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Under a Cloud

With the weekend Kentucky Derby trials -- the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I), Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), and Illinois Derby (gr. II) -- going to horses (I Want Revenge, Pioneerof the Nile, and Musket Man, respectively) that had captured graded stakes on their previous start, the most interesting new 3-year-old stakes winner was the filly Hooh Why. The much-traveled Florida-bred had finished third, just a head behind Stardom Bound in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I), and this time had the champion back in third as she held off the improving Dynaformer filly Gozzip Girl to take the Ashland Stakes (gr. I).

Hooh Why is by the 12-year-old Mr. Prospector stallion Cloud Hopping. Until the weekend, he had sired just one stakes winner, Hooh Why's brother and Canadian listed scorer Rumbling Cloud. However, the day after Hooh Why's victory, Cloud Hopping's 5-year-old son Burbon Road won the Manor Downs Distance Cup, so the sire trebled his stakes winning total over one weekend!

Cloud Hopping (who was last advertised in the U.S. as standing at Lambholm South in Reddick, Fla., but is apparently now in Uruguay) ran just three times, all in England, winning a 10-furlong maiden. He does own a pretty impressive pedigree, however, as he is half-brother to multiple grade I winner and multimillionaire Skimming, both out of the multiple graded stakes winner Skimble. He's actually been quite useful relative to opportunity, with 44 winners from 66 starters.

Hooh Why (rated B+ by TrueNicks) is out of Magic Merger, a daughter of the Private Account sire  Corporate Report. Magic Merger is inbred 3 x 4 to Damascus at the top and bottom of the pedigree, as her third dam is the Damascus mare Sunny Dame. Sunny Dame is also dam of graded winner Sultry Sun, in turn dam of grade I winners Sultry Song and Solar Splendor, and of another Mr. Prospector horse who has a grade I winner to his credit, Strategic Mission, sire of Showing Up).

Incidentally, while Stardom Bound stumbled in her bid to win her sixth successive grade one event, the other monster among the three-year-old filly ranks, Rachel Alexandra (TrueNicks rated A++), romped by nearly nine lengths in the Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park. Shes one of two stakes winners by her sire, Medaglia dOro out of mares by the Forty Niner horse, Roar.

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