Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Collection of Horses

For years, I have had an Equibase Virtual Stable, which is abounding with a wide variety of horses. Every type of horse from a low-level claimer to a multiple grade one-winning champion can be found in my virtual stable. Why don’t I remove those claimers from my stable? Because they have their own unique stories and reasons for residing in my stable, which make them incredibly fun and interesting to follow.

Here’s a look at several lesser-known horses that are in my Equibase Virtual Stable:

Autumn Eyes: This daughter of Stormy Atlantic caught my eye with an easy debut win at Churchill Downs in November of 2009, which landed her a spot in my stable. The beautiful chestnut never contested in a stakes race, but did manage to impressively win an allowance at Gulfstream Park in February of 2010. She last ran in September of 2012 and has not recorded any recent works, but remains in my stable. She has been one of my favorite horses to follow.

Bill of Rights: A full brother to Colonel John, I met this gelding while visiting Bill Casner’s ranch. Standing outside the gate to a pasture, I watched as Mr. Casner himself rode the gelding – nicknamed Captain Chaos – around prior to watching the gelding stand on a vibration plate in the Casners’ barn. The next day, Bill of Rights shipped to Oaklawn Park. The bay has steadily recorded works at the Arkansas track and is preparing to return to the races. He has not raced since December of 2011, having only raced four times, never finishing better than third. Hopefully, he will improve and find the winner’s circle.

Bill of Rights on a vibration plate
Photo by Mary Cage (iPhone photo)
Cherry Pink: Cherry Pink found herself in my stable after I saw her in the saddling paddock at Lone Star Park, when the blaze-faced chestnut locked eyes with me. Being the unashamedly horse crazy girl I was (and still am), Cherry Pink became a horse I loyally follow. The daughter of Pure Prize has competed at the stakes level on three occasions, but has never finished better than sixth. Cherry Pink is surely one of the hardest-knocking horses in my stable, having raced since 2008, making 58 starts.

Cherry Pink
Photo by Mary Cage
Dover Heights: Capturing my attention while schooling in the Lone Star Park paddock in the spring of 2012, I later attended the colt’s first race in anticipation of the commencement of his career. Much to my delight, Dover Heights won his debut. The beautiful gray son of The Cliff’s Edge has made two starts since then, including a good second-place finish in an allowance. But since finishing seventh in his third start, which came last July, Dover Heights has yet to record a work. Nonetheless, I will keep my eye out for this stunning Thoroughbred. Read more about Dover Heights in my article “Dover Heights: Love at First Sight.”

Dover Heights
Photos by Terri and Mary Cage
D’ Wildcard: Yet another incredibly hard-knocking horse, D’ Wildcard caught my attention as a trainee of Lon Wiggins, former trainer of Miss Fifty. The son of Forest Wildcat has proven to be a model of consistency at Churchill Downs, finishing in-the-money in six of nine starts there, four of which resulted in wins. The chestnut has never raced in a stakes event, but has managed to earn more than $175,000. A horse who began his career in 2007, D’ Wildcard made his most recent start on February 28 of this year.

Explosive Argument: A beautiful bay filly, I added Explosive Argument to my stable after meeting her at Lone Star Park last summer. Impressed by her conformation and enchanted by her beauty and personality, Explosive Argument has been an exciting horse to follow. Just three years old, Explosive Argument has made five starts, three of which have come this year. Her first two starts as a sophomore resulted in easy victories, which ensued in a fourth-place finish in her first stakes try on March 16.

Explosive Argument
Photo by Mary Cage (iPhone photo)
Fast Eydie: When visiting Claiborne Farm for the first time in 2007, I became a big fan of Eddington, who I hoped would prove himself as a valuable sire. This daughter of Eddington was born in 2007 and caught my attention with a dominant win in her second start, a maiden special weight at Golden Gate Fields. Fast Eydie has spent most of her racing career on the Northern California racing circuit, making 22 of her 30 starts at Golden Gate. Her most recent race – and perhaps her final career start, as she hasn’t posted any current works – was a win over Miss Oops in a claiming race at Del Mar.

Fleeter: Another horse that is in my stable due to affiliation with Miss Fifty, Fleeter was purchased alongside Fifty out of the 2010 Fasig-Tipton Texas Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale. While visiting Fifty at Churchill Downs in 2010, I was able to meet Fleeter and watch him train. Since then, the son of Northern Afleet has become a fun horse to keep track of. Though he did not break his maiden until his seventh start, Fleeter has proven to be rather consistent, finishing in the top three in twelve of his twenty starts. Although the bay gelding has never competed at stakes level, he has had many good allowance-level performances. The five-year-old recently made his twentieth start on March 9, finishing third in an allowance optional claiming at Tampa Bay Downs.

Photo by Terri Cage
Gold Star Alert: This horse is undoubtedly one of my favorites in my virtual stable. A six-year-old gelding, he has raced 50 times without ever winning a race. But Gold Star Alert – or 99 as those who know him personally call him – is the first racehorse I’ve known personally. I’ve gone to watch him train, I visited him at the barn prior to his first race, and I’ve watched him race in person on several occasions. 99 has finished in-the-money ten times, even coming within a head of winning, but has never crossed the wire first. The six-year-old – who I have known since he was a two-year-old – is still racing, having made his most recent start on March 8, a sixth-place finish at Sam Houston Race Park. He may be halfway to Zippy Chippy’s record, but 99 is a horse I’ll never forget.

Gold Star Alert (99)
Photo by Terri Cage
Hy Danger: This son of Forest Danger immediately caught my eye when I first met him, for he greatly resembled Zenyatta. But he quickly became more than a Zenyatta look-alike, as he captivated me with his incredibly kind personality. I have eagerly followed Hy Danger’s journey, having watched him being saddled and ridden for the first time as a yearling and having seen him train amongst the top racehorses in the world at Santa Anita as a two-year-old. Now three, Hy Danger recently acquired his first victory, easily winning a maiden claiming race at Sam Houston Race Park on March 9. I will continue to eagerly follow this sweetheart!

Hy Danger
Photos by Terri Cage
Lusterdust: A stunning gray, I met Lusterdust on the backside of Lone Star Park in the summer of 2011. Not only was the son of Unbridled Energy very handsome, but he had a very kind personality, thus landing him a place in my virtual stable. After being claimed at Del Mar, Lusterdust surfaced on the eastern side of the country, competing at lower-level tracks there, most frequently Penn National. Though he was successful there at first, Lusterdust began turning in poor performances in cheap claiming races. He last raced on December 4, 2012, finishing last in a $5,000 claiming race at Penn National. Where he is now is a mystery, leaving me to hope that this sweet, beautiful horse is safe and happy.

Photo by Terri Cage
Miss Oops: A mare who spent a good part of her career on the Northern California circuit, Miss Oops got her name from her crooked legs after being purchased for the low price of $3,000 at the 2008 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. But the daughter of Olmodavor has proven to be a very productive racehorse and also very popular at the claim box, as she has won thirteen times and has been claimed out of four consecutive races and five races total. Miss Oops has found her best stride with trainer Dallas Keen, having acquired three victories while in his barn. I met this sweet mare at Santa Anita during the 2012 Breeders’ Cup and was able to lead her to the paddock on race day prior to her second-place finish in an allowance on the Breeders’ Cup undercard. Miss Oops is unquestionably one of my favorite racehorses and I will continue to keep track of her. You can read more about her in my article “Miss Oops: She’s No Mistake.”

Miss Oops
Photos by Terri Cage
Night Tide: One of the most accomplished horses on this list, Night Tide was graded stakes-placed as a two-year-old when in the barn of Bob Baffert. Claimed by Dallas Keen at Del Mar in 2012, I met Night Tide while at the 2012 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita. A handsome bay son of Malibu Moon, I was able to watch Night Tide be scoped by a veterinarian and was allowed to view the scope. Due to his good looks and laid-back personality, I soon added Night Tide to my stable. The striking four-year-old has not run incredibly well as of late, but I will hold onto the hope that he will improve.

Pryce’s Posse: This son of Posse was one of my selections at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Texas Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale. I enjoy following my auction picks and Pryce’s Posse has certainly been one of my favorite selections to keep track of. He was a rather successful juvenile, placing in a pair of black-type races. Most recently, the gelding has been competing in allowance and claiming races on the East Coast. But what is most special about this four-year-old is the story behind his name, which I stumbled across on BloodHorse. You can read it here.

Red Sandy: While attending the 2008 Rebel Stakes, this son of Yes It’s True jumped into my heart with an impressive maiden score. Not only was he a son of one of my favorite stallions, but he greatly reminded me of a horse I owned at the time named Randy – who I had nicknamed Sandy Randy due to his affinity for rolling in the sand. Thus, my twelve-year-old self fell in love with Red Sandy, who I eagerly continued to follow throughout his career. A tenth-place finish in the grade two Lexington Stakes and a fourth-place performance in the Barbaro Stakes was the best he could muster at stakes level and he spent the rest of his career primarily in the claiming ranks. Red Sandy has not raced since September of 2011, but he remains in my stable in case he surfaces again, as I sometimes worry about his whereabouts.

Rys Alley Cat: Rys Alley Cat has resided in my stable since a photograph I took of him prior to his try in the 2011 Lone Star Derby, which is one of my favorite photos I have ever taken. A photogenic son of Tale of the Cat, I have tracked Rys Alley Cat’s progress since that day. He has steadily competed at the allowance level, most recently winning an allowance optional claiming at Sam Houston Race Park on March 15.

Rys Alley Cat
Photo by Mary Cage
Smoke’n Al: His name will not be associated with the greatest racehorses of all-time, but this son of Albert the Great has had an effect on Thoroughbred racing history. In 2011, Robby Albarado had been slated to ride Animal Kingdom in the Kentucky Derby, but on the Wednesday prior to the Derby, Albarado was bucked off a first-time starter that proceeded to kick him once the jockey was on the ground, thus leaving Animal Kingdom’s connections to find a new rider. The first-time starter that had injured Albarado was none other than Smoke’n Al. Needless to say, Smoke’n Al did not make his first start that day. I have known of the dark-colored gelding since he landed in the barn of Dallas Keen and even though he once narrowly defeated Dover Heights, I have remained a devoted fan of him. Though I lightly kept track of Smoke’n Al before then, he did not secure himself a place in my stable until I spent several minutes with him at the 2012 Breeders’ Cup, standing outside of his stall and playing with him as I waited to lead Miss Oops to the paddock. He had a fun personality, throwing a fit and becoming angry any time I took attention off of him but being very kind and affectionate whenever I pet him. Smoke’n Al won his most recent start, romping in a claiming race at Sam Houston on a night when he, Hy Danger, and Miss Oops all visited the Sam Houston winner’s circle.

Smoke'n Al
Photo by Donna Keen
These horses have been unbelievably fun to follow and are certainly some of my favorite racehorses. Their names aren’t distributed over pages of The Blood-Horse, their races are often only available to watch online, the tracks they race at aren’t always glamorous, and the purses they compete for aren’t always lavish, but their personalities and their stories make them more than worth following. These horses aren’t the underbelly of the racing industry; they are the heart and soul of it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Part Two: 2013 OBS March Sale of Selected Two-Year-Olds in Training

The OBS March Sale allowed the positive attitude regarding two-year-old sales season to skyrocket, as a record average and median were set, as well as a tied record sales topper. The auction spanned a pair of sessions – one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. By the conclusion of the sale, 182 of the 345 cataloged horses sold for an average price of $158,632. Of my top 23 selections, 16 sold, 5 did not reach their reserve, and 2 were declared out of the auction. My top picks sold for a total of $3,008,000 - with an average of $180,000 - $21,368 more than the entire sale’s average.

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

Hip #25: Sold to Doble Jak Investments LLC for $23,000.

Hip #47: Purchased by Barry Berkelhammer, Agent for $140,000.

Hip #61: Drove the hammer to $60,000, but did not reach his set reserve.

Hip #65: Sold for $90,000 to L E B.

Hip #75: Sold post-sale to Reddam Racing LLC for $210,000.

Hip #98: Purchased for $340,000 by Pelican LLC, Peter Miller, Agent.

Hip #110: Acquired by Barry Berkelhammer, Agent for $90,000.

Hip #129: This colt, who was one of my selections at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton July Sale, was declared out of the sale.

Hip #135: Purchased by JK Racing Stable LLC for $115,000.

Hip #144: For the price of $50,000, this filly was bought by Rontos Racing Stable Corporation.

Hip #154: Sold post-sale for $45,000 to Bradley Thoroughbreds LLC, Agent.

Hip #163: Reached a final bid of $95,000 but did not reach his reserve.

Hip #186: Drove hammer to $32,000 without attaining his reserve.

Hip #195: Sold to McMahon and Hill Bloodstock, Agent for $140,000.

Hip #198: Purchased post-sale by Long Lake Stables LLC for $40,000.

Hip #199: This colt was withdrawn from the sale.

Hip #266: Bought by John McKay, Agent for $370,000.

Hip #277: Reached a final bid of $55,000 but did not reach her reserve.

Hip #285: Purchased by Cheyenne Stables LLC for $400,000.

Hip #296: Sold to Repole Stables for $325,000.

Hip #304: Drove the hammer to $45,000 but did not reach his reserve.

Hip #341: Sold for $115,000 to Champion Equine LLC.

Hip #343: Purchased by Gary Young, Agent for Deron Pearson for $485,000.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Derby Hopeful: Hear the Ghost

Derby Hopefuls feature the horses I view as the best contenders leading up to the Kentucky Derby. Each horse spotlighted in a Derby Hopeful will join the 2013 PTG Derby Hopeful roster, found on the right side of the blog. Horses will be listed in an order that corresponds to how highly I think of them, with the horse I think most highly of ranking at the top. A horse featured in a Derby Hopeful may be taken off the roster if its performances after its article are published are not up to par or if that horse is taken off the Triple Crown trail, though those articles will remain on my blog.

The Triple Crown trail is made for upsets and surprises, for dethroning top contenders. It is a place for “buzz horses.” It’s a journey made of ups and downs. It’s a path abounding with chances for underdogs to shine. It’s a rollercoaster ride, but it’s certainly among the most exciting times in Thoroughbred racing.

Hear the Ghost had his chance to shine in the San Felipe Stakes (GII) on March 9 at Santa Anita. The gelding had become a “buzz horse,” garnering much talk prior to the graded stakes event. But it wasn’t as if the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee had never shown promise.

Hear the Ghost broke his maiden at first asking, a six-furlong maiden special weight over Hollywood Park’s synthetic track. Facing ten rivals, only one of which had raced before, Hear the Ghost stalked the rapid pace set by Let Em Shine, who would win his following two starts by wide margins. Rounding the turn, Hear the Ghost cut into the large lead Let Em Shine had formed. With impressive determination, Hear the Ghost ate up ground, running down the winner with ease to coast to a 3 ¼-length victory. Finishing behind him were not only Let Em Shine, but also the eventual stakes-placed Brokered and the future impressive maiden winner Tiz the Truth.

In his three-year-old and stakes debut, Hear the Ghost settled a handful of lengths off the leader amidst a small four-horse field in the six-furlong San Pedro Stakes at Santa Anita. The gelding made a steady drive around the curve, but at the top of the stretch, it appeared as if the chestnut would not fire. Once he changed leads, however, Hear the Ghost gradually began to gain ground on the leaders, accelerating even more impressively in the final sixteenth to miss by 1 ½ lengths.

Sent off as the third choice in his subsequent start, the San Felipe Stakes (GII), Hear the Ghost faced a competitive field of seven other rivals in his first try around two turns. Among his adversaries were the graded stakes winners Flashback and Goldencents, as well as several other stakes horses. Breaking in fairly good order, Hear the Ghost immediately found a position off the leaders, rating a few lengths behind the pacesetters as the field rounded the clubhouse turn.

Flashback and Goldencents overtook Salutos Amigos down the backstretch, contesting in a blistering speed duel. Hear the Ghost remained several lengths off the lead as the two top guns set a half-mile time of 45.95 seconds, but kicked into gear around the far turn, impressively making up ground as the three-year-olds rounded the bend. The gelding swung wide under Corey Nakatani, appearing to flatten out. But as the pace crumbled, Hear the Ghost continued to grow closer to the leaders alongside Tiz a Minister. Catching Flashback in the final strides, Hear the Ghost soared under the wire to triumph by a half-length.

Though Hear the Ghost will need to prove that he does not need a fast pace that dissipates in the late stages of a race to prevail, he is certainly a very gifted colt. Though the gelding’s ancestry does not scream distance, Hear the Ghost’s bloodlines are laced with stamina influences, insinuating that classic distances will likely not be a problem for the gelding.

Hear the Ghost's pedigree

Hear the Ghost’s sire, Ghostzapper, was a successful sprinter but proved to be effective at long distances as well, as evident in his dominant victory in the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI). The Hall of Famer has also yielded several routers, such as Ghost Cat, Ghost Honour, Hunters Bay, Mystical Star, Promo Guest, and Stately Victor.

Ghostzapper’s sire, Awesome Again, also won the ten-furlong Breeders’ Cup Classic, as well as the first leg of Canada’s Triple Crown, the Queen’s Plate, at the same distance. Awesome Again has sired an abundance of distance horses, including Awesome Gem, Game On Dude, and Ginger Punch. Hear the Ghost should inherit stamina from Awesome Again’s sire, Deputy Minister, who has appeared within the first three generations of the likes of successful routers like Curlin, Paynter, and Rags to Riches.

Out of the Coronado’s Quest mare Rehear, Hear the Ghost is a half-brother to the grade one-winning Mani Bhavan, as well as the black-type-placed Dattt Echo. Never winning beyond age two, Mani Bhavan never won at a distance longer than seven furlongs, though she was sired by a stallion that was more sprint-oriented than Ghostzapper. Dattt Echo, too, was sired by a sprinter and was primarily successful as a sprinter. However, Rehear is a half-sister to Turkappeal, who won beyond one mile several times.

Though his dam does not suggest that Hear the Ghost is a classic distance horse, especially with the presence of Coronado’s Quest – who, though he won the ten-furlong Travers Stakes (GI) over Belmont Stakes (GI) winner Victory Gallop, was mostly productive with sprinters and milers – as Rehear’s sire, Hear the Ghost may find stamina through his third dam, Silken Doll. This mare produced Juyush, a successful steeplechaser that won beyond nineteen furlongs, and the Canadian champion Silken Cat.

In addition, the sire of Hear the Ghost’s fourth dam, Buckpasser, gives Hear the Ghost hope in the distance department. A legendary racehorse and sire, Buckpasser was effective at a large range of distances and was a successful router, taking races like the Travers, Jockey Club Gold Cup, and the Brooklyn Handicap. Buckpasser can be found on the broodmare side of many prosperous distance horses, including A.P. Indy, Aptitude, Bluegrass Cat, Super Saver, and Touch Gold.

Hear the Ghost’s fourth dam, Insilca, was a terrific broodmare, producing the likes of Turk Passer, a grade one winner at twelve furlongs. Hear the Ghost is a direct descendant of the great broodmare Hildene, a Reine de Course mare and 1950 Broodmare of the Year. The mare – who went completely blind like her Kentucky Derby-winning sire, Bubbling Over – produced not only the Hall of Fame Preakness winner Hill Prince, but the champion First Landing, who was successful at classic distances and produced Derby and Belmont champion Riva Ridge, and Third Brother, who was a stakes winner at twelve furlongs. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Part One: 2013 OBS March Sale of Selected Two-Year-Olds in Training

Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland are the two most well-known Thoroughbred sales companies in North America, but also among the highest quality, most familiar American auction firms is the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company, or OBS. Based in Ocala, Florida, OBS is home to several annual sales, including three sales for juveniles.

Among such auctions is OBS’ initial juvenile sale of the year, the OBS Selected Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training, or the OBS March Sale. Recent graduates of this auction include the grade one winners Camp Victory, Plum Pretty, and Spring in the Air, as well as the 2013 Derby hopefuls
Itsmyluckyday and Revolutionary. Over time, the sale has produced the likes of a dozen Breeders’ Cup victors and 17 champions.

345 two-year-olds were cataloged for the 2013 edition of this sale, down seventeen horses from last year. The auction entrants took to the track on Thursday and Friday (March 7 and 8) for the under-tack show. The sale itself will also be divided into two sessions: hips 1-172 are set to go through the sales ring on Tuesday, March 12 whereas hips 173-345 will take their turn on Wednesday, March 13.

Listed below are the twenty-three horses I was most impressed with, based primarily on their performances in the breeze show, though weight was placed upon pedigree as well. Conformation was not used as a judging factor due it not being accessible for all horses. I will do a follow-up piece after the sale, spotlighting these horses again with the results of the auction.

Hip #25: Though she struggled with maintaining the correct lead, this filly displayed rather impressive length of stride throughout her breeze despite traveling with too much unnecessary knee action. The time for her one-furlong work was 10
1/5 seconds.

Sired by a grade one-winning son of Forest Wildcat in D’wildcat, hip 25 is a three-quarters sister to the multiple stakes-winning John Johny Jak. Her second dam produced a graded stakes-winning, grade one-placed mare that became a productive broodmare.

Hip 25 is consigned by Halcyon Hammock Farm, Agent II.

Hip #47: In a brisk 10-second-flat breeze, this colt moved powerfully and quickly, though performing with less fluid action and less lift to the shoulder than I would like to see.

Sharing a sire with nine grade one winners in Elusive Quality, hip 47’s second dam is Ruby’s Ransom, a half-sister to two group one winners and producer of the graded/group stakes winners Sacred Song and Strut the Stage.

Hip 47 is consigned by Sequel Bloodstock, Inc. (Becky Thomas), Agent.

Hip #61: Despite holding his head too high, this colt turned in a very impressive work, allowing imposing extension to his stride as a result of remarkable lift to his shoulder. The colt also displayed a flat knee while striding out to record a 10
1/5-second breeze.

A son of the promising Tiz Wonderful, who tends to throw good-looking individuals, hip 61 is out of a half-sister to a graded stakes winner. This colt is bred on the same successful Tiznow/Mr. Prospector sire line cross as the grade one winners Bullsbay and Gemologist.

Hip 61 is consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent XVI.

Hip #65: Though displaying a bit too much knee in his 10
2/5-second breeze, hip 65 performed with much lift to his shoulder, thus permitting him to gallop with a powerful, lengthy stride.

By the sire of a pair of champions in Exchange Rate, hip 65 is out of a black-type-winning half-sister to a graded stakes winner. The Danzig/Sky Classic sire line cross on which this colt was bred also produced the group one-winning Speciosa.

Hip 65 is consigned by All in Sales (Tony Bowling), Agent.

Hip #75:
This colt turned in a 10 1/5-second clocking for his one-furlong work. The chestnut moved commandingly, lifting his shoulders to allow a flat knee and authoritative stride.

Sired by the on-fire Tapit, hip 75 is out of a black-type-winning mare and is bred on the same Tapit/Northern Dancer sire line cross as the grade one winners Laragh and Tapizar.

Hip 75 is consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent XIV.

Hip #98:
Despite traveling with a bit too much knee, this filly was an efficient mover, traveling with a lengthy stride while completing one-furlong in 10 1/5 seconds.

A daughter of the graded stakes-producing High Cotton, hip 98 is a half-sister to the graded stakes-winning Den’s Legacy. The filly’s second dam produced four black-type horses, including the grade one-winning C. S. Silk and the graded stakes-winning Remember Sheikh.

Hip 98 is consigned by SGV Thoroughbreds (Steven Venosa), Agent.

Hip #110:
Like my other Tiz Wonderful selection, this colt kept his head too high throughout his 10 3/5-second breeze. Though traveling with a slight amount of unnecessary knee action, hip 110 moved in strong fashion, performing with much lift to his shoulder and noteworthy length to his stride.

Though this colt’s pedigree is rather understated, hip 110 is bred on a cross similar to the grade one-winning Bullsbay.

Hip 110 is consigned by Niall Brennan Stables, Agent VI.

Hip #129:
Though this colt traveled on the wrong lead and could have been flatter about the knee, hip 129 moved powerfully, lifting his shoulder to allow for a fairly long stride. The final time for his work was 10 3/5 seconds.

A son of the blazing Harlan’s Holiday, hip 129 is a half-sister to the graded stakes-winning Tajaaweed. The 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. This colt was one of my selections at
the 2012 Fasig-Tipton July Sale for yearlings.

Hip 129 is consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent XLII.

Hip #135:
This colt carried his head too high, was a bit erratic with the front legs, and ran greenly, changing leads, but moved in a robust manner, covering much ground with his stride to complete his breeze in 10 2/5 seconds.

Among the second crop of the graded stakes-winning Horse Greeley, hip 135 is a half-brother to the graded stakes-winning Strike the Bell. The granddam of this colt produced two black-type winners that each foaled a grade one winner.

Hip 135 is consigned by Eisaman Equine, Agent.

Hip #144:
Traveling with a commanding, quick-legged stride, this filly displayed a small excess of unattractive knee action but remained an efficient mover in her 10 1/5-second breeze.

A member of the multiple grade one-winning Pioneerof the Nile’s first crop, hip 144 is a half-sister to a black-type-placed gelding. Intriguingly, this filly is a direct descendant of the great mare Twilight Tear.

Hip 144 is consigned by All In Sales (Tony Bowling), Agent.

Hip #154:
Though exhibiting a bit too much knee, hip 154 traveled in an imposing manner, using his shoulders to allow for a powerful stride. The final time for his breeze was 10 2/5 seconds.

By the late champion War Pass, hip 154 is a half-brother to a pair of graded stakes performers, including a graded stakes winner. He is a direct descendant of the Oaks Stakes victress Sunny Jane.

Hip 154 is consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent I.

Hip #163:
Going a quarter-mile in 21 2/5 seconds, this colt was less fluid about his stride than he could be due to sloppy knee action but moved robustly.

Sired by the graded stakes-producing
Yes It’s True, hip 163 is a half-brother to the graded stakes-winning Areyoutalkintome and is out of a half-sister to the graded stakes-winning Elaborate.

Hip 163 is consigned by Craig L. Wheeler, Agent.

Hip #186:
Although he ran greenly throughout his breeze, hip 186 was a powerful mover, lifting greatly from his shoulder to allow a rather flat knee, though he did appear to run too widely with his front legs. The colt finished his breeze in 10 1/5 seconds.

A member of Keyed Entry’s second crop, hip 186 is a half-brother to a stakes winner that produced a pair of black-type runners. This colt descends from a prolific female family, being a direct descendant of Ormonda, an outstanding broodmare who was the granddam of Triple Crown hero Whirlaway.

Hip 186 is consigned by Boutte Sales, Agent I.

Hip #195:
Despite showing slightly excessive knee action, this colt was a professional mover, galloping with a lengthy, effortless stride to complete his one-furlong work in 10 1/5 seconds.

A son of A.P. Indy’s grade one-producing champion Mineshaft, hip 195 descends from a rather nondescript dam line, though he is from the same family as the grade one-winning Storm Tower.

Hip 195 is consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent.

Hip #198: Though he displayed too much knee, this colt allowed enough lift to his shoulders to provide for a long stride. He breezed in 10
3/5 seconds.

Sired by the producer of an abundance of grade one winners in Mr. Greeley, hip 198 is not only a sibling to a graded stakes winner and a black-type-winner, but is out of a black-type-winning half-sister to the grade one winners Editor’s Note and Hold That Tiger.

Hip 198 is consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Agent.

Hip #199: Completing his breeze in 10 seconds flat, this colt could have galloped more fluidly, but nonetheless exhibited a long, powerful stride.

Among Old Fashioned’s first crop, hip 199 is out of the grade one-winning Celtic Melody. The Unbridled’s Song/Gone West sire line cross on which this colt is bred is the same that produced the graded stakes winners Forest Music and Praying for Cash.

Hip 199 is consigned by Sequel Bloodstock, Inc. (Becky Thomas), Agent.

Hip #266: Although not as smooth-strided about the front legs as I would like to see, this filly traveled with vigorous, quick strides, breezing in 10 seconds flat.

A half-sister to one of my two-year-olds sales selections of 2012,
Brown Eyes Blue, hip 266 is out of a half-sister to three black-type winners, two of which were graded stakes winners. This filly is from the family of champion Sunshine Forever.

Hip 266 is consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent VI.

Hip #277:
Though she could have extended her stride more greatly and been more even about her front legs, this filly was fairly efficient in her 10 4/5-second work.

A daughter of the promising Big Brown, hip 277 is out of a half-sister to four black-type winners, including the champion Countess Diana.

Hip 277 is consigned by Niall Brennan Stables, Agent XVI.

Hip #285:
Despite struggling with his leads, this flashy colt performed in strong fashion, appearing powerful while posting a time of 10 1/5 seconds.

Sharing his sire with three grade one winners in Congrats, hip 285 is out of the black-type-winning, graded stakes-placed Icy Warning. This makes him a half-brother to a pair of black-type winners, as well as the producers of two graded stakes winners.

Hip 285 is consigned by Eisaman Equine, Agent.

Hip #296:
Recording one of the fastest works of the under-tack show by going a furlong in 9 4/5 seconds, this filly demonstrated impressive lift to her shoulders and traveled in a strapping manner.

A daughter of the graded stakes-producing Yes It’s True, this filly’s stakes-placed second dam, My Song for You, is a half-sister to the grade one winners Capote and Exceller. My Song for You produced the graded stakes-winning Minister’s Melody, who yielded several black-type horses, including the grade one-winning Bob and John.

Hip 296 is consigned by Top Line Sales, LLC, Agent.

Hip #304:
Though this colt could have traveled more fluidly, he appeared robust, eating up the ground with his long stride. He completed his one-furlong work in 10 3/5 seconds.

This colt is sired by a top Argentinian sire in Indygo Shiner and is out of a black-type-placed sister to several black-type horses, including the multiple graded stakes-winning Eagleton. The A.P. Indy/Mr. Prospector sire line cross on which hip 304 is bred is the same one that produced the grade one victors A Z Warrior and Rail Trip.

Hip 304 is consigned by Boutte Sales, Agent I.

Hip #341:
This filly recorded a 10-second flat breeze, and though she struggled to maintain the correct lead, hip 341 had noteworthy lift to her shoulder, allowing her to run with lengthy, athletic strides while remaining quick-legged.

A member of champion Kodiak Kowboy’s first crop, hip 341 is out of the graded stakes-placed Mrs. M, making her a half-sister to the black-type-placed Dan the Tin Man.

Hip 341 is consigned by All In Sales (Tony Bowling), Agent.

Hip #343: Although he displayed too much knee, hip 343 was a professional mover, traveling with good extension of stride to record a 10
1/5-second breeze.

Sired by the thriving Malibu Moon, this colt is out of a half-sister to three graded stakes winners and the producers of many talented horses, including an Irish champion and a grade one winner.

Hip 343 is consigned by Eisaman Equine, Agent.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Stallion Feature: Discreet Cat

Merely two years of age, nine Thoroughbreds loaded into the gate on the side of the track opposite the famed grandstand on Travers Day, 2005. Like any maiden special weight for juvenile racehorses at Saratoga Racecourse, hopes were high that a future superstar was lurking in the shadows of this six-furlong contest. Lucky for those attending the races that day at the esteemed New York track, they would watch a future superstar capture the race, defeating other eventual stars along the way.

Discreet Cat, a stunning bay colt carrying the maroon and gold silks of E. Paul Robsham, set a brisk pace to capture the race by 3 ½ lengths, completing the three-quarters of a mile in 1:09.76 minutes. Finishing behind him were the future grade one victors Political Force and Thorn Song, the eventual stakes-winning and graded stakes-placed Superfly, and the future stakes winner Last Best Place.

The winner would prove to be the richest of the horses that contested in this race. Later purchased privately by Godolphin Racing, Discreet Cat was sent to Dubai, where he made his second start the following March. Preparing for the UAE Derby (GII), Discreet Cat effortlessly won the one-mile Areej Trophy at Nad Al Sheba by 4 lengths. With the same ease with which he seized his sophomore debut, Discreet Cat soared to a 6-length UAE Derby triumph, finding himself as one of the top contenders for the Kentucky Derby (GI).

Discreet Cat
Photo by Madison Scott
But Godolphin chose to keep their talented colt out of the Run for the Roses, instead aiming for important U.S. races in the latter part of 2006. In his return to American soil, Discreet Cat trounced allowance optional claiming foes by 11 lengths at Saratoga nearly a year to the day after his maiden victory. Displaying his trademark scintillating speed, Discreet Cat crossed the wire in a sublime final time of 1:21.53 for seven furlongs.

Discreet Cat had now won four consecutive races in just as many starts. Making his U.S. graded stakes debut in his following start, the Jerome Breeders’ Cup Handicap (GII) at Belmont Park, the bay colt broke sharply, eager to take the lead. Tugging at Garrett Gomez’s hold, Discreet Cat set brisk fractions, his governance never in doubt. With no amount of difficulty, Discreet Cat abandoned his rivals as he coasted to a 10 ¼-length victory under wraps.

The greatest triumph of Discreet Cat’s racing career took place nearly two months later at Aqueduct in the Cigar Mile Handicap (GI). Carrying 124 pounds as the highweight, Discreet Cat initially allowed Sharp Humor – a graded stakes winner that had come within a half-length of Kentucky Derby (GI) winner Barbaro in that year’s Florida Derby (GI) – to open up on the field down the backstretch, but the small group behind the pacesetter gained ground on the leader, allowing Discreet Cat to surpass Sharp Humor alongside Silver Train. Godolphin’s brilliant colt pressured the pace as Garrett Gomez sat stationary, asking him only in the final stages of the race as Discreet Cat dashed to a 3 ¼-length demolition. The final time for the one-mile was an astounding 1:32.46, just .06 seconds off Hall of Famer Easy Goer’s track mark.

Discreet Cat’s 2006 campaign earned him a rating of 128 by the World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings, thus allowing him to tie with champion Bernardini as top-rated three-year-old. Pointed towards a start in the 2007
Dubai World Cup (GI), Discreet Cat was kept out of a race at Nad Al Sheba that was meant to serve as his prep for the esteemed race due to a fever, instead going straight to the World Cup. But Discreet Cat’s perfect record was tarnished by a last-place finish, though the colt was quickly discovered to have a respiratory tract infection and an obstruction to air flow of his throat.

The bay colt never won again, turning in a pair of third-place finishes in the Vosburgh Stakes (GI) and the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Retired to Darley, Discreet Cat began his stud career in 2008, with his first crop hitting the track in 2011. Among his best runners to date in his young breeding career are the graded stakes winners Mamma Kimbo and Out of Bounds, the black-type winners Discreet Marq and Incredicat, and the speedy, graded stakes-placed
Discreet Dancer.

If Discreet Cat’s ancestry is any indication, the stallion has a promising future as a sire, as both of his parents have been very successful producers themselves. His sire, Forestry, has sired such grade one winners as Diplomat Lady, Forest Danger, and
Shackleford. His dam, the grade one-winning Pretty Discreet, is a Reine de Course mare, having produced the additional grade one winner Discreetly Mine, as well as the stakes winner Pretty Gold and the dams of the grade one winner Awesome Maria and the stakes winners Chary and Concorde’s Edge.

Discreet Cat's pedigree

 Notably, Forestry’s sire – Discreet Cat’s grandsire – is Storm Cat, one of the greatest sires to ever live. The very successful stallion was also very effective as a sire of sires, producing such sires as Bluegrass Cat, Giant’s Causeway, and Hennessy. This certainly augurs well for Discreet Cat, as Storm Cat is the grandsire of such productive stallions as Johannesburg and Shamardal.

The Northern Dancer sire line from which Discreet Cat descends is certainly among the most influential ones of the breed. In the 1970s, the Canadian-bred champion was the leading sire once in North America and four times in the United Kingdom, as well as the twentieth century’s most successful sire. Northern Dancer’s stud record was astounding, as the son of Canadian Hall of Famer Nearctic was an incredible producer of successful racehorses, sires, sires of sires, and broodmares. Among his best sons were the champions Nijinsky and Sadler’s Wells, both of which became leading sires, the latter of which was the leading sire in the United Kingdom for an astonishing thirteen consecutive years and for a total of fourteen years.

As aforementioned, Discreet Cat’s dam, Pretty Discreet, was an outstanding broodmare, earning her the title of a blue hen. The mare descends from a potent dam line, her third dam being the black-type-placed Reine de Course mare Christmas Wishes, who was a daughter of another Reine de Course mare in Acorn Stakes (GI) victress Happy Mood, who yielded several stakes winners that were successful producers themselves, including the dam of a Canadian Broodmare of the Year. Happy Mood herself was also a daughter of a Reine de Course mare, La Reigh – a multiple stakes-winning mare who foaled several black-type horses.

The sire of Pretty Discreet, Private Account, is best-known for siring the great champion Personal Ensign. The son of Damascus has served as a terrific broodmare sire, producing the dams of the likes of grade/group one winners Aldebaran, Good Journey, Menhoubah, Miner’s Mark, My Flag, Panty Raid, Pompeii, and Traditionally. Sons of Private Account mares have proven themselves as sires, as evident in the stallions Miner’s Mark and Our Emblem.

The Northern Dancer/Damascus sire line cross on which Discreet Cat is bred has yielded the likes of the leading sires Johannesburg and Medaglia d’Oro. Discreet Cat has had success with mares from a wide variety of sire lines, but seems to cross with mares from the Mr. Prospector sire line best. His offspring Out of Bounds, Discreet Marq, and Discreet Dancer all are out of mares from the Mr. Prospector line. This is no surprise, as Forestry has crossed well with mares from the Mr. Prospector line, as Shackleford is out of a dam from this line and Diplomat Lady is out of a mare from the Raise a Native – the sire of Mr. Prospector – line.