A.P. Indy Sophomore Sires Shine

Last weekend Danzig line first season sires War Front (TrueNicks,SRO) and Pomeroy (TrueNicks,SRO) were writing the headlines. This weeked it was three-year-olds from the first crop of sons of A.P. Indy (TrueNicks,SRO) who made their mark. Turbulent Descent – a grade I-winning daughter of last year’s upset Leading Freshman Sire Congrats (TrueNicks,SRO) – suffered her first defeat when beaten by Zazu in the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I). In this weekend’s Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I), she opened up by two lengths early in the stretch, but had just a neck to spare over the on-rushing Zazu at the line. The time of 1:41.05 for the 8½ furlongs set a new track record, but the impression we gained was that this was just about as far as Turbulent Descent wants to go, and it will be no surprise to see her shorten up, rather than stretch out.

Both of Congrats' stakes wins came at 8½ furlongs, and he was also runner-up in the 10-furlong Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), but he also set fractions of :22.0; :44.2; and 1:08.0 when second in the 7½ furlong Ack Ack Handicap. Of course, Flatter (TrueNicks,SRO), the over-achieving brother to Congrats, has sired the stakes-winning sprinters Tar Heel Mom and Pashito the Che, and two-year-old sprint graded winner Jack O’Lantern, among his early stakes winners. We’d suspect the credit for the pace they are passing on goes to their broodmare sire, Mr. Prospector.

Rated A++ by TrueNicks, Turbulent Descent is bred on the same cross as Wickedly Perfect (dam by Tabasco Cat), both by Congrats out of mares by sons of Storm Cat, and they come from just seven starters to date bred on the cross. Turbulent Descent’s pedigree is an absolutely intriguing one as her sire and her granddam are reverse Seattle Slew/Mr. Prospector crosses, with the Seattle Slew through A.P. Indy (Seattle Slew, with a second dam by Buckpasser) and Slew o’Gold (Seattle Slew out of a Buckpasser mare). Congrats’ dam, and Roger’s Sue, the dam of Turbulent Descent, are reverse Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer crosses. In addition Congrats’ granddam, Wild Applause, is by Northern Dancer out of a Graustark mare, and Turbulent Descent’s broodmare sire, Forestry (TrueNicks,SRO), is a Northern Dancer/His Majesty (brother to Graustark) cross. Finally, Turbulent Descent combines 3x4 inbreeding to Mr. Prospector, with a cross of Bold Sequence, a three-parts-sister to the dam of Mr. Prospector.

The finish of the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) was actually an all A.P. Indy affair, as the runner-up, Zazu, is by Tapit (TrueNicks,SRO), and the third, A Z Warrior, is from the first crop of A.P. Indy son Bernardini (TrueNicks,SRO). A Z Warrior did win a grade I last year, and a Bernardini who was grade I-placed as a juvenile last year, Stay Thirsty, gained his first stakes score in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III). Stay Thirsty, who has been working with Uncle Mo, may not have beaten a great deal, but did score by 3¼ lengths, and one would expect him to continue to progress as the distances stretch out from the mile he contested here. TrueNicks rated A+, Stay Thirsty has a pedigree that has numerous classic connection. Of course, his sire won the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), but the dam, the Storm Bird mare Marozia, has also produced Andromeda’s Hero, a graded stakes winner who ran second in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). The granddam, Make Change, is by Epsom Derby (gr. I) winner Roberto, and was a stakes winner who took second in several major events, including the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I). The third dam, Equal Change, by Belmont Stakes (gr. I) victor Arts and Letter, never won a stakes, but took second in the CCA Oaks (gr. I). The female line goes back through a half sister to Prove Out (conqueror of Secretariat in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I)), to a sister to Triple Crown winner Assault, and thence to Masda, a sister to Man o’War.

Last week’s hero, the Danzig line, wasn’t entirely squeezed out, however. Positive Response (TrueNicks A), a son of Pomeroy journeyed to Turfway Park for the John Battaglia Memorial, and romped by seven lengths. The runner-up was Taptowne, a son of Tapit, and that leads us to take a moment to note that the son of Pulpit (TrueNicks,SRO) is putting up some remarkable numbers with his current three-year-old crop, which as his third, wouldn’t be expected to be his strongest. So, here’s the count: 15 stakes horses; seven stakes winners; four graded stakes winners; and two grade I winners, and it’s still only the first week of March.

Less likely to stretch out to classic distances, but potentially a smart three-year-old sprinter, is Sensational Slam, a two-time stakes winner in Canada last year. He is a son of Grand Slam (TrueNicks,SRO) out of a mare by San Romano (grandson of Tentam), but what is most interesting here is that Grand Slam’s broodmare sire, El Gran Senor, is a sister to Northern Prancer, the fourth dam of Sensational Slam. Northern Prancer never won a race, and neither she nor any of her daughters produced a stakes winner. But bred back to stallions that give inbreeding to her family, Northern Prancer’s descendents have produced not only Sensational Slam, but Pedigree Consultants recommended matings Chinchon (by a grandson of Try My Best, a brother to El Gran Senor and Northern Prancer), winner of the United Nations Stakes (gr. I), and Australian multiple stakes winner Joku.

Among older horses, a very rough renewal of the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) saw Game On Dude get the verdict by a nose over Setsuko (a Wertheimer-bred son of Pleasantly Perfect (TrueNicks,SRO) who was building momentum as a wise-guy play for last year’s Derby, but didn’t have enough graded earnings to make the field). Game On Dude is by Awesome Again (TrueNicks,SRO), who hasn’t been the most prolific sire of stakes winners with 40 in his first nine crops, but does get a very high proportion of class, with 11 of those 40 being grade I winners. The dam, Worldly Pleasure, won the Politely Stakes, and is a daughter of Devil His Due (TrueNicks,SRO). That horse is by Devil’s Bag, who also appears as sire of the second dam of Wicked Style, a grade I winner by Macho Uno (TrueNicks,SRO), a half brother to Awesome Again. It would be interesting to see if Awesome Again has the same kind of affinity for Khaled, who is in the pedigree of Devil’s Bag, as does Macho Uno. Whether or not it’s Khaled, something worked a trick here, as Game On Dude is the first graded stakes winner in four generations of this pedigree.

Awesome Again and Macho Uno are out of mares by Blushing Groom, a horse whose granddam is a genetic relative to Khaled, and funnily enough Khaled and Blushing Groom turned up together in another grade I winner on the Santa Anita Handicap card. This was Brazilian-bred Fluke, who took the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (gr. I). He is by Wild Event (son of Wild Again) out of a mare by De Quest, a son of the Blushing Groom horse Rainbow Quest. The pattern obviously works as Fluke is rated TrueNicks A++.

Southern Image, who recently had his first Southern Hemisphere-sired stakes winner, has a good sprinter in Calibrachoa, who had 4½ lengths to spare at the end of the Tom Fool Handicap (gr. III). He is out of Fort Lauderdale, a Montbrook half sister to young sire Bellamy Road (TrueNicks,SRO).

The Wertheimer’s were out of luck in the Santa Anita Handicap, but they might have a coming star in Colizeo (TrueNicks A+), a graded stakes-winning three-year-old last year, who gave the impression that he’s moved forward over the winter when winning the Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in a new stakes record. Colizeo is by Distorted Humor (TrueNicks,SRO) out of the Dixieland Band mare Colony Band, and Distorted Humor’s Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner, Drosselmeyer, finished fourth here on his seasonal debut. Distorted Humor had another weekend stakes scorer in Z Humor (out of an A.P. Indy mare, and TrueNicks rated A), who upset the $150,000 Mazzam Gold Cup at Sam Houston Race Park.

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