. The sweltering July heat hung over Remember Me Rescue manager Lilly Armstrong, my mother, and me, which was lessened thanks to the shade of the trees. Five Thoroughbred broodmares milled around – a brown, a chestnut, a gray, and two bays.

Each of these mares had recently arrived at the Burleson, Texas racehorse rescue after being purchased from the Round Mountain sale to which well-known breeder Keith Asmussen had shipped them. Asmussen stated he did not know the sale was frequented by kill buyers, as his granddaughters often purchased horses there. Nonetheless, all of these mares, along with five other Asmussen mares, were purchased to keep them from being bought by buyers that ship horses to slaughterhouses in Mexico. One of the mares was unable to be purchased by Deborah Jones on behalf of John Murrell, who was the one buying the mares to rescue them, but found a home with someone who was not a kill buyer.

While four mares stayed at a boarding stable near the sales facility, five mares arrived at Remember Me. On July 16, I had the opportunity to meet these mares. Of course, all of the five mares labeled by colors above have names. In accordance with their aforementioned listed colors, they were Luxury of Time, Our Revival, Rhododendron, Empress Jones, and Valid Obsession.

“Luxury could live in the house with me,” Lilly told us as we walked toward the mares. “She’s like a dog.”

Lilly’s words made it no surprise that Luxury of Time was the first to greet us. It was immediately obvious that the brown was very friendly, as she eagerly welcomed us and followed us around like a puppy. It wasn’t long before I further realized how sweet the mare was.

Lilly began rubbing the mare and once she found the right spot, Luxury would bend her neck so that she could rub Lilly back. With her lips, Luxury would press against Lilly, rubbing them. It was the most affectionate thing I’d ever seen a horse do.

Luxury of Time and Lilly
Photo by Terri Cage
As we visited the other mares, Luxury followed us around like a puppy. She never exactly became jealous, but as I gave attention to Our Revival – a mare who will soon be going to Old Friends to live out her days – and Empress Jones – a mare who has found a home that she will leave for soon – Luxury stood near me, demanding attention in a friendly manner.

Of course, I could not resist. I began to scratch Luxury in one of her favorite spots and as I did so, she swung her head around to begin rubbing me back. Laughing with delight, I continue to rub Luxury as she pressed her lips against my leg, moving them in a circle as she returned the favor.

Luxury and me - with a photo bomb by
Empress Jones
Photo by Terri Cage
To think sweet Luxury, along with the other Asmussen mares that were rescued from the Round Mountain sale, came so close to being purchased by kill buyers can easily sadden you. But when you stop to realize that these mares were saved, it reminds you that there are people out there who want to help these beautiful animals.

Luxury of Time will soon be leaving for Golden Eagle Farm in California, the same farm that bred her. The seventeen-year-old daughter of Seattle Slew will forever reside at John and Betty Mabee’s farm, which is known for being responsible in the care of horses it has bred. Fortunately for Luxury of Time, she will forever live out her days with people who love her – people who will rub her and gladly allow her to rub them back.

Thank you to all at Dallas and Donna Keen’s Remember Me Rescue, Three Chimneys Farm, Deborah Jones, Golden Eagle Farm, and everyone who helped these mares!

Luxury of Time
Photo by Terri Cage
On September 14, 2012, Luxury of Time tragically lost her fight with an illness she had been battling for quite some time. You will forever be in my heart, Luxury. You quite possibly were the sweetest horse I ever met and I will never forget you. Rest in peace, sweet girl.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Juvenile Spotlight: Kauai Katie

Saratoga: one of the best places to find a quality two-year-old to follow throughout its career. By the stretch run of race five on the opening day card at the Spa, I had already chosen one of the many juveniles I am sure to “discover” at Saratoga this year. Finding two-year-olds in maiden races is one of my favorite things to do – especially at Saratoga – and is almost as rewarding as discovering a horse in a sale.

Last summer, I selected a two-year-old filly owned by Stonestreet Stables in a maiden race at Saratoga. That filly was My Miss Aurelia, the eventual Champion Two-Year-Old Filly of 2011 who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI). This year, yet another Stonestreet juvenile filly impressed me greatly – Kauai Katie.

A filly who brought $490,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale earlier this year, Kauai Katie is a beautifully bred filly. Her sire is Malibu Moon, a son of the great sire A.P. Indy. Malibu Moon is quite the successful stallion himself, having produced such grade one winners as Ask the Moon, Declan’s Moon, Devil May Care, Eden’s Moon, Funny Moon, Life At Ten, Malibu Mint, and Malibu Prayer. Malibu Moon is not the only son of A.P. Indy to have great success at stud; others include Bernardini, Mineshaft, Pulpit, and Stephen Got Even.

Kauai Katie’s dam is the black-type-winning More Than Pretty, who has also produced the recent impressive maiden winner at Hollywood Park, Winding Way. More Than Pretty is a daughter of More Than Ready, a grade one-winning son of the eight-time Argentinian leading sire Southern Halo. More Than Ready, despite being quite new to the world of broodmare sires, is the damsire of the black-type-winning Lawyer Tiffany. His future as a broodmare sire looks bright, as his sire produced the dams of the grade one-winning Miss Match, as well as the multiple group stakes-winning My Indy and the black-type-winning Temecula Creek.

Kauai Katie is bred on the same A.P. Indy/Southern Halo cross as the group one winners Garatero, Mi Amiguito, and Miss Match. This cross has been productive in yielding winners, producing approximately 72% winners.

The Todd Pletcher trainee debuted on opening day at Saratoga, being sent off as the favorite in a five and one-half-furlong maiden special weight over the main track. Breaking from the inside post, Kauai Katie was sent to the lead by Rosie Napravnik, setting an initial quarter of 22.29. The bay filly held an approximate one length lead on the field as she entered the far turn with Napravnik sitting like a statue aboard her.

Kauai Katie only lengthened her advantage on the others from then on, posting a half-mile fraction of 45.67. With impressive acceleration, Kauai Katie drew away from the field down the homestretch, displaying a beautiful stride as she left the others struggling to chase after her. Napravnik reminded her to keep running, but no horse was gaining ground on the filly. With ease, Kauai Katie captured victory in her debut by twelve lengths in an impressive final time of 1:03.66 – just 0.7 seconds slower than My Miss Aurelia last year.

This filly is something special and certainly has a bright future ahead of her. With an impressive pedigree and even more impressive brilliance on race day, Kauai Katie certainly appears to be a superstar in the making. 

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mucho Macho Man: God's Horse

Capturing the hearts of racing fans and anyone tuned into the Kentucky Derby (GI), Mucho Macho Man was easily the Cinderella story of the 2011 Run for the Roses. The tall, lanky bay colt captivated fans with not only his story of being born seemingly dead before suddenly getting up and running, but with the story of his trainer, Kathy Ritvo, overcoming a degenerative heart disease that led her to have a heart transplant in 2008. He was easily the fan favorite and though he didn’t win, he ran a very respectable third behind Animal Kingdom in the Derby prior to becoming one of just three horses to compete in each Triple Crown race of 2011.

Mucho Macho Man
Photo by Julie June Stewart
Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team Racing Stable’s Mucho Macho Man did not return to the work tab until two months after the Belmont Stakes (GI), making his first start after the grueling Triple Crown in an allowance optional claiming, which he won by nearly six lengths. He began 2012 with an easy win in the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic Stakes and has since garnered two more wins from three additional starts, including a recent spectacular victory in the Suburban Handicap (GII) at Belmont Park. But these four races of 2012 are only stepping stones for the rest of the season for Dean and Patti Reeves’ Mucho Macho Man.

“Going forward, we expect him to run at least one race at Saratoga (not sure which one yet), and then hopefully the Breeders’ Cup,” Patti said. “We have found that the best way to know when he’s ready is for Kathy to let him tell her when he’s ready . . . and he does!
We are looking forward to the second half of 2012 being as good as or better than the first. He just seems to be getting better all the time.”

Mucho Macho Man has proven to be a blessing for Dean and Patti Reeves, taking them along on an unforgettable journey. In sixteen starts, Mucho Macho Man has contested in eleven graded stakes races – three of which have been classics and three of which have resulted in victories.

“Dean says that the people who are in this business are not there for the money – they do it for the love of the horses,” Patti said. “Truly, it must be . . . they work long, hard hours, and it’s rare that you get a chance to be in the classic races the way that Macho has.”

Mucho Macho Man has proven to be among the very best horses currently racing in the United States. Throughout 2012, he has established himself as quite the athlete and is considered by many to be one of the top older males in the country. As for Mucho Macho Man, he is exactly that – an athlete.

“As far as being around him, he’s a very serious horse,” Patti said. “He really doesn’t like too many strangers around his stall at the barn.  He knows what his job is, and he is a true athlete.  He is all business.”

Dean and Patti are aware of the rises and falls of fortune in horse racing industry, but like the devoted owners they are, they embark on the journey anyways. It is clear that the horses come first for them and that is certainly part of the reason it is so easy for fans to fall in love with Mucho Macho Man and his team.

“Every time we race, we pray over the horses beforehand . . . not for them to win, but just for them to all be safe and for them to ‘run with endurance the race marked out for them.’” Patti said. “There are so many ups and downs in this business . . . the thrill of the win; the disappointment of a defeat . . . but it all starts over again the next day when the horses go out to the track again at 5 a.m.”

Mucho Macho Man continuously garners fans as a result of his captivating story and classy connections. With over 5,000 Facebook “likes” and more than 800 Twitter followers, Mucho Macho Man is among the most popular American racehorses currently competing.

“I think the best thing about having Mucho Macho Man has been the friendships that this one horse has created,” Patti said. “So many of his fans have become our friends over time, and they all take such an interest in him and truly love him like their own. We feel really blessed to have been able to own a horse like this.  My husband says all the time that this is God’s horse, because he never could have picked out a horse like that on his own.”

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Juvenile Spotlight: Brown Almighty

Among the most popular horses of the past decade, Big Brown was a spectacular racehorse, winning the Kentucky Derby (GI) and Preakness Stakes (GI) in impressive fashion en route to a divisional championship title. He retired to Three Chimneys Farm, joining a strong stallion roster. Hopes of the champion becoming a top sire soared, but like any other new sire, doubt was involved.

The dual classic-winning son of Boundary has quickly begun erasing that doubt. So far, Big Brown has sired three winners from his first crop: Ruby Brown, Brown Eyes Blue, and Brown Almighty.

The latter debuted at Arlington Park this past Saturday, going to post in one-mile maiden special weight for juveniles over a firm turf course. Breaking well from the third gate, the chestnut settled into third behind the leaders as the two-year-olds rounded the first turn. With Francisco Torres – who won four races on the card – aboard, Brown Almighty remained in third, but gained on the leader, Wild Slew, down the backstretch.

Brown Almighty appeared trapped behind horses as the field turned for home, remaining behind rivals as the wire grew closer. However, Torres found room for the blaze-faced two-year-old, sending him in between horses. The son of Big Brown accelerated beautifully, galloping to an easy 1 ¾-length victory for trainer Tim Ice, who trained 2009 Champion Three-Year-Old Male Summer Bird.

A member of the first crop of a young sire showing serious potential to become a very effective stallion, Brown Almighty looks to further endorse Big Brown’s success as a sire. The indicators exist that Big Brown will continue to be successful, as he is a grandson of the great sire Danzig, who produced such sires as Chief’s Crown, Danehill, Exchange Rate, Langfuhr, and War Chant. In addition, Big Brown’s damsire, Nureyev, is the broodmare sire of such outstanding stallions as Kingmambo and Zabeel.

Brown Almighty’s dam is the black-type-placed Gone Goodbye, whose only other runner is Shea Goodbye, a winning filly who finished fourth in the New York Stallion Series Stakes. Gone Goodbye’s sire is Gone for Real, a graded stakes-winning sire who stands stud in New Zealand. Notably, Gone for Real is a son of Gone West, who is the broodmare sire of such grade one winners as Awesome Feather, Brilliant Speed, Game Face, Healthy Addiction, Motivator, and Union Rags.

Brown Almighty is a member of female family twenty, which is the same female family that includes the champions Alysheba, Royal Delta, and War Emblem.

This talented young colt should not be classified as solely a turf horse. After all, his sire dominantly took a turf maiden at Saratoga in his career debut prior to winning four grade ones on dirt. Perhaps his pedigree is not absolutely spectacular other than his quickly blossoming sire, but Brown Almighty could certainly become one of his sire’s best offspring, as I believe the best of this colt is yet to come.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Older Males Roundup

Miles and hours apart, two premier older horses scored victories in high-class races on both coasts this previous Saturday. These two horses furthered proved how deep of a division the handicap division is this year – much more competitive than last year. Combined with talented three-year-olds such as Bodemeister and Paynter, brilliant international horses such as perhaps Camelot and Nathaniel, and spectacular females such as possibly Royal Delta, the United States’ deep older male string could put on quite a show in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) at Santa Anita this fall.

Here is a look at thirteen older horses that could possibly make a start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita this fall:

Acclamation: Capturing three grade ones last year, Acclamation earned the Eclipse Award for Champion Older Male. Acclamation has only raced once so far this year, taking the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (GI) for the third year in a row.

Though Acclamation is a turf horse, he often trains on dirt and is certainly acclimated to Santa Anita. He is an absolutely brilliant individual, but I would rather see him compete on the turf at the Breeders' Cup.

Alternation: This Donnie K. Von Hemel trainee made headlines last year when he won the Peter Pan Stakes (GII) at Belmont Park. He was then winless for the next ten months, returning to the winner’s circle when he easily took the Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park this February to kick off his 2012 campaign. He then reeled off victories in the Razorback Handicap (GIII), Oaklawn Handicap (GII), and Pimlico Special Stakes (GIII). Alternation suffered his first defeat of the year in the Stephen Foster Handicap (GI), lacking the needed rally and thus finishing fifth amongst a very competitive field.

Alternation is certainly a classy horse and it would not surprise me in the least if he rebounds and continues to be one of the top handicap horses in the nation.

Fort Larned: This four-year-old began 2012 with a fourth-place finish in a handicap at Tampa Bay Downs, which he followed up with a win in the Challenger Stakes at the same track, a race that produced last year’s winner of the BC Classic, Drosselmeyer. Following an easy win in the mile and one-sixteenth Skip Away Stakes (GIII) at Gulfstream Park, Fort Larned ran a game second in the Alysheba Stakes (GII) behind Successful Dan. Fort Larned was bothered in the Stephen Foster Handicap and did not run well, finishing last. However, he rebounded in the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (GIII), effortlessly defeating Successful Dan. In his three-length victory in that nine-furlong event, Fort Larned appeared as if he could continue for another furlong.

His sire, E Dubai, was a graded stakes winner at ten furlongs, but primarily sires successful sprinters and middle-distance runners. However, Fort Larned’s damsire, Broad Brush was successful at the classic distance. Not only will Fort Larned need to prove that he can be victorious at longer distances, but he will need to show that he can be more competitive against top rivals than he was in the Foster.
Game on Dude
Photo by Mary Cage

Game on Dude: A gelding who came within 1 ½ lengths of winning the Classic last year, Game on Dude capped off 2011 with two grade one victories and ten Horse of the Year votes. He commenced this year with an easy win in the San Antonio Stakes (GII) at his home track, Santa Anita – the track at which the Breeders’ Cup will be held this year. After a disappointing run in the Dubai World Cup (GI) in the United Arab Emirates, Game on Dude returned to the United States and returned to the races approximately two months later, trouncing the field in the Californian Stakes (GII). Game on Dude scored his first grade one victory of the year this past weekend in the Hollywood Gold Cup (GI), easily crossing the wire ahead of stablemate Richard’s Kid.

Game on Dude has proven he is among the top two premier handicap horses in the nation, if not the very best. As if his obvious talent wasn’t enough, Game on Dude has home field advantage. A big year for Game on Dude appears to be in the makings.

Hymn Book: This Shug McGaughey trainee had a fairly successful year last year, winning two stakes and placing in a pair of graded stakes, including the Cigar Mile Handicap (GI). He began 2012 with a win in the Donn Handicap (GI), after which he finished fourth in the Oaklawn Handicap and fifth in the Pimlico Special. He rebounded in the Suburban Handicap (GII), finishing a good second behind the impressive Mucho Macho Man.

Hymn Book is a talented racehorse, but will need to return to his winning ways. Nonetheless, he is a horse that should not be ignored and that could easily find the winner’s circle again.

Mission Impazible: Winless since taking last year’s New Orleans Handicap (GII), Mission Impazible has finished in the money in four graded stakes, including three grade ones. In fact, the dark gray horse came within a neck of winning the 2011 Stephen Foster Handicap and within a nose of taking the Donn Handicap. After a second-place result in this year’s renewal of the New Orleans Handicap, Mission Impazible finished a close fourth in the Pimlico Special and a dull seventh in the Foster. 

Mission Impazible will need to return to his winning ways, but the potential has always been there for him.

Mucho Macho Man: One of three horses who competed in each Triple Crown race last year, Kentucky Derby (GI) third-place finisher Mucho Macho Man returned to the races in winning style last November, easily taking an allowance optional claiming at Aqueduct. He commenced 2012 with an easy victory over Ron the Greek in the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic Stakes before effortlessly taking the Gulfstream Park Handicap (GII). Mucho Macho Man suffered his first defeat of the season in the Alysheba Stakes, finishing a distant third. However, he rebounded in the Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park with Hall of Famer Mike Smith aboard for the first time, capturing the race by an easy 2 ½ lengths in an impressive final time of 1:46.58 for nine furlongs.

Mucho Macho Man is among the very best of the older male division and is considered the best by many. He is certainly a classy horse and is maturing very well. He is a force to be reckoned with.

Richard’s Kid: Following a rather unsuccessful five-race period in Dubai, this two-time Pacific Classic Stakes (GI) winner returned to the care of Bob Baffert in southern California. Richard’s Kid resumed his United States career with a dominant win in the Prove It Stakes at Hollywood Park, which he followed up with a good second behind stablemate Game on Dude in the Hollywood Gold Cup.

Richard’s Kid clearly appears to be second best when it comes to being compared to his stablemate. However, he is an excellent racehorse, especially in California. I believe he has more victories in his future.

Ron the Greek: After winning the LeComte Stakes (GIII) as a three-year-old, Ron the Greek went winless for nearly twenty-two months. He returned to the winner’s circle at Aqueduct, winning two ungraded stakes. Following a second-place finish in the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic Stakes behind Mucho Macho Man, Ron the Greek was shipped to California for the Santa Anita Handicap (GI), which he won by an easy 3 ½ lengths to score his first grade one victory. After a second-place finish behind Alternation in the Oaklawn Handicap, Ron the Greek got revenge in the Foster, posting his second grade one triumph.

Ron the Greek has proven to be amid the absolute best of the older male division and clearly has an affinity for the Santa Anita surface. I believe he could continue to have a very productive rest of the year, as well as a strong effort at the Breeders’ Cup this fall.

Rule: A successful two-year-old and early three-year-old, Rule missed nearly ten months of racing before returning with a runner-up effort in the Hal’s Hope Stakes (GIII). Following four more defeats, Rule captured an ungraded stakes at Saratoga. He then finished third in the Woodward Stakes (GI), but then crossed the wire a disappointing seventh in the Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (GII). His five-year-old debut was a winning one: an easy win in the Monmouth Cup Stakes (GII).

Rule is a talented colt, but he will need to step it up to be competitive with the very best.

Successful Dan: Lightly raced, Successful Dan has three graded stakes victories to his credit. He returned from an injury this year, winning an allowance optional claiming event at Keeneland prior to taking the Alysheba. He then was handily defeated by Fort Larned in the Cornhusker.

Successful Dan is overshadowed by his younger half-brother, Wise Dan, though he is quite talented himself. However, many doubt his ability to win at ten furlongs. He appeared as if he could go another furlong when he won the Cornhusker, but ten furlongs appears to be a stretch for him nonetheless.

To Honor and Serve: A multiple graded stakes-winning two-year-old, To Honor and Serve missed the Triple Crown due to injury but returned to win the Pennsylvania Derby (GII). Following a poor finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, To Honor and Serve impressively captured the Cigar Mile. To commence his 2012 season, To Honor and Serve dominantly won the Westchester Stakes (GIII) at Belmont. He then finished a decent third in the Metropolitan Handicap (GI) prior to crossing the wire a disappointing fourth in the Suburban, beaten 7 ½ lengths.

To Honor and Serve is a classy individual but often appears to be overrated. He will need to start bringing his A-game.

Wise Dan: This Morton Fink homebred put an exclamation mark at the end of 2011 by impressively winning both the Fayette Stakes (GII) and the Clark Handicap (GI). Wise Dan began 2012 with a dominant, record-breaking victory in the Ben Ali Stakes (GIII) at Keeneland. He then finished a head behind Ron the Greek in the Foster.

Wise Dan is a brilliant racehorse and definitely should not be forgotten. More victories from him would not be surprising in the least.

Of course, there are other horses, such as Stay Thirsty and Shackleford, in this division, but Stay Thirsty has not appeared to be at his best lately and I believe Shackleford is more suited to the Dirt Mile (though there is a slight chance he could go in the Classic). Nonetheless, what a division this is in 2012!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Part Two: 2012 Fasig-Tipton July Sale

Sales are my passion and therefore among my very favorite subjects to blog about. This morning, the fourth sale I have covered took place in Lexington, Kentucky: the Fasig-Tipton July Sale. This select yearling sale featured over 300 quality one-year-old Thoroughbreds and my top ten selections, as well as my ten honorable mentions, strolled through the sales ring.

How I wish I’d been able to evaluate the conformation of the sales entrants prior to the sale! But I simply went off of pedigree evaluations.

The yearlings consigned in the July Sale were sold for an average price of $81,291, which increased by 16% from last year. Altogether, my top ten selections brought $946,000. My honorable mentions sold for a total of $650,000. Together, my top twenty selections were purchased for a total of $1,596,000.

Listed below are the horses featured in Part One, with descriptions of the results of the auction:

Hip #75: This Tale of the Cat filly from the family of Hall of Famer Safely Kept was sold for $100,000 to Angel Equine.

Hip #85:
This Harlan’s Holiday colt, who is a half-brother to the multiple graded stakes-winning Tajaaweed, was declared out of the sale.

Hip #105:
It puzzled me that this colt, from the family of Octave, did not reach his reserve, only driving the hammer to $39,000. He was sold privately for $36,000.

Hip #140:
This son of Yes It’s True was purchased by Breaking Point Farm for the bargain price of $20,000.

Hip #146:
This Dixie Union colt failed to reach his reserve, driving the hammer to just $60,000.

Hip #157:
My fourth top selection in this sale, this Scat Daddy colt was sold to Crupi’s New Castle Farm Inc. for $160,000.

Hip #181:
This Sky Mesa colt – my third top selection in the sale – brought $270,000 for Mark Casse, agent, with the highest price tag of any of my selections.

Hip #205:
This Street Boss colt left the ring with a price tag of $160,000 attached to him, landing in the hands of XIB, agent.

Hip #245:
I am baffled that this colt, my top selection, failed to reach his reserve, only driving the hammer to $49,000. But, of course, price isn’t everything; it’s what the horse proves on the track.

Hip #308:
This Forestry filly earned a final bid of $200,000, going to Cheyenne Stables LLC.

Honorable Mentions:

Hip #9: This Afleet Alex colt brought a price tag of $250,000 for Mark Casse, agent.

Hip #14:
This Successful Appeal filly did not reach her reserve, only driving the hammer to $42,000.

Hip #25:
This Elusive Quality colt, who is a direct descendant of the great mare La Troienne, failed to reach his reserve, stopping the bidding at $47,000.

Hip #51:
This Zensational colt was purchased for $120,000 by Paul Sharp, agent for H. Walton.

Hip #56:
This Brother Derek filly brought $100,000 for Cromwell Bloodstock.

Hip #89:
This Artie Schiller did not reach his reserve, stopping the hammer at just $19,000.

Hip #142:
This Yes It’s true colt was declared out of the sale.

Hip #242:
This Mr. Greeley colt was purchased by A J Hill for $100,000.

Hip #321:
This Pioneerof the Nile filly went to Abbott Bloodstock for $80,000.

Hip #325:
This Pleasantly Perfect filly did not reach her reserve.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Part One: 2012 Fasig-Tipton July Sale

July Sale graduate Blind Luck
Photo by Terri Cage
The most famous yearling sale is certainly the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, but two months earlier and just a few miles up the road is another esteemed select yearling sale: the Fasig-Tipton July Sale, also known as the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Select Yearling Sale. This auction has produced a significant amount of spectacular racehorses, most recently such superstars as Blind Luck, Commentator, Informed Decision, and The Factor. The sale will take place on Tuesday, July 10.

Listed below in numerical order are my top ten selections in the sale, as well as ten honorable mentions, based on pedigree (which is unfortunate, as conformation is very important, especially at this sale, but was an aspect I was unable to judge):

Hip #75: This chestnut filly is sired by Tale of the Cat, who has been among the top ten leading sires for three of the past five years. In eleven crops, Tale of the Cat has sired 17 black-type winners, including the champions Gio Ponti, Malevola, and Platinum Couple, as well as the grade one winners Gathering, Glamour Puss, Lion Heart, My Trust Cat, and Tale of Ekati. Tale of the Cat is a son of the great sire Storm Cat, who is also the sire of the successful stallions Bluegrass Cat, Forestry, Giant’s Causeway, and Hennessy.

Hip seventy-five is the first foal out of Throw to Home, a half-sister to the graded stakes-winning and grade one-placed Santiva, as well as the graded stakes-placed runners Her Majesty and Take Arms. Notably, the third dam of hip seventy-five is Safely Home, the dam of not only the Hall of Famer Safely Kept, but also the graded stakes-winning Partner’s Hero. The sire of Throw to Home is Grand Slam, providing hip seventy-five with the same broodmare sire as the Japanese champion Goshawk Ken. The late Grand Slam is fairly new to the damsire ranks, but is a son of the productive broodmare sire Gone West, who is the damsire of such horses as the grade one winners Awesome Feather, Brilliant Speed, Game Face, Healthy Addiction, and Motivator.

This filly is bred on a cross similar to the one on which the graded stakes winners Catboat, Spellbinder, and Willow Creek are bred on, being mated on the same Storm Cat/Mr. Prospector cross.

Hip seventy-five, consigned by Allied Bloodstock, agent III, is Breeders’ Cup nominated and registered with the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Foundation (KTDF).

Hip #85: This chestnut son of Harlan’s Holiday shares the same sire as the multiple graded stakes winners Mendip, Riley Tucker, Tasha’s Miracle, and Willcox Inn. Harlan’s Holiday is sired by Harlan, a son of the great Storm Cat, who has yielded numerous successful stallions, as aforementioned.

Hip eighty-five has a very strong dam line, being a half-brother the multiple graded stakes-winning Tajaaweed, as well as the two other winners his dam has produced from six runners. Notably, this colt’s second dam produced the multiple graded stakes-winning and grade one-placed sire Mr. Greeley, as well as the black-type-winning granddam of Street Sense.

Bred on a Harlan’s Holiday/Northern Dancer cross, hip eighty-five is similarly bred to the graded stakes winner Summer Applause, as well as the stakes-winning and grade one-placed Twinspired.

Hip eighty-five, consigned by Select Sales, agent, is a Breeders’ Cup nominated colt eligible for KTDF registration.

Hip #105: Zensational lived up to his name in 2009, taking three of Southern California’s grade one sprint races. This colt is a member of his first crop. Zensational is a son of successful sire Unbridled’s Song, who has produced the blossoming sires Even the Scores and Songandaprayer. Unbridled’s Song is a son of Unbridled, who is the sire of such successful studs as Broken Vow, Empire Maker, and Grindstone.

This colt’s dam, Yankee Belle, has only produced one runner, which is also a Unbridled sire line descendant. That runner has won in Russia. The second dam of hip one hundred five is the black-type-winning Belle Nuit, a half-sister to the grade one-winning Ms. Eloise. Belle Nuit is the dam of the talented multiple grade one winner Octave (who is a daughter of Unbridled’s Song), the multiple graded stakes-winning dam of several black-type horses, and two other black-type winners.

Hip one hundred five’s damsire is Yankee Gentleman, who is new to the broodmare sire ranks. Yet his sire, Storm Cat, is certainly a successful damsire, being the sire of the dams of the champions Folklore and Speightstown.

Bred on an Unbridled’s Song/Storm Cat cross, hip one hundred five is similarly bred to the grade one winners Buddha and Magnificent Song, in addition to the graded stakes winners Half Ours and Noonmark.

Hip one hundred five, consigned by Frankfort Park Farm, agent, is a Breeders’ Cup nominated colt eligible for KTDF registration. He is my second top selection in the sale.

Hip #140: This colt is sired by a top commercial sire in Yes It’s True, who is the sire of such graded stakes winners as Actin Good, Aikenite, Off Duty, Nordic Truce, Yesbyjimminy, and Yes He’s the Man. This is the Bold Ruler sire line, which, of course, produced the tremendous stallion Seattle Slew and his highly successful descendants, such as
A.P. Indy, Bernardini, and Pulpit.

This colt’s dam has produced the black-type-placed Elle Tish Slew. She is a half-sister to the graded stakes winners Canadian Frontier and Seeking Slew, as well as the multiple black-type-winning and graded stakes-placed Slewfoundmoney. Hip one forty comes from a prosperous dam line and has Bertrando as his broodmare sire, providing him with the same damsire as the champion Unrivaled Belle.

This son of Yes It’s True is bred on the same Yes It’s True/Relaunch cross as the graded stakes-winning Off Duty.

Hip one forty, consigned by Polo Green Stable, agent I, is Breeders’ Cup nominated and registered with the KTDF.

Hip #146: The late Dixie Union has recently been honored by his brilliant grade one-winning son Union Rags. The son of Dixieland Band is also the sire of this bay filly, providing her with the same sire as the additional grade one winners Dixie Chatter and Hot Dixie Chick.

Bright Line, the dam of this filly, has only produced one runner thus far, but is a daughter of the multiple grade one-winning Clear Mandate. Clear Mandate is also the dam of the multiple graded stakes-winning Newfoundland, the black-type-winning Full Mandate, and the multiple group stakes-placed The Mighty Tiger. The sire of Bright Line is Kentucky Derby (GI) winner Fusaichi Pegasus, who is very new to the broodmare sire ranks. However, his chances at becoming a effective damsire are good, considering he is a son of Mr. Prospector, who has produced the highly successful broodmare sires Seeking the Gold (damsire of Blame), Gone West (damsire of Union Rags), Kingmambo (damsire of Camelot), Carson City (damsire of Barbaro and Havre de Grace), Distant View (damsire of Cityscape), and Smart Strike (damsire of Dullahan).

Being bred on a Dixie Union/Mr. Prospector cross bodes well for hip one forty-six, as this cross is similar to the one on which Union Rags, as well as the graded stakes winners Bold Union, Dixie Band, Dixie City, and Gone Astray.

Hip one forty-six, property of Glencrest Farm, Four Star Sales, agent, is Breeders’ Cup nominated and registered with the KTDF.

Hip #157: Scat Daddy, this colt’s sire, has quickly become an effective stallion. He was the leading freshman sire of 2011 and has sired several talented horses in his young career, such as the graded stakes winners Daddy Long Legs, Daddy Nose Best, Finale, Lady of Shamrock, and Shared Property.

Hip one fifty-seven is the first foal out of Casa de Fuego, a half-sister to the graded stakes winners Cat on Tour and Tour of the Cat, as well as the graded stakes-placed Honorable Cat and the stakes-placed Tombi. Through his dam, this colt is a direct descendant of three Reine De Course mares, including his fourth dam, T.C. Kitten, who yielded not only numerous black-type horses, but the dams of the grade one winners Editor’s Note, Family Style, Hennessy, Hold That Tiger, Lost Kitty, and Pearl City.

This colt is bred on the successful Johannesburg/Northern Dancer cross, which has produced such horses as the graded stakes winners Diamond Tycoon, Looky Yonder, Radiohead, Red Jazz, and Shared Property.

Hip one fifty-seven, consigned by Allied Bloodstock, agent I, is a Breeders’ Cup nominated registered Pennsylvania-bred. He is my fourth top pick in the sale.

Hip #181: This colt’s grade one-winning sire Sky Mesa has sired over twenty-two black-type winners, including the grade one winners General Quarters and Sky Diva. Sky Mesa is a son of successful sire Pulpit, who is sired by the great son of Seattle Slew, A.P. Indy. Pulpit is a proven sire of sires, having also yielded the productive sire Tapit.

The dam of hip one eighty-one is Dance Fever, a daughter of a full sister to the champions El Gran Senor and Try My Best. Dance Fever is a three-quarters sister to the group stakes-winning and multiple group one-placed Castle Gandolfo, as well as to the grade one-placed Devonwood. This colt, of course, has the Reine De Course mare Sex Appeal as his third dam, as she produced not only the champions El Gran Senor and Try My Best, but also the multiple group stakes-winning Solar. Through his dam line, this colt traces back to an additional four Reine De Course mares.

Hip one eighty-one is bred on the same Sky Mesa/Mr. Prospector cross as the grade one-winning Sky Diva, in addition to the graded stakes winners Beethoven, Terrain, and Wonderlandbynight.

Hip one eighty-one, consigned by Gainesway Farm, agent I, is Breeders’ Cup nominated and registered with the KTDF. He is my third top selection in the sale.

Hip #205: Street Boss, the sire of this dark bay/brown colt, was a sensational sprinter in southern California and following a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI), the chestnut entered stud in 2009. He has already sired three winners from his first crop, which first hit the track this year. He’s of course a son of the tremendous sire Street Cry, famous for producing not only Kentucky Derby (GI) champion Street Sense, but also the great champion Zenyatta.

Fashion Planner, the dam of this colt, has produced all winners, including the black-type-winning Step Out Smartly. The sire of his dam is Capote, who is also the damsire of the grade one-winning Line of David, as well as the multiple graded stakes winners Banned and Leah’s Secret. Interestingly, his third dam is La Affirmed, who yielded the multiple graded stakes-winning Della Francesca, the group stakes winners Bernstein and Country Cat, the group stakes-placed Unify, and the multiple graded stakes-winning dam of the grade one-winning sire Sky Mesa and the graded stakes-winning Golden Velvet.

Notably, this colt is a direct descendant of the great mare La Troienne through Busanda. Other descendants of La Troienne include the Kentucky Derby winners Go for Gin, Sea Hero, Smarty Jones, and Super Saver, as well as the champions Busher, Caerleon, Easy Goer, Folklore, Mineshaft, Pleasant Tap, Prairie Bayou, Princess Rooney, Rhythm, and Woodman.

Hip two hundred five, consigned by Lane’s End, agent, is Breeders’ Cup nominated and registered with the KTDF.

Hip #245: This colt is sired by Awesome Again, who has been one of the top one hundred sires in the nation since 2003, peaking at number six in 2007. He is the sire of numerous grade one winners and Breeders’ Cup champions. Grade one victors sired by Awesome Again include Hall of Famer Ghostzapper, champion Ginger Punch, Awesome Gem, Game on Dude, Round Pond, and Wilko.

This colt is out of Jane’s the Name, who has produced four winners from five runners, including the graded stakes-winning and course record-setting Silent Roar. Notably, Jane’s the Name is out of the group stakes-winning Fabuleux Jane, who is a half-sister to multiple champions and group one winners, such as Ajdal, Flying Partner, and Formidable. Fabuleux Jane is also the dam of the grade one-winning Joyeux Danseur, the graded stakes-winning Double’s Partner (by Damascus), the stakes-winning sire Fabuleux Dancer, the group stakes-placed Jareer, and the group stakes-placed dam of champion Arazi and group one-winning highweight Noverre. Through his dam, this colt is a direct descendant of four Reine De Course mares, including his third dam, Native Partner.

The broodmare sire of hip two forty-five is Trempolino, giving this colt the same broodmare sire as the grade one winners Action This Day, Blue Canari, and Round Pond. In fact, hip two forty-five is bred on the same Awesome Again/Trempolino cross as Round Pond, as the two share the same sire and broodmare sire. This colt is also bred similarly to the multiple grade one-winning Clear Mandate and the multiple graded stakes-winning and grade one-placed Flag Down, as he is bred on the same Deputy Minister/Sharpen Up cross.

Hip two forty-five, consigned by Eaton Sales, agent, is Breeders’ Cup nominated and registered with the KTDF. He is my top selection in the sale.

Hip #308: Forestry, this filly’s sire, has been in the headlines lately with his classic-winning son Shackleford, but he has also produced the grade one winners Diplomat Lady, Discreet Cat, and Forest Danger. As a son of Storm Cat, the rest of his stud career looks bright, as Storm Cat is also the sire of the successful stallions Bluegrass Cat, Giant’s Causeway, Hennessy, and Tale of the Cat.

Hip three hundred eight is out of Normandy’s Nell, whose only runner is the black-type-winning Culotte. Normandy’s Nell is a half-sister to the grade one-winning Famous Digger, the graded stakes-placed Hecandigit, and multiple black-type-placed Naviator. Notably, this filly’s fourth dam produced the French champion Argument.

This filly is bred on the same Storm Cat/Mt. Livermore cross as the graded stakes winners Strike the Deal, sharing the same successful broodmare sire.

Hip three hundred eight, property of Normandy Farm LLC, Warrendale Sales, agent, is Breeders’ Cup nominated and registered with the KTDF.

Honorable Mentions:

Hip #9: A son of the champion Afleet Alex, this colt is by a sire that has produced one champion, two grade one winners, and a Breeders’ Cup victor. Interestingly, this colt’s second dam is the dam of Belmont Stakes (GI)-winning Sarava.

Hip #14: By Successful Appeal, this filly shares the same sire as three grade one winners. The dam of hip fourteen is Saaraband, a half-sister to numerous black-type horses.  

Hip #25:
This colt is sired by Elusive Quality, the sire of numerous grade one winners, including Smarty Jones, Raven’s Pass, and Quality Road. His dam, Second Strike, has yielded the multiple black-type-winning Double Espresso. Notably, he is a direct descendant of La Troienne.

Hip #51:
By Unbridled’s Song brilliant son Zensational, this colt is out of a black-type-placed half-sister to the grade one-winning Seattle Smooth.

Hip #56: This filly is a member of the grade one-winning Brother Derek’s first crop and is out of a half-sister to the grade one-winning Sweet Talker and the graded stakes-winning Silver Medallion.

Hip #89:
By the blossoming Artie Schiller, this filly is the first foal out of a full sister to the black-type-winning Self Made Man.

Hip #142:
The grade one-producing Yes It’s True is the sire of this son of a half-sister to numerous black-type horses, including the multiple black-type-winning and grade one-placed Anklet.

Hip #242:
This colt’s sire, Mr. Greeley, has produced several grade one winners, including the champion Finsceal Beo. His dam is a half-sister to the multiple grade one-winning Vicar, as well as four other black-type horses.

Hip #321:
By the young grade one-winning son of Empire Maker, Pioneerof the Nile, this filly is out of a half-sister to four black-type winners, including the graded stakes-winning Primitive Hall.

Hip #325: By the multiple grade one-winning and grade one-producing Pleasantly Perfect, this filly is out of a half-sister to two black-type-placed runners.

I will do a follow-up piece after the sale, spotlighting these horses again with the results of the auction.

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