Rich Repeat

The richest race of the weekend was actually not one of the graded events, but was the $1,000,000 Charles Town Classic. Last year local hero, Researcher, had defeated the formidable Commentator to take the prize, and he once again turned back the shippers to score by 1¾ lengths. Researcher (TrueNicks A) is by the Two Punch stallion, Two Smart, out of a mare by Apalachee. His second dam is by Red Ryder (brother to Mr. Prospector), so he has the siblings 3 x 3 at the top and bottom of the pedigree, with a 5 x 4 cross of Apalachee’s broodmare sire, Nantallah (through two noted producers, Lady Dulcinea and Horse of the Year Moccasin).
The other big U.S. stakes for older horses included the San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap, once one of America’s great races (previous winners include Seabiscuit, Noor, Intent, Olden Times, Cougar II, Exceller, John Henry and Kotashaan), but now as a 1¾ mile turf marathon, a kiss of death to a commercial sire prospect, and relegated to a grade II event worth $150,000; the Ben Ali Handicap (gr. III) and the Whimsical Stakes (gr. III) at Woodbine. The San Juan Capistrano Invitational went to Bourbon Bay, whose sire, Sligo Bay (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO) , is a Sadler’s Wells horse, who is three-quarters related to the excellent European stallion, Singspiel. He’s now in Canada, and if you’re happy to have a horse that is going to run over a distance of ground, is more than useful in his region having sired graded winners in each of his first three crops.

Another solid value-for-money horse, E Dubai (TrueNicks,SRO) , was represented by the Ben Ali Handicap (gr. III) winner, a gelding with the “Boy Named Sue” label, Dubious Miss. Out a mare by Mountain Cat (daughters starting to do well under Mr. Prospector in general), Dubious Miss (TrueNicks A++) is inbred 2 x 5 to Mr. Prospector. E Dubai’s first year libido problems – which he’s overcome – caused a stutter step that he might not recover from commercially, but he’s very useful in his price-range with 15 stakes winners, seven graded, and he’s the sort of horse that might just pop up with a really good one at any moment.
The Whimsical went to Proud Heiress (TrueNicks A++), who is by Broken Vow (TrueNicks,SRO) out of a mare by Dr. Cater. Proud Heiress is one of four stakes winners by Unbridled and his sons with Dr. Carter mares, the best being grade I winner Octave. It’s not surprising to see Dr. Carter do well with this cross, as he’s by Caro out of a half-sister to In Reality, both strains that have been excellent with Unbridled/Fappiano (in fact In Reality is actually in Unbridled’s pedigree). Proud Heiress also has Raise a Native  5 x 3 at the top and bottom of the pedigree.

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