Pedigree Nicks Weekend Roundup

This time last year, Court Vision had firmly established himself as one of the leading hopefuls for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) after adding the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) to an earlier victory in the Iroquois Stakes (gr. III). The Derby dream didn't pan out, but Court Vision has now proven himself one of the country's top turf 3-year-olds, and at the weekend gained his first grade I win with a tally in the Hollywood Derby.

Court Vision is rated a solid B by TrueNicks on the basis of the cross of Gulch over mares by Storm Bird. This must be one of the most tested sire/broodmare sire nicks of recent times, as it has so far yielded 46 starters, six of which are stakes winners, with Court Vision and Thunder Gulch scoring at the highest level, and Listen Here and Fast Decision both taking graded stakes.

Court Vision is a brother to Kipling (sire of 2007 NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I) hero Kip Deville) and Hong Kong graded winner Garcia Marquez, and a half-brother to stakes-winning and grade I-placed Lord Snowdon (by Seeking the Gold, the same Mr. Prospector line as Gulch). His dam, Weekend Storm, never ran, but she is a sister to Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner and classic sire Summer Squall, and half-sister to A.P. Indy (TrueNicks,SRO).

Of course there are a number of other important stallions that descend from Court Vision's fourth dam, Gay Missile, among them, the Roberto horse Al Mufti, a half-brother to Court Vision's second dam, Weekend Surprise. Al Mufti made his name as a champion sire in South Africa, and that country has an emerging sire standout with links to Court Vision. He is Parade Leader, whose brother Parade Ground (TrueNicks,SRO) stands in the U.S. under the banner of Lane's End Texas (having begun his career in 2000 at the farm's Kentucky location). Parade Ground was formally a stallion-barn mate of Court Vision's sire, Gulch, and he and Parade Leader are by Lane's End stalwart Kingmambo (TrueNicks,SRO) .

Parade Leader -- whose South African home is Lammerskraal Stud, where frequent leading sire Western Winter also stands -- was represented by Rudra (SAF) and Senor Versace (SAF), a duo from his first crop who took first and third in the Steinhoff International Summer Cup (SAf-I). The Mike de Kock-trained winner scored with any amount in hand, and stamped himself as one of the leading contenders for next year's renewal of South Africa's top race, the Durban July (SAf-I).

Parade Leader is out of the His Majesty mare Battle Creek Girl (he's inbred 5 x 2 to the brothers Graustark/His Majesty). Battle Creek Girl's granddam, Soaring, is ancestress of several other notable sires including Saint Ballado, Devil's Bag, Rahy, Singspiel (IRE), and earlier South African notable Rakeen. In addition, she is also bred on an identical pattern to the granddam of Japanese champion 2-year-old Grass Wonder -- both are by His Majesty and out of daughters of Soaring.

Grass Wonder has made a useful start to his stud career, and his record was dramatically improved at the weekend when his son Screen Hero (JPN) defeated three Japan Derby winners to upset the Japan Cup (Jpn-I). Rated A+ by TrueNicks, Screen Hero is out of the Sunday Silence mare Running Heroine (JPN). Grass Wonder has been bred extensively to Sunday Silence mares, but the cross has produced well above opportunity results, with Screen Hero being joined by black type winners Sakura Mega Wonder (JPN) and Seiun Wonder (JPN). Screen Hero and Sakura Mega Wonder have second dams by Northern Taste, so both their sire and their dam are Hail to Reason/Northern Dancer crosses. Northern Taste adds another element, as he is inbred 3 x 2 to Lady Angela, the dam of Northern Dancer's sire, Nearctic.

Like his sire, Halo, before him, Sunday Silence is turning out to be an effective broodmare sire, and he had another grade I winner in that role when the Stewards awarded the Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile (gr. I) to Tale of Ekati, who had crossed the line a nose behind the Macho Uno (TrueNicks,SRO) colt Harlem Rocker. A son of Tale of the Cat (TrueNicks,SRO) -- who's enjoying a very good year in 2008 -- Tale of Ekati is out of Silence Beauty (JPN), who is by Sunday Silence out of Maplejinsky, a daughter of champion sprinter Gold Beauty. Thus, both the sire and the second dam are by Northern Dancer-line stallions (through the similarly-bred Storm Bird and Nijinsky II) out of Mr. Prospector-line mares. Tale of Ekati also has a double of Nijinsky II, which seems to work well for Tale of the Cat. He is rated A+ by TrueNicks, and this reflects the success that Tale of the Cat has enjoyed with a wide range of branches of the Hail to Reason line, among them Halo, Roberto, Mr. Leader, and Stop the Music.

Another horse enjoying an exceptional 2008 is Unbridled's Song (TrueNicks,SRO) . Already represented by Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) victor Midshipman, he had another very impressive juvenile stakes scorer on Saturday when Old Fashioned waltzed away with the Remsen Stakes (gr. II). Old Fashioned -- rated A++ by TrueNicks -- is out of the graded stakes-winning and multiple grade I-placed Meadowlake mare Collect Call (a close relative to the dam of French Deputy, who in turn is broodmare sire of the speedy Songster, who's by Unbridled's Song's son Songandaprayer (TrueNicks,SRO) ). Old Fashioned is the only starter for Unbridled's Song out of a Meadowlake mare, but from only two runners out of mares by that horse's sire, Hold Your Peace, he has graded winner Unbridled Energy and stakes-placed Song Dancer. Hold Your Peace's grandsire, Prince John, has been a very positive influence for Unbridled's Song, perhaps because he's bred on similar lines to Prince Blessed, the sire of Unbridled's Song's third dam. Hold Your Peace is out of a mare by Eight Thirty, a horse inbred to Rock Sand and Fairy Gold (two of the grandparents of Man o' War) and this must be good with Unbridled's Song's triple of War Relic (closely inbred to the same two horses). Meadowlake adds inbreeding to Raise a Native, Unbridled's Song's male-line ancestor.

On the same afternoon that Old Fashioned won the Remsen, Unbridled's Song's daughter Miss Dolce hammered a field of 2-year-old maidens going 6 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park in her first start. Rated A+ by TrueNicks, Miss Dolce is out of stakes winner Misty Sixes (by Summer Squall), and so bred on a cross that echoes the hugely successful Unbridled's Song/Storm Bird nick. Her granddam, graded stakes winner Double Sixes, combines Mr. Prospector and War Relic, as does Unbridled's Song's sire, Unbridled.

Another horse that is flying with his juveniles is Sky Mesa. On Saturday, Beethoven (TrueNicks A+) took the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) to become the fourth 2-year-old stakes winner from his sire's second crop. All four of Sky Mesa's 2008 2-year-old winners are out of Mr. Prospector-line mares, and so inbred to Mr. Prospector (who is responsible for the dam of Sky Mesa's own sire, Pulpit). As an aside we can note that there is another second-crop stallion whose own sire is out of a Mr. Prospector daughter, and who has done well with Mr. Prospector lines: Posse, the leading freshman sire of 2007. Beethoven is out of a mare by Carson City, who provides a particularly notable connection to Preach, the dam of Pulpit (both are by Mr. Prospector with a second dam by Nijinsky II).

Finally, we'll give a call to Medaglia d'Oro (TrueNicks,SRO) , who notched his fourth freshman juvenile stakes winner -- and second graded winner -- when his daughter Rachel Alexandra took the Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II). Rachel Alexandra (rated B by TrueNicks) is out of a mare by Roar. He is a Mr. Prospector-line horse (by Forty Niner) and we can note that Medaglia d'Oro's first four stakes winners are out of mares by broodmare sires from four different sire lines, the others being Settlement Day (Buckpasser), Capote (Seattle Slew), and Dehere (Deputy Minister). There are some other interesting things going on in the pedigree of Rachel Alexandra. The dam of her grandsire, El Prado (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO) , is the mare Lady Capulet, who is by a son of Sir Gaylord (by Turn-to), with a dam by Tom Fool. Rachel Alexandra's granddam is by Cure the Blues, who is by Stop the Music (by a son of Turn-to out of a Tom Fool mare). Her third dam is by Lord Gaylord, who is by Sir Gaylord out of a mare by Ambiorix (half-brother to the dam of Turn-to). This also gives a double of Sir Gaylord (Turn-to - Somethingroyal) combined with Cure the Blues (by a grandson of Turn-to with a second dam who is half-sister to Somethingroyal). Hope they get round to trying Rachel Alexandra with stallions from the lines of A.P. Indy- and Gone West (TrueNicks,SRO). (For you pedigree geeks: have a look at her with Elusive Quality (TrueNicks,SRO) ).




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