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Oak Monster Unleashed in Donn

Leading Sire of 2009 and 2010, Giant's Causeway (TrueNicks,SRO) doesn’t look like he is going away anytime soon. He’s running second on the list right now, and his trio of 2011 stakes winners include Giant Oak (TrueNicks A++), who added the Donn Handicap (gr. I) to his win in the Clark Handicap (gr. I) on his previous outing. Out of a Crafty Prospector mare, Giant Oak is an example of one of those really strong affinities: of the seven starters by the sire out of Crafty Prospector mares, three are stakes winners, and five stakes horses (that’s 70% stakes horses to starters). Giant Oak looks likely to be a serious player among the older horse ranks this year.

And on the subject of Giant’s Causeway, his second-year son First Samurai (TrueNicks,SRO), had a nice winner when his son Trubs dropped back to six furlongs to take the Black Gold Stakes at Fair Grounds. Out of the Seeking the Gold mare Hit, Trubs (TrueNicks A++) is bred on a cross that has been exceptional for his sire. Hit is a three-parts-sister to Roar, and to Praise (dam of Congrats (TrueNicks,SRO) and Flatter (TrueNicks,SRO)) and half sister to Eastern Echo. The granddam is graded winner Wild Applause, from the Searching branch of the La Troienne family. Hit is also a reverse Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer cross to the dam of First Samurai.

From the same Storm Cat line as Giant’s Causeway, Harlan's Holiday (TrueNicks,SRO), who we have been bragging on already this year, added two more three-year-old stakes winners. Wicked Deed (TrueNicks A+) captured the Tiffany Lass Stakes to become the fifth stakes winner by a Storm Cat line stallion out of Marfa mare, and Twinspired (TrueNicks B) took the WEBN Stakes. Twinspired is out of a mare by El Prado, who is a Northern Dancer/Sir Gaylord cross, where Storm Cat is Northern Dancer/Secretariat (half brother to Sir Gaylord). This nick has produced two other stakes winners.

A Storm Cat horse who is looking to rebound, a few years after touching the heights, is Forestry (TrueNicks,SRO). He had some promising juveniles last year, and this term Wertheimer et Frere’s Shared Heart (dam by Seeking the Gold) was a runaway debut winner at Gulfstream, while at the weekend, Shackleford (out of an Unbridled mare), confirmed he is one to keep an eye with an impressive victory in a nine furlong Gulfstream Park allowance event. Shackleford is a half brother to 10-furlong Alabama Stakes (gr. I) winner Lady Joanne.

Among the three-year-old fillies the big winner was Zazu – by the seemingly unstoppable Tapit (TrueNicks,SRO) – who upset the previously undefeated Turbulent Descent (having her first race in eight weeks, and making her dirt debut) in the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I). Zazu might be an example of Tapit starting to take – in this case anyway – a slightly different route than A.P. Indy/Pulpit in general. A.P. Indy line stallions (excluding Tapit) with mares by Gone West and sons has two stakes from 160 starters. Tapit with mares by sons and grandsons of Mr. Prospector (other than Gone West) has one stakes winner from 31 starters. Tapit with Gone West line mares has two stakes winners from seven starters, including Zazu (who is not surprisingly a TrueNicks A++). Incidentally, we were able to do the number crunching on this thanks to the Pedigree Analysis program.

We have our own little bit of a Pedigree Consultants connection to the granddam of Zazu. We purchased the granddam, the Pleasant Colony mare Rose Rhapsody, inexpensively to be bred to Mr. Greeley when he retired to stud. Rhumb Line, the subsequent foal, won three consecutive races, and was twice fourth in stakes. At stud, she’s produced Zazu and stakes-placed Art Princess from her first three foals. Rose Rhapsody’s dam, the stakes-winning Nijinsky II mare Rosy Spectre, is a half sister to the prolific black type winner Herecomesthebride.

Not as commercially hot as Tapit but really flying right now is Northern Afleet (TrueNicks,SRO), who had three of the Sunshine Millions winners last week and this week was represented by Teaks North (TrueNicks A++), winner of the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. I). The quartet has actually rocketed him to the top of the Leading Sire list for 2011.

We’ll also quickly note that Candy Ride (ARG) (TrueNicks,SRO) had a weekend double with Twirling Candy (TrueNicks B+) in the Strub Stakes (gr. II) and Capt. Candyman Can (TrueNicks A++) in the Super Stakes; second year sire Bellamy Road (TrueNicks,SRO) was represented by his fourth stakes winner when Toby’s Corner took the Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct; and Medaglia d'Oro (TrueNicks,SRO) took his score with Forty Niner line mares to three stakes winners from seven starters when Super Espresso (TrueNicks A++) won the Sky Beauty Stakes, also in New York. Medaglia d’Oro also has another filly to keep an eye on in Plum Pretty (out of an A.P. Indy (TrueNicks,SRO) mare), who was third in the Las Virgenes (gr. I) and should want to run all day.

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