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Keep On Rolling

Giant's Causeway (TrueNicks,SRO) celebrated his first Leading Sire crown in appropriate fashion, notching up his twenty-third stakes winner of the year when Tiger’s Rock captured the Gallant Fox Handicap at Aqueduct on December 31.
 
This was the first stakes win for the three-year-old, who is out of the Afleet mare, Call Me Fleet (TrueNicks rated A). What’s particularly interesting about this pedigree, however, is that Call Me Fleet is out of Ocean’s Answer, who is by a son of Northern Dancer out of South Ocean. If that pedigree line sounds familiar, it’s because Giant’s Causeway’s grandsire, Storm Bird, is by Northern Dancer out of South Ocean, so has the three-parts-brother and sister, Storm Bird/Ocean’s Answer 3 x 2.
 
Tiger’s Rock is not the first stakes winner with this type of pattern, nor even the first this year. In October, Wertheimer et Frere’s extremely promising two-year-old filly, Saying concluded her first campaign with a win in the Prix Herod at Longchamp. Select from a Pedigree Consultants recommended mating, she is out of the Cheveley Park Stakes (gr. I) heroine Pas de Reponse. A daughter of Danzig, Pas de Reponse is half-sister to three other stakes winners, including the French 2,000 Guineas (gr. I) winner, Green Tune. Saying’s granddam, Soundings, is by Mr. Prospector out of Ocean’s Answer (so is three-parts-sister to the dam of Tiger’s Rock), and she has Storm Bird/Ocean’s Answer 3 x 3.
 
The sensational start made by Medaglia d'Oro (TrueNicks,SRO), had a slightly quirky aspect in that his first 11 stakes winners were females. Obviously, it was early to judge, but the label “filly sire” was at least being written, even if it hadn’t been stamped and mailed. However, that thought has had go under serious revision since the late summer.
 
Firstly, his three-year-old son, Al Khali, who had started his career in Peru, returned to win the Saranac Stakes (gr. III) at Saratoga. Then 2010 colt classic prospects began to emerge from his second crop. In Europe, Passion For Gold, ran away with the Criterium de Saint-Cloud (gr. I) by six lengths, while Al Zir, very much regarded as a work in progress, took third in the Racing Post Trophy (gr. I) More recently, on January 2 to be precise, Laus Deo emerged as a U.S. Triple Crown prospect by leading throughout to claim the Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct.
 
Laus Deo has an interesting pedigree pattern, and one which raises no doubts about his potential stamina. Rate A++ by TrueNicks, he is out of Shebane, a French stakes winner by Alysheba. This gives linebreeding to the sister and brother Thong (ancestress of Medaglia d’Oro’s grandsire, Sadler’s Wells) and Lt. Stevens (broodmare sire of Alysheba). His next three dams are by Seattle Slew, Vaguely Noble and Northern Dancer, and he is from the same family as Irish Derby (gr. I) victor Sir Harry Lewis, and Japanese Oaks captress Chokai Carol.
 

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