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Express Arrives On Time

Leading Second Crop Sire Afleet Alex (TrueNicks,SRO) moved further clear of the chasing pack – headed by Florida’s Wildcat Heir (TrueNicks,SRO) and Blind Luck’s sire Pollard’s Vison – at the weekend with a pair of stakes winners, headed by Afleet Express, who timed his bob of the head to take the Travers Stakes (gr. I) from Fly Down (by Mineshaft (TrueNicks,SRO), who we covered in detail a post a couple of days ago).

Afleet Alex now has nine stakes winners (seven this year) with Afleet Express (TrueNicks A+), being joined by last year’s Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) captor, Dublin, and Withers Stakes (gr. III) winner Afleet Again, as U.S. graded scorers. We have considered Afleet Alex in detail In an earlier post, but we can briefly recap here. Afleet Express is out of a mare by Distant View, with a second dam by Phone Trick. Afleet Alex is by Northern Afleet (TrueNicks,SRO), who is a grandson of Mr. Prospector, out of a mare by Nureyev (by Northern Dancer of course), and also going back to a three-parts-sister to Northern Dancer’s sire, Nearctic.

Nearctic appears in the distaff side of all eight of Afleet Alex’s first crop stakes winners, six times through Northern Dancer, and twice through his three-quarters relative Icecapade (Afleet Again having both). Four of the stakes winners have a Mr. Prospector duplication (two of them in combination with Nureyev, as is found in Afleet Alex’s sire, Northern Afleet), and another has Jig Time, a three-quarters relative to Mr. Prospector’s sire, Raise a Native. So overall – and while admitting they among the most commonly found strains in the North American thoroughbred – it appears that reinforcing Mr. Prospector/Raise a Native and Northern Dancer/Neactic, particularly in combination, is proving beneficial here.

The first stakes winner from Afleet Alex’s second crop is the filly, A Brilliant Idea, who won the Junior Champion Champion Stakes turf at Momouth on Sunday. She is out of a mare by Saint Ballado, and follows graded winners by Northern Afleet and Kingmambo as the third stakes winner out of a Saint Ballado mare with a Mr. Prospector/Nureyev cross in the sire line. A Brilliant Idea’s dam is a reverse Mr. Prospector/Hail to Reason cross to Afleet Alex, and the second dam has Mr. Prospector and two crosses of Nearctic.

And staying with Mr. Prospector/Nureyev, the pinup horse for that cross, Kingmambo (TrueNicks,SRO), popped up in the male-line of Richard’s Kid, who took a second renewal of the Pacific Classic (gr. I) at the weekend. He’s by Kingmambo’s son, Lemon Drop Kid (TrueNicks,SRO), out of a mare by Broad Brush. The Mr. Prospector/Broad Brush cross doesn’t have a phenomenal strike-rate, but seven of the nine stakes winners by grandsons of Mr. Prospector out of Broad Brush mares are by stallions that are Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer crosses, including one by Northern Afleet, so it seems like the similarly-bred Kingmambo and Northern Afleet can have similar affinities. If we look at stakes winners by sons of Mr. Prospector out of Broad Brush mares, we find that there are another eight, including one by Mojave Moon (a three-parts-brother to Kingmambo, and out of a mare by Private Account the broodmare sire of Richard’s Kid). Not For Love, a Mr. Prospector whose dam is half-sister to Private Account.

One Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer line horse who has two stakes winners out of Broad Brush mares is Smoke Glacken (TrueNicks,SRO), and as we tweeted on Sunday, he had a major weekend. Of course, the highlight was Persistently running down a leg-weary Rachel Alexandra – who thought a Smoke Glacken would outstay a Medaglia d’Oro – to take the Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I). Appropriately, Persistently is bred and owned by the Phipps Stables, as was Personal Ensign. Her dam is a Deputy Minister half-sister to grade I winner Good Reward (TrueNicks,SRO) and grade II winner Pure Prize (TrueNicks,SRO) (who had another grade I winner in Argentina at the weekend). The granddam is Champion Three-Year-Old Fill, Heavenly Prize (by Seeking the Gold). Persistently (rated B+) by TrueNicks is another of those horses who have Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer in the sire, and Northern Dancer/Mr. Prospector in the dam. For good measure, the third dam is Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer as well. Smoke Glacken’s second weekend stakes winner was the speedy Smokey Fire (TrueNicks A++) who took the seven furlong Play the King Stakes (gr. III). He’s one of three stakes winners, two graded, from only seven starters by Smoke Glacken out of Housebuster mares. Smoke Glacken is also grandsire of Rightly So, winner at the weekend of the Ballerina Stakes (gr. I). She’s a New York-bred, by New York-based Read the Footnotes (TrueNicks,SRO) out of an Out of Place mare (TrueNicks A++).

The on-rushing Malibu Moon (TrueNicks,SRO) filly and mare train was – temporarily, I’m sure – somewhat derailed this weekend. Life At Ten paid for her efforts in taking on Rachel Alexandra from the start of the Personal Ensign, and in the Molly Pitcher Stakes (gr. II) at Monmouth Park, Malibu Prayer, who was giving 6 lbs. away all round, went down by 3½ lengths to Just Jenda. She is by Storm Cat grandson, Menifee, out of a mare by Pine Bluff (so both grandsires, Harlan and Pine Bluff, are Northern Dancer/Halo crosses). She’s actually the third graded winner out of a Pine Bluff mare with a double of Halo, the broodmare sire of Pine Bluff.

Angel Fever, a sister to Pine Bluff, is dam of Fusaichi Pegasus (TrueNicks,SRO), and he has an up-and-coming middle-distance turf horse in Champ Pegasus (TrueNicks A++). He is the first foal of his dam, Salt Champ, a Salt Lake daughter who was Champion Three-Year-Old Filly in Argentina, and then won the Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) in the U.S. Champ Pegasus is a Pedigree Consultants recommended mating for Diamond A Farms, who have appeared as the breeders/co-breeders of at least five stakes winners this year, most notably Devil May Care.

Still with the Halo influence, we mentioned Saint Ballado as broodmare sire of Afleet Express at the beginning of the article, and we can note that Saint Ballado’s brother, Devil’s Bag, added a new weekend grade I winner in this role too. This was El Brujo (TrueNicks B+), who became the fifth grade I winner from the first crop of his sire, Candy Ride (ARG) (TrueNicks,SRO), when taking the Pat O’Brien Stakes (gr. I) at Del Mar. We should also note that Candy Ride has very quietly now added three stakes winners from his second crop, currently three-year-olds, and one suspects not out of the strongest group of mares. El Brujo has quite an outcross pedigree, with his closest duplication being a 4 x 4 cross of French Derby winner Herbager. One source here is Ballade, the dam of Devil’s Bag, and of course a sister to Devil’s Bag through Rahy, to Blushing Groom, who is in the mail line of Candy Ride’s dam.

Still with sprinters, the six-furlong Victory Ride Stakes (gr. III) for three-year-old fillies saw a decisive win by Rapport, who is by Songandaprayer (TrueNicks,SRO) (by Unbridled's Song (TrueNicks,SRO)) out of Irene’s Talkin. A daughter of At the Threshold, Irene’s Talkin, is now dam of four stakes winners, the others including grade I winner Adieu and grade three winner Direct Line.

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