It’s a sad day for the Thoroughbred breed, with the news that stallion Pioneerof the Nile has passed away at the age of 13.
N. C. Goldust (Gold Stage – Arraign, by Judger) was aptly named. Her name did not fit her in the same sense that current Chicago-circuit mainstay Dustem Carolina’s does: after all, she was bred in Ontario and not North Carolina. However, the latter part of her name fits, as her bloodline has been golden.
However, there is another aspect of Curlin babies having babies that is truly new for 2016: sons of Curlin in the stud barn. Between the fact that Curlin’s first crop is six and the fact that he had such a breakthrough year, Curlin’s blood has become as in-demand as possible. Curlin himself still stands at stud, of course — now at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm, for the princely sum of $100,000.
Curlin, of course, is by Smart Strike, who has emerged a serious sire of sires. Curlin and English Channel are both well proven in the stud barn. Square Eddie and Lookin at Lucky are becoming more prominent. More regionally, Tenpins is a top-ten Louisiana sire.
This year, however, three sons of Curlin begin their tenures in the stud barn: Palace Malice, Conquest Curlinate, and Curlin to Mischief. They will begin to write the legacy of Curlin as a sire of sires, and we will look at them one by one.
Last week, Blinkers Off looked at five of the racing-age horses who can claim Curlin as their damsire. That included a single three-year-old in Panama, Westward Star (Stephen Got Even – Thwindwhispersmary), as well as four of the two-year-olds.
This week we continue this series with a look at the rest of the Curlin mares with two-year-olds of 2016.
Thanks to Palace Malice’s racing career, Blinkers Off has long focused on Curlin’s progeny.
Curlin, himself, has found his stride as a stallion. He had a breakout year last year. He had his first Champion, Stellar Wind. She, Curalina, and Keen Ice all joined Palace Malice as Grade I winners. He has Exaggerator on the Derby trail, and Stageplay on the Oaks trail.
The last few years have proven that Curlin can sire runners. However, this year will start to shed light on another question: what will Curlin’s impact be on the breed going forward?
This will be the first of two pieces looking at racing-age foals out of Curlin mares. Curlin’s first crop turned six this year. In 2016, there are ten registered horses of racing age who are out of Curlin mares — meaning we may see some Curlin grandbabies on the track this year. This looks at five of them, and a following piece will look at five more.
The series will then continue with the trio of Curlin babies set to make their stallion debuts in 2016.
Every so often, someone googles Blinkers Off with interesting enough search terms that a post ensues. Within the last week, someone found this corner of the Internet with the search terms Greytap horse pedigree.
I have mentioned Greytap a few times here at Blinkers Off, but only in the context of handicapping a race in which he was actually running. I have never discussed his record or his pedigree here in any detail. Still, it is a good time to do so — after all, breeding season is around the corner.
Nine-year-old Greytap (Tapit – Trickily, by Trempolino) is the only son of Tapit standing stud in Illinois. He stands stud at Jake Bryant’s J B Stables in Burnt Prairie. Close followers of Illinois Thoroughbred breeding may notice a pattern here. After all, he is not the only relatively obscure son of a big-money sire to stand at Bryant’s farm.
Road Ruler (Unbridled’s Song – Stephanie’s Road, by Strawberry Road) stands there, too. Injuries kept Road Ruler from being a star on the racetrack, but he has become a fixture on the Illinois sire list. Road Ruler commands a $2,000 stud fee — big money, among stallions in the state. In 2013 and 2014, Road Ruler sat second in earnings among all sires standing (or who last stood) in Illinois, behind the late Cherokee Rap. In 2015, led by solid sprinter Armando’s Star, Road Ruler took over the top spot.
Greytap stands aside Road Ruler for the same $2,000 stud fee — a high-end price for Illinois. Can lightning strike again with Greytap?
Based on the 2015 Illinois Department of Agriculture foal report, there were 173 Illinois Conceived and Foaled Thoroughbreds last year, and another 177 Illinois Foaled Thoroughbreds, meaning there were 350 foals born last year who were, in some capacity, bred in the state.
By number of foals sired, Forest Attack (Forestry – Joy Valley, by Ghadeer) was the runaway leader with 26 Illinois-breds, all both conceived and foaled in the state.
Kentucky-bred Forest Attack was campaigned by Illinois connection Scarlet Stable. Scarlet claimed him out of the barn of Todd Pletcher in his second start, his maiden win, and campaigned him for the rest of his career. He raced mainly in Kentucky and mainly in allowance company for trainer Mike Maker, but did win the Dust Commander Stakes at Turfway, a mile over the poly. That stakes win came in 2010, at age six.
Forest Attack did his best work by far over polytrack. All seven of his wins came over poly, with six at Turfway and one at Keeneland. Most of them came at sprint distances at Turfway, though he had that one-mile stakes win as well as a 1 1/16 mile allowance win at Keeneland.
Even in a circuit like Illinois, one that still has polytrack, Forest Attack seems an unlikely candidate for so much breeding support. After all, he has not produced a single winner to date. His total progeny earnings total a whole $400 — just 40% of his live-foal stud fee.
This week at Chicago Railbird, I take a look at the stallion who currently occupies the top of the Illinois sire list. For the first time in years, it’s not Cherokee Rap — it’s Road Ruler, a well-bred grey son of Unbridled’s Song.
Of course, in addition to profiling Road Ruler and his offspring, I take a look at a pair of allowances today in which his progeny run — today’s 6th and 7th races at Hawthorne.
Book 6 of Keeneland September runs on Friday and Saturday of this week, and marks the end of the sale. This book also contains the last four Illinois-bred yearlings in the sale. Buried here in Book 6 is another one of the five yearlings highlighted here among 2014’s Illinois-bred foals to watch out for: the only member of Musketier’s first crop to be bred in the state.
Let’s meet the last few Illinois-breds of Keeneland September!
Last night, Blinkers Off began to tackle the Illinois-breds in the later books of Keeneland September, with a look at Book 4.
Today, attention turns to the six Illinois-breds who remain in Book 5 of Keeneland September. There were eight originally entered, but two have been declared out. Hip 3442, a Fort Prado colt out of Radiant Rocket (Peteski) is an out, as is Hip 3505, a Giant Oak colt out of Strike for Home (Smart Strike).
Without further ado, meet the Illinois-breds of Book 5!
Throughout this week we delve deeper into the books of the Keeneland September sale. For followers of Illinois breeding and racing, this is where it gets fun. Though the three Illinois-bred yearlings in Book 1 were bred well, none of them came from families deeply entrenched in Illinois. For most of the yearlings in the later books, it is a different story. Many of the dams have a stronger connection to the state: either they were bred here, they raced here, or they have already produced runners on the local circuit.
No Illinois-breds found their way into Book 2 or Book 3, but Books 4 through 6 are peppered with yearlings from the Land of Lincoln. Blinkers Off will be here through the week with a look at each of them.
Coverage of the second week of Keeneland September begins here, with the six Illinois-breds in Book 4.
This year’s catalogue at Keeneland September features 21 Illinois-bred yearlings, only one of whom has been declared out so far. Out of those, three are assigned to Book 1, tantamount to the select portion of the sale.
Previews of the other Illinois-breds in books four, five, and six are forthcoming. The yearlings in those books include half-siblings to some of my favourites: In the Chamber, Tizgorgeous, Frontier Force, Big Tom Prado. They also include two out of the five Illinois-bred foals of 2014 who I discussed at Blinkers Off earlier this year.
However, there are three slated to go early in the sale, in Book 1; this is a look at each of them.
Last night, Blinkers Off took a look at the broadest pattern among Curlin’s progeny at Keeneland September: Curlin babies out of A.P. Indy mares. Today, attention turns instead to the more immediate question: who are the Curlin babies who will walk through the sales ring this month?
Fourteen yearlings by Curlin were originally entered in the Keeneland September sale. Hip 2669, a bay colt out of Seattle Society (A.P. Indy), was declared out; the other thirteen remain in the sale.
Here is a look at each of those thirteen yearlings, with an eye toward how well the Mr. Prospector sire line (and, specifically, the Smart Strike branch, if it has been tried) has done with each of the dams.
Keeneland September gets underway on Monday, and with it comes another early glimpse at Curlin’s fifth crop.
Fourteen yearlings by Curlin were originally entered in the sale. As of today, only one has been declared out: Hip 2669, a colt out of Seattle Society (A.P. Indy). Even with this hip out of the sale, A.P. Indy remains the most popular damsire among the Curlin babies heading to the ring at Keeneland September. Three other hips by Curlin (2152, 2203, and 2296) come from A.P. Indy mares. With five members of Curlin’s fifth crop being out of A.P. Indy mares, this is still a significant portion of that set who will be available at Keeneland November.
This crop continues a familiar tune of Curlin babies coming out of A.P. Indy mares.
Earlier today, it was announced that four-year-old colt Atreides was being retired. He is packing off to Kentucky, and will be standing at Hill ‘N Dale effective immediately.
If Atreides is in no condition to run again, or to run against the level of horse which his talent suggests he can take, Stonestreet is absolutely doing the right thing by taking him off the racetrack. That decision to retire him, I have no questions about. I unwaveringly trust and commend their respect for his health.
Still, the stud part has me scratching my head a bit.