While there is no doubt that nicks tend to run in sire lines, we’ve also often found it profitable to consider the dam of a stallion when attempting to predict potential crosses. For example, when Smart Strike retired to stud, we noted that he was a half brother to champion Dance Smartly, a daughter of Danzig. Since Smart Strike was a Mr. Prospector horse and free of Danzig’s sire Northern Dancer, the Smart Strike/Danzig cross looked well worth exploring. That’s turned out to be the case, and Smart Strike has sired 14 stakes winners from 97 starters out of mares by Danzig and his sons, including champion 2- and 3-year-old colt Lookin At Lucky and Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Papa Clem.
Following the same logic, when War Front retired to stud, a look at the distaff side of his pedigree revealed that his dam had also produced the multiple graded stakes winner Teammate to A.P. Indy, and two-time winner of the Jaipur Handicap (gr. IIIT) Ecclesiastic to A.P. Indy’s son Pulpit. Add that Danzig/A.P. Indy was making a promising start (there are now seven stakes winners from 58 starters by sons of Danzig out of A.P. Indy mares), and War Front/Pulpit looked a very good lead.
There has actually been only one starter (a winner) on the direct War Front/A.P. Indy cross, but the War Front/Pulpit cross is already represented by Departing, who is a winner of five of seven starts and took his earnings to over $1 million with a runaway win in this month’s West Virginia Derby (gr. II).
Departing (see his TrueNicks report) is the only stakes winner from 12 starters by War Front out of Pulpit mares, but the signs are that he won’t be alone for long, as there has recently been some impressive form demonstrated by a trio bred on the cross. On August 7, Console led throughout to take a 5 1/2-furlong Saratoga allowance/optional claiming event by 2 1/2 lengths to remain undefeated in three starts at six furlongs or less. The following day, juvenile Diamond Bachelor made quite an impression with a 3 1/4-length debut victory in a one-mile Del Mar turf maiden. And on August 12, Console’s 2-year-old brother Due Diligence strolled home 7 1/2 lengths clear on his debut, a 5 1/2-furlong turf maiden at Saratoga.
There are a couple of other thoughts here. One is that when we compare the pedigree of Pulpit’s dam, Preach, with War Front’s dam, Starry Dreamer, we can see that Preach is by Mr. Prospector and her second dam, State, is by Nijinsky II out of Monarchy, a sister to Round Table. Starry Dreamer is by Rubiano (by a son of Mr. Prospector out of a Nijinsky II mare) and her second dam is by Round Table (see hypothetical mating of Starry Dreamer-Preach).
The second thought is that while War Front is out of a mare by Rubiano, when Pulpit was bred to Rubiano’s three-quarter sister Tap Your Heels, the result was Tapit. So, looking at the two best young sires in the country, one is out of a three-quarter sister to Rubiano and is by Pulpit, and the other is out of a mare by Rubiano and is showing great promise with daughters of Pulpit.