Sunday, May 1, 2016

Probable Kentucky Derby 142 Field

By Frances J. Karon

As of May 1st, these are the 20 expected starters, listed in order of qualifying points, in the May 7th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

All of the photographs are from Churchill except those of Nyquist, taken when he was in residence at Keeneland. Danzing Candy and Trojan Nation are scheduled to ship in to Kentucky on Monday.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1. Gun Runner (Candy Ride -- Quiet Giant, Giant's Causeway colt)

Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC and Three Chimneys Farm
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Breeder: Besilu Stables (KY)
Sales: none

~1st Louisiana Derby-G2, Risen Star S.-G2

Lifetime record: 5-4-0-0, $906,920.

2. Nyquist (Uncle Mo -- Seeking Gabrielle, Forestry colt)

: Reddam Racing LLC
Trainer: Doug O'Neill
Jockey: Mario Gutierrez
Breeder: Summerhill Farm (KY)
Sales: $180,000 Keeneland November weanling; $230,000 Keeneland September yearling; $400,000 Fasig-Tipton March two-year-old

~Champion two-year-old male; 1st Breeders' Cup Juvenile-G1, Florida Derby-G1, FrontRunner S.-G1, Del Mar Futurity-G1, Best Pal S.-G3, San Vicente S.-G2

Lifetime record: 7-7-0-0, $3,322,600.

3. Exaggerator (Curlin -- Dawn Raid, Vindication colt)

Owner: Big Chief Racing LLC, Head of Plains Partners LLC, Rocker O Ranch LLC, et al
Trainer: Keith Desormeaux
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux
Breeder: Joseph B. Murphy (KY)
Sales: $110,000 Keeneland September yearling

~1st Santa Anita Derby-G1, Saratoga Special S.-G2, Delta Downs Jackpot S.-G3
~2nd Breeders' Futurity-G1, San Vicente S.-G2
~3rd San Felipe S.-G3

Lifetime record: 9-4-2-1, $1,671,120.

4. Outwork (Uncle Mo -- Nonna Mia, Empire Maker)

: Repole Stable
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez
Breeder: Repole Stable, Inc. (KY)
Sales: none

~1st Wood Memorial S.-G1
~2nd Tampa Bay Derby-G2

Lifetime record: 4-3-1-0-0, $701,800.

5. Brody's Cause (Giant's Causeway -- Sweet Breanna, Sahm colt)

: Albaugh Family Stable
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Luis Saez
Breeder: Gabriel Duignan, William Arvin Jr., & Petaluma Bloodstock (KY)
Sales: $350,000 Keeneland September yearling

~1st Blue Grass S.-G1, Breeders' Futurity-G1
~3rd Breeders' Cup Juvenile-G1

Lifetime record: 6-3-0-1, $1,123,138.

6. Creator (Tapit -- Morena, Privately Held colt)

: WinStar Farm LLC
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.
Breeder: Mt. Brilliant Broodmares I LLC (KY)
Sales: $440,000 Keeneland September yearling

~1st Arkansas Derby-G1
~3rd Rebel S.-G2

Lifetime record: 8-2-4-1, $768,320.

7. Lani (Tapit -- Heavenly Romance, Sunday Silence colt)

: Ms. Yoko Maeda
Trainer: Mikio Matsunaga
Jockey: Yutaka Take
Breeder: North Hills Co. Ltd. (KY)
Sales: none

~1st UAE Derby-G2

Lifetime record: 6-3-1-0, $1,366,618.

8. Mor Spirit (Eskendereya -- Im a Dixie Girl, Dixie Union ridgling)

: Michael Lund Petersen
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Gary Stevens
Breeder: Elkstone Group, LLC (KY)
Sales: $85,000 Fasig-Tipton October yearling; $650,000 Fasig-Tipton March two-year-old

~1st Los Alamitos Futurity-G1, Robert B. Lewis S.-G3
~2nd Santa Anita Derby-G1, San Felipe S.-G2, Kentucky Jockey Club S.-G2

Lifetime record: 7-3-4-0, $658,400.

9. Mohaymen (Tapit -- Justwhistledixie, Dixie Union colt)

: Shadwell Stable
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin
Jockey: Junior Alvarado
Breeder: Clearsky Farms (KY)
Sales: $2,200,000 Keeneland September yearling
           *co-highest-priced yearling sold in N.A. in 2014

1st Fountain of Youth S.-G2, Holy Bull S.-G2, Remsen S.-G2, Nashua S.-G2

Lifetime record: 6-5-0-0, $852,850.

10. Danzing Candy (Twirling Candy -- Talkin and Singing, Songandaprayer colt)

: Halo Farms & Jim and Dianne Bashor
Trainer: Clifford Sise Jr.
Jockey: Mike Smith
Breeder: Halo Farms (KY)
Sales: none

~1st San Felipe S.-G2

Lifetime record: 5-3-0-0, $358,650.


11. Destin (Giant's Causeway -- Dream of Summer, Siberian Summer colt)

: Twin Creeks Racing Stables, LLC
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Breeder: James C. Weigel & Taylor Made Stallions Inc. (KY)
Sales: $400,000 Keeneland September yearling

~1st Tampa Bay Derby-G2, Sam F. Davis S.-G3

Lifetime record: 5-3-1-0, $390,700.

12. Suddenbreakingnews (Mineshaft -- Uchitel, Afleet Alex gelding)

: Sam Henderson
Trainer: Donnie K. Von Hemel
Jockey: Luis Quinonez
Breeder: Branch Equine, LLC (KY)
Sales: $72,000 Keeneland September yearling

~Southwest S.-G3, Clever Trevor S.
~2nd Arkansas Derby-G1, Remington Springboard Mile S.

Lifetime record: 8-3-4-0, $670,032.

13. Oscar Nominated (Kitten's Joy -- Devine Actress, Theatrical colt)

: Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey (previously raced by Amerman Racing LLC)
Trainer: Mike Maker (previously trained by Bill Mott)
Jockey: Julien Leparoux
Breeder: Mrs. Jerry Amerman (KY)
Sales: none
           *claimed for $75,000 on October 16, 2015 (maiden claimer at Belmont; first win/third start)

~1st Spiral S.-G3, Black Gold Overnight S.

Lifetime record: 7-3-2-0, $371,860.

14. Shagaf (Bernardini -- Muhaawara, Unbridled's Song colt)

: Shadwell Stable
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
Breeder: Shadwell Farm, LLC (KY)
Sales: none

~1st Gotham S.-G3

Lifetime record: 4-3-0-0, $328,800.

15. Whitmore (Pleasantly Perfect -- Melody's Spirit, Scat Daddy gelding)

: Robert LaPenta, Harry Rosenblum, & Southern Springs Stables
Trainer: Ron Moquett
Jockey: Victor Espinoza
Breeder: John Liviakis (KY)
Sales: none

~2nd Rebel S.-G2, Southwest S.-G3
~3rd Arkansas Derby-G1

Lifetime record: 6-2-2-1, $475,000.

16. Tom's Ready (More Than Ready -- Goodbye Stranger, Broad Brush colt)

: G M B Racing
Trainer: Dallas Stewart
Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.
Breeder: Blackstone Farm LLC (PA)
Sales: $145,000 Keeneland November weanling (not sold); $145,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling

~2nd Louisiana Derby-G2, LeComte S.-G3, Street Sense S.

Lifetime record: 9-1-4-0, $302,220.

17. My Man Sam (Trappe Shot -- Lauren Byrd, Arch colt)

: Sheep Pond Partners, Newport Stables LLC, & Jay Bligh
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: TBA
Breeder: Jay Bligh (KY)
Sales: none

~2nd Blue Grass S.-G1

Lifetime record: 4-1-2-0, $251,200.

18. Majesto (Tiznow -- Unacloud, Unaccounted For ridgling)

: Grupo 7C Racing Stable
Trainer: Gustavo Delgado
Jockey: TBA
Breeder: Diamond A Racing Corp. (KY)
Sales: $300,000 Keeneland September yearling

~2nd Florida Derby-G1

Lifetime record: 6-1-2-2, $239,500.

19. Trojan Nation (Street Cry -- Storm Song, Summer Squall colt)

: Julie Gilbert & Aaron Sones
Trainer: Paddy Gallagher
Jockey: Aaron Gryder
Breeder: Dr. Aaron Sones (KY)
Sales: none

~2nd Wood Memorial S.-G1

Lifetime record: 6-0-1-3, $213,920.

20. Mo Tom (Uncle Mo -- Caroni, Rubiano colt)

: G M B Racing
Trainer: Tom Amoss
Jockey: Corey Lanerie
Breeder: Hargus and Sandra Sexton & Silver Fern Farm (KY)
Sales: $150,000 Keeneland September yearling

~1st LeComte S.-G3, Street Sense S.
~3rd Risen Star S.-G2, Kentucky Jockey Club S.-G2

Lifetime record: 7-3-0-3, $291,526.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

New issue of North American Trainer

The new issue of North American Trainer is online, with features on A.P. Indy -- who has six male-line descendants currently set to run in the Kentucky Derby -- and his grandson Tapit (sire of Derby hopefuls Creator, Lani, and Mohaymen); Hall of Famer Serena's Song; a historic retrospective on lady jockeys; different paths to U.S. classic success; and, of course, the Sid Fernando column, among other articles. Click here to access the magazine.

A.P. Indy with the 2016 Kentucky Derby contenders sired by his sons Bernardini and Mineshaft, grandson Tapit, and great-grandson Trappe Shot: Creator, Lani, Mohaymen, My Man Sam, Suddenbreakingnews, and Shagaf.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Keeping up his momentum

By Frances J. Karon

Last season's leading North American first-crop sire (as listed on The Blood-Horse site) Uncle Mo continues to dominate the sophomore sire class. He closed out 2015 with seven black-type stakes winners, led by future Darley stallion Nyquist -- who like Uncle Mo won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and was voted Eclipse champion two-year-old male -- and already in 2016 the young sire has added three new black-type winners to his tally, for 10 first-crop black-type winners (four of them Graded) through March 13th.

Impressive? Extremely. But where do these numbers rate Uncle Mo historically?

Take Uncle Mo's seven juvenile stakes winners. From stallions with first two-year-olds between 2001-2015, two first-season sires got eight juvenile black-type stakes winners apiece: Stravinsky in 2003, and Van Nistelrooy (who was not the leading first-crop sire, but ranked fourth by progeny earnings) in 2007. Johannesburg (second his year, 2006) and Posse (first in 2007) had seven each; no other top-10 sire in that timeframe has had more than six. The common thread to these horses bar Posse is that they stood at the home of Uncle Mo, Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Kentucky. Ashford denizens to sit atop the year-end freshman sire list from 1999 onward are Johannesburg's son Scat Daddy (led the 2011 list), Henrythenavigator (2012), Dunkirk (2013), and of course Uncle Mo (2015).

Heading the freshman sire list at the end of the two-year-old season is not always a harbinger for lasting success, but it often is. Distorted Humor (on the 2002 list), Tiznow (2005), Street Cry (2006), Tapit (2008), Congrats (2010), and Scat Daddy were all No. 1s, and they each proved to be the real deal. Other sires to figure among the top five freshman sires of their year include Awesome Again, Johannesburg, Harlan's Holiday, Hard Spun, Pioneerof the Nile, Super Saver, Candy Ride, Bernardini, Giant's Causeway (fourth on the North American freshman sires' list despite having initially stood in Ireland), Medaglia d'Oro, War Front, Speightstown, and Kitten's Joy.

Early indications are that Uncle Mo, whose stud fee was raised from $25,000 -- it was $35,000 when the first crop were conceived -- to $75,000 this season, is following the lead of the elite sires mentioned above. In the mold of his sire Indian Charlie, Uncle Mo, at close to 17 hands tall, is a big, scopey horse whose progeny don't physically appear like they will be left behind by later maturers. His juvenile stakes winners Nyquist and Mo Tom have already won Graded stakes races at three, and the law of averages suggests that more stakes winners will emerge from his long list of stakes-placed horses, such as Graded-placed runners Laoban, Mokat, Outwork (second in the Grade 2 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 12th), Shaken, Thrilled, Uncle Lino, and Uncle Walter.

Uncle Mo at Ashford in February, 2016.

I compiled first-crop totals for 61 stallions that stand or stood in North America and who had first foals no earlier than 1991. It's unlikely that any of their predecessors would have had significantly stronger starts, because stallions bred smaller books of mares in those days. And while I feel that I've covered a lot of bases in my research, I don't necessarily present this as a definitive list.

The black-type winners summed up below are limited to first-crop progeny foaled on Northern Hemisphere time, and in addition to Uncle Mo, Munnings -- whose oldest runners are four -- is likely to further improve his standing. It's possible, too, that another young sire -- perhaps WinStar's Super Saver (currently with eight stakes winners, seven of them Graded, from foals of 2012) -- will jump up the ladder with some big horses. But the totals for now:

1.   Hard Spun (foals of 2009; stands at Darley): 17 first-crop black-type winners
2.   Medaglia d'Oro (2006; Darley): 16
3.   Johannesburg (2004; stood at Ashford, subsequently exported to Japan): 15
      Speightstown (2006; WinStar): 15
5.   Afleet Alex (2007; Gainesway): 14
      Giant's Causeway (2002; Ashford): 14
      Tapit (2006; Gainesway): 14
8.   Street Cry (2004; stood at Darley, died in 2014): 13
9.   A.P. Indy (1994; Lane's End): 12
      Distorted Humor (2000; WinStar): 12
11. Elusive Quality (2000; Darley): 11
      Forest Wildcat (1998; stood at Brookdale, died in 2008): 11
      Fusaichi Pegasus (2002; Ashford): 11
      War Front (2008; Claiborne): 11
15. Empire Maker (2005; Gainesway): 10
      More Than Ready (2002; WinStar): 10
      Munnings (2012; Ashford): 10
      Red Ransom (1992; Vinery): 10
      Street Sense (2009; Darley): 10
      Uncle Mo (2013; Ashford): 10

Hard Spun, sire of 17 first-crop stakes winners, at Darley in 2013.

Seven of these stallions occupy spots 1-8 on the general sires list in 2016. (Bernardini, who has nine first-crop stakes winners, is the top-eight sire missing above.) Uncle Mo is at number seven; Hard Spun, who after Uncle Mo has the fewest crops of racing age among the leaders, is eighth.

It's important to take into account that Uncle Mo has achieved his double-digit numbers really quickly. Hard Spun, for instance, had seven stakes winners to his credit at this same point of the season when his oldest progeny were three. But even in the unlikely event that Uncle Mo doesn't get another black-type winner from his 2013 foal crop, he's already keeping some pretty good company, and his market popularity is at an all-time high, with his first $1,000,000 sales horse, a two-year-old colt out of Five Star Dream, sold to Stonestreet Stables and M.V. Magnier at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale two weeks ago.


By the way, a glance at foreign-based stallions reveals some other horses to sire remarkable first crops: Shamardal (at Darley in England; foals of 2006) had 17 black-type winners; Deep Impact (at Shadai Stallion Station in Japan; 2008), had 16; Dubawi (at Darley in England; 2007) and Montjeu (stood at Coolmore in Ireland, died in 2012; 2002), 15; and Galileo (at Coolmore in Ireland; 2003), 13.

Bonus: See a young Uncle Mo here.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A.P. Indy, full speed ahead at 27

By Frances J. Karon

Much has been written on the life and times of A.P. Indy, but a recent visit to the retired 27-year-old stallion at Lane's End -- where he was born and raised, stood his entire stud career, and will live out his days -- got me thinking about his legacy as it stands today.

A.P. Indy sired 155 black-type stakes winners from 1,224 foals, or 13% stakes winners to foals. His youngest progeny are five in 2016, so his number of total stakes winners is unlikely to change.

The breakdown of those 155 stakes winners is:

~29 Grade/Group 1 winners;
~30 Grade/Group 2 winners;
~27 Grade/Group 3 winners.


Contrast this tally to that of A.P. Indy's sire Seattle Slew, whose 1,103 foals resulted in 111 black-type winners (10%), with:

~27 Grade/Group 1 winners;
~17 Grade/Group 2 winners;
~16 Grade/Group 3 winners.

It is said that the measure of a truly great sire extends beyond the short term, that he must establish a strong male line. We know from A.P. Indy and 21 other Grade/Group 1-siring sons that Seattle Slew did that, but let's look at what A.P. Indy has accomplished, so far, in his lifetime. These figures are current through February 10, 2016, and reflect internationally recognized Grade/Group races:

A.P. Indy as paternal grandsire:

~89 Grade/Group 1 stakes winners sired by 27 sons, including Bernardini with 13, Pulpit (11), and Malibu Moon (9);
~92 Grade/Group 2 stakes winners, with 32 sons responsible for the 181 Grade/Group 1-2 winners, including Pulpit with 17, Malibu Moon (16), Bernardini (8), and Mineshaft (8);
~84 Grade/Group 3 stakes winners, with 39 sons responsible for the 265 Graded/Group 1-3 winners, including Pulpit with 16, Bernardini (11), and Malibu Moon (10).

A.P. Indy as paternal great-grandsire:

~22 Grade/Group 1 stakes winners sired by 6 grandsons, including Tapit with 16 and Sky Mesa (2);
~20 Grade/Group 2 stakes winners sired by 6 grandsons, led by Tapit with 13 and Sky Mesa with the rest (7);
~40 Grade/Group 3 stakes winners sired by 13 grandsons, including Tapit with 14 and Sky Mesa (10).

A.P. Indy as paternal great-great-grandsire:

~2 black-type stakes winners, neither of them Graded/Group, sired by 1 great-grandson (Concord Point, a Grade 3 winner and the first son of Tapit to stand at stud).

A.P. Indy's development as a great-great-grandsire is still in its infancy. In addition to major sons of Tapit who have yet to have runners, Horse of the Year California Chrome (by Lucky Pulpit, by Pulpit, by A.P. Indy) will be well supported when he retires to Taylor Made Farm in 2017.

These results are pretty impressive already, and consider this: Seattle Slew left 22 sons who sired Grade/Group 1 winners. A.P. Indy is already up to 27 sons (accounting for the bulk of Seattle Slew's 34 G1-siring grandsons), and that number is likely to increase: stakes winners Astrology (at Taylor Made Farm, $6,500 fee) and Canadian champion Eye of the Leopard (Calumet Farm, $7,500) have first two-year-olds in 2016; Take Charge Indy (WinStar Farm, $17,500) has yearlings; and Commissioner (WinStar, $7,500) and Honor Code (Lane's End, $40,000) -- 2015 champion older male in the U.S. and the last Grade 1 winner to represent A.P. Indy on the racetrack -- will have foals next year. Any of these could make big waves, as could second-generation A.P. Indy-line horses such as sons of Bernardini and Malibu Moon (sire of Kentucky Derby winner Orb, at Claiborne Farm, $25,000). We are also get to look forward to foals by the first Grade 1-winning sons of Tapit at stud: champion Hansen (who stood one season in the U.S. before exportation to the Republic of Korea) and Tapizar, with two-year-olds this year.