In Reality Line has Lock on 2YO Colt Division

In an era when Mr. Prospector, Northern Dancer, and A.P. Indy (TrueNicks,SRO) are the dominant forces in U.S. racing, it comes as a pleasant surprise that currently the leading two-year-old colts on either coast are male-line descendents of Man o’ War through In Reality.

On Monday, the much-vaunted Boys At Tosconova (TrueNicks A++), impressed while winning the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga over two other colts who appear to have a bright future in Stay Thirsty (from the increasingly-promising looking first crop of Bernardini (TrueNicks,SRO)) and Wine Police (by Speightstown (TrueNicks,SRO)). Boys At Toscanova is by Officer (TrueNicks,SRO), who goes back to In Reality through Bertrando (TrueNicks,SRO), Skywalker, and Relaunch (who has another chance of extending the line through Tiznow (TrueNicks,SRO), who already has stallion sons). Officer was himself a juvenile sensation, with wins in the Graduation Stakes, Best Pal Stakes (gr. III), Del Mar Futurity (gr. II), and Champagne Stakes (gr. I). However, the quick-actioned colt disappointed as favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I), and in his only start at three, he reverted to sprinting to take the 6½ furlong Zany Tactics Stakes. Officer has been a very useful sire of fast and precocious horses, but has never previously been responsible for anything with the class of Boys At Tosconova.

Boys At Tosconova’s dam, Little Bonnet, won over nine furlongs, and ran third in the Sands Point Stakes at the same distance. She is by Coronado’s Quest (by Forty Niner), who was somethat disappointing as a sire, but who is beginning to redeem himself as a broodmare sire. Incidentally, Boys At Tosconova is one of three stakes winners sired by Officer from only 14 starters out of Forty Niner mares, so keep a look out of for any bred that way at the sales. The second dam, Valid Bonnet (by Valid Appeal) won the Honeybee Stakes (gr. III) and Ak-Sar-Ben Oaks (gr. III), and is out of the Matron Stakes (gr. I) third Miss Cox’s Hat (by Cox’s Ridge). Boys At Tosconova’s fourth dam, Hat Brim, is by In Reality, so Valid Bonnet has In Reality 2 x 3. In Reality was inbred 3 x 3 to War Relic, who in turn was 3 x 3 to Rock Sand and Fairy Gold, two of the grandparents of Man o’War. The sources in War Relic are also repeated in the dam of Cox’s Ridge, so Valid Bonnet is full of that background. Boys At Tosconova has In Reality 5 x 4 x 5, and one has to wonder if this line breeding to an inbred horse has given a little cohesion to the pedigree, as Officer is quite an outcrossed horse. A couple of other things we can note: one of Officer’s best runners prior to Boys At Tosconova was Officer Rocket whose dam is Mr. Prospector/Cox’s Ridge cross, Cox’s Ridge again bringing in the Rock Sand/Fairy Gold element, and Boys At Tosconova also combines Ack Ack and Tom Rolfe (granddams sisters out of the noted broodmare mare The Squaw II). We’d say that the latter combination is rather far back in the pedigree to be influential, but we wouldn’t totally discount it given that the Tom Rolfe comes through Forty Niner, who is obviously very much a positive with Officer.

On Wednesday, on the West Coast, J P’s Gusto (TrueNicks A++) sped to a 4½ lengths victory in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I). That was his fourth straight stakes win following tallies in the Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes, Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III) and Best Pal Stakes (gr. II). J P’s Gusto is by Successful Appeal (TrueNicks,SRO), a very smart two-year-old and sprinter/miler by Valid Appeal (wins included Cowdin Stakes (gr. II), Withers Stakes (gr. II), Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. II) and A. G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II)). The Leading Freshman Sire of 2004, Successful Appeal has previously sired another grade I-winning juvenile in Appealing Zophie, who took the Spinaway (gr. I), and also had Closing Argument, who outstayed his pedigree to take second in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).

J P’s Gusto is out of the Caller I D (by Phone Trick) mare, Call Her Magic. She did win at a mile, but was really something of a short-course specialist, with two minor stakes wins at five furlongs. The family is a re-emerging one, as Call Her Magic’s half sister, Pacific Spell, is dam of Champion Three-Year-Old Filly of 2008, Proud Spell. The granddam is by Encino, a sharp brother to Royal Academy, and is half sister to the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) victress Imaginary Lady.

There is obviously something going on with In Reality and Caller I D, as the cross has produced what are arguably the three best horses out of mares by the broodmare sire (J P’s Gusto, millionaire Battle Won, and graded scorer Expect An Angel). Whatever it is seems to be very specific to Caller I D (four stakes winners, three graded, from 17 starters by In Reality line sires), as In Reality/Clever Trick has generally been rather modest, although Successful Appeal has another stakes winner of the cross.

Both these pedigrees seem oriented towards speed, and while either Boys At Tosconova or J P’s Gusto may be mature and talented enough to deal with their contemporaries in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I), in the long term they look to us like sprinter/milers rather than classic horses. That said, both have already earned their place at stud, and with it another shot at furthering the Man o' War sire line.

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