Dialing a Direct Line to the Derby

Some late Northern Hemisphere matings and early Southern Hemisphere matings have us a little behind with our blogging duties this week, but there was enough of interest last weekend to make some notes better late that never.

Last year the owner/trainer combination of Robert LaPenta and Nick Zito took the Florida Derby (gr. I, video below) with a late-running A.P. Indy (TrueNicks,SRO) line horse, who went on to take second in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) – the Pedigree Consultants recommended mating Ice Box. This year they will be hoping to go one better with Dialed In, an A.P. Indy grandson who finished fast to capture the Florida Derby (gr. I) from the game front-runner Shackleford (by Forestry (TrueNicks,SRO)).

Dialed In is from the fourth crop of Horse of the Year Mineshaft (TrueNicks,SRO). The son of A.P. Indy didn’t fulfill initial high expectations, but has been fighting back well in the last couple of years. Actually, although it didn't contain any real stars, his first crop was not at all bad. From what these days counts as a relatively modest crop of 69 foals, he sired five stakes winners, including [CoolCoalMan], a graded winner of over $900,000; Casino Drive, an impressive winner of the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II), but whose subsequent career was compromised by injury; and graded stakes-winning and grade I-placed Coal Play (TrueNicks,SRO). The second crop produced seven stakes winners from 73 foals (very near the now rarely attained 10% stakes winners to foals figure), including multiple graded winner Redding Colliery. The third crop of 76 foals has so far yielded the graded I-winning speedster Discreetly Mine (TrueNicks,SRO) and five other stakes winners, including classic placed millionaire Fly Down. This year, he’s been represented by 3-year-old stakes winners Dialed In and It’s Tricky, and Nehro, who narrowly missed giving his sire winners in $1,000,000 events on consecutive weekends when beaten a just a neck in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II).

Dialed In (TrueNicks B) is the first stakes winner for the sire from 14 foals out of mares by Storm Cat, but his 2011 stakes winning filly It’s Tricky is out of a mare by Tale of the Cat (TrueNicks,SRO), and there are now two stakes winners for Mineshaft from 22 starters out of mares by Storm Cat and his sons. The broader A.P. Indy/Storm Cat cross has been pretty solid, examples including the good sires Sky Mesa (TrueNicks,SRO) and Jump Start. Dialed In has a pretty classy pedigree, as his dam, who also produced the Astoria Stakes winner Broadway Gold, is a graded-placed – third in the Schuylerville Stakes (gr. II) – daughter of Champion 2-Year-Old Filly, Eliza. Apart from that, it caught our eye that Dialed In has a double of Secretariat, and a cross of what was Bold Ruler’s second best staying son, Bold Bidder (bred on similar lines to Secretariat). This pair appears together in more than 100 stakes winners, including 19 grade I scorers.

The E. Paul Robsham Stables – the horses running for the late Mr. Robsham’s widow – had a remarkable weekend with a trio of homebred graded stakes winners. One of last year’s top juvenile fillies, R Heat Lightning showed her readiness for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) with an 8¼ lengths win in the Gulfstream Oaks (gr. II). R Heat Lightning has a rather unusual pedigree. Her sire, 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 spectacular Saturday double was completed when Awesome Maria (TrueNicks A) took the Rampart Stakes (gr. III) by eight lengths. The daughter of Maria’s Mon is out of Discreetly Awesome, an Awesome Again (TrueNicks,SRO) half sister to Discreetly Mine, grade I winner Discreet Cat (TrueNicks,SRO), and the stakes-winning and grade I-placed Pretty Wild.

On Sunday, the Robsham colors were carried to victory by another Trippi product, the rapid 3-year-old Travelin Man, who took his record to two wins in three starts, taking the Swale Stakes (gr. II) by two lengths from the Pedigree Consultants recommended mating Indiano (by Indian Charlie (TrueNicks,SRO)), who was re-imported from Panama (where he was a multiple black type winner). Out of the Gone West mare West Side Dancer, Travelin Man follows R Heat Lightning and Gourmet Dinner as the third member of Trippi’s foal crop to be bred on a Mr. Prospector/Mr. Prospector cross. The second dam, Bering Cruise, is by Danzig, so West Side Dancer is a parallel Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer cross to End Sweep, the sire of Trippi. Bering Cruise is half sister to the dam of the top-class European runner Duke of Marmalade (by Danehill, a son of Bering Cruise’s sire, Danzig). The fourth dam is Lassie Dear, so this is family of A.P. Indy, et al.

Smarty Jones is a product of a version of the Mr. Prospector/In Reality cross, like Trippi, and his daughter Gilded Gem considerably increased her value with a win in the Las Flores Stakes (gr. III). Not previously a stakes winner, although she had been grade I-placed, she is a half sister to the exceptional filly Golden Ballet, who is now best-know as dam of Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Drosselmeyer. Out of a mare by Slew o’Gold, Gilded Gem is the product of a cross which hasn’t had the highest strike rate – Gone West over Seattle Slew – but might, perhaps, eventually come to work with versions that have Bold Ruler and Tom Fool in the mare. This is a pair that look as if they should work on paper, but had a lot less success combined close up in pedigrees (probably for phenotypical reasons), but certainly did well when further back in the pedigree for Gone West, who has the both in his dam.

Smarty Jones’ Belmont Stakes (gr. I) nemesis Birdstone (TrueNicks,SRO) added a new first crop stakes winner in the shape of S. S. Stone, who took the Skip Away Stakes (gr. III). Like Birdstone, S. S. Stone is trained by Nick Zito, and was bred by Marylou Whitney (although he runs for Robert LaPenta). The female line goes back to Level Best, a CCA Oaks winner by Equipoise, out of Speed Boat, a sister to War Relic. The hot-tempered War Relic is also in Birdstone’s pedigree through the distaff side of his grandsire, Unbridled, via In Reality (who is inbred to War Relic). Rated A+ by TrueNicks, S. S. Stone is out of a Canadian stakes-winning daughter of Dixieland Band, and bred on the same Unbridled/Dixieland Band cross as grade I winner Cotton Blossom, and graded winners Eight Belles and Sindy With An S.

Northern Afleet (TrueNicks,SRO), who is having a career year – which included a spell at the top of the Leading Sire list – added another new graded winner at the weekend when Amazombie won the Potrero Grande Stakes (gr. II). Rated A by TrueNicks, Amazombie is one of four stakes winners from 54 starters by a son or grandson of Mr. Prospector, out of a mare by In Excess (whose son, Indian Charlie works very well over Mr. Prospector line mares).

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