BC Marathon Preview
Written by Ian Tapp | Nov 03, 2010 |
Breeders' Cup Marathon (gr. III) ∙ $500,000 ∙ 1 ¾ miles, dirt
Race 5, Friday, 4:10 PM
||Prince Will I Am
||Bright Horizon (GB)
||A. U. Miner
1 - Atoned
Atoned is by multiple graded stakes winner Repent (TrueNicks,SRO), also sire of Dirt Mile contender Crown of Thorns. Repent was second to Johannesburg in the BC Juvenile and second to Medaglia d'Oro (TrueNicks,SRO) in the Travers. At stud, Repent's progeny average winning distance is a high 7.32 furlongs, so it's no surprise to see him with a Marathon contender. However, Atoned is the only stakes winner from 27 starters by Louis Quatorze and his sons with Icecapade line mares, and consequently the cross rates D on TrueNicks. The mating does create interesting inbreeding to Nearctic and Shenanigans (family of Ruffian, Private Terms, Coronado's Quest, etc.) through Louis Quatorze and Icecapade. Also interesting is that Atoned is a half brother to the dam of J Be K (TrueNicks,SRO), a multiple graded stakes-winning sprinter who broke Saratoga's 5 ½-furlong track record, but chalk him down to speed influences—sire Silver Deputy and broodmare sire Valid Wager. Atoned, always a distance-oriented runner coming from off the pace, broke his maiden going a mile in August of his two-year-old season, and was a stakes winner at 2, 3, and 4. Now five, Atoned's last win was in May 2009 when he beat fellow Marathon starters Alcomo and Eldaafer in the 12-furlong Nasty and Bold Stakes at Belmont.
2 - Prince Will I Am
Three-year-old Prince Will I Am enters off a last-to-first score in the grade I Jamaica Handicap at nine furlongs on turf. By Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop from a Dynaformer (TrueNicks,SRO) mare, Prince Will I Am's pedigree screams distance: both sire and broodmare sire have progeny average winning distances over 7.50 furlongs. Victory Gallop has had success with Roberto line mares (TrueNicks A), getting Prince Will I Am and Japanese grade II winner Eishin Dover from 19 starters on the cross. Prince Will I Am's dam broke her maiden at 8 ½ furlongs and raced betweren 8 and 10 furlongs her entire career.
3 - Million Seller
Million Seller has plenty of pedigree. The four-year-old filly is by A.P. Indy (TrueNicks,SRO) from a Sunday Silence half sister to U.S. champion mare Sky Beauty. This is the family of gr. I winners Tale of Ekati, Pleasant Home, and Pine Island. The second dam, Maplejinsky, won the grade I Alabama and Monmouth Oaks. Million Seller comes off a win at 8 ½ furlongs and has encountered staying races in the past—she was a distant second in a 2-mile event on the Saratoga dirt in August 2009. Seattle Slew and sons and grandsons rate A++ with Sunday Silence mares, as there are three stakes winners from only 11 starters to date.
4 - Eldaafer
A.P. Indy son Eldaafer is out of the multiple grade I-winning Tabasco Cat mare Habibti. It's no surprise that this mating produced a stayer, as it crosses three Belmont Stakes winners—A.P. Indy over Tabasco Cat over Temperence Hill. The cross rates A on TrueNicks, having produced three stakes winners plus three more stakes-placed from 34 starters. Another on this cross is Ice Box, the Florida Derby winner who was second in the Kentucky Derby. Eldaafer comes off two wins on turf and synthetic, and was a close third to Alcomo and Gabriel's Hill in this year's Brooklyn Handicap.
5 - Romp (ARG)
Argentine-bred Romp will be a longshot in the Marathon but enters off a 10-furlong win at Hollywood Park last month. The son of Generous Stakes (gr. III) winner and Argentine leading sire Incurable Optimist was second in this year's San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. II) on the turf. Produced from a mare by Mr. Prospector son Hidden Prize, Romp is bred on a cross that had very limited success. Rated D on TrueNicks, Incurable Optimist with Mr. Prospector line mares has resulted in only one stakes winner from 33 starters—but it must be noted that the lone stakes winner is Argentina's champion stayer and Horse of the Year Life of Victory.
6 - Gabriel's Hill
Gabriel's Hill is another A.P. Indy in this year's Marathon. Of course, A.P. Indy's presence here is to be expected as he is American's preeminent distance-oriented sire and his progeny average winning distance is 8.26 furlongs—staggering for a U.S.-based stallion. Eldaafer's dam is the Irish Oaks (gr. I)-winning Unfuwain mare Lailani, so both sire and dam are gr. I winners at 12 furlongs. The cross of A.P. Indy with Northern Dancer line mares rates TrueNicks A and the average winning distance increases to 8.40 furlongs, higher than A.P. Indy in general. From 283 starters on the cross, there are 38 stakes winners (13% from starters), including Belmont victress Rags to Riches and BC Turf contender Telling. Gabriel's Hill was beaten a nose by Alcomo in the Brooklyn, which looks like a key race in this year's Marathon.
7 - Awesome Gem
Seven-year-old morning line choice Awesome Gem took the grade I Hollywood Gold Cup this summer. The son of BC Classic winner Awesome Again (TrueNicks,SRO) has the class, but in 38 lifetime starts has never raced beyond 10 furlongs. Getting the added half mile of distance will require defying pedigree trends. While the Deputy Minister line has success with Pentelicus mares (A+), the average winning distance on the cross is only 6.83 furlongs. Another stakes winner on the cross is Ibboyee, a horse who placed in graded sprints but did mature to win stakes beyond a mile at age three. Awesome Gem's dam is a half sister to grade II-winning sprinter J J's Dream. His pedigree features 4 x 4 inbreeding to Mr. Prospector and 5 x 5 x 5 to Raise a Native.
8 - Giant Oak
Giant's Causeway (TrueNicks,SRO) son Giant Oak is another Marathon entry having not started beyond 10 furlongs. He exits a good second place effort behind Redding Colliery in the Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II). He was produced from the Crafty Prospector mare Crafty Oak, a graded winner who set a nine-furlong track record at Hawthorne in 1:46.69. Giant Oak's full sister is Apple Martini, a stakes winner who has excelled at or slightly beyond one mile. The cross of Giant's Causeway with Crafty Prospector mares has been quite successful—an A++ rating is indicative of three stakes winners and another two stakes placed from only seven starters. However, the best horse on the cross is a sprinter, the graded-winning Win McCool.
9 - Bright Horizon (GB)
Irish import Bright Horizon brings a stout distance pedigree. By champion sire Galileo, he is out of the 10-furlong Sun Chariot (gr. II) winner Kissogram, a daughter of Caerleon. The cross of Sadler's Wells and sons with Caerleon has been only average given its opportunity, rating C+. From 93 starters on the cross, there are six stakes winners—all on turf. Of 15 dirt starters there are five winners, and no stakes winners. While the dirt surface is a big question mark, distance most certainly is not, as the average winning distance of the cross is 10.52 furlongs. Bright Horizon is coming of a five-length win in a two-mile turf handicap at The Curragh. He has won three times in 11 starts, with all wins coming on turf.
10 - Alcomo (BRZ)
Alcomo is a Brazilian-bred son of Rainbow Quest stallion Rainbow Corner, a group-winning miler who was second to Arazi in the Grand Criterium (gr. I) and second to Shanghai in the French 2,000 Guineas (gr. I). Alcomo's dam is by Tokatee, a son of Seattle Slew. The cross of Rainbow Quest and sons with Tokatee mares has exceeded opportunity (A++), getting two stakes winners from 11 starters, plus the stakes-placed Everest, who was second in the Brazilian St. Leger (gr. I) over 15 furlongs. After a winless foray in Dubai, Alcomo returned to the U.S. where he beat Gabriel's Hill and Eldaafer in the Brooklyn, then narrowly lost to A. U. Miner in the Greenwood Cup. Both U.S. starts this season were at 12 furlongs.
11 - Precision Break
This is an interesting spot for a son of speedy Silver Deputy, but Precision Break won at 14 ½ furlongs two starts back, and has four wins on synthetic, including one at two miles. Precision Break is out of a mare by Tabasco Cat, the Belmont Stakes winner who is noted as broodmare sire of a handful of distance-oriented runners, including Ice Box and Eldaafer as mentioned above. Precision Break is from the family of Editor's Note, another Belmont winner. The cross of Deputy Minister and sons with Storm Cat-line mares has underperformed, rating only D, as there are just two stakes winners from 98 starters. However, the pedigree is clearly dirt-oriented, and Precision Break may find the new surface to his liking.
12 - A. U. Miner
Mineshaft (TrueNicks,SRO) son A. U. Miner represents yet another A.P. Indy-line entry in this year's Marathon. He is a half brother to Star Parade, a three-time grade I-winning millionaire. Five-year-old A. U. Miner is in the best form of his career, entering off a win in the 12-furlong Greenwood Cup over Alcomo and a close third in the 10-furlong Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) behind Redding Colliery, another son of Mineshaft. The cross of A.P. Indy with Buckpasser line mares rates C+, with six stakes winners from 100 starters. A. U. Miner's sire Mineshaft has emerged as a versatile stallion, getting this year's outstanding sprinter Discreetly Mine and BC Classic contender Fly Down, while his overall progeny winning distance is 7.52 furlongs. A. U. Miner's pedigree is particularly interesting as you look beyond the fourth and fifth generations—there are concentrations of La Troienne; My Babu's dam Perfume II and her genetic relative Nasrullah; and plenty of other fascinations.