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Hearts on Fire

Since he was our Owner-Breeder International (a publication now incorporated into The Blood-Horse MarketWatch) pick for the Leading Freshman Sire title, we're naturally thrilled with the start made by Lion Heart. The son of Tale of the Cat already has nine winners, two of them stakes winners. He really upped the tempo at the weekend with Azul Leon taking his record to two-for-two with a win in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III); a second for Lyin' Heart - already a stakes winner - in the Bashford Manor Stakes (gr. III), and a new winner in the shape of Woodbine scorer Bear's Rocket.

Both of Lion Heart's stakes winners have rather interesting pedigrees. Azul Leon comes from a mating recommendation we made for owner/breeding Joseph LaCombe. The second foal of his dam, the Cure the Blues mare Quick Blue, Lion Heart is rated A++ by TrueNicks. The cross of a Storm Cat-line stallion over a Cure the Blues mare brings together Secretariat and his three-parts-sister Speedwell (granddam of Cure the Blues). Lion Heart and Quick Blue are actually reverse Northern Dancer/Hail to Reason crosses, and the Northern Dancer comes through the somewhat similarly-bred Storm Bird and Night Shift.

Lyin' Heart - rated A by TrueNicks - is out of a mare by Green Dancer, and is the third stakes winner bred on a Tale of the Cat/Nijinsky II cross, that gives a double of Nijinsky II, combined with the similarly-bred Storm Bird. We can also note here that both Tale of the Cat and Lyin' Heart's dam, Rumba Punch, are Northern Dancer/Mr. Prospector crosses.

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