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Victor Victorious

Although he was relatively sparingly-raced – 11 starts in four seasons – and carefully-managed, both form book and speed-figures suggest that Ghostzapper (TrueNicks,SRO) is worthy of a place alongside the all-time greats. Indeed, a record that includes wins in the 6½ furlong Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I); the seven furlong Tom Fool Handicap (gr. II, in 1:20.42); the one mile Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I); the nine furlong Woodward Stakes (gr. I); and ten furlong Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), which he took by three lengths in a new track record, demonstrates a versatility that harkens back to an earlier era.
 
Such brilliance, however, brings with it great expectations, and swift condemnation if they are not met, and Ghostzapper has been as good an illustration as one might wish to find. In retrospect, retiring at a fee of $200,000 was never going to help him build momentum, and there never was quite the buzz about his young stock one might have expected. So, when he ended 2009 in twenty-first place on the Freshman Sire table, with just eight winners and one minor stakes winner, in many minds it was game over.
 
While the possibility of Ghostzapper (by Deputy Minister's late bloomer Awesome Again (TrueNicks,SRO)) coming up with a major winner as his runners matured was not one that could be dismissed, few would have thought that Saturday's Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) would provide the occasion. His representative there, Stately Victor, did win a maiden at Saratoga, but was coming off five consecutive unplaced efforts.
 
Stately Victor is out of the Queen Elizabeth II Invitational Stakes (gr. I) victress Collect the Cash. She is a daughter of the Roberto stallion Dynaformer (TrueNicks,SRO) , a horse who is emerging as a very promising broodmare sire. We’ve never been particularly keen on the Deputy Minister/Roberto cross, so we were very surprised to find that Stately Victor is TrueNicks rated A++. This discrepancy between perception and reality is explained by some notably successful sub-versions.

The first is the cross of Deputy Minister line stallions, specifically with Dynaformer mares, that has produced seven stakes winners from 43 starters (16% stakes winners to starters). In addition to Stately Victor, they include a previous grade I winner, Spring At Last (TrueNicks,SRO) . He is a son of Silver Deputy, a Deputy Minister horse who sired seven stakes winners out of mares by sons of Roberto, three out of mares by Dynaformer and three out of mares by Silver Hawk, including the sometimes brilliant Badge of Silver (TrueNicks,SRO. Overall, the cross of sons of Deputy Minister (Ghostzapper is a grandson of course) with mares by sons of Roberto produced 21 stakes winners, but 11 of those feature Silver Deputy and or Dynaformer, and 13 Silver Deputy and or Silver Hawk. As far as Silver Deputy is concerned it might be relevant that he is out of a mare by Mr. Prospector (dam a genetic relative to the dam of Roberto) and that his second dam is by Road At Sea (reverse cross to Roberto).
 
As far as Ghostzapper is concerned there are a couple points to consider. One is that his dam is by Relaunch, who has enjoyed some success under Roberto, most notably grade I winner Starrer, a daughter of Dynaformer. Another point to note is that Stately Victor is inbred 4 x 4 to Relaunch’s sire, In Reality, himself a very inbred horse. We’ve speculated that one challenge that Ghostzapper faces as a stallion, is that he is an outcrossed son of a relatively outcrossed sire, which can mean that important genes are widely dissapate through the genome. Is it significant that his first grade I winner is inbred to the most inbred horse in the pedigree?

Before we leave Stately Victor we’ll also note that his third dam is by Dr. Fager (by In Reality’s broodmare sire, Rough’n Tumble), and is a half-sister to the granddam of Deputy Minister.

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