Proven Stallions Keep On Proving

In the past weekend's graded races for the older horse division, established sires prevailed.

The Strub Stakes (gr. II) went to Cowboy Cal (Giant's Causeway - Texas Tammy, by Seeking the Gold). Rated A by TrueNicks, Cowboy Cal is the fourth stakes winner by Giant's Causeway (TrueNicks,SRO) out of a mare by Seeking the Gold, and is from the immediate family of Behrens and Commentator. Incidentally, we have to note that Giant's Causeway is turning into an absolute killer as a sire of all-weather runners.

Giant's Causeway's stud companion and fellow Storm Cat-line sire Johannesburg (TrueNicks,SRO) was represented by new stakes winner, and a graded one at that, when Diamond Tycoon (Johannesburg - Palacoona, by Last Tycoon) took the Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. III). Five-year-old Diamond Tycoon is the 14th stakes winners from Johannesburg's first crop (the crop did number 144 foals, but 10% stakes winners to foals is a pretty incredible strike rate for a crop of that size). Considering Johannesburg was a spectacular 2-year-old, it's also interesting to note how many of these are not only training on, but improving with age. We note that he's got two crops sired at $65,000 to come, and he might just be a very serious sire in the making.

Unbridled's Song (TrueNicks,SRO) is going from strength to strength at the moment (remember, he has Midshipman and Old Fashioned waiting to embark on the Classic trail). He had an impressive winner from his older horses when Honest Man (Unbridled's Song - Oath, by Known Fact) took the Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) at Fair Grounds by 4 1/4 lengths, in a fast time. Rated A+ by TrueNicks, Honest Man is a product of the Unbridled's Song/In Reality cross that has now produced stakes winners for four generations of the Fappiano sire line. Inbred 5 x 3 to Mr. Prospector, Honest Man is out of a grade I-winning half-sister to 2-year-old champion War Pass, and will surely soon be making his way onto the short lists of stallion managers looking towards the 2010 breeding season.

Finally, the San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) saw two of the West Coast's top older horses, Well Armed and Tiago, defeated by 8-year-old Argentine-bred Magnum. He is by El Compinche out of Merrymaker by Rainbow Corner. This pedigree line may not ring a lot of bells in the U.S., but it has strong Northern Hemisphere connections. El Compinche was one of the first good sons of Southern Halo (best-known here as sire of More Than Ready), and has been a successful sire in Argentina. Rainbow Corner was a European-raced son of Rainbow Quest (by Blushing Groom). El Compinche has also sired grade I winner Medal of Honor out of the dam of Magnum, but overall, Southern Halo/Blushing Groom has been an underperforming cross. Here, it may be that the nick is with Magnum's family. A half-sister to his dam has produced grade I winners Masterpiece (now at stud in Australia) and Manpower, and graded winner Medal Play, to Southern Halo. Oddly enough, My Light, a Southern Halo half-sister to the dam of Magnum, is dam of My Indy, the son of Indygo Shiner who is making such a name for himself in Dubai right now. So this is certainly one of the families of the moment!

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