Thursday, January 28, 2016

New Stallion Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem
Bought by Stonestreet Stables for $1.6-million (approx. €1.48-million/£1.1-million) as a 2-year-old, Carpe Diem's career led to a successful partnership between the farm and WinStar in 2014 and 2015. This year, the pair teams up again to support him off the track in his first season at stud. 

By top sire Giant’s Causeway, Carpe Diem won his debut at Saratoga in September of 2014 by 2 ¼ lengths. From there, trainer Todd Pletcher sent him to Keeneland for the track’s fall meet.

The colt relished the Bluegrass track’s dirt in the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity, cruising to a 6 ¼ length victory at odds of 2.40-to-1, beating a field that included future Grade 1 winner Keen Ice (Curlin) and propelling him into talk as one of the best 2-year-olds of the year.

Carpe Diem made his first, and only, start in California in the Grade 1 Sentient Breeders’ Cup Juvenile when he showed another dimension to his running style. While he had went wire-to-wire in his maiden and raced close to the pace in the Breeders’ Futurity, in the Juvenile, he was second last at the first call. At the stretch call, he was still in seventh but closed well on most of the field to finish second by 6 ½ lengths to Texas Red (Afleet Alex).

Carpe Diem took the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby route for his first start of his 3-year-old year, a move that proved to be a big confidence booster for the colt. He was never more than two lengths off the pacesetting Divining Rod (Tapit) and when John Velazquez swung him wide in the turn, he took over the lead. In the stretch, it was just a matter of pulling away and Carpe Diem crossed the wire five lengths ahead of second placed Ami’s Flatter (Flatter). 

Returning to a track his connections knew he was familiar with, Carpe Diem entered the Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland for his final Kentucky Derby prep. While Carpe Diem didn’t win as impressively as he did in the Breeders’ Futurity, he still made it look easy when he won by three lengths over Danzig Moon (Malibu Moon).

Carpe Diem working at Keeneland before the Kentucky Derby
Carpe Diem finished midpack in the Kentucky Derby and didn’t race again, retiring to WinStar in July.

“In the Kentucky Derby, we were in perfect position, but when he switched leads going into the far turn I felt something wasn’t right,” said Elliott Walden, WinStar President and CEO in Carpe Diem's retirement press release. “After missing the Belmont, we brought him home to evaluate him and try to get him back for the Haskell. However, a chip finally revealed itself in the lower joint of his right knee, and that can be problematic. I believe his raw ability puts him among the top of this talented group of 3-year-olds, which is probably the best group of runners we’ve had in years. It’s unfortunate, but given where we’re at in the season and what would be in front of him, Mrs. Banke [owner of Stonestreet], John Moynihan, and I just felt like retirement was the best option.”

By European Horse of the Year and leading sire Giant’s Causeway, Carpe Diem is one of 79 northern hemisphere graded stakes winners for the stallion. Giant’s Causeway is also the sire of champions Shamardal, Take Charge Brandi, Man of Ireland, Irish Mission, Dalhala and Primary. 
Giant's Causeway
Giant’s Causeway himself was the winner of six Group 1 races and placed in four others in addition to winning two other group stakes races. His family doesn’t need much introduction these days with his dam Mariah’s Storm producing group stakes winner You’resothrilling who is the dam of classic winners Gleneagles (Galileo) and Marvellous (Galileo) in addition to Group 3 winner Coolmore (Galileo). Giant’s Causeway has four other stakes placed siblings and two of his non-stakes placed sisters are the dams of stakes winners or placers.

Carpe Diem’s dam Rebridled Dreams (Unbridled’s Song) was a stakes winner who also placed third in the Grade 2 Silverbulletday as a 3-year-old. 

Carpe Diem gave Rebridled Dreams a Breeders’ Futurity double as she is also the dam of 2010 Grade 1 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity winner J.B.’s Thunder (Thunder Gulch), who won the race by four lengths. Carpe Diem is also a half-brother to the stakes winning and multiple group placed colt Doncaster Rover (War Chant).

His second dam is the multiple stakes winner Key Cents (Iroquois), who also produced the stakes placed Stormin Brigade (Gen Stormin’norman) in addition to Rebridled Dreams. Two generations farther back is the winning Best Turn mare Penny One, who produced Philmont winner Onproviso (Wajima) and stakes-placed Fiesty Gal (Rock Talk), who produced another stakes placed filly in Fiesty Baba (El Baba).
Carpe Diem at WinStar
Carpe Diem’s sire Giant’s Causeway has crossed with a number of different sirelines but 18 of his Grade 1 winners damsires are Mr. Prospector or his sons or grandsons. As Carpe Diem is free of Mr. Prospector in his first four generations, that cross may work well with him as well. Northern Dancer sons and grandsons also appear as damsires of six of Giant’s Causeway’s Grade 1 winners. 

Giant’s Causeway just has one strain of Northern Dancer through his sire Storm Cat but Carpe Diem has two strains (4 x 5). However, the Northern Dancer in Carpe Diem’s pedigree will move to 5 x 6 on his foals, so adding another strain or two through a mare he is mated to shouldn’t be a big deal.

Carpe Diem stands for $25,000 (approx. €23,151/£17,522), joining fellow WinStar stallion Constitution (Tapit) and Lane’s End’s Liam’s Map (Unbridled’s Song) as new U.S. stallions in the range of $25,000-$30,000.

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