Last week, I hit upon the doom and gloom from this year’s Illinois foal report, but I promised some better news to come. Here is that better news: foals!
Alas, 2016 brought no new Illinois-bred Curlin babies. However, my two other favourite sires appeared on the list.
Fort Prado, previously a heavy presence on the Illinois foal list, only had two babies foaled in the state this year. One, a colt out of Rally Catcher, is a full brother to both stakes winner Bold Rally and recent Fair Grounds maiden winner Fort Rally. The other Fort Prado is a colt out of honest racemare Lookn Even Finer. So far she has only produced one foal to race, two-year-old Midnight Oak (Giant Oak). Midnight Oak has started once, a fifth-place finish in a $30K maiden claimer at Churchill.
Illinois stallion Three Hour Nap stayed constant: four foals in 2015, and four foals this year. Can’t Buy a Thrill had a Three Hour Nap colt, her first recorded foal. Can’t Buy a Thrill was a three-start maiden, but she is a half-sister to stakes -winning and graded-placed sprinter Chantilly Nayla (Five Star Day). Cherry Tart, a two-start maiden, has only produced one runner to date, fifteen-start maiden Molager (Nobiz Like Shobiz). She had a Leelanau filly last year. Roaringoodmartini had a Three Hour Nap foal for the second straight year: a filly last year, a colt this year. These are her only foals to date. Roaringoodmartini’s dam, Double Martini, is an unraced half-sister to multiple graded stakes winning dirt router Dry Martini. Runningatem, a durable runner who won ten times in 23 starts through age six, had a Three Hour Nap filly. She has two other foals on the ground: an unnamed Cashel Castle juvenile colt and a yearling Fort Prado filly.
And, going beyond specific sires? Here are my five Foals to Watch Out For, in alphabetical order by sire. Some were chosen for class, some for personal associations. Some have a little of both. All of them, I’m looking forward to seeing on the track in a few years.
- Declaration of War x Snow Diamond, filly: It can be difficult not to heavily weight a list of Illinois-bred foals to watch toward Team Block, because they have so many classy mares and bloodlines. As it stands, this is the first of two, though a list of five exciting Block horses would not have been out of place. It would be no surprise to see this filly grow into a nice turf horse, probably middle-distance. After all, Declaration of War is a War Front son who won both the Queen Anne and the Juddmonte International. His foals have not hit the track yet; his first crop turns 2 in 2017. This filly’s dam, Snow Diamond, is an unraced full sister to Fort Prado. Just one of her babies has yet raced, Snow Mesa (Sky Mesa). Snow Mesa broke her maiden this year dashing on grass, and has hit the board going as long as a mile. Snow Diamond also has a three-year-old filly by War Front (a three-quarter sister to this filly), who has not yet raced but is currently on the worktab.
- Road Ruler x Beertent Baby, colt: This is her first foal. My interest in this foal is purely subjective, given her modest race record of three claiming-level wins in thirty starts. But, seeing this colt on the list hit me harder than any other in the sense of…I have been following horse racing so long that horses I remember well from the racetrack are having babies. One of Beertent Baby’s three victories capped off an entertaining libations-themed Pick 3 on June 14, 2014, following triumphs by Gimmeadrink and Gimme a Double. Looking up Beertent Baby’s breeding also introduced me to her dam, Paul’s Dream. Paul’s Dream predated my presence on the Chicago racing circuit, but what a durable racemare she was! She ran 106 times from ages two through ten, with nine wins (including one her ten-year-old season!) and another 35 money finishes. Paul’s Dream is still in the breeding shed, too; she had a Fool for You colt this year.
- Temple City x Ioya Two, colt: This cold, another bred by Team Block, screams “exciting turf horse”! In fact, this was the horse who gave me the most viceral reaction of I cannot wait to see him run. Temple City has already sired some classy turf horses: Miss Temple City, Annals of Time, Bolo. Ioya Two has been one of Illinois’s classiest broodmares. She has produced four stakes winners already: Ioya Bigtime, Amazing Results, I O Ireland, and Mavericking. Three of those four (all but Mavericking) won stakes races on grass. The best of those, Ioya Bigtime, was sired by Dynaformer. Who else is a Dynaformer baby? Temple City. Another foal on this list gets an honourable mention, as another example of breeding a Dynaformer son to a mare from Ioya Two’s female family: I O Ireland had a Point of Entry colt this year.
- Uncle Mo x Swither, colt: This is the only Illinois-bred Uncle Mo foal of the year. Swither has produced three winners to date, including Indian Icicle, a foal by Indian Charlie. Indian Icicle won second time out, at age three. Swither herself was precocious: her sole lifetime win came third time out, in a stakes race at Delaware Park, at age two. These suggest this Uncle Mo colt may figure things out quickly.
- Well Positioned x Scarlet Power, filly: Scarlet Power was last seen finishing second in the 2014 Isaac Murphy Handicap at Arlington. She was a solid allowance-level and state-bred stakes-level runner between 2012 and 2014, ages two to four…though I was always a bigger fan of her little brother Try Arguing Harder, she was the classier racehorse. Scarlet Power was running so well during the spring and early summer of her four-year-old year, and I kept waiting for her to come back. She turned back up on the worktab in early 2015, but never raced again. The fact that she was bred to Well Positioned was no surprise. Owner William Stiritz claimed Scarlet Power for a gaudy $50,000 early in her career, and Well Positioned is one of his two house stallions. All his mares with recorded Illinois-breds went to either Well Positioned or Ghaaleb.