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Danzig Line's One-Two Punch

The weekend’s classic trials saw Danzig line stallions War Front (TrueNicks,SRO) and Pomeroy (TrueNicks,SRO) consolidate their positions at the top of the Second Season Sire tables. The Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) was taken by Soldat (TrueNicks A++), who continued his successful turf-to-dirt transition, leading throughout for a two length score. Since War Front did all his best work as a sprinter, after winning a minor 8½ furlong stakes, distance is obviously going to be the question here. We think he has at least a shot of making the extra furlong of the Derby trip, however. As we’ve said before, although War Front’s dam was by Rubiano, she was a very untypical daughter of that horse, proving very smart at up to 1½ miles on the turf. Of course, Rubiano does have turf and stamina in his dam, who is by Nijinsky II out of a sister to Relaunch, and War Front’s second and third dams are by Forli and Round Table, neither of whom had any problem with a distance of ground.

Soldat’s dam is half sister to an 8½ furlong stakes winner, and she is by Coronado’s Quest, who is not only a son of Forty Niner (winner of the Travers Stakes (gr. I), and second in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I)), but also won the Travers Stakes (gr. I) himself. By the way, Coronado’s Quest may have disappointed as a sire, but he looks like a promising broodmare sire. Coronado’s Quest is a grandson of Mr. Prospector, and War Front currently has three stakes winners from ten starters by sons and grandsons of that horse, including Soldat, and fellow graded scorer, The Factor.

Flashpoint (TrueNicks B+), who is by Florida’s rising star, Pomeroy, was making just his second lifetime start in the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II, video below), but powered away to score by 7¼ lengths. Since Pomeroy is out a mare by Seeking the Gold (which makes him a similar cross to another who emerged from Ocala, Exchange Rate (TrueNicks,SRO)), and Flashpoint is out of a mare by Two Punch (TrueNicks,SRO), Flashpoint is inbred to 4x3 to Mr. Prospector, while his fourth dam is a sister to Raise a Native, the sire of Mr. Prospector. The day after the Hutcheson Stakes, Pomeroy took his total of first crop stakes winners to four (two graded), when Golden Springs (out of a Wild Again mare, and TrueNicks rated A++) won the Island Fashion Stakes. All of this must be encouraging for the connections of Big Brown (TrueNicks,SRO), who like Pomeroy, is a son of the Danzig horse, Boundary. Connections may have the Derby in mind, but this looks more like a sprinter/miler pedigree to us.

One of last year’s top two-year-old fillies, R Heat Lightning, came back to her best to take the Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) by 7¼ lengths, over Dancingherdreams (by Tapit (TrueNicks,SRO), who also had Bandbox run second in the weekend’s Miracle Wood Stakes), with Pomeroy’s Pistol (graded winner by Pomeroy, third). R Heat Lightning’s sire, Trippi, used to stand in Florida, but is now in South Africa, and at the weekend he was also represented by Gourmet Dinner (runner-up in the Fountain of Youth) and Travelin Man (second in the Hutcheson). Following that effort his owners have announced that he would cover to Northern Hemisphere time in South Africa, with some of the mares shipping back to the U.S., so we may not have seen the last of the Trippis.

R Heat Lightning has a rather unusual pedigree. Trippi is by End Sweep, a son of Forty Niner, and since her broodmare sire, Gold Fever is also by Forty Niner, R Heat Lightning has Forty Niner 3x3. This hasn’t exactly been a recipe for success, and R Heat Lightning is the only stakes winner bred on a Forty Niner/Forty Niner cross – from 29 starters – and the only other black type earner is R Heat Lightning’s stakes-placed sister, Hot Trip. What’s interesting about this pedigree is that Forty Niner is a Raise a Native/Ribot cross, and Gold Fever’s broodmare sire, Majestic Light, is a product of the same cross, so R Heat Lightning has Raise a Native/Ribot (Forty Niner, Forty Niner, Majestic Light) 3x3x4. Oddly enough, the only other stakes winner with Forty Niner inbreeding is Bunker Hill, who is also by Trippi, and carries Majestic Light’s sire, Majestic Prince.

A couple of lesser Derby trials were run in the West at the weekend. The Borderland Derby at Sunland Park went to Fusa Code (TrueNicks A). He is by Fusaichi Pegasus (TrueNicks,SRO) out of a Lost Code mare, going back to the Zeal/Zonah branch of Rough Shod II. The Turf Paradise Derby was won by a horse who looks absolutely guaranteed to run longer, Beer Meister (TrueNicks A), who is by Pleasant Tap out of a mare by up-and-coming broodmare sire Langfuhr (TrueNicks,SRO). The next three dams are by Cozzene, Shareef Dancer, and Secretariat.

At Laurel, second season sire Silver Train (TrueNicks,SRO) was credited with his third stakes winner when J J’s Lucky Train (TrueNicks A+) narrowly defeated the previously mentioned Bandbox, for the Miracle Wood Stakes (third horse was 8½ lengths back). Out of a Thunder Gulch (TrueNicks,SRO) mare, this one has the three-parts-brothers Far North and Nijinsky II 4x4, with their genetic relative, Storm Bird, also in the fourth generation.

Similarly, Harlan’s Ruby, who won the Valdale Stakes at Turway, has Storm Bird, and another genetic relative, The Minstrel, 4x4 at the top and bottom of the pedigree. The previously grade I-placed Harlan’s Ruby, who is TrueNicks A++, is by Harlan's Holiday (TrueNicks,SRO) out of a mare by Saint Ballado. As we’ve mentioned before, this current group of three-year-olds is from Harlan’s Holiday’s fourth crop, a point where one might have anticipated a lull, but in fact he now has five stakes winners from that group, as well as the promising grade I-placed Wilcox Inn.

Among the older horses, the Canadian Turf Stakes (gr. III) was fought out by the offspring of a pair of “lesser brothers” as Little Mike (by Spanish Steps, a brother to Unbridled's Song (TrueNicks,SRO)) outfought Society’s Chairman (by Not Impossible, brother to Perfect Soul). Little Mike (TrueNicks A+) is out of a mare by Wavering Monarch (like Unbridled’s Song’s juvenile grade I winner Marylebone). The second dam is by Relaunch, which gives In Reality inbreeding to go with the Dr. Fager in Fappiano (the grandsire of Unbridled’s Song).

Finally, we’ll mention an Aqueduct family stakes double. On Saturday, Goombada Guska won the Stymie Stakes. He is by Yonaguska (TrueNicks,SRO) out of Goomada Byda Sea (well-named daughter of Sea Hero and grade I-placed Grand Girlfriend). The following day, the Patty’s Positive Stakes went to Goomada Byda Sea’s half sister to Five Grand Girl (by Five Star Day).

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