Z Fortune Reveals Successful Siphon Nick

As good-looking and talented as he was, Siphon (BRZ) presented something of a puzzle for breeders when he retired to stud. The Brazilian-bred winner of over $3.1 million was by Itajara (BRZ), a son of the French-bred Felicio, from a male line that went back to the storied St. Simon,via the great French sire, Sicambre (FR), and out of a mare by Kublai Khan, with scarcely a recognizable name on the page.

Of course, were TrueNicks available at the time, it would have been fairly easy to see how Itjara, Felicio, and their sons and grandsons in Brazil had crossed with imported strains. As it was, breeding to Siphon turned out to be something of a hit and miss proposition, and although there have been plenty of hits, including grade I winners Siphonic and I’m the Tiger, and graded scorers Siphon City, Siphonizer, and Sharp Impact, they didn’t come fast enough to keep Siphon in Kentucky.

Now Siphon has another very nice prospect in Z Fortune, a Zayat Stables colt who was an impressive winner of the LeComte Stakes (gr. III) over the weekend. Siphon’s top-priced sales yearling of the 2005 crop, Z Fortune was an A+ cross (Siphon/Mr. Prospector) before his stakes win, and afterwards bumped up to an A++ on the basis of the Siphon/Northern Prospect cross. From very small opportunity, this cross has produced Z Fortune (out of a mare by Fortunate Prospector) and graded winner Siphonizer (out of mare by Northern Prospect). Overall, Mr. Prospector-line mares supplied seven of Siphon’s 13 stakes winners (including five of six graded winners), and he is in the pedigree of three others, including grade I winner Siphonic.

There is a possible reason for this affinity, and since Siphon is an outcross to North American strains, it’s ironic that it the most likely cause is some close inbreeding in his pedigree. A look at Siphon’s pedigree shows that the granddam of his sire and the granddam of his dam are three-quarters relatives, both by Maki (BRZ) out of mares by Dragon Blanc, giving him Maki 4 x 4 and Dragon Blanc 5 x 5. It would take a few more pages to explore and explain the links between some of the strains in the background of Siphon’s inbreeding and the strains with which he appears to have an affinity in the North American population, but we can give a (very) edited version.

In one area of Siphon’s inbreeding we find a concentration of the influential English strains of Sainfoin (GB) (sire of Rock Sand, the maternal grandsire of Man o’ War), Sundridge (GB) (out of a sister to Sainfoin), and Amphora (GB) (sister to Sundridge), all combined with St. Simon and a full sister. While these strains are now universal in the population, it is concentrations of them which seem to be the key. One such concentration is found in Polynesian.

Of course, Polynesian sired Native Dancer, who is paternal grandsire of Mr. Prospector and maternal grandsire of Northern Dancer. Northern Prospect has those strains particularly close up, since he is by Mr. Prospector out of a Northern Dancer mare. When we are relying on hitting concentrations of strains in the background of the pedigree, the results tend to be rather more erratic than when it is possible to inbreed around the fourth and fifth generation—but, as Siphon’s best runners have shown, when the connections do work the results can be very good indeed.

Siphon is now standing his second season at Pin Oak Lane Farm in Pennsylvania for a $5,000 fee, and–needless to say–he looks to be a very good value for any Mr.Prospector-line mares in the region. There are also some well-bred Siphon mares out there, and I would recommend breeding them back to Mr. Prospector line stallions (in fact, I have a client with a Siphon mare in foal to El Corredor, a sire inbred to Mr. Prospector).

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