January 1st, 2015

City Wolf is top dog by pedigree

By Sid Fernando

Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs South has reopened the stallion operation at its 3,800-acre facility in Williston, Florida, for the 2015 breeding season. The breeding shed had been closed down from the 2010 season onwards for Adena to concentrate on its Kentucky and Canada operations, and now, Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned anchors a rotation that includes Capo Bastone, Hunter’s Bay, and City Wolf. Except for newcomer Capo Bastone, the other three are second-year sires relocating from farms in Kentucky, Maryland, and Florida, and City Wolf, who entered stud in the state at Pleasant Acres in 2014, is a particularly intriguing prospect at $4,000 live foal.

Not the racehorse Fort Larned was, Adena homebred City Wolf trumps his accomplished barnmate on pedigree: he’s by sire of sires Giant’s Causeway from Broodmare of the Year Baby Zip, a Relaunch daughter who’s the dam of distinguished racehorses and sires Ghostzapper and City Zip, each also bred by Adena Springs. There isn’t a better sire pedigree in Florida, and if this horse hits, he’ll be moved to Kentucky faster than you can say Adena Springs.

City Wolf made his two-year-old debut for trainer Bobby Frankel—who had masterfully managed the career of Ghostzapper for Stronach—at Belmont Park in October of 2009, a month before Frankel died. The colt was switched to Todd Pletcher and made another start at two and two starts at three through February before he was put on the shelf for a year. Long story short, the son of Giant’s Causeway didn’t win in his first five starts—all on dirt—spanning from October of 2009 through February of 2011, his four-year-old season when he ran unplaced at Gulfstream Park for Canadian conditioner Reade Baker.

In what would prove to be an inspired decision, Stronach had sent City Wolf to Baker with a plan to race at Woodbine on the all-weather. After the one unsuccessful dirt start at Gulfstream in February, City Wolf shipped to Woodbine and won his next four starts, culminating with a stakes victory in the G3 Durham Cup Stakes over nine furlongs. In the beaten field that day was Queen’s Plate winner and champion Eye of the Leopard.

That four-race win streak comprised the highlight of City Wolf’s career. He retired to stud with a record of four wins and four placings (including a runner-up finish in the Durham in 2012) from 18 starts, with total earnings of $293,686.

Giant’s Causeway is the sire of many young sires at stud, including successful stallions Shamardal, one of the best in Europe; First Samurai; Footstepsinthesand; and Intense Focus.

It’s not unrealistic to project success for City Wolf, despite the low fee (remember Malibu Moon at $3,000 and Dynaformer at $5,000?); the late maturity (don’t forget Speightstown and Elusive Quality, who didn’t win stakes until over four); and the non-dirt form (leading US sire Kitten’s Joy didn’t have it; neither did former Florida sire Sovereign Dancer, another who was sent to Kentucky after initial success).

Mares by the Mr. Prospector line, including Seeking the Gold (A+++ eNick), Kingmambo (A+++), and Carson City (sire of City Zip, and an A nick with Giant’s Causeway); and mares by Awesome Again (sire of Ghostzapper) might be inspired matches for City Wolf.

December 20th, 2014

Verrazano bridges King Ranch to Coolmore

By Frances J. Karon

According to an account by Murphy Givens, a chronicler of King Ranch’s Richard King, King Ranch was founded in 1853 by the 29-year-old King, who bought 15,000 acres of land for two cents an acre—an expenditure of $300. King, being a great visionary, may have had some idea that the name he established would still be going strong some 160 years later.

An orphan of Irish parentage, King had run away from New York when he was eight. Cattle ranching was not in King’s blood, but he was a sharp entrepreneur who saw a big future in a stretch of Texas land. By the time he died in 1885, King Ranch was comprised of 614,000 acres, more than triple the size of his birthplace, New York City.

From 1885 onward, the ranch thrived under the 40-year leadership of King’s widow, Henrietta, and then their son-in-law Robert J. Kleberg Jr., who with wife Helen’s encouragement, began to breed Thoroughbred racehorses in the 1930s, the decade during which Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Bold Venture was acquired to stand stud. Bold Venture sired King Ranch’s Triple Crown winner Assault and Kentucky Derby/Belmont winner Middleground.

One of King Ranch’s greatest Thoroughbred investments was G.P. Goulandris’s French-bred *Monade (by *Klarion), a champion in England and France. For Goulandris, Monade won the 1962 Epsom Oaks (and other major races) and ran second in the 1962 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. She produced all her foals for King Ranch, and most of the many black-type winners descending from Monade were bred either by the ranch or by Helen Kleberg Groves (the only child of Robert and Helen Kleberg) and her daughters Emory A. Hamilton, Helen Alexander, Dorothy ‘Dede’ Matz, and Carolina ‘Cina’ Forgason. Forgason bred and owns 2014 Grade 1 winner Somali Lemonade, a fifth-generation descendant of Monade.

The roots established by Monade at King Ranch 50 years ago remain strong as we move into 2015, the year Coolmore’s promising stallion Verrazano—whose fifth dam is Monade—enters stud to carry on his part of the legacy.

Verrazano was bred by Richard King’s great-granddaughter Emory Hamilton. Hamilton also bred Verrazano’s dam Enchanted Rock (Giant’s Causeway) and his second dam Chic Shirine (Mr. Prospector), a full sister Hamilton’s homebred champion older female, Queena. Verrazano’s third and fourth dams, Too Chic (Blushing Groom) and Remedia (Dr. Fager), were bred by King Ranch.

A jaw-dropping, physically imposing individual and a half-brother to Grade 2 winner El Padrino, Verrazano is a son of More Than Ready and is the second foal out of Enchanted Rock. Middlebrook Farm—the Kentucky farm owned by Hamilton’s sister Helen Alexander, the breeder of 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern—sold Verrazano to Let’s Go Stable for $250,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the big colt was unraced at two and won six-of-10 starts at three, including two Grade 1s—the Wood Memorial and the Haskell Invitational, by nearly 10 lengths—among his four graded stakes wins (from 8.5 to 9 furlongs).

Coolmore Stud, which had bought an interest in Verrazano after his second start, transferred the colt to Aidan O’Brien in Europe for his four-year-old campaign, where he placed second in Royal Ascot’s Queen Anne S.-G1 and third in the JLT Lockinge S.-G1, both over a mile.

A top dual-hemisphere sire, More Than Ready has sired 56 GSWs, but Verrazano is his first North American Grade 1 winner to go to stud in the country. Sebring, an Australian-bred G1 winner by More Than Ready, has made such a good start in Australia that the undefeated champion Black Caviar was bred to him this season, and his early success bodes well for millionaire Verrazano, who shares his name with a bridge in King’s native New York City.

Verrazano is certain to be well supported at Ashford Stud, where he packs a lot of history into a $22,500 stud fee.

Verrazano training at Churchill Downs in April, 2013.

December 13th, 2014

The Speightstown effect

By Sid Fernando

Munnings, a first-crop sire by Speightstown at Ashford Stud for Coolmore, had two stakes winners a week ago, bringing his total to three so far as he makes a late-season impression with his first two-year-olds. He already has an impressive 25 winners—best in North America among freshman sires—and coupled with the 14 first-crop winners in Europe for Lord Shanakill, another son of Speightstown, they are shining the spotlight on their sire’s abilities as a potential sire maker, particularly of early-developing stock. This wasn’t Speightstown’s own profile, but it may bode well for his other young sons at stud waiting in the wings, such as Central Banker, Haynesfield, Jersey Town, Poseidon’s Warrior and Country Day.

By Gone West from Silken Cat, by Storm Cat, Speightstown, a foal of 1998, was a $2 million yearling from a family that included several good two-year-old stakes winners (SWs). His dam, for instance, won all three of her starts at two, including the 1 1/16-mile Mazarine Stakes at Woodbine, and raced only once more at three. Silken Cat’s half-sister Meadow Silk (by Meadowlake) produced the two-year-old SW Run Production (by Saint Ballado), a winner of three of five starts at two and a good regional sire in Louisiana. Further back in the family, there’s Copernica (by Nijinsky), a two-time G1 winner at two, and her son Crusader Sword (by Damascus), also a G1 winner at two.

Moreover, Speightstown’s broodmare sire, Storm Cat, won three of six starts, including a G1, at two, and he wasn’t much at three. Because Gone West and Storm Cat were produced from Secretariat mares, Speightstown, a copper chestnut, is inbred 3×4 to that iconic chestnut who was Horse of the Year at two in addition to his considerable exploits at three.

With that in mind, consider this: Speightstown was last in his only start at two (‘raced greenly, tired,’ says the chart of the $2.45-1 favorite), was plagued by injuries thoughout his career (didn’t race from 8/3/2001 at three when hurt as runner-up in the G2 Amesterdam to 5/9/2003 at five), but nevertheless blossomed as a top-class older horse, winning five of six starts at six, including the G1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, two other graded races, and the Eclipse Award for champion sprinter.

Speightstown, a muscular, compact, and attractive horse, entered stud in 2005 at WinStar for a $40,000 fee, where it remained until dropping to $35,000 in 2009 and 2010 during the first two years of the global recession.

Now, if you’d thought that Speightstown would revert back to pedigree and sire top-class two-year-olds or early season three-year-olds because the only reason he himself wasn’t one was due to the injuries, you were wrong.

Take a look at the records of his 11 G1 winners to date and a distinct pattern—one similar to his own racing record—emerges.

Speightstown had five first-crop G1 winners (foals of 2006) but none of them won their top-level races before July of their three-year-old seasons and most won at four and up. Most were sprinters or milers like him.

*Reynaldothewizard won the Dubai Golden Shaheen at seven in 2013.
*Haynesfield won the Jockey Club Gold at four in 2010.
*Lord Shanakill won the Prix Jean Prat at three in 2009 (in July).
*Jersey Town won the Cigar Mile at four in 2010.
*Mona de Momma won the Humana Distaff at four in 2010.

Speightstown didn’t have any G1 winners in his second crop, and only one from his third crop (foals of 2008).

*Poseidon’s Warrior won the Alfred G. Vanderbilt at four in 2012.

Speightstown had three G1 winners in his fourth crop (foals of 2009).

*Golden Ticket won Travers at three in late August in 2012.
*Dance to Bristol won the Ballerina at four in 2013.
*Argentine-bred She’s Happy won the Estrellas Sprint at the end of the SH year at three in 2013, in June.

Speightstown has had two G1 winners to date from his fifth crop (foals of 2010).

*Seek Again won the Hollywood Derby at three at the end of the year in 2013.
*Lighthouse Bay won the Prioress at three in 2013, in late July.

So, no two-year-old G1 winners for Speightstown, and none before July at three, around the time Speightstown himself first hit the board in a stakes race, running second to City Zip in the Amsterdam in early August of his three-year-old season.

In 2011 and 2012, with the G1 winners coming, Speightstown’s fee went back up, to $50,000, and in 2013 it was $60,000. In 2014 and 2015, his fee is $80,000—double that of his initial fee.

What all this means for Munnings—and Lord Shanakill in Ireland—is that perhaps the best is still to come. Despite selling for $1.7 million as a two-year-old, Munnings didn’t win his first stakes race until June of his three-year-old season, in the G2 Woody Stephens, and he also won a G2 race at four. Even considering the two-year-old successes of his first crop, he may also be influenced by the Speightstown effect.

Munnings stands for $10,000 in 2015.

December 4th, 2014

Musketier, a sound stayer

By Frances J. Karon

After standing two seasons at Adena Springs North in Ontario, Canada—his first foals are weanlings—Canadian champion turf horse Musketier has moved to Brad Kelley’s Calumet Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, to continue his stud career.

Musketier is remarkable in that he was a group or graded stakes winner in three countries, at two, seven, eight, nine, and 10 years of age. You’d be hard pressed to find another racehorse whose first and last group/graded wins were eight years apart—and that is high praise for Musketier. Primarily a 12-furlong specialist with six graded wins at that distance, his juvenile stakes score, for trainer Pascal Bary in the Prix de Conde-G3 in France, was over nine furlongs, and he was a short neck away from winning a mile Group 3 race that season. Doctor Dino, who was a six-length second behind Musketier in the Conde, later earned G1 wins in the Man o’ War Stakes and the Hong Kong Vase (twice).

Bred by Gestut Gorlsdorf in Germany, Musketier was bought in France as a yearling at the Deauville August sale by MAB Agency for Ecurie Jean-Louis Bouchard. He stayed in France for racing until his private purchase by Stella Perdomo, who sent him to Roger Attfield’s stable in North America. In a career total of 50 starts, the gray son of Acatenango and the Linamix mare Myth and Reality (a half-sister to California G2 winner Miatuschka) won or placed in 17 stakes races—every one of them at group/graded level—and earned a total of $1,129,965, along with his Sovereign Award in 2011, when he was nine. He won two editions of Keeneland’s G2 Elkhorn and three of the G3 Singspiel at Woodbine, and one G2 W.L. McKnight at Calder.

One of Musketier’s upcoming mates is slated to be 10-year-old millionaire Pay the Man, a Bernstein winner of 21 black-type races, including one at nine years old, purchased by Calumet at the recent Keeneland November sale. She, too, was a winner from two to ten.

Musketier’s sire Acatenango (by champion sire Surumu, the broodmare sire of Monsun) is recognized as one of the greats in Germany, where he was champion three-year-old, twice champion older horse, and a multiple Horse of the Year. Outside of his home country, he tallied a win in France’s G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and a third in England’s G1 Coronation Cup.

At stud, Acatenango was Germany’s leading sire four times and leading broodmare sire twice. He is best known in North America as the broodmare sire of Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom and G1 Beverly D. winner Eclair de Lune, but he sired Sabiango, who won the G1 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park, and Fraulein, first in the G1 E.P. Taylor in Canada. Acatenango’s daughter Borgia placed second at three in the Breeders’ Cup Turf in 1997, the same year she beat the boys in the G1 Deutsches Derby (German Derby). His Japan Cup-winning son Lando, a Horse of the Year, was a good sire in Germany, with 15 group winners.

Musketier’s damsire Linamix, a pure-breeding gray, was a leading sire and leading broodmare sire in France.

As you might expect, Acatenango is untried with many lines prevalent in North America, but there are some that are proven. Sharpen Up, an A+++ eNick, comes to mind. Three of the six SWs by Acatenango/sons out of Sharpen Up-line mares, including Lando, are graded winners; the Trempolino and Diesis branches are represented with GSWs on the cross.

Animal Kingdom is by Leroidesanimaux, a paternal grandson of Blushing Groom. The reverse cross, with Acatenango over Blushing Groom, has resulted in six SWs, two of them group/graded. It’s worth noting that Dalicia, the G3-winning dam of Animal Kingdom, is bred on the same cross—Acatenango/Lyphard—as Musketier, so using Blushing Groom with Musketier could be worthwhile.

Stabled in Wild Again’s old stall at Calumet, Musketier will stand the 2015 season for $7,500 stands and nurses. What does a top-class son of Acatenango offer to North American breeders? Stamina and soundness, two qualities we could use.

Musketier at Calumet Farm, November, 2014.


December 1st, 2014

Dual G1 winner Alpha perfect for NY

By Sid Fernando

Darley, like many large Kentucky-based stud farms, has satellites in regional breeding programs. In New York it’s Sequel Stallions, where Darley has now retired the multiple G1-winning Bernardini colt Alpha to stand his first season for $8,500 in 2015, alongside the Darley-owned Desert Party and Emcee, both at $7,500.

Alpha in New York particularly makes sense. He was primarily based at the NYRA tracks with Godolphin/Darley trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, and New York is where he registered each of his five stakes wins, including two at Saratoga at the highest level, in the Travers-G1 over 10 furlongs at three and the Woodward-G1 over nine furlongs at four.

Alpha also won the nine-furlong Jim Dandy-G2 at the Spa, as well as his debut at two, giving him a record of four wins from six starts at the upstate track versus a two-for-16 mark elsewhere. Throw in two stakes wins at Aqueduct versus two off-the-board finishes at Churchill Downs and it’s obvious why he’s perfect for the New York program. All told, the bay won six races from 22 starts, placed three times, and earned $1,815,667, which is pretty good performance for the stud fee at face value.

But there’s more to Alpha’s narrative that contextualizes his pedigree with his racetrack performances.

There aren’t too many colts bred these days with the type of classic blood Alpha has, layered generation over generation, which is hinted at in the conventional reading of his pedigree: by Bernardini from Munnaya, by Nijinsky.

Bernardini is a classic winner and a son of classic winner A.P. Indy—the primary source of dirt stamina in North America.

Munnaya’s sire, Nijisnky, was the last English Triple Crown winner, and a great source of stamina as a sire; not surprisingly, Munnaya, a Maktoum homebred like Bernardini, won a Listed race at Lingfield over 11.5 furlongs on testing ground, listed as good to soft.

Munnaya’s dam, Hiaam, by Alydar, was purchased by Darley for $1.5 million as a yearling in 1985. Her sire placed in each of the classics and got horses that excelled over a range of distances, as he did, including the top-class Belmont Stakes winner Easy Goer. Hiaam notably won the Princess Margaret Stakes-G3 at two in England over six furlongs.

Hiaam’s dam, Kamar, was a Canadian champion three-year-old filly by champion three-year-old colt Key to the Mint, who won the Travers among other races.

Kamar, who sold in foal to Danzig for $2.6 million in 1987, also produced the Canadian champion three-year-old colt Key to the Moon, multiple G1 winner Gorgeous, and Kentucky Oaks-G1 winner Seaside Attraction.

With the heft of this classics-drenched pedigree behind him, Alpha was sent straight into the Champagne-G1 after his maiden win, with the Kentucky Derby as his long-term goal. He ran second to eventual Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags in the Champagne, then was unplaced in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in his next start. McLaughlin took him through a non-traditional route to the Derby, winning two stakes races early in the year at Aqueduct to set him up for the Wood Memorial-G1, a race in which he ran second to Gemologist.

The Wood performance was good enough to get to the Derby, but the colt wasn’t good enough on that day, finishing unplaced. However, his Travers (a dead heat with Golden Ticket) upheld the faith his connections had had, that 10 furlongs at three was right up his alley.

Unfortunately, American racing hasn’t been kind to these types of horses, who are forced to run against milers at shorter trips to make a living. But the climate appears to be changing, with tracks carding more longer distance races nowadays.

Let the record note that Alpha was good enough to win first out at two at Saratoga, was G1-placed at two, was on the classics trail at three, and won the only other 10-furlong G1 race on dirt for three-year-old colts aside from the Derby. These are legit qualifications for breeders.

Bernardini, the sire of nine G1 winners, has crossed well with a wide variety of mares. There are plenty of options when using Alpha, including Deputy Minister-line mares, but he has plenty of class to add to any pedigree.

November 30th, 2014

Uncaptured, strong juvenile to classic winner

By Frances J. Karon

At the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale, leading Canadian breeder William D. Graham’s yearling colt by Lion Heart out of stakes-placed Andrea Ruckus (by Arch) was a knockout at the Four Star Sales consignment. With every inspection—and there were many—the big, scopey dark bay or brown colt showed himself with poise, impressing me enough that I tweeted a pre-sale photo identifying him as a “super” horse. On occasion of his Horse of the Year award more than a year later, I wrote a blog post remembering that as a yearling “…this guy’s attitude never soured. He was all class, the type that makes your job selling horses easy, and you’d bring him out for people you knew, whether they had asked to see him or not because he was just that nice.”

Competing for top dollar in Book 2 against sons and daughters of Tapit, Bernardini, War Front, Tiznow, Medaglia d’Oro, Distorted Humor, and other sought-after sires, he held his own as 23rd most expensive yearling of his sale session. And at $290,000, he was the highest priced yearling by Lion Heart sold in 2011.

The obvious ones that look the part will sometimes disappoint when they get to the races, but not this horse. Named Uncaptured and campaigned by John C. Oxley, he won six of seven starts at two, including the Kentucky Jockey Club-G2 and Iroquois-G3 at Churchill Downs and three black-type stakes at Woodbine. On the merits of those accomplishments, he was honored with 2012 Sovereign Awards as Canadian juvenile champ and Horse of the Year, the ninth two-year-old to receive that title and first since Dauphin Fabuleux in 1984 and Deputy Minister in 1981.

At three, Uncaptured won Canada’s classic Prince of Wales Stakes and hit the board in five other stakes races, three of them graded, in eight starts. He made his final career start in March of 2014, running third, a head and a half-length behind last year’s Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice, in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap.

A graded stakes winner from a mile to a mile and a sixteenth, Uncaptured produced 13 on-the-board efforts in 18 starts, with earnings of $1,065,147 USD. He came to hand early enough to win a 5 1/2-furlong stakes race at two and held form to capture a 1 3/16-mile classic at three. He like Lion Heart is bred on the Tale of the Cat/Hail to Reason cross; he’s 4×5 to Hail to Reason.

Uncaptured joins fellow Lion Heart stallion Kantharos at Michael O’Farrell Jr.’s Ocala Stud in Florida for the 2015 breeding season. Kantharos is the leading freshman sire in the state and ranks as sixth in the nation with undefeated stakes winner Mr. Jordan leading the charge, so Ocala Stud can pin high hopes on Uncaptured, priced at $6,000.

Seattle Slew-line mares have nicked phenomenally well with Lion Heart: an A+++ *Triple Plus* eNick. There are four graded stakes winners on the cross, three out of daughters of Seattle Slew and one through his son Capote, plus two (one graded) with second dams by another Seattle Slew horse, Slew City Slew. Uncaptured’s multiple stakes-winning half-sister Dancing Raven is by Tomahawk, a son of Seattle Slew, so there appears to be an affinity on both sides of his family. (Dancing Raven is inbred 4×4 to Boldnesian; Uncaptured progeny with strains of Seattle Slew would be linebred to him.)

Other lines proven with Lion Heart are Deputy Minister (three stakes winners; A+) and Halo (two stakes winners; A).

Lion Heart was sold and exported from Ashford Stud in Kentucky to the Jockey Club of Turkey prior to the 2010 breeding season. Uncaptured is from his last crop conceived in the U.S., among a standout group yielding five graded stakes winners. Most of Lion Heart’s 15 graded winners—eleven of them, in fact—won their big races after the deal to sell the sire had been inked, but American breeders can still access his bloodline through sons such as Uncaptured and Kantharos at Ocala Stud.

[Editor's note: Frances wears many hats, including Four Star's during sales season; she's also the editor and a writer for North American Trainer magazine, a pedigree authority, and an appraiser.]

November 29th, 2014

Magician is a body double for Cape Blanco

By Sid Fernando

If you blinked, you missed it. Coolmore Stud’s popular Ashford-based Galileo stallion Cape Blanco, who covered more mares (220) in his first year at stud in 2012 than any other stallion in North America, was sent to Japan for the 2015 season, but without missing a beat and with little fanfare Coolmore replaced his roster spot with the Galileo horse Magician as if it was nothing.

It helps, of course, to have a plethora of Galileos to work with, as Coolmore, which stands the iconic sire, does.

Like Cape Blanco, who’d won G1s in the US, Magician was known Stateside. He’d memorably run down The Fugue in the BC Turf-G1 in 2013 in fast time of 2:23.23 for 12 furlongs, and he was again scheduled to contest the race this year before scratching out the Wednesday before with a lameness issue.

What’s not as well known here—but is significant to breeders—is that Magician is one of three male Guineas winners for his outstanding sire, following the great Frankel and Roderic O’Connor. The latter two won their mile classics in 2011, Frankel making a mockery of the 2000 Guineas and Roderic taking the Irish equivalent in a watershed season for their sire.

Magician, like Roderic, won the Irish 2000 Guineas-G1, in 2013. All three are bred on the potent Galileo/Danehill cross, too, with Frankel and Roderic O’Connor produced from Danehill mares and Magician from a mare by Mozart, a multiple G1-winning sprinting son of Danehill who died in May of his first season at stud in 2002.

Mozart left behind several high-quality horses from that crop, including the G1 winner Amadeus Wolf and the G3 winner Dandy Man—both sires. He also had the G2 winner Stratham and the G3 winner Rebellion in the US, as well as the stakes-winning sprinter Absolutelyfabulous, the dam of Magician, among others. Absolutelyfabulous is from the immediate family of one-time Ashford sire Henrythenavigator, a dual Guineas winner by Kingmambo, so there’s plenty of familiarity with this family, which is notably American.

In all, Magician won five of 14 starts, placed five times, and earned the equivalent of $2.58 million. He won at two, won a classic at three, defeated older horses at 12 furlongs, and placed in several G1 races in Europe and the US this year, too, including a second-place finish behind Hardest Core in the Arlington Million, a second behind The Fugue (with Treve third) in the Prince of Wales’s, and a second behind Frankel’s brother Noble Mission (now at stud at Lane’s End) in the Tattersalls Gold Cup. No denying he was genuine, and the Guineas win on his resume gives the purist a classics equivalent to Cape Blanco’s Irish Derby, although on a strict comparison Cape Blanco, with nine wins and five G1s to Magician’s two G1s, was the better horse.

But Magician will begin his career for $12,500, lower than Cape Blanco did and at a price that gives the breeder a whole lot of racing form and pedigree for the price, not to mention access to another Galileo son.

How to breed to him? Look for clues from Teofilo, one of the first Galileos from a Danehill mare that went to stud. Jim Bolger’s horse is at Darley where he’s sired about 30 SWs, a third of which have Danzig in their bottom sides, including three of his six G1 winners. This, of course, means inbreeding to Danzig, but at the right generational distance Danzig duplications are working. Of Teofilo’s nine SWs with Danzig in their pedigrees twice, eight are 4×3, 4×4, or 4×5, with only the Bolger-bred Listed winner Paene Magnus closely inbred at 3×2 to Danehill. The Bolger-bred G1 winner Trading Leather is 4×5 to Danzig, G1 winner Voleuse de Coeurs is 4×4, and G1 winner Havana Gold is 4×4.

Breeding daughters of War Front, Hard Spun, Exchange Rate or mares by other sons of Danzig to Magician will result in 5×3 duplications, the equivalent to 4×4 and very much at a generational distance that has worked with Teofilo. The Galileo/Danzig eNick is an A.

Daughters of Pulpit should also be interesting mates. The Sadler’s Wells/Pulpit cross is also an eNicks A, and Sadler’s Wells-line sires in North America like El Prado, Sligo Bay, Kitten’s Joy, Medaglia d’Oro, and Artie Schiller have all sired SWs from Pulpit daughters.

November 28th, 2014

Warm welcome for Goldencents

By Frances J. Karon

Goldencents arrived at Spendthrift Farm just off of Paris Pike in Kentucky shortly after his repeat win in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile-G1 on October 31, 2014. He would have found it much colder in Kentucky than California, where he was based during his three years on the racetrack, but there has been anything but a chilly reception for him. Spendthrift hosted an open house for the duration of the November sales allowing breeders to view this bay son of Into Mischief, and he was quickly booked full.

Bred by Rosecrest Farm and Karyn Pirrello, Goldencents was foaled in Paris, Kentucky, not far from Spendthrift, where he was conceived and where he now stands alongside Into Mischief. Goldencents is a member of his Grade 1-winning sire’s first crop, which numbered 42 foals of 2010. When the colt, out of the Banker’s Gold mare Golden Works, went through the Fasig-Tipton October yearling sale after being withdrawn from the Keeneland September sale, his sale price of $5,500 to Webb Carroll was less than Into Mischief’s $10,000 yearling median. It may not have been obvious at the time but neither figure accurately reflected the future racing ability of the colt nor the sire power of Into Mischief.

Maturing into a $62,000 two-year-old at the OBS June sale, Goldencents was bought by Dennis O’Neill, whose brother Doug trained him on behalf of W.C. Racing. Only one Into Mischief juvenile realized a higher bid than Goldencents, and that was eventual Grade 2 winner Vyjack.

Goldencents quickly showed that his sire was undervalued. The colt was second to eventual two-year-old male champion Shanghai Bobby in the Foxwoods Champagne Stakes-G1 before winning the $1,000,000 Delta Jackpot-G3, and at three he won the Santa Anita Derby-G1 and his first Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile-G1. At four, he was never worse than second, winning the Pat O’Brien Mile-G2 (NTR, 7 furlongs in 1:20.99) in addition to a second Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, and placing in the Metropolitan Handicap-G1, Bing Crosby-G1, and Santa Anita Park Sprint Championship-G1. He earned $3,044,000, and was first or second 14 times in 18 starts.

Goldencents inherited class and brilliance from his sire, and a dash of durability from his female family. His dam Golden Works was a winner of two races, but his second and third dams started 45 and 46 times, respectively. Granddam Body Work, a Canadian-bred daughter of chef-de-race Bold Ruckus, hit the board 35 times from two to six, with 18 wins, including five black-type races.

His exploits season after season contributed in large part to Into Mischief’s bump up from a $7,500 stallion in 2009 to a $35,000 one in 2015. Goldencents begins his career with an advertised stud fee of $15,000. A photo set I tweeted of him at Spendthrift in November generated over 2,100 views on Twitter, which indicates that breeders should have plenty of interest when they bring his progeny to sales.

Sire lines that have suited Into Mischief and his sire Harlan’s Holiday, such as Maria’s Mon (an A+++ eNick), could be used for Goldencents; even foals out of mares with strains of Mr. Prospector (other than Forty Niner) and Storm Cat–both of whom are in Goldencents’s pedigree–will be bred on an outcross.

What is unique to Goldencents is that mares with Seattle Slew will double up on Boldnesian, who is not only the sire of Bold Ruckus but is also a half-brother to Princessnesian, the third dam of Harlan’s Holiday. Bold Ruckus and Seattle Slew have combined in the pedigrees of 13 stakes winners, Sis City-G1, Quaesitor-G3, and Title Contender-G3 among them. This B+ eNick (Harlan’s Holiday over Boldnesian) becomes an A GeoNick when only North America is considered, with three GSWs–Euphrosyne, Riley Tucker, and Saratoga Sinner–from three SWs, plus Goldencents through his second dam. With four Harlan’s Holiday-line GSWs that have multiple strains of the dam of Boldnesian and Princessnesian, trying this cross makes some sense.


Headshot of Jack WerkJack Werk (1944-2010)
Jack founded Werk Thoroughbred Consultants, Inc. From 1987 to 2000, he published OWNER-BREEDER, the highly acclaimed, first-ever journal dedicated to thoroughbred pedigree analysis, theories and trends. After a six-year hiatus from writing, he returned with this blog Who's Hot, Who's Not.

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