The most recent weekend was a good one for second season sires. Since it shook the table up a bit, and there have been quite a few changes since we last looked at this group, we thought it was worth revisiting to see who is showing signs of coming through with the first sophomores.
The current topper by 2012 earnings is Champion Sprinter, and two-time Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) victor, Midnight Lute. The son of Real Quiet (by Quiet American) has three colts that have run really well in classic trials this year: Shakin It Up, successful in the San Vicente Stakes (gr. II), the Sunland Derby (gr. III) scorer Govenor Charlie, and My Lute, who ran a huge race when beaten a neck by Revolutionary in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II). On the distaff side, he’s been represented by Midnight Lucky, who ran away with the Sunland Park Oaks, and juvenile stakes winner Midnight Ballet. Shakin It Up is by out of a mare by Vindication (Seattle Slew), and Govenor Charlie from a daughter of Storm Cat, and in both cases the second dam is Champion Silverbulletday, who is by Silver Deputy (reverse Deputy Minister/Mr. Prospector cross to Midnight Lute). My Lute is out of a daughter of Valid Expectations (Valid Appeal), so an extended version of the Fappiano/In Reality cross that also produced Real Quiet. Midnight Lucky’s dam is another Northern Dancer/Mr. Prospector cross (like Silver Deputy), and her dam is by Citidancer (Dixieland Band), a horse who has done well under Fappiano. Midnight Ballet – a Pedigree Consultants recommended mating – is out of a mare by Unbridled’s Song, so is a Fappiano/Fappiano cross with that strain coming through the genetic relatives Quiet American and Unbridled. At first glance, it appears that Midnight Lute is throwing more to his middle-distance pedigree than his sprinting race-record, and it also appears that his well-known wind problems are not generally being transmitted to his offspring (on that point it’s interesting to note that he already has at least three stakes horses out of Storm Cat line mares).
Into Mischief, a son of Harlan’s Holiday, appeared on the radar late last year, and has more than maintained his momentum since then. From a first crop sired at $10,000, he has a pair of genuine Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prospects in Goldencents, winner of the Sham Stakes (gr. III) and Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), and Vyjack, successful in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) and Jerome Stakes (gr. II), and a good third in the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I). He also already has three other stakes horses, including the black-type winning filly, Sittin At The Bar. Goldencents is out of a mare by Banker’s Gold, a son of Forty Niner out of a Nijinsky II mare (so giving Storm Bird and two crosses of his genetic relative Nijinsky II). Sittin At the Bar is out of a mare from another branch of the Mr. Prospector line, as her dam is by Mutakddim (by Seeking the Gold). Vyjack is out of a daughter of Stravinsky (by Nureyev). Into Mischief himself has a race-record that speaks of precocity and speed. He took CashCall Futurity (gr. I) in a very quick time at the end of his two-year-old season. He ran second to grade one winner Georgie Boy in San Vicente Stakes (gr. III) first time out at three, but was then sidelined to the Autumn. On his return, he won the seven furlong Damascus Stakes, stopping the clock in 1:20.38, while defeating Georgie Boy and other grade one winners Dancing in Silks and Gayego, then ended his career with a second in the Malibu Stakes (gr. I). However, he’s not shaping like a sprint sire, and his best are clearly plenty effective in the 8½ – 9 furlong range.
One of the most highly-touted members of this crop was Majestic Warrior, a Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) winner by A.P. Indy, whose first two dams were both grade one winners at seven furlongs. He led all freshman by individual two-year-old winners last year, with 30, but was a little light as far as black-type was concerned. He’s rather turned things around this year, however, with his three-year-olds including Declan’s Warrior (dam by Saint Ballado), who took the Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) last weekend; Princess of Sylmar (dam by Catienus, by Storm Cat, and also 4 x 3 to Dixieland Band), winner of the Busher Stakes and Busanda Stakes, and second in the Gazelle Stakes (gr. II) at the weekend; and stakes winners Special Warrior (our of a mare by Point Given) and Ante Up Annie (from daughter of Regal Intention). Post the weekend’s activity, he doesn’t look a bad play for his advertised 2013 fee of $12,500.
Fourth is the deceased Champion Two-Year-Old War Pass (by Cherokee Run). His first runners are headed by Revolutionary (out of A.P. Indy’s grade one winning daughter, Runup the Colors, a three-parts-sister to Mineshaft), who looks sure to be a leading Kentucky Derby (gr. I) fancy after wins in the Withers Stakes (gr. II) and Louisiana Derby (gr. II), and also includes stakes winner Java’s War (out of a Rainbow Quest mare, making him a Blushing Groom/Blushing Groom cross), runner-up to Verrazano in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II), and shooting to gain a Derby berth in the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I). He also has a stakes winner and a graded stakes placed horse from his first shuttle crop in Australia (now two). He looks like he might have been OK, but at least Revolutionary has enough performance on the board and enough pedigree to make sure he’ll have his shot at extending this branch of the Blushing Groom line.
The leader of this group as a racehorse, two-time Horse of the Year, Curlin (Smart Strike) sits fifth here. At this stage of his own career, he’d made just two starts (winning the Rebel Stakes (gr. III) on the second) and was about to runaway with the Arkansas Derby (gr. II), so it’s very early to pass judgement here. He does have a Derby possible in Palace Malice (out of a mare by Theatrical son, Royal Anthem), who finished third in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II), had a horrible trip in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II), and will attempt to earn his way into the first classic in the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I). He’s also had stakes winner Countess Curlin (dam by Private Account) and the graded stakes placed filly Blue Violet (dam by Silver Deputy, so 3 x 3 to Curlin’s broodmare sire, Deputy Minister) and English stakes placed filly Savanna La Mar (dam by Pivotal, so bred on the same broad cross – over Nureyev – as Palace Malice).
A close relative to the much-missed Empire Maker, Forego Handicap (gr. I) victor First Defence (by Unbridled’s Song) was represented by his first U.S. stakes winner at the weekend when Close Hatches (out of a Storm Cat mare) stamped herself as a leading Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) prospect with a win in the Gazelle Stakes (gr. II). He also has a smart English prospect in Dundonnell – winner of the Acomb Stakes (gr. III) last year – who is out of a sister to Danehill.
First Defence rounds out the the top five second season sires still standing in the U.S., but several others in the top 20 have a stakes winner to their name this year. Divine Park (by Empire Maker’s Mr. Prospector half-brother, Chester House) has By The Light Stakes winner, Dancinginthecircle (dam by Orientate, by Mt. Livermore). Kingmambo’s grade one winning son, Student Council, has been represented by the Martha Washington Stakes victress Sister Ginger (dam by Silver Hawk, like Student Council’s own broodmare sire, Kris S., a son of Roberto).
Horse Greeley is a son of Mr. Greeley, who stands at Claiborne Farm, Paris, Kentucky for just $2,500. He’s only had 26 starters and has last year’s Hollywood Prevue (gr. III) captor Really Mr Greely (dam by Forest Camp, a son of Deputy Minister) and this year’s Swale Stakes (gr. III) winner Clearly Now (dam by Arch), also a close second in the Bay Shore (gr. III) at the weekend. Hard to know if he’ll have numbers to break out commercially, but you’ve got to think that he looks value as a racehorse sire at his current fee. We’ve covered one of last year’s breakout freshman, Spring At Last (Silver Deputy) in detail before, but we’ll note that one of last year’s stars, Spring Venture (dam by Rahy) is a stakes winner again this term. We’ll also give a call to New York’s Frost Giant (Giant’s Causeway). He was a record-breaking Leading Freshman Sire in the state last year, and while he doesn’t have a stakes winner this year, three of his first crop have placed in open company in 2013, including the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) second West Hills Giant (dam by Take Me Out, by Cure the Blues) and the Spiral Stakes (gr. III) third Giant Finish (dam by Hickman Creek, by Seattle Slew).