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Winslow Homer-Variation on a Theme

Winslow Homer has been a “talking horse” ever since his three lengths maiden win at Saratoga in August and he came through loud and clear in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) on Saturday.
 
Winslow Homer is the first foal of his dam, Summer Raven, winner of the Tempted Stakes (gr. III) at two. A daughter of Summer Squall, Summer Raven is out of Rahy Rose, a Rahy half-sister to the talented and versatile multiple grade I winner Wild Rush. The granddam is the Selene Stakes winner, Rose Park (by Plugged Nickle out of the Frizette Stakes (gr. I) third, Hardship).
 
Summer Raven – one of the better runners by her sire – has a complex and intriguing pedigree pattern. She has the three-parts-sisters Lassie Dear (granddam of Summer Squall) and Toll Booth (dam of Plugged Nickle) 3 x 4. She also has three crosses of Somethingroyal, two through Sir Gaylord (with Lassie Dear being a reverse Tom Fool/Sir Gaylord cross and Drone, sire of the third dam of Summer Raven).
 
As far as Winslow Homer is concerned, what intrigues us is that he is something of a variation on a theme. It’s no secret that Unbridled's Song (TrueNicks,SRO) has a very strong affinity for Storm Cat mares (a pair of grade I winners, etc.). Of course, Summer Raven’s sire, Summer Squall, is a product of the same Storm Bird/Secretariat cross as Storm Cat, so this is something of a variation on a theme. It’s looking like quite a good one too, as Unbridled sons Empire Maker (TrueNicks,SRO) and Spanish Steps (unraced brother to Unbridled’s Song) also have stakes winners out of Summer Squall mares (the cross rates A++ on TrueNicks). For good measure, Unbridled’s Song also has grade I winner Thorn Song, whose dam is by Storm Bird out of a Secretariat mare.
 
The other graded Derby trial on Saturday, the LeComte Stakes (gr. III), went Florida-bred Ron the Greek, who had won his first two starts – at Hoosier Park and Delta Downs – before finishing fast to take fourth in the Springboard Stakes at Remington Park. Ron the Greek is from the third crop of his sire, Full Mandate (TrueNicks,SRO), who stands at Hartley/DeRenzo, Walmac South in Florida, and is advertised as standing for just $2,500 for 2010. By A.P. Indy (TrueNicks,SRO) out of the graded I winning Deputy Minister mare, Clear Mandate, Full Mandate sired 56 winners in his first crop, and looked off to a promising start when a son, Thoroughly, took one of the early two-year-old black-type events in California, the Willard L. Proctor Stakes. He has had 42 winners from 79 foals in his second crop (18 two-year-old winners), but no stakes scorers.
 
Despite his relatively modest background, Ron the Greek (TrueNicks A+) has a connection to a horse who distinguished himself on the Triple Crown trail last year. His dam, the Fortunate Prospect mare, Flambe’, is a sister to stakes placed Fortesque, dam of Musket Man (by Yonaguska (TrueNicks,SRO)), who took the Illinois Derby (gr. II) and Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III), before finishing third in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I). The granddam, Flambeau, is by Dixieland Band, and is from the Prayer Bell family (her other descendents include Henrythenavigator, Mujahid, Tap Dance, Saffron Walden, Insight, Listen, and Silver Music).

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