Thursday, March 10, 2016

New Stallion: War Front Son Due Diligence

The only son of top sire War Front at stud in England and only one of two standing in Europe, Due Diligence is poised for a big first year at stud in 2016. Standing at Whitsbury Manor Stud, Due Diligence raced for the Coolmore partnership with that group still keeping partial ownership of the horse when he retired to England late last year.

A $190,000 yearling at the 2012 Keeneland September Sale, Due Diligence won his debut at Saratoga by 7 ½ lengths for the ownership group of Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence and trainer Chad Brown. But when he returned to the track for his second start in the Grade 3 Pilgram Stakes at Belmont two months later, his ownership had changed to Coolmore with Todd Pletcher getting the call as trainer.

However, Pletcher didn’t have him in the barn long as Due Diligence was sent to Coolmore’s regular trainer, Aidan O’Brien, in Ireland after that start for his 3-year-old season. 

His first start in the country came at Dundalk on the all-weather surface where he finished third in the Patton Stakes, but a month later he was back in the winner’s circle when he won the listed Lacken Stakes at Naas over six furlongs on yielding-to-soft turf by 1 ½ lengths to get a valuable stakes victory.

Due Diligence’s connections thought so highly of him that they sent him to Royal Ascot for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in what may have been the best run of his career. Racing on the near side, he led part of the field on that side with a separate group on the far side of the track. While he wasn’t able to pass multiple group stakes winner Slade Power (Dutch Art), he finished second by a diminishing 1 ½ lengths. 

It came out after the race that Due Diligence had suffered a pelvis injury and was to be off for the rest of the year. However, though he only started four times, he was the top rated 3-year-old sprinter in Ireland in 2014.

Returning at four, Due Diligence wasn’t able to live up to the promise he’d showed before the injury with his best finish being a fifth in the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup in September. He was retired shortly after with three wins and two other on the board finishes in 10 starts for £205,818 (approx. €266,198 /$343,241US) in earnings.

Due Diligence is by young sire Kentucky War Front (Danzig), who has been a huge hit in Europe as the sire of last year’s champion 2-year-old Air Force Blue, multiple Group 1 winner Declaration of War and Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes winner War Command, among others. As of March 8, War Front has two champions, 21 graded or group stakes winners and 40 stakes winners overall from 399 foals 3 years and older.

War Front
From a nice female family, War Front is making his case as the best son of Danzig in North America and stands for $200,000 (approx. £140,815/€182,165) in 2016. It remains to be seen if War Front can become a sire-of-sires with his first son retiring in 2013. According to Blood-Horse and Weatherby’s, War Front has 11 sons standing at stud in 2016.

Due Diligence’s dam Bema (Pulpit) won three races during her career, including the ungraded Busher Stakes going 1 1/16 miles on the dirt at Aqueduct. She has seven foals aged three or up with Due Diligence as her only stakes winners. However, all six of her foals to race have won at least once and his half-brother Ocasta (Cherokee Run) hit the board in the 2010 Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes. Bema’s last foal is an unnamed 2-year-old gelding by Exchange Rate (Danzig).

Bema is out of the multiple stakes winning mare Dhaka (Icecapade), who had 11 foals. Of those 11, seven were winners including stakes winner Deodar (Woodman) and Grade 3-placed Morada Key (Carson City). Dhaka’s daughters have proven to have some producing talent with her winning daughter In Love Again (Awesome Again) producing stakes winner Little Widow Maker (Orientate), two other daughters producing stakes placed runners and her most successful daughter, Mayan Milagra (Menifee), producing Grade 2 winner Dancinginherdreams (Tapit) and stakes winner Doubled (Exchange Rate).

Other horses who can be found farther back in Due Diligence’s family are New Zealand champion stayer Sangster (Savabeel) and multiple Grade 1 winner Both Ends Burning.

With War Front’s sons so young, we don’t have much of an idea of what crosses well with them but looking at War Front can give breeders a good idea of what to try with Due Diligence. Of War Front's 21 group or graded stakes winners, Forty Niner (Mr. Prospector), Pulpit (A.P. Indy) and Rahy (Blushing Groom) are the damsires of two apiece with Forty Niner’s son Coronado’s Quest also the damsire of one. Not surprisingly, Mr. Prospector is seen a lot in the damsire’s sireline, showing up as either the damsire’s sire or grandsire on six pedigrees, on one other group stakes winner he can be found farther back in the pedigree. Roberto also makes two appearance as a damsire’s sire or damsire through two different sons (Arch and Red Ransom).

As said above, Pulpit has been successful with War Front but as the damsire of Due Diligence, that removes his daughters from being able to repeat the cross. However, breeding daughters of Tapit to Due Diligence moves Pulpit to the third generation on both sides if breeders still want to get some Pulpit blood in resulting foals. 

Standing in Europe gives Due Diligence a chance to try some other lines that his sire doesn’t have as easy of access to by standing in North America. Galileo (Sadler’s Wells) mares carrying War Front foals have been really popular in North American sales with the first major wave of that cross hitting the track this year and it is a cross that will probably be seen in Due Diligence foals in coming years with Coolmore still supporting him. Luckily for both father and son, War Front already has a group stakes winner out of a Sadler’s Wells daughter so it seems that the cross is at least a semi-successful one.

Due Diligence stands for £6,500 (approx. €8,396/$9,231US), about £5,000 less than fellow European War Front son War Command who has first foals arriving in Ireland this year.

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