One of the many questions surrounding the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) is whether the European-trained Toast of New York, a top-class synthetic specialist, will be as effective on dirt. Of course, there is no way to be 100% sure, but a close look at the colt’s pedigree indicates bloodlines that are conducive to all surfaces.
At first glance, one sees that Toast of New York’s sire was a group I winner in France and that his tail-female family is all Irish and French breeding. But don’t be alarmed by so much greenery; we’re only getting started.
The colt’s sire, the virtually unknown Thewayyouare, has a pedigree that is all over the place. On the grassy side, Thewayyouare is a half-brother to European champion 3-year-old filly Peeping Fawn, winner of the group I Irish Oaks, Yorkshire Oaks, and Nassau Stakes, and placed in the Epsom Oaks and Irish 1,000 Guineas. His dam, Maryinski, is by grass sire Sadler’s Wells, but Maryinsky’s dam is Blush With Pride, winner of the Kentucky Oaks, Santa Anita Oaks, Ashland Stakes, and second in the Spinster Stakes. Blush With Pride produced Better Than Honour, dam of back-to-back Belmont Stakes winners Jazil and Rags to Riches.
Thewayyouare’s sire is the versatile Kingmambo, who has sired top-class horses on grass, dirt, and synthetic, such as champion Lemon Drop Kid, winner of the Belmont Stakes, Travers, Whitney, Woodward, Suburban, and Brooklyn; Henrythenavigator, runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on synthetic; Master of Hounds, who came from Ireland to finish a solid fifth in the Kentucky Derby; and Student Council, winner of the Pacific Classic, Hawthorne Gold Cup, and Pimlico Special.
On the dam’s side, broodmare sire Syncline, another virtual unknown, by Danzig, was a stakes winner on grass, but also won a pair of allowance races on dirt at Delaware Park. This family traces to Be My Guest, whose son Go and Go won the Belmont Stakes. Be My Guest’s dam, What a Treat was the champion 3-year-old filly who captured the Alabama Beldame, Gazelle, and Comely Stakes. Also in this family is Crowned Prince, a full-brother to Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Majestic Prince.
A unique aspect of Toast of New York’s pedigree is the fact that he is inbred five times to Northern Dancer, who epitomizes grass and dirt versatility. Toast of New York is also inbred to the Blue Hen mare Special through Fairy Bridge, dam of Sadler’s Wells, and Nureyev, sire of the great Miesque and broodmare sire of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown.
So, to sum up this pedigree, there certainly are enough dirt influences to indicate Toast of New York should handle that surface as well as he has handled synthetic. Ironically, the only two times Toast of New York has finished out of the money were in his only two grass races. Considering that grass and synthetic normally go hand in hand, it is just possible that this colt is more of a synthetic–dirt horse.
He made his first trip to the Santa Anita track this morning and made a striking appearance. He is one of those horses I call peripheral horses, where your eyes catch a glimpse of him even when you are not looking at him. He definitely is one of those “Who is that?!” horses. For more on the personal side of Toast of New York go to trainer Jamie Osborne’s Twitter page and follow his “Toast Cam,” a revealing and light-hearted look at the everyday life of a horse who could pull off a European Breeders’ Cup Classic victory.
In other Classic news, Travers winner V.E. Day showed a distinct liking of the Santa Anita track as he gobbled up ground with huge strides, blowing out a half-mile in :48 3/5 for trainer Jimmy Jerkens. Judging by the extension of his stride and the way he changed leads, he seems to be quite at home here. For a Travers winner who had major excuses in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, he has not gotten a lot of ink.
One Classic horse who takes your breath away (I’m allowed one cliché) is Cigar Street, a spectacular-looking, muscle bound colt who is on a huge upward cycle on Thoro-Graph, which we will get to later in the week. He and Footbridge are extremely imposing looking and powerful colts.
One other horse who I saw for the first time in action today was Prayer For Relief, and he was moving beautifully over the track in his gallop. Trainer Dale Romans believes Prayer For Relief is ready to run the best race of his life.
Earlier in the morning, California Chrome had several workers come charging up along his inside while he was galloping, and exercise rider William Delgado had to grab a tight hold of him and pull back hard on the reins to keep his competitive juices in check. After going in the paddock to school, all seemed calm until Chrome suddenly reared straight up. At first it looked like he might flip over, but he came back down with no harm done. One observation about Chrome: he looks more muscled out and appears to be carrying more flesh than he did at Parx Racing for the Pennsylvania Derby.