Tuesday, December 13, 2016

New Sire Series: Frosted

A horse born in the wrong generation of racing, Frosted gets a second chance to show his talents in the coming years after retiring to the breeding shed for 2017.

Hitting the track as a 2-year-old in 2014, the same year his sire Tapit got his first classic winner, Frosted lived up to the “third time is the charm” saying when he broke his maiden third time out at Aqueduct after two second place finishes. That eye-catching 5 ¼ length maiden victory was enough to convince his connections to enter him in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes.

Starting what would become a trend in his career, Frosted ran second to Leave the Light On (Horse Greeley) in the Remsen then came back two months later to run second again in the Grade 2 Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes to Upstart (Flatter).

A fourth place finish behind Itsaknockout (Lemon Drop Kid) in the Grade 2 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes convinced trainer Kiaran McLaughlin to change things up before his next race. After a change in equipment and jockeys, Frosted returned to New York for the Grade 1 Twinspires.com Wood Memorial Stakes to face six others.

In a bunched up field, Frosted was nearly last early on with jockey Joel Rosario aboard. Rosario kept Frosted wide throughout the trip, letting him have clear running room in the stretch where he had to run down Tencendur (Warrior’s Reward) if he was to win his first stakes race. Showing that he had the talent expected of him, Frosted passed Tencendur in the final furlong to not only win his first stakes race but his first Grade 1 as well.

2015 WOOD MEMORIAL

The Wood Memorial victory secured Frosted a spot in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands starting gate. While he was no match for American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) Frosted ran well to finish fourth, just 3 ¼ lengths behind the eventual Triple Crown winner.

Frosted expanded his resume a little more throughout the summer when he finished second to American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes, giving Tapit two Belmont placers in two years (Creator and Lani would extend that streak in 2016). Next up was a second behind Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red (Afleet Alex) in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy and a third in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes behind Keen Ice (Curlin) after battling American Pharoah most of the race.

With two seconds, a third and a fourth since his previous win five months before, Frosted looked due for trip to the winner's circle in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby. Going off at even-money, Frosted settled in behind the first wave of the field while Mr. Z (Malibu Moon) and Iron Fist (Tapit) pushed each other on the lead. Frosted made it a three way battle as the field turned into the stretch but that didn’t last long with the colt opening up on the lead to win by two lengths over Iron Fist, giving Tapit the exacta.

2015 PENNSYLVANIA DERBY

After an off race in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic where he finished seventh, Frosted headed to Dubai to start his 4-year-old season.

His first start came in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 Sponsored by EGA where viewers around the world were able to see how he’d matured over the winter.

Running closer to the front than normal with jockey William Buick aboard, Frosted was second behind Munaaser (New Approach) until soon after the field entered the stretch. Munasser dropped back as Frosted took the lead with Gold City (Pivotal) in pursuit. The only question in the stretch was how far Frosted would win by as he pulled away from the field, finally crossing the wire five lengths ahead of Gold City in record time.

2016 AL MAKTOUM CHALLENGE ROUND TWO


Frosted entered the Dubai World Cup with big expectations after his record breaking run on the track a month and a half before. But while California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) easily won the race, Frosted faded to fifth.

Even though the Dubai World Cup hadn’t gone as expected, Frosted easily put it behind him in mid-June when he was entered in the Grade 1 Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap.

In his first start back after his trip to Dubai, Frosted returned to the familiar New York circuit where he settled for an in-between of his old U.S. racing style and his Dubai style by running mid-pack as three horses fought for the lead. Frosted started his move in the far turn and by the time they entered the stretch he was even with the leading Anchor Down (Tapit). It wasn’t long before Frosted hit another gear and left the field in his dust to show his first Dubai race wasn’t a fluke when he won the Met Mile by 14 ¼ lengths.

2016 METROPOLITAN HANDICAP


Receiving a mini-break after that race, Frosted returned again in early August at Saratoga for the Grade 1 Whitney.  Frosted took control of the race in the first turn, setting a fast pace over Noble Bird (Birdstone) and never giving up the lead. While it wasn’t as visually impressive as the Met Mile, Frosted was given an easy ride in the stretch to win by two lengths over Comfort (Indian Charlie).

The Whitney was the last win of Frosted’s career, though not the last race. It looked like Frosted may win the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes a month later at Saratoga but in a controversially confident ride by jockey Joel Rosario he lost the by a head when finishing third behind Shaman Ghost (Ghostzapper). 

In the final race of his career, Frosted headed to California for the first time to run in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic. While improving his finishing position by one placing from 2015, it wasn’t enough to get the win with Frosted finished sixth behind Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song).

Frosted was retired a few days later, shipping to Darley in Lexington, Ky. after a career that saw him win six of 19 starts and finish on the board in eight others for $3,972,800 in earnings.



Frosted is one of 32 stallions by Tapit listed as standing at stud around the world on the Stallion Register website. Also a Grade 1 Wood Memorial winner, Tapit has quickly made his name as a sire with his first crop producing Grade 1 Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner and champion 2-year-old filly Stardom Bound. Every year since Stardom Bound’s 2008 2-year-old season, Tapit has had at least one Grade 1 winner but he hit even bigger heights in 2014.

Breaking the single-season earnings record for a North American sire that year with $16,813,536 in earnings, the stallion has rebroken his own record in both 2015 and 2016 as he continues to hold his place as the continent’s top sire. The stallion stands for the highest fee in North America and one of the highest in the world at $300,000 with his sales averages for weanlings, yearlings and 2-year-olds all sitting well above that fee.

As of Dec. 11, Tapit is the sire of six champions and 54 graded stakes winners in addition to 95 stakes placed horses. However, the world is still waiting to see if he will become a sire-of-sires like his sire Pulpit, grandsire A.P. Indy and great-grandsire Seattle Slew. That question may take a while to answer as his first major stallion son (multiple graded stakes winner Concord Point) entered stud in Kentucky in 2011 making his first crop of foals four this year.  

Frosted is one of seven foals of racing age out of 2003 Grade 2 Cotillion Handicap winner Fast Cookie (Deputy Minister). The mare has proven to be a solid producer with all four of her foals making it to the track also winning at least two races each. Frosted is her only foal so far to win or place in a stakes race but his 2-year-old half-sister by Bernardini recently worked a bullet at Palm Meadows and his 3-year-old half-sister by Bernardini has won two races in a row this fall. Fast Cookie doesn’t have a foal or a weanling coming down the pike but was bred to Tapit in 2016.


Frosted at Darley
Fast Cookie is out of the multiple graded stakes winning mare Fleet Lady (Avenue of Flags), who won 10 races from six to nine furlongs. But it was in the breeding shed that Fleet Lady has made the biggest impact on racing.

Fleet Lady is the dam of another Darley stallion in 2008 champion 2-year-old and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Midshipman (Unbridled’s Song), who has been in the top ten standing in the first, second and third crop lists since his first crop hit the track in 2014.

In addition to Fast Cookie, Fleet Lady also has another stakes winning daughter in Regia Marina (Medaglia d’Oro), who won a stakes this year. Two other daughters by Touch Gold have produced stakes placed runners with one also producing a Group 2 winner in Running Tall (Stratum). Four-year-old Regia Marina is the final foal out of Fleet Lady, who died in 2016.

Going back a few generations, one finds Carnival Princess (Prince John) as Frosted’s fourth dam. A half-sister to two-time Italian champion Carnauba (Noholme), Carnival Princess produced a champion herself in France’s 1987 champion 3-year-old colt Salse (Topsider) in addition to four other winners. One of those winners was Carnival Delight (Half a Year), who is the dam of stakes winners War Monger (War Chant) and Brickell (Deputy Minister).

Constitution is one of five Tapit G1 winners out of a mare
by a Mr. Prospector grandson
Looking to what lines may work with Frosted, Tapit’s 20 Grade 1 winners comes from a variety of damsires. Two, including Frosted, are out of Deputy Minister mares while four are out of mares by Storm Cat’s sons. Not surprisingly for a U.S. based stallion, Mr. Prospector also features widely on the bottom side of Tapit’s Grade 1 winners with five (25 percent) of them out of mares by his sons or grandsons.

Looking at Frosted’s female family, Unbridled’s Son seems to be a good cross for that line. Frosted’s winning half-sister, With Sugar on Top is, by the stallion as is Fast Cookie’s half-brother Midshipman and stakes placed Addison Run, who is out of Fast Cookie’s half-sister.

Frosted will stand for $50,000 in 2017, so far the most expensive fee of any freshman sire standing in North America.

Monday, December 5, 2016

New Sire Series: Bobby's Kitten

After nearly a month hiatus, All Equine All the Time returns with the first new stallion blog of the season. Follow along in coming months as I look at new stallions hitting the sheds in 2017.

Bobby's Kitten
A familiar horse to both American and Europeans is new stallion Bobby’s Kitten, who won stakes in both North America and Ireland.

The first Kitten’s Joy son to stand in Europe, Bobby’s Kitten may be known most for his thrilling finish in the 2014 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint where he edged out fellow European stallion No Nay Never (Scat Daddy) by half a length at Santa Anita. But that is far from the only thing the bay accomplished.

A winner at Saratoga in his second start, Bobby’s Kitten proved to be one of the best – if not the best – U.S. 2-year-old turf horses of his year. Breaking his maiden at 1 1/6 miles by 2 ¾ lengths, Bobby’s Kitten went on to lead the 2013 Grade 3 Pilgrim Stakes wire-to-wire with a 6 ¼ length victory at the same distance.

That win installed enough confidence in bettors that Bobby’s Kitten went off as favorite for the fourth time in his four race career when he shipped to Santa Anita for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Leading early, Bobby’s Kitten wasn’t able to hold off the charges of Outstrip (Exceed and Excel) and Giovanni Boldini (War Front) but was easily the best of the rest of the field, 3 ¾ lengths ahead of the fourth placed Bon Accord (Showing Up).

As a 3-year-old, Bobby’s Kitten started his season in a Tampa Bay allowance at one mile on the turf.  Taking on a field of five others, including two future multiple graded stakes winners and one multiple graded stakes placed filly, the colt again took control early in the race.  Bobby’s Kitten had to fend off Global View (Galileo) in the far turn but handled that easily. His lead shrunk from three lengths with about a furlong left to go to 1 ½ lengths at the finish but Bobby’s Kitten had started his 3-year-old season with a win.

Still in the synthetic era of racing at Keeneland, Bobby’s Kitten’s connections decided to take a chance and enter him in the Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes. Never getting the lead, Bobby’s Kitten tracked the leaders but wasn’t able to make an impact at the end when finishing 12th as the favorite.

Returning to turf for his next start, Bobby’s Kitten headed up the 2014 Penn Mile. In a field where seven of the eight runners were at least graded stakes placed, Bobby’s Kitten kept his favoritism streak alive. Those who bet him were in for a treat when Bobby’s Kitten rated behind Sing the Dream (Songandaprayer) until the field entered the final turn. Sweeping past the leader, Bobby’s Kitten was an easy winner with Global View cutting into the margin when closing for second but never threatening the 2 ¾ length winner.

2014 PENN MLE


Again trying something new with Bobby’s Kitten in his next start, he was stretched to 1 ¼ miles for the first time when contesting the Grade 1 Belmont Derby. Bobby’s Kitten again let someone else take the lead with Pornichet (Vespone) running away on the front end. Behind him, Bobby’s Kitten tracked Gala Award (Bernardini) with those two joining Pornichet after Jose Ortiz had convinced him to slow down a bit. Bobby’s Kitten still looked like he had a shot as they entered the stretch, even making a mild move but he ran out of gas mid-stretch, finishing third from last.

Bobby’s Kitten returned to a shorter distance in his next start when he returned to Saratoga for the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes. Bobby’s Kitten was back in his familiar spot on the lead for this race, even pulling away by a few lengths down the backstretch. In the final furlong, it looked like he had the win but with only a few strides until he hit the wire, Wallyanna (Langfuhr) loomed up and took the win, forcing Bobby's Kitten to second.

In his first international trip, Bobby’s Kitten headed to Woodbine in Ontario next for the Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile in his first start against older horses. Again taking the lead from the start, he was joined by Ancil (City Zip), who stayed with him until the middle of the turn. Bobby’s Kitten still had the lead as they raced down the stretch and looked like he may be able to hold on for the win until Trade Storm (Trade Fair) passed him in the final half furlong with Kaigun (Northern Afleet) also passing him. While it was hard fought, Bobby’s Kitten was able to hit the board when beating River Seven (Johannesburg) by a head for the spot.

Next, it was time to head back to Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup.

While all Bobby’s Kitten’s runs up to this point had been on or near the lead, with Joel Rosario aboard, he showed a new dimension in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. He broke well but then settled in the back of the pack to sit in last place down the hill.  As the field crossed over the dirt and on to the main track, Rosario swung his mount wide and the chase was on. In the final furlong Bobby’s Kitten still had most of the field to pass but showed a huge kick to get in front in the closing strides and win by half a length.

2014 BREEDERS’ CUP TURF SPRINT


Bobby’s Kitten was gone from the races for nearly 10 months after the Breeders’ Cup, not returning until late October of 2015. Finishing seventh and ninth in his first two starts, his connections weren’t deterred from trying the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint again and bettors still had faith in him when sending him off at single digit odds. While there was no win this time, Bobby’s Kitten didn’t embarrass himself with his fourth place finish.

Transferred to Dermot Weld a few weeks after the Breeders’ Cup, Bobby’s Kitten was aimed at a 2016 European campaign.

Starting in the Cork Stakes in late March, Bobby’s Kitten faced heavy ground but showed a lot of promise when winning the race by 8 ½ lengths. But his campaign ended before it had a chance to heat up with the horse never running again and retiring to Lanwades in September.

Bobby’s Kitten is by top U.S. turf sire and champion racehorse Kitten’s Joy. Kitten's Joy has had his best year yet in Europe with his first Group 1 winner in England when Hawkbill won the Coral Eclipse Stakes in July followed a few months later by Taareef, already a European Group 3 winner, winning the Group 2 Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein in France.

Divisidero
As of Dec. 3, 2016, Kitten’s Joy had 16 stakes winners on the year including Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Oscar Performance, Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic winner Divisidero and the aforementioned Hawkbill. Among his other graded stakes winners were a Kentucky Derby prep winner in Grade 3 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes winner Oscar Nominated and Grade 2 winner Deeply Undervalued.

The first stallion by Kitten’s Joy to stand in Europe, Bobby’s Kitten is out of the winning Forestry mare Celestial Woods, who has visited Kitten’s Joy every year she has been at stud. Of her four foals to race from six of racing age, all four have been winners.

Her first foal, Major Magic, was also her first of three stakes winners with the gelding winning the Chenery Stakes in his second start. Bobby’s Kitten’s two years younger full brother, Camelot Kitten, is also currently racing at the stakes level.

Camelot Kitten is also trained by Chad Brown for the Ramseys and broke his maiden in his first start. Second in a Grade 3 in his second start, Camelot Kitten has proved to be a better 3-year-old than he was at two. He won two straight races, including the Grade 2 American Turf Stakes in the Spring and did what his brother couldn’t by winning the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes in addition to finishing a close fourth in the Belmont Derby.

Overall, Camelot Kitten has won four of his eight starts in 2016 with two seconds. Only two of the 11 races in his career have come at the non-graded level.

Celestial Woods’ dam Celestial Bliss (Relaunch) never raced and never had a horse win at the stakes level but has proven to be a good producer of daughters. In addition to Celestial Woods, her daughter Blissful Song (Unbridled’s Song) is the dam of a Group 2 winner and another daughter has produced a French stakes placed filly.

Under Bobby’s Kitten’s third dam is where his pedigree gets very strong. That mare, North of Eden (Northfields), produced three Grade 1 winners (U.S. champion grass horse Paradise Creek, Grade 1 winner Wild Event and Grade 1 winner and Breeders’ Cup Mile runner-up Forbidden Apple) and is the granddam of Grade 1 winner Eden’s Moon (Malibu Moon) and champion David Junior (Pleasant Tap). If that wasn’t enough, North of Eden, is a half-sister to U.S. champion Theatrical (Nureyev) who was also a successful sire.


Bobby's Kitten's pedigree (via Equineline)
Bobby’s Kitten is an interesting addition to the European ranks for multiple reasons.

First, while he does have three crosses of Northern Dancer, they will be moved back to 5 x 6 x 6 on any of his foals and the lone strain of Sadler’s Wells in his pedigree will be pushed back to the fourth generation. Overall, Bobby’s Kitten should provide a nice outcross for mares in Europe.

Second, Bobby’s Kitten won stakes races from 6 furlongs to 1 1/16 miles so he should fit a variety of mares. His full brother’s ability to stay competitive in races at 1 ¼ miles and his sire’s success at throwing longer distance horses also shows that he may be able to throw more stamina than he showed on the track. While there will be concerns about his ability to throw horses who can go longer, it will be intriguing to see if that stamina is there.

Bobby’s Kitten joins Archipenko (Kingmambo), Sea the Moon (Sea the Stars) and Sir Percy (Mark of Esteem) at Lanwades, where he will be standing his first season for £12,500 (approx. €14,919/$15,891).

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Digging Into the Data: Observations from the Breeders' Cup

Drefong's half-sister
In a Breeders’ Cup for the ages, owners, horses and trainers went down in the history books at Santa Anita. From championship caliber wins to new sires hitting it big, the 13 races of the Breeders’ Cup saw horses bred in three countries and two states in the winner’s circle. From Juddmonte’s big weekend to a top stallion making it big in another way, read on to find out some of the interesting things that happened at the Breeders’ Cup this year.

Juddmonte Farms – Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Arrogate wasn’t the only one making this year’s Breeders’ Cup a good one for Juddmonte. While that was the only win for the stable as an owner, they also had a second place finish with Flintshire in the Turf, his final start before retiring to Hill ‘n’ Dale for 2017. Flintshire was one of the top performers of the weekend for Juddmonte’s stallion Dansili, who also sired Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Queen’s Trust for Cheveley Park Stud. In an interesting turn of events, Juddmonte bred and raced the damsire of Highland Reel, Danehill, who beat Flintshire in the Turf. Finally, Juddmonte’s $400,000 purchase of an Animal Kingdom filly out of Eltimaas also looks like one of the best buys of this Keeneland September sale so far on page updates alone. The filly’s half-brother Drefong won the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint by 1 ¼ lengths on Saturday.

Gio Ponti – Proving that breeding racehorses isn’t as straightforward as breeding two top horses together, Gio Ponti’s best horse is a dirt sprinter. Gio Ponti himself was second in both the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Breeders’ Cup Mile but his son Drefong won the Ketel One King’s Bishop in late August before taking home the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint and putting himself in the running for the male sprint championship. It took Gio Ponti a bit to get going but he put himself on the mount during the summer with Drefong’s win in addition to Sir Dudley Digges winning the Queen’s Plate.
Gio Ponti
Kentucky Sales Season – Multiple horses entered in both the Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton November sales this coming week earned big updates thanks to the Breeders’ Cup winners. Here are the horses going through the ring in the next two weeks with the major updates thanks to siblings (and in one case a son):  
Classic Empire winning the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity
Keeneland November’s Hip 1912 – Understudy – is a half-sister to Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Oscar Performance. The mare is a half-sister to Oscar Performance and Grade 3 winner Oscar Nominated and will be consigned by Shawhan Place.

Hip 754 at Keeneland November, consigned by Three Chimneys Farm, is a 6-year-old half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf New Money Honey. The mare is in foal to Palace Malice off an April 23 cover.

Classic Empire’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile win was big for Lane’s End’s Hip 2305 at Keeneland September. The 3-year-old Twirling Candy filly is a multiple stakes winner and sells as a racing or broodmare prospect.

Arrogate’s win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic was a big one for Fasig-Tipton’s November sale, who has Bubbler going through the ring as Hip 110 for Clearsky Farms. Arrogate is the first foal for the mare, who also has a yearling filly by Medaglia d’Oro and a weanling filly by Giant’s Causeway. She is in foal to Into Mischief off an April 14 cover.

Distorted Humor
Distorted Humor – A 23-year-old stallion, Distorted Humor has sired 136 stakes winners and 55 graded stakes winners as a sire but this year’s Breeders’ Cup showed off his damsire talents. Currently ranked fourth on Blood-Horse Stallion Register’s Broodmare Sire rankings, Distorted Humor has $15,549,597 in broodmare sire earnings led by this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Arrogate. Distorted Humor is also the damsire of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner New Money Honey. There are 28 fillies and mares by the stallion cataloged in the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale and three in the Fasig-Tipton November sale, including Arrogate’s dam.

Older Sires – While the American classic season was dominated by a younger group of stallions, that wasn’t the case at the Breeders’ Cup. Thirteen stallions averaging 18 1/2 years old sired the winners of the Breeders’ Cup races with no stallion having more than one winner. Pioneerof the Nile is the youngest sire in the bunch at 10 while the late Unbridled’s Song is the oldest at 23.  


Breeders’ Cup Winners – Eleven Breeders’ Cup winners had runners at the Breeders’ Cup with three (Speightstown, Tiznow and Unbridled’s Song) siring winners at this year’s races. Three Breeders’ Cup winners (Curlin, Ghostzapper and Unbridled’s Song) sired horses who finished second or third in the races with Curlin having two horses hit the board and Unbridled’s Song having a winner and a third place finisher this year.

City Zip - The reign of City Zip continues at the Breeders' Cup. In the past three years, City Zip's runners have won four Breeders' Cup races. In addition to Finest City's Filly and Mare Sprint win this year,  his runners have won the Breeders' Cup Sprint (Work All Week in 2014), the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (Dayatthespa - 2014) and Juvenile Fillies Turf (Catch a Glimpse - 2015). City Zip stood for $40,000 in 2016 and bred 129 mares according to The Jockey Club's Report of Mares Bred.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Digging into the Data: Chasing History at the Breeders’ Cup

The entries are drawn and all the Breeders’ Cup horses are on the grounds for the 2016 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, taking place on Nov. 4 and 5. But there’s more to the racing than just the racehorses and owners trying to add a prestigious Breeders’ Cup title to their resumes. Keep reading to find out nine facts, including a few about those chasing history, about the sires and dams represented at this year’s event

By the Numbers – Ninty-eight stallions sired the 167 main body entrants in the 13 races with 112 broodmare sires also represented. Of the 98 sires at the races, there are 13 father/son pairs with Distorted Humor, Tiznow and Pulpit all having multiple sons with entries while also having their own runners. Stallions from six U.S. states and 11 countries have runners in the Breeders’ Cup races from Japan to France.

Awesome Again
Breeders’ Cup Winners – Eleven Breeders’ Cup winners are among the sires with runners this year. Of those 11, Ghostzapper, Unbridled’s Song and English Channel have multiple runners. The father and son duo of Awesome Again and Ghostzapper are trying to make history in the Breeders’ Cup Classic by adding a third generation to their Classic win streak with Shaman Ghost. Awesome Again and Ghostzapper are also two of 12 Breeders’ Cup winners whose daughters have produced runners this year, Unbridled’s Song leads the charge in that category with four runners as a broodmare sire.

Siblings as Sires– There are multiple pairs of siblings and half-siblings taking part this year in the Breeders’ Cup as sires, runners and jockeys/trainers. Full brothers Congrats and Flatter both have two runners each in the Breeders’ Cup and interestingly their runners are all in the same races (J.S. Choice [Congrats] and Favorable Outcome [Flatter] in the Juvenile Turf and Haveyougoneaway [Congrats] and Paola Queen [Flatter] in the Filly and Mare Sprint). As is normal for Breeders’ Cups, Baby Zip is represented by her half-brother sons City Zip and Ghostzapper with three runners each. City Zip is looking to keep his Breeders’ Cup streak alive with the stallion having winners in at least one Breeders’ Cup the last two years while Ghostzapper is looking for his second Breeders’ Cup win as a sire after Judy the Beauty’s 2014 Filly and Mare Sprint win at this same track.

Siblings as Runners – The most famous equine pair of siblings running in Breeders’ Cup races this year are Tepin and Vyjack, who are making their dam Life Happened the 18th mare to have two Breeders’ Cup runners in the same year. Tepin looks to defend last year’s victory in the Mile while Vyjack hopes to win on his first appearance at the Breeders’ Cup. If both horses win, Life Happened will be the only mare ever to have two Breeders’ Cup winners in the same year while she’ll join three others who have produced multiple Breeders’ Cup winners in their careers. Life Happened is joined by Miss Hot Salsa and Belle Watling in the quest to end the drought of a mare not producing two winners in the same year. Miss Hot Salsa's 6-year-old son Mongolian Saturday is returning to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint after his victory in the race at Keeneland last year while his 2-year-old Scat Daddy half-sister is entered in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Belle Watling's daughter Land Over Sea is running in the Breeders' Cup Distaff after finishing seventh in the Juvenile Fillies last year while her son War Story is running in the Classic after finishing eighth in the Dirt Mile last year. Both Life Happened and Miss Hot Salsa have a 100 percent strike rate at the Breeders’ Cup so far with their only runner to-date also winning the race.


Family Affair – Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf is truly a family affair for the O’Brien family. While Aidan O’Brien, as usual, holds a top hand in the race with two runners his son Joseph is making his Breeders’ Cup debut as a trainer with Intricately with brother Donnacha aboard. Adding even more family connections to the mix, Intricately was bred by Joseph and Donnacha’s parents. The O’Briens will go into the history books for a few different things in Intricately wins on Friday: Joseph will join Freddy Head as the only two jockeys to also train a Breeders’ Cup winner, Joseph and Aidan will become only the second father/son trainer duo to train a Breeders’ Cup winner along with Wally and Craig Dollase, Joseph and Donnacha will become only the second brother trainer/jockey team along with the Desormeauxs and Texas Red in 2014 to win a Breeders’ Cup race together, and Joseph will become the youngest trainer to win a Breeders' Cup race, taking the title from Craig Dollase. Joseph already holds the record for youngest jockey to win a Breeders’ Cup race, that coming when he won the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf on St. Nicholas Abbey but that record will be broken as well if the filly wins with Donnacha younger than his brother was during the 2011 race.

Tapit
Tapit’s Record – As per usual over the last few years, Tapit is chasing a North America earnings record going in to the last few months of the year. As of the Wednesday morning before Breeders’ Cup, Tapit was $749,465 behind his 2015 record. While not only Breeders’ Cup races count toward the record, they provide the biggest purses at this point in the year and the stallion has five entries in five different Breeders’ Cup races. The combined total amount of those races is $12-million with the winner of each race getting 55 percent of the purse.

Galileo – After conquering Europe’s top races this year, Galileo is looking to take over the Breeders’ Cup this week. Galileo is easily breaking the record of the number of starters for one sire in a single Breeders’ Cup with nine horses running this year, two more than Mr. Prospector had in 1988 to lead the list. Of those runners, he has four of the 12 runners in the Breeders’ Cup Turf for 33.3 percent of the race’s entries with two sharing the second choice odds on the morning line. According to Thoroughbred Daily News sire list, Galileo already has worldwide earnings of $26,507,980 this year.

Sires as Damsires – Fourteen stallions can be seen in the entries as both the sire and damsire of (different) Breeders’ Cup entries. Lemon Drop Kid leads all the stallions with the number of runners out of his daughters with five while Galileo leads all stallions with the number of runners he’s sired with nine.

Looking for a Record – Sadler’s Wells alone holds the record for the most wins for a sire with six but he has a chance of being joined or passed in that position at this Breeders’ Cup. Of those stallions with four or more winners in previous Breeders’ Cups, Unbridled’s Song (4 winners) has three runners and Tapit (5 winners) has five entries this weekend.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Looking at Regally-Bred Keep Up

A regally-bred son of Unbridled’s Song, Keep Up’s career almost ended before it began when he broke his knee as a yearling. Three screws and seven months of stall rest later, he was cleared to enter training and the rest is history.

"When we brought him up that day, we had to wait three weeks because of all the inflammation just to x-ray him," said Headley Bell of Mill Ridge Farm, where the colt was raised. "Then when we x-rayed him and saw the severity of the fracture at that stage you’re just trying to save his life. That’s all you’re doing. I think the vet said he had 10 percent chance to make it, really and then the racing was just a far reaching dream that we had. But he continued to take every step and then we early trained him and he did that then we gave him time to mature and he would just continue going. Then it was like 'he’s done this and he’s done that, what the hell' and you keep on going down the road and see what happens."

Keep Up made his debut at Keeneland in October of his 3-year-old year for owner Mill Ridge Farm, finishing third and kicking off an 18 race career. Breaking his maiden in his third start by 3 ¼ lengths, the colt won or hit the board in his first six starts, including a win at Arlington Park in his return after a 15 month break.

Later that year he won his first stakes in the Grade 3 River City Handicap, beating a field that included a Canadian classic winner, a Grade 1 winner, three Grade 2 winners and four Grade 3 winners from a field of 12.

RIVER CITY HANDICAP

“We thought a lot of him. So every step, every hurdle, we went from hoping to thinking that he was a proper horse,” said Bell. “Once he got into Alex Clarkson’s hands, they were just totally in love with the horse and they gave him every chance and you would get those nice phone calls that said ‘this horse is promising.’ Then they gave him the opportunity to demonstrate his talents because they gave him the time.”

Winning the River City as a 5-year-old, Keep Up returned the following year to add seven more starts to his record at six. In June of that year, he earned another stakes win when winning the Swoon’s Song Stakes by three-quarter lengths over graded stakes winner Corporate Jungle at Arlington Park. Three starts later he was back in the winner’s circle, this time at Keeneland in an allowance. In typical Keeneland fashion the allowance played more like a stakes race with Grade 2 winner Utley, multiple graded stakes winners Rahystrada and Air Support, Grade 1-placed Tahoe Lake and Grade 3-placed Macho Bull all finishing behind Keep Up.

Another win In the River City wasn’t in the cards for Keep Up that year with the horse finishing off the board in the race before retiring to Mill Ridge Farm, where he stands for a fee of $5,000 for one breeding or $4,000 for Share the Upside.

Keep Up
“Our love of the horse, he’d been through so much [encouraged us to stand him]. Obviously from our foundation mare Keeper Hill who’d given us so much and this horse, he wasn’t supposed to be here and he jumps every hurdle he could jump to get where he was so it was like ‘Crazier things have happened and if the public’s willing to give him a chance, we’re certainly willing to give him a chance’ and that’s how we did it,” Bell said.

Bred by the partnership of Dr. John Chandler, Jamm LTD, Shug McGaughey and Mill Ridge Farm, Keep Up is out of Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks and Spinster winner Keeper Hill.

Keep Up was Keeper Hill’s best runner but the mare also has two other winners and comes from a nice family. Perhaps the most interesting part of Keep Up’s pedigree is his inbreeding to bluehen mare Killaloe. Keep Up’s fourth dam, Killaloe is the dam of influential sire Fappiano who was the sire of Unbridled. Unbridled sired horses like Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker and Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone in addition to Keep Up’s sire Unbridled’s Song, giving Keep Up a 4 x 4 cross to Killaloe in addition to a 4 x 5 cross to Northern Dancer through his damsire Deputy Minister and his second dam’s grandsire Lyphard.
Keeper Hill
Bell credits the Fappiano and Killaloe blood in Keep Up’s pedigree as a reason the stallion is throwing big, quality foals who looks like they’ll be runners when they hit the track in coming years.

“You see how physically imposing [Keep Up] is and his depth of quality, and that’s what he’s passing on,” he explained. “Everyone has had that quality about them. The mares that we’ve sent to him were good mares that we thought would breed a racehorse but he is even moving them up considerably. I’m not saying these are going to be 2-year-olds but he’s just providing you quality to give you a chance. You have Unbridled’s Song on the top, that’s not the best thing considering sires of sires but you also have Keeper Hill, who was an Oaks winner and a Spinster winner from the family of Fappiano. So are we seeing the Fappiano coming out of this on the dam side? I would say we are with a combination of things.”

Fasig-Tipton October Hip 488 - Keep Up x Sheza Runaway Star
Keep Up had 17 foals in his first crop with seven already going through the ring for an average of $18,533 from a $5,000 stud fee ($4,000 for those who have Share the Upside shares) with his most expensive being a $42,000 filly who sold to Gatewood Bell at Fasig-Tipton July and the second most expensive coming at the Keeneland September sale in the way of a $35,000 filly. The stallion has four going through the ring this week at Fasig-Tipton’s Kentucky Fall Yearling sale in Lexington with all four selling on the final two days of the sale.

The first yearlings to sell have gotten Keep Up more interest from prospective breeders with those at the sales seeing the yearlings then researching the stallion.

“He actually is building up a bit of a following. People saw our first yearling in July, she was a lovely filly. A beautiful, athletic, smooth filly with good size and quality, bought by a really good horseman in Gatewood Bell. Then the filly we sold in September was bought by Jeff Herbert and his wife,” Headley Bell said. “They were sitting on a bench between barns and kept seeing this filly come out. It wasn’t the pedigree where they were looking at it, they were drawn to the filly. And then people start talking about them a bit because of that.”

While Bell admits that it is a struggle to get breeders’ attention, especially with many of the stallion’s yearlings looking like they’ll skip the 2-year-old sales, he’s hoping that the talk generated from the yearling sales helps give Keep Up a boost in the shed.

“My hope is that the word trickles out enough that people will say ‘I’d like to be ahead of the curve on him,’” he said. “He’s reasonable, he has enough ingredients to give him a chance and crazier things have happened. If he’s moving up these kinds of mares the way he’s moving them up then he’s likely to move up [other] mares and when it’s all said and done you’re trying to breed a racehorse. You’ve got the commercial side but in the end, you’re trying to breed a racehorse.”
Keep Up's second most expensive filly at Keeneland September
Hopes are high that Keep Up will continue to prove himself as his runners hit the track next year but even if he doesn’t, he’ll has a home at the farm for as long as he wants for one important reason – the family’s attachment to him.

“Mom (Alice Chandler) still drives here to the office and Keep Up is the draw that brings her to drive the farm to check on him,” Bell said. “Every day she does that. She drives and sees how he’s doing then she comes here and she has her orange juice and her muffin. It’s her routine and it’s just terrific, it keeps her engaged and that alone is worth him being here.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Being AP DVD Sales to Benefit PDJF and RRP

After spending the last several months spending time being shown in theatres from Toronto’s International Film Festival to showings in California, U.S. steeplechasing fans finally have a chance to buy Being AP while helping out a few important racing organizations.

Available for purchase in North America for the first time, part of the proceeds from the Being AP movies purchased in the U.S. will go toward a donation to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP). Both causes are important to McCoy, with the former jockey currently the president of the UK’s Injured Jockeys Fund and a patron of the UK’s official OTTB charity, the Retraining of Racehorses (ROR).

“These are two very important causes that are close to the hearts of all involved in the film, we are delighted to be able to help,” said producer Nick Ryle.

The Retired Racehorse Project’s annual Thoroughbred “Makeover” will take place on Oct. 27 through 30 in Lexington, Ky. at the Kentucky Horse Park. It is the second year the Makeover has been held at the park.

"Bringing the story of AP McCoy to North American Thoroughbred lovers is brilliant. RRP is thrilled to have been selected as a recipient of funds from the sale of these DVD’s so that we can continue to promote Thoroughbreds in second careers and host the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium October 27-30 in Lexington, Kentucky,” said Steuart Pittman, president of the RRP.

A racing documentary, Being AP follows Sir Anthony McCoy through his final season as a steeplechasing jockey. Chasing his 20th consecutive championship at the time the documentary was filmed, the movie gives viewers an inside look at his final season as he struggled with the choice to retire and how it affected his family and colleagues.

Winning the Conditional Jump Jockeys Title in 1995 after moving to England from Ireland, McCoy became champion jockey for the first time the next year and continued to win that title every year he rode until retiring last year. During his career, set multiple records including the most winners in a season with 289 winners in 2002. The jockey retired with 4,358 winners over jumps and nine wins in flat races.

Awarded a knighthood on the Queen’s 2016 New Year’s Honours list, McCoy is only the second jockey ever to be knighted with Sir Gordon Richards, who was knighted in 1953.


Those who wish to purchase Being AP can do so at www.BeingAP.com with free shipping offered until the end of October. DVDs purchased through Dec. 24 will have the opportunity to win an autographed copy of the DVD or Blu-Ray signed by McCoy.


BEING AP TRAILER

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Keeping It In the Family: American Bloodlines in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

If there’s one thing racing fans can count on in this world, it’s that a big race will have multiple horses who trace back to 1964 Kentucky Derby winner Northern Dancer.

This Sunday’s 5-million ($5,621,000) Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is no exception to that rule with 11 horses tracing back to the stallion through their sire or broodmare sire. But with Northern Dancer multiple generations back in all the runners’ pedigrees (the closest he is found in an Arc runner's pedigree is three generations back), it’s worth focusing on his sons and grandsons who make his appearance possible.

Not surprisingly, Sadler’s Wells is a popular line in this race even though the stallion isn’t the sire of any of the runners.

Medaglia d'Oro
His son Galileo has three runners, all from the Coolmore stable, with two more sires carrying Sadler's Wells blood. U.S. stallion Medaglia d’Oro could continue his hot streak if his runner Talismanic wins the race. A son of El Prado, Medaglia d’Oro is coming off of an outstanding last weekend where his runners won five stakes including another Grade 1 win by Songbird in North America. Talismanic has a tough task ahead to continue his sire’s roll, as the 3-year-old colt has yet to win a group stakes but the weight allowance given to 3-year-olds may help him out here.

German sire Adlerflug comes through the In the Wing branch of Sadler’s Wells family and interestingly is also from Galileo’s female family with Urban Sea’s dam being a full sister to Adlerflug’s second dam. Adlerflug’s runner Savoir Vivre also brings in unique blood on his dam’s side with his broodmare sire Monsun the only stallion to bring the Konigsstuhl line into this year’s Arc. Adlerflug doesn’t have that distinction with In the Wings however, as his son Songspiel is the broodmare sire of Left Hand, who is one of four runners in the race by Dubawi.

Highland Reel
Northern Dancer’s son Danzig also plays a major part in this year’s Arc through two sons. Danehill is not just responsible for the sire of an Arc runner in Fastnet Rock, he is also the grandsire of Mastercraftsman, who is the sire of The Grey Gatsby. Danehill himself is the broodmare sire of the front runner Highland Reel, who is from the extremely successful Galileo/Danehill cross. While Highland Reel isn’t in this field to play “rabbit” for his stablemates Order of St. George and Found, his front running style definitely won’t hurt their chances in the race.

Danzig also plays a part in the Urban Sea story as he is the grandsire of Sea the Stars, who is also known as Galileo’s half-brother. Sea the Stars has two runners in Migwar and Harzand and is the only stallion from Danzig’s Green Desert line with runners in this race as a son of the recently pensioned Cape Cross. Sea the Stars has upset his brother a few times this year with Harzand winning both the Epsom and Irish Derbies. Harzand is looking to add a third Group 1 and better Taghrooda’s third place finish in the Arc for their sire on Sunday. Migwar looks like he may be outmatched here but if the turf gets a decent amount of rain, could give his sire another placing in the race.

Hail to Reason can be found on both sides of pedigrees of runners in this race with Deep Impact’s Makahiki having him four generations back as the Sunday Silence's grandsire. He is also six generations back on Makahiki’s damside with his grandson Southern Halo the broodmare of Makahiki’s second dam Real Number.


Found
Makahiki provides a little more support to Hail to Reason than Found, whose Hail to Reason blood comes from Roberto’s branch. The Breeders’ Cup winning filly, who is by Galileo, doubles up on the Northern Dancer with that stallion four generations back on her damside and also has a double dose of Mr. Prospector, although that cross is four and five generations back.

The broodmare sire side of the Arc field is quite Mr. Prospector heavy with six horses following their broodmare sire family tree right to the stallion. New Bay and Postponed get a double dose of Mr. Prospect through their sires and their broodmare sires with the stallion four generations back in the cross on both horses.

U.S. sires Gone West and Kingmambo are the main horses responsible for bringing so much Mr. Prospector blood into the field with both sires playing the part of broodmare sire to one runner a piece. In addition, Kingmambo is the sire of Postponed’s broodmare sire Dubai Destination. Gone West plays an even bigger part in the Mr. Prospector story with the stallion siring New Bay’s broodmare sire Zamindar and Harzand’s broodmare sire Xaar.

Talismanic, who was talked about earlier in this blog also comes from that Mr. Prospector line through his broodmare sire Machiavellian. Though Talismanic was born in Great Britain, the colt has North America to thank for a lot of his pedigree. Already covered is that he comes from the Northern Dancer sireline but he also leads to Northern Dancer through Danzig as his second dam’s sire. In his first four generations 24 of the 31 horses present were bred in North America.

As with the sires, only a few runners step out of the normal mold when it comes to their broodmare sire lines. Outside of the aforementioned Savoir Vivre with Monsun, Siljan’s Saga is alone in bringing the Kiairon line to the Arc while Silverware goes back to Riverman through River Mist.

Since 2000, Danehill is the only broodmare sire who also sired an Arc winner during that time period. On Sunday, he can become one of three stallions whose daughters have produced three Arc winners. Dubai Destination could also join that club if Postponed wins the Arc. Surprisingly, if any of their seven combined entries win the Arc, it will be a first win for Galileo or Dubawi.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Super Saturday a Wide Open Affair

Curlin's Stellar Wind
On Saturday the Road to the Breeders’ Cup gets interesting with the second of three big weekends full of prep races. Santa Anita, the host of this year’s Breeders’ Cup, has five graded stakes carded for Saturday while Belmont also has five graded stakes during its first of two “Super Saturdays.”

With 82 horses entered as of Wednesday, it left more than enough chances for a variety of stallions to pick up some valuable stakes placings for their resumes heading into the final months before breeding season. In all, 65 stallions have horses running in the major graded stakes on Saturday with 14 sires represented by two or more horses.

Interestingly, North America’s top two sires don’t have any entries in these races with both Tapit and Uncle Mo sitting this “Super Saturday” out (Uncle Mo does have an entry in the ungraded Unzip Me Stakes taking place as Santa Anita’s finale on Saturday.)

However, the nation’s other top sires have a chance to make moves in the sire standings with the No. 3 through No. 7 stallions all having runners. Curlin, who sits third only a little under $1.2-million in progeny earnings behind Uncle Mo looks like he could make big strides in the battle for second place on Blood-Horse’s Leading Sires table. The stallion has runners in two races with Stellar Wind running in the $300,000 Zenyatta Stakes and Off the Tracks in the $400,000 Beldame Stakes.

No matter how the other stallions do this weekend, it will be impossible to catch Tapit with the stallion almost $5.4-million in front of Uncle Mo and $6.5-million ahead of Curlin. The most valuable of this weekend’s races is the $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont and the four horse field doesn’t have any runners by stallions in the Top 50 in North America.

With runners by seven of the top 10 stallions, there could be a big shake up in the ranks when the final race is declared official on Saturday. Curlin is only $1.8 million ahead of Malibu Moon in 12th place and only a few thousand dollars separate some of the horses between them. 

Malibu Moon
Malibu Moon has a bit of a tough climb with the stallion about $300,000 behind Scat Daddy but could take a big chunk out of that gap if Gormley wins the $300,000 FrontRunner Stakes. Scat Daddy doesn’t have any runners in the big races this weekend but with 10 horses entered between now and Saturday night, it’s possible by the time the big races roll around that his gap will give him even more padding toward keeping his spot in the coming month.

Curlin (third), City Zip (seventh) and Kitten’s Joy (10th) are the only three horses who sit in the Top 10 with at least two entries in Super Saturday races. Of the top 20 sires, 14 will have runners in the big races on Saturday with three having two runners each. 

But mixed in with those well-known U.S. stallions are some other less familiar names. Sires standing in 10 countries and four states have runners in the major Saturday races with the average age of the stallions sitting at 15 years old.

Brazil is the foreign country with the most stallions having runners with three Super Saturday runners by three different Brazilian stallions, all of them entered in California races. Brazil will be looking to upset champions Beholder and Stellar Win in the Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita with two daughters of the country’s stallions running in that race. If Beholder wins the Zenyatta it will be a victory of sorts for Japan, who bought Henny Hughes in 2013.

South Korea has made some big moves in recent years with purchasing U.S. stallions and their purchases are justified this weekend. Any Given Saturday and Tiz Wonderful were both sold in 2014 and just finished up their second seasons in the country. Any Given Saturday’s Hoppertunity has proven to be a mainstay in the top level of racing but will be looking for his first on-the-board finish since the Dubai World Cup when he runs in the Awesome Again. 
Hoppertunity
Tiz Wonderful has a chance to pull off an exacta in the Gallant Bloom at Belmont Park a few hours before the Awesome Again with his two entries both running in the race. Tiz Wonderful has had a good year in U.S. racing with over $3.5-million in progeny earnings putting him 48th on the U.S. leading sires list.

In what starting to look like a golden age of younger stallions, 18 of the sires with runners entered stud in 2010 or later and six of them are First-Crop sires. The youngest of those sires is Creative Cause, who is seven this year and has Nikki My Darling in the Chandelier. The oldest stallion with a runner is the late Cee’s Tizzy, who would have been 29 this year while the oldest active stallion is the 26-year-old Unusual Heat. Both stallions have one runner each in the Rodeo Drive.


To see all the stallions and their runners in the major graded stakes this weekend, you can look at the list below.