Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Newcomers Series: Bullet Train

Bullet Train (Melissa Bauer-Herzog)

From late 2010 to the end of 2012, England’s racing scene was taken over by the unbeaten Frankel (GB). With a record of 14-for-14, including 10 Grade 1s, Frankel was one of the most watched horses in the world. During the last year of his career, Frankel was joined on the track by his pacemaker and 3/4 brother Bullet Train (GB).

Both brothers retired in October 2012 and while Frankel is standing in England, Bullet Train has relocated to Kentucky. Before spending the last six races of his career as Frankel’s pacesetter, Bullet Train won two races, including the Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III). Bullet Train’s career before racing with Frankel included a record of 8-2-1-0. As a pace setter, the horse was in the top five eight times during his career, with three of those coming during his time with Frankel. Overall, he had a record of 14-2-1-0 for $177,737 in earnings.

Bullet Train is by sire-of-sires Sadler’s Wells, who was a multiple Group 1 winner in addition to a sire of many champions on the track. As a sire-of-sires, Sadler’s Wells is the sire of Galileo, Montjeu and closer to home, El Prado among others. Sadler’s Wells has six other sons standing in North America (according to the Blood-Horse Stallion Register) with two more notable stallions in Slingo Bay (IRE) and Perfect Soul (IRE). Sadler’s Wells grandson Cape Blanco (Galileo), who stands at Ashford Stud bred the most mares of any stallion in North America in 2012.

Bullet Train’s dam Kind (IRE) (Danehill) won six of 13 starts for $132,320 in earnings. She was the winner of the Totesport Fillies’ Stakes and Flower of Scotland Stakes in addition to placing in two others. Kind was bred to Sadler’s Wells for her first foal to produce Bullet Train with Frankel as her next foal. Kind did not venture far from the Sadler’s Wells line during her first three years in the shed, going to Galileo for her 2009 foal, producing Noble Mission (GB). While Noble Mission has not run as well as his full brother, he has won two stakes and placed in three others for a record of three wins and four seconds in eight starts.  Kind’s 2010 foal by Oasis Dream (GB) has only raced once, finishing seventh. She produced her first filly, another foal by Oasis Dream (GB) in 2011 and is currently carrying another full sibling to Frankel.

Kind's dam Rainbow Lake (GB) (Rainbow Quest) was a winner of three of her six races, including the Lancashire Oaks (gr. III) and Ballymacoll Stud Stakes for $51,622. But like her daughter, she proved to be valuable in the shed.  She produced 14 foals with 10 appearing on Equibase. Of those 10, nine made it to the track with seven breaking their maidens.

Rainbow Lake produced one graded stakes winner in 2005 Arlington Million (gr. I) winner Powerscourt (GB) (Sadler’s Wells), who defeated Kitten’s Joy by three lengths. In addition to Powerscourt’s graded/group wins he was also the Champion Three-Year-Old Colt in Ireland. Rainbow Lake’s 2009 colt by Rail Link (GB) named Last Train is group one placed with a second in the Juddmonte Grand Prix De Paris (gr. I). Outside of Kind, Rainbow Lake has had no winners on the track from her daughters with only four others to race from her daughters appearing on Equibase.

(Melissa Bauer-Herzog)
Bullet Train has the closest doubling of names in his pedigree of any of the stallions covered so far in the Newcomers Series with Northern Dancer in both his second and fourth generations through Sadler’s Wells and Danzig. The Northern Dancer line also brings in two crosses of the mare Natalma (3 x 5) with a third added through Danzig’s dam Razyana, who is by a daughter of Natalma.

Bullet Train is comparably priced with Slingo Bay (IRE) at $6,000Can and Perfect Soul (IRE) at $7,500. Slingo Bay (IRE) entered stud in 2004 while Perfect Soul (IRE) entered in 2005.  Of the other four Sadler’s Wells sons standing in North America, two have fees set as private and two are standing for $1,000.

Bullet Train is standing the 2013 season for $7,500 at Wintergreen Stallion Station in Midway, Kentucky.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Newcomers Series: Stay Thirsty

2011 Breeders' Cup (Melissa Bauer-Herzog)

Multiple Grade 1 winner Stay Thirsty joins four other freshmen by 2006 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Bernardini in 2013. This is the first time Bernardini will have more than one son standing in a season as sophomore stallion Wilburn stood his first year in 2012 last year.

While Stay Thirsty was eclipsed by stablemate Uncle Mo during the majority of his career, he has a successful record, especially in New York races. As a 2-year-old, Stay Thirsty finished second in the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) behind Boys At Tosconova. He ended his second with a fifth place finish in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) behind Uncle Mo.

Stay Thirsty built his resume in 2011 as a 3-year-old, starting with a win in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) and highlighting the year with a 1 1/4 length victory in the Travers Stakes (gr. I). The colt also finished second in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) by ¾ of a length behind Ruler On Ice. He topped off his New York campaign with a third place finish in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (gr. I) behind Flat Out and eventual Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Drosselmeyer. Stay Thirsty ended his 3-year-old season in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), finishing 11th.

In 2012, he finished second in the ungraded Vanlandingham Stakes in his May debut but finished second in two graded stakes before finishing second by a head to Flat Out in the TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational Stakes (gr. I). Stay Thirsty finished his career with a second grade one victory when he won the Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) over Groupie Doll.

In total, Stay Thirsty retired with a record of five wins, five seconds, and one third in 17 starts for $1,936,000 in earnings. Of those five wins, two were Grade 1 victories, with one Grade 2 and one Grade 3. He also finished second in three Grade 1 races and third in another.

Stay Thirsty’s sire Bernardini was the Three-Year-Old Champion of 2006 and had a streak of five graded victories in a row before finishing second to Horse of the Year Invasor (ARG) in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). Stay Thirsty was from Bernardini’s first crop and helped him rank third on the Leading First-Crop Sires list in 2010. Bernardini was the Leading Second-Crop sire in 2011.

Stay Thirsty’s dam Marozia (Storm Bird) raced in Europe, winning one race in nine starts and hitting the board three other times. She has proven to be a respectable producer with nine foals of racing age on the ground. From those foals, six have went on to race with five breaking their maidens and three winning stakes. Andromeda’s Hero and Stay Thirsty both brought home graded stakes wins for the mare with Andormeda’s Hero also finishing second in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in 2005. Marozia only has one grandfoal of racing age, who has not yet started.

Stay Thirsty’s granddam Make Change (Roberto) was an ungraded stakes winner but hit the board in multiple graded stakes including seconds in five grade one races. In all, she won five times, finished second six times and third five times in 23 starts for $506,338 in earnings.

Make Change had eight foals with the first coming in 1991 and the last in 1999. She produced flat runners in addition to steeplechasers with two of her foals winning multiple hurdle races.  Of her flat racers, Make Change threw two winners from two to race but according to Equibase, none of her foals ever won a stakes race. Marozia was Make Change’s most successful producer but Make Change’s daughter Time Changes (Danzig) also threw the stakes placed Age of Reason (UAE).

Make Change’s dam Equal Change (Arts and Letters) won three races during her career and finished second in the 1975 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) for $47,804 in eight career starts. From nine of racing age, six of Equal Change’s foals made it to the track with five breaking their maidens, two winning stakes races and Spur Wing (Storm Bird) winning the Carousel Handicap (gr. I). Her daughters produced multiple winners on the flat and over the jumps. In addition to winning, multiple daughters threw stakes placed horses.

2010 Breeders' Cup (Melissa Bauer-Herzog)
Stay Thirsty has a cross of Northern Dancer on his pedigree through his maternal grandsire Storm Bird and his paternal granddam Cara Rafaela. The 3 x 5 Northern Dancer cross the only doubling of a horse in the first five generations. While Northern Dancer is a prominent name in thoroughbred pedigrees, the lack of doubling in any other names in the immediate pedigree leaves Stay Thirsty a lot of options for mares.

With his female family’s success with jumpers in his second and third dam, he could also bring an interesting twist to the steeplechase scene if any breeder decides to go that route. Of the six Bernardini stallions standing at stud in 2013, Stay Thirsty is the second most expensive at stud with a fee of $20,000 behind To Honor And Serve’s $30,000.

Stay Thirsty will stand at Ashford Stud in Versailles, Kentucky in 2013.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Three 3-Year-Olds to Watch in the New Year

As the race season comes to a close, the group of 3-year-olds returning for their 4-year-old season is looking more promising than it did only a few months ago. Three colts from this group have caught the attention of All Equine All the Time due to their various performances on the track and potential to come back even better next year. So without farther ado, here are three colts that the blog will be keeping an eye on in 2013.

Nonios (Pleasantly Perfect x Stylish Manner- Touch Gold)- Nonios has come a long way in the 10 months since he broke his maiden in his first out on February 11th, 2012. Nonios crept his way into the spotlight by winning the Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) in his fourth start, beating Liaison then finishing second in the Swaps Stakes (gr. II) on the Fourth of July behind Blueskiesnrainbows. However, the attention was really turned towards the colt after he finished second in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) behind Paynter. 

Nonios has only been off the board twice, in the Travers (gr. I) and the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). Nonios has shown that he may be one of the best, if not the best 3-year-olds on the west coast, finishing second behind Game On Dude, one of the best older horses in the country, twice as well.
This year, Nonios has made 10 starts with a record of 3-4-1 for $459,000, racing almost every month since his debut. Nonios’ sire Pleasantly Perfect also shows that Nonios could develop into a really nice older horse as Pleasantly Perfect only made one start as a 3-year-old and didn’t start showing his true talent until late in his 4-year-old year.

Nonios’ last race in the Native Diver (gr. III) against Game On Dude was almost certainly his best, as the colt gamely fought Game On Dude in the stretch before losing by 1 1/4 lengths. If Nonios continues to improve with more seasoning, he will be a major threat in the Older Horse division.

Stephanoatsee (A.P. Indy x Oatsee – Unbridled) – Oatsee’s most famous son may be hitting the shed in 2013 but his little brother is preparing to take the reins on the track. Stephanoatsee is lightly raced with eight starts since his debut in September of 2011 but has shown some real promise in his performances.

Stephanoatsee came close to getting a stakes victory in January when he finished second to Alpha in the Count Fleet Stakes but it took him until the Barbaro Stakes in October to get a stakes win on his resume. In his last start, Stephanoatsee finished third in the Discovery Handicap (gr. III) behind Called to Serve and Willy Beamin. 

A.P. Indy’s influence gives the impression that he should want to run longer and over his last few races, he has shown that he has matured in leaps and bounds. Stephanoatsee was away from the races from early January to August 15th and the break seemed to do him good. While he didn’t have the 3-year-old success like Mucho Macho Man, Stephanoatsee reminds me of him in the way that he has come into himself in recent months.

With his stacked pedigree and his progression on the track, it wouldn't be a surprise if Stephanoatsee gained another gear in 2013.

Take Charge Indy (A.P. Indy x Take Charge Lady – Dehere) - Take Charge Indy showed promise when he broke his maiden by 6 1/2 lengths in July of 2011 but although he finished second in the Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. II) in September of that year, he didn’t live up to expectations, finishing fifth behind the top three colts by over five lengths in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I). 

Take Charge Indy won his first stakes race in a big way in the Florida Derby (gr. I), leading wire to wire but some believed it was handed to him due to the trouble Union Rags ran into during the race. The colt was also a contender in the Kentucky Derby but he was hurt during the race, finishing 19th of 20. He had to have surgery due to the injury for a bone chip, which forced him to miss the summer races but like Stephanoatsee, he seemed to come back better from the break. In his two starts since the surgery, he has finished third in the Fayette Stakes (gr. II)  and second in the Clark Handicap (gr. I). In both races, Take Charge Indy showed grit, sitting down and battling in the Fayette and only losing to Shackleford by a length in the Clark.

Take Charge Indy isn’t a horse that needs to mature to be a nice older horse. Instead, he is on this list as one to watch more due to the fact that he didn’t get a chance to prove himself this year. Like Nonios, Take Charge Indy will be a big threat to the Handicap division when he is back to full racing shape next year. With major races at tracks he has already proven to like, it will be no surprise if he adds more big wins to his resume next year.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Newcomers Series: Shackleford

Breeders' Cup 2011 (Melissa Bauer-Herzog)
One of the most interesting stallion prospects to hit the shed in 2013 is 2011 Preakness (gr. I) winner Shackleford. The 4-year-old was joined in his 4-year-old year by the two other 2011 Triple Crown race winners for this year’s campaign but he proved to come back better than the other two, with Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Animal Kingdom only making two starts due to injury and Belmont (gr. I) winner Ruler On Ice only making four starts this year with no wins.

Shackleford is an interesting entry in the breeding shed next year, as the horse could be defined as an iron horse by today’s standards. The flashy chestnut made 20 starts without injury, racing pretty consistently throughout his career with breaks longer than a month and a half after the start of his 3-year-old campaign only coming three times during his campaign, with one of those coming during the winter of last year between the Breeders’ Cup and Donn Handicap (gr. I). His one racing weakness was his insistence that he had to be on the lead to be competitive but when it comes to a durable racehorse, Shackleford is the perfect example.

Shackleford’s versatile race record also brings an interesting mix to the table. He won his second race, a maiden at seven furlongs on the dirt then followed that up with a 2 1/4 length win over 1 1/8 miles. Overall, Shackleford won at four different distances ranging from sprints to short routes.

The end of the Clark Handicap (Melissa Bauer-Herzog)
The fan favorite ended his career by winning the Clark Handicap (gr. I) at 1 1/8 miles for a total of three Grade 1 victories and a Grade 2 victory. In all, Shackleford hit the board 12 times in 20 starts with six wins for $3,090,101 in earnings. His on-the-board finishes include seconds in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I), the Haskell Invitational Stakes (gr. I) and the Florida Derby (gr. I) among other graded races.

Shackleford is by the Grade 1 winner Forestry (Storm Cat), who also won from 6 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. Out of his 11 starts, Forestry was the winner in seven of them, including three stakes races. Forestry is the sire of over 40 stakes winners and 15 graded stakes winners, including Discreet Cat (Cigar Mile (gr. I) winner, third in 2007 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile) and Smokey Glacken.

Shackleford’s dam may be the best broodmare in America at the moment and made provide a stronger selling point than his paternal side. Oatsee (Unbridled) was the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Inc.’s Broodmare of the Year in 2011. The 15-year-old mare only won two races in 21 starts with nine other on-the-board finishes in allowance company but her value in the shed has more than made up for her lack of stakes placings.

Oatsee has had nine foals of racing age according to Equibase with a 2012 filly by Indian Charlie named Play Pretty born in March. Of her nine racing age foals, seven have started and six have broken their maiden. Five of her winners have gone on win stakes and four have won graded stakes. Those four horses also have four Grade 1 wins, including an Alabama (gr. I) win with Lady Joanne (Orientate) and a Preakness (gr. I) win with Shackleford. In 2012, Oatsee’s foals have won seven stakes between three different racers.

Oatsee has three grandfoals of racing age on the track with four 2-year-olds. Two of the racing age foals have reached the track (both 2-year-olds) but none have won. Shackleford is Oatsee’s oldest son and is the first to hit the shed.

Oatsee’s dam is the four-time winner With Every Wish (Lear Fan).  With Every Wish raced 34 times, hitting the board in 17 of her starts for $110,143 in earnings. Her two stakes placings came in the Valnor Handicap and Indian Maid Handicap, both at Hawthorne.

With Every Wish had nine foals including two full siblings to Oatsee. Eight of Wish Every Wish’s foals made at least one start with five breaking their maidens. With Every Wish had two colts that remained intact throughout their careers and her third oldest foal, a full brother to Oatsee named Gazebo is currently standing in Wisconsin according to the Bloodhorse Stallion Directory.

Other than Oatsee’s foals, With Every Wish’s daughters have produced 11 foals of racing age with eight making it to the track and three breaking their maidens. None of those horses have any foals of racing age.

2012 Clark Handicap (Melissa Bauer-Herzog)
Interestingly enough, Shackleford’s pedigree has no names appearing twice in the first four generations. Dr. Fager is the first to appear twice in the pedigree with the stallion appearing in the fourth generation through Forestry’s granddam Surgery and in the fifth generation through Unbridled’s granddam Killaloe. One has to look back to the fifth generation to see any more doubling of names with Bold Ruler and In Reality both appearing twice in that generation.

Shackleford is standing for $20,000 in 2013, which is in the middle of market for first year stallions. His price is comparable to other first year stallions such as Creative Cause ($15,000), Tapizar ($15,000), The Factor ($15,000) and Stay Thirsty ($20,000).

Shackleford joins Dialed In ($7,500) and Jersey Town ($10,000) as freshmen at Darby Dan farm in Lexington, Kentucky.