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A Plan Comes Together

The beautifully-bred Battle Plan has taken a while to show that he has talent to match his pedigree. The five-year-old only ran twice before this year, having been sidelined after breaking his maiden in the January of his three-year-old season. Returning from that extended break, he kicked off the year with a pair of allowance wins at Gulfstream Park, and at the weekend he showed he will might be a force to reckon with at the highest level this year, leading throughout for a comfortable victory in the New Orelans Handicap (gr. II).
 
Battle Plan is from the first crop of Empire Maker (TrueNicks,SRO), and is the tenth stakes winner from that crop, which also includes grade one winners Mushka, Country Start and Icon Project, and multiple graded winner Acoma. His second crop includes multiple grade one winning and classic placed Pioneerof the Nile, and graded winner Charity Belle. Battle Plan is out of the recently-deceased Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Flanders, also dam of Surfside, who garnerned an Eclipse Award as the best Three-Year-Old Filly her generation. The second dam, Starlet Storm, is sister to English group winning filly Storm Star, who is by Storm Bird out of Secretariat’s graded winning daughter, Cinegita, and so bred on the same Storm Bird/Secretariat cross as Storm Cat.
 
Since Flanders is by Seeking the Gold, Battle Plan is a Mr. Prospector/Mr. Prospector cross. There are only two stakes winners on the Fappiano/Seeking the Gold version (as here), and both – Mushka and Battle Plan – are from the eight starters by Empire Maker out of Seeking the Gold mares. Perhaps in this instance, the cross is assisted by the double of Seeking the Gold’s broodmare sire, Buckpasser, in the pedigree of Empire Maker. In this particular case, both Empire Maker and Flanders are also Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer crosses.
 
Running through the weekend results, we were a little surprised to see the pedigree of the Pan American Handicap (gr. III) winner, Bearpath, who is by Dynaformer (TrueNicks,SRO) out of an Unbridled's Song (TrueNicks,SRO) mare (just conjure a quick mental image of this 17.0 hh pair to understand why). There has actually been very little Roberto/Unbridled, although the strike-rate is now quite respectable with two graded winners from five starters, and Bearpath is TrueNicks rated A++. By the way, the second dam, stakes winner D’Youville Nurse, is by Dr. Fager’s son, Dr. Blum, who appears in 12 foals and four stakes winners by Dynaformer, a 33% stakes producing strike-rate.
 
One of the shrewdest breeders we know is Bill Murphy, who has produced a string of stakes winners from his Elangeni Farm in Ocala, Florida. The latest is Speak Easy Gal (a Pedigree Consultants recommended mating), who led throughout to take 1½ mile Orchid Handicap (gr. II). Speak Easy Gal is by West Acre, an unraced Forty Niner son who is a three-parts-brother to grade one winner Preach (dam of Pulpit) and to Yarn (dam of Tale of the Cat). The first black-type winner in the first two generations of the pedigree, Speak Easy Gal (TrueNicks A+) is out of the Victory Speech (by Deputy Minister) mare, Spoken For. The cross with mares by Deputy Minister and his sons has now supplied two stakes winners from 20 starters, Speak Easy Gal being preceded by Ivanavinalot, a graded winner of nearly $650,000. Speak Easy Gal also has the genetic relatives Mr. Prospector and Alydar 3 x 4.

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