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Marlang Reminds Not to Underestimate a Langfuhr

Marlang had not won a race since capturing the Saranac Stakes (gr. III) in August, 2008, but the now five-year-old returned to the winner’s circle at the weekend leading throughout to take the Sunset Handicap (gr. III). Marlang is by Langfuhr (TrueNicks,SRO), and he’s not the first son of his sire we recall pulling a similar trick. Last year, the then seven-year-old Interpatation ended a string of 17 consecutive defeats stretching back nearly two years, to win the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes (gr. I) over none other than eventual Champion Turf Horse and Older Male Gio Ponti.

All of this serves to remind us that, while he may not have commercial flash, Langfuhr does sire tough, durable, racehorses. Eight of his offspring have earned over a $1,000,000, including Champion Older Horse Lawyer Ron; Canadian Champions Wando and Mobil; Interpatation; Jambalaya, another staying turf horse; and the Beldame Stakes (gr. I) and Gazelle Handicap (gr. I) victress Imperial Gesture.

Langfuhr has been the Leading Sire by Individual winners three times, and from his first 11 crops (three-year-olds of 2010 and upwards) has 46 stakes winners, 14 graded, and 42 stakes placed horses. Langfuhr is also promising to develop into a useful broodmare sire, and his daughters have so far produced eight stakes winners, including Champion Three-Year-Old Filly Proud Spell, by Proud Citizen (TrueNicks,SRO); Australian grade II winner Augusta Proud, by More Than Ready (TrueNicks,SRO); and 2010 classic competitor Uptowncharlybrown, by Limehouse (TrueNicks,SRO), and like Proud Spell, from the Gone West line.

What was a very ‘turfy’ weekend was also notable for the assault on turf grass events by European-breds from the Green Desert branch of Langfuhr’s sire, Danzig. There was a double for Cape Cross – who also had the Grand Prix de Paris (gr. I) winner Behkabad - early in the week. He tallied with Mekong Melody (TrueNicks A++) in the Dance Smartly Stakes (gr. II) and Treat Gently (TrueNicks A+) in the Robert G. Dick Memorial (gr. III). Mekong Melody is out of a Niniski (by Nijinsky II) mare who is a sister to the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. I) victor, Louis Cyphre. Both Green Desert and Mekong Melody’s dam combined Northern Dancer and Never Bend. Meanwhile, Treat Gently is out of a mare by In the Wings (by Sadler’s Wells), who combines Northern Dancer with Never Bend and his half brother Bold Reason. Her granddam is foundation mare Kerali, ancestress of Heat Haze (by Green Desert), Intercontinental, Champs Elysees, Banks Hill, Dansili (all out of Hasili) and Leroidesanimaux. Meanwhile, Tuscan Evening (TrueNicks A++) recorded her sixth straight graded win of the year by taking the Modesty Handicap (gr. III) at Arlington Park. She’s by Oasis Dream, out of a mare by Suave Dancer (by Green Dancer, by Nijinsky II) and bred on a broadly similar cross to Mekong Melody (Green Dancer/Nijinsky II, which has produced at least 26 stakes winners to date).

Another major weekend winner was Malibu Moon (TrueNicks,SRO), whose daughters seem unstoppable at the moment. He took first and third in the $750,000 Delaware Handicap (gr. II) with Life At Ten (TrueNicks A) and Funny Moon, and then a continent away, added the A Gleam Handicap (gr. II) courtesy of Sweet August Moon. Life At Ten is out of a Rahy mare, and Malibu Moon has two graded winners out of mares from the male line of Blushing Groom, the sire of Rahy. Generally speaking, A.P. Indy (TrueNicks,SRO) (sire of Malibu Moon), and for that matter, his sire, Seattle Slew, has not crossed particularly well over Blushing Groom, but Malibu Moon, who has Green Dancer (by Blushing Groom’s frequent traveling companion Nijinsky II) as sire of his second dam, is obviously something of an exception. Interestingly enough the only other grade I winner on the A.P. Indy/Blushing Groom cross besides Life At Ten is Rutherienne, who is by Pulpit (TrueNicks,SRO) (who also has Nijinsky II in his dam) out of a mare by Rahy. Nijinsky II is also a factor in the pedigree of Sweet August Moon, who is out of Silent Academy, who is by Nijinsky II son Royal Academy out of graded winner Silent Turn (by Silent Cal, from the Prince John line). This is one of at least 13 stakes winners with Nijinsky II inbreeding, where Royal Academy is the strain in the dam. It also reinforces our opinion that Malibu Moon very much throws to the distaff side of his pedigree.

City Zip (TrueNicks,SRO) also had a first and third in a weekend graded stakes. The son of Carson City has turned into a marvelous value for money racehorse sire (nine stakes winners, six graded, this year), but you wouldn’t have selected him as a natural sire of middle-distance turf horses. Nonetheless, he has the first and third in the 9 ½ furlong American Derby (gr. II) on Saturday, with Workin For Hops (A++) taking major honors, with Gleam of Hope (grade III winner earlier this year) getting third. For good measure, City Zip is also sire of three-year-old filly City to City, winner of the Providencia Stakes (gr. II) over nine furlongs on the grass earlier this year.

Before leaving our weekend doubles, we’ll also give a nod to second crop sire Medallist (TrueNicks,SRO), by Touch Gold (TrueNicks,SRO) , who now stands in Pennsylvania. He had the New York Derby winner, Ibboyee (dam by Pentelicus, and TrueNicks rated A+), and from his second crop, Glory Game (dam by the A.P. Indy horse Crowd Pleaser, and rated A++) who upset the Colin Stakes at Woodbine.

He’s got classic form on dirt, with a Kentucky Derby (gr. I) third, but Paddy O’Prado (TrueNicks A++) is now looking like the leader of the three-year-old turf division following his decisive win over graded scorers Interactif and Krypton in the Virginia Derby (gr. II). By El Prado, out of the West Coast grade II winner Fun House (Prized half sister to grade II winning speedster Early Flyer), Paddy O’Prado is from the same Winchell-developed family as Olympio, Wild Wonder, Cuvee, Will He Shine (TrueNicks,SRO), Pyro, and War Echo.

In the Virginia Oaks (gr. III) the progressive Check the Label (TrueNicks A++), took her third straight graded stakes. She is out of a mare by Mazel Trick, and is the second stakes winner by Stormin Fever (TrueNicks,SRO) out of a Phone Trick line mare. Storm Cat did well with mares carrying Damascus, who went back in male line to Sun Again (by a son of Teddy, and tail female to the mare The Apple). Stormin Fever doesn’t have Damascus, but does go back in tail female line to Escutcheon, who is by a son of Teddy, and going back to The Apple through her dam, Affection (granddam of Sun Again). Enter Phone Trick, who is out of Last Wave, a mare by Finnegan (dam by Bull Lea, by a son of Teddy – Bull Dog, the brother to Sir Gallahad III, sire of Escutcheon – going back to The Apple) and who goes back to The Apple herself (she is 3 x 4 to The Apple’s granddaughter Colonial). Finally, in Mazel Trick, we have Dewan, whose dam, Sunshine Nell, is by Sun Again (Teddy sire line, The Apple female line), and is half sister to the dam of Finnegan (back to The Apple again). For those who want to really find something out, dig back into the pedigree of Crimson Satan, and the mare Papalona. She has inbreeding to a stallion called St. Mirin (the great English jockey Fred Archer shot himself while in a fever caused by wasting down to the weight to ride him in the Cambridgeshire Handicap). Compare him to The Apple.

For all his fan appeal, Skip Away, a horse with an “off” pedigree, and what always struck us as a very energy-consuming way of going, was always going to struggle as a sire. However, the gallant gray, who passed from a heart attack a few weeks ago, has left a smart one in Skipshot, who ran down hot favorite Sydney’s Candy, in the dying strides of the Swaps Stakes (gr. II). Out of the stakes winning Sunny’s Halo mare Heavenly Note, Skipshot is a brother to the Canadian grade II winner, Skip Code.

Skipshot is an extended version of a cross that we also thought on paper should work well, but generally proved disappointing in reality, that of Damascus and Halo. Damascus was inbred to the three-quarters relatives By Jimminy (by Pharamond II out of a mare by Blue Larkspur) and Blade of Time (by Sickle – brother to Pharamond II – out of a mare by Blue Larkspur), and his dam was by My Babu. Halo was a grandson of Turn-to (dam a half sister to the dam of My Babu), out of a mare by Cosmic Bomb (by Pharamond II out of a Blue Larkspur mare, so three-quarters related to By Jimminy and Blade of Time). Disappointing as the cross was close up in pedigrees, it might be have been doing something for Skip Away who has sired only 11 starters out of mares by Halo and his sons, for three stakes winners (27%) stakes winners to runners, Skipshot and Skip Code out of Heavenly Note, and Sanky Panky out of a mare by Halo. Funnily enough, given our notes about Check the Label, we can also record that Damascus goes back in male line to Sun Again. Sunny’s Halo is out of a mare by Sunny, whose dam, Sunshine Nell, is by Sun Again, and also goes back to that same female line, The Apple.

One sire who does like Halo is Indian Charlie (TrueNicks,SRO). His daughter Roxy Gap (out of a Saint Ballado mare) – Pedigree Consultants recommended mating for Eugene Melnyk – stamped herself as the leading early season filly in Canada with a sharp score in the Shady Well Stakes. She is stakes winner number five (from 18 starters) by Indian Charlie out of mare by Halo or a son (including three from six out of Halo mares). Still in Canada, and with two-year-olds the Princess Margaret Stakes saw Embellished deliver the first stakes winners from the first crop of Bellamy Road (TrueNicks,SRO). She is out of a mare by Belong to Me (TrueNicks,SRO). Interesting to note that he is by Danzig (also great-grandsire of Bellamy Road), out of a mare by Exclusive Native (three-parts-brother to Exclusive Dancer, the sixth dam of Bellamy Road). Bellamy Road’s impressive Belmont Park maiden winner Position Limited, is also line bred to this family, as she is out of a mare by Out of Place, a half brother to Bellamy Road’s third dam. The final juvenile we’ll give a call to is Z Appeal who won the Chenery Stakes over 5½ furlongs on turf at Colonial to become the first two-year-old scorer from the second crop of Ghostzapper (TrueNicks,SRO). TrueNicks rated A++, he’s out of the Turkoman mare Turkappeal (dam of graded winner Pink Champagne by Ghostzapper’s sire Awesome Again (TrueNicks,SRO)). The second dam is by Valid Appeal, as is the second dam of Ghostzapper’s grade I winner Stately Victor (both giving inbreeding to In Reality).

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