More Than Ready for a Grade I

A standout in Australia, More Than Ready (TrueNicks,SRO) has also been a very successful and consistent sire in the U.S., but his Northern Hemisphere record had lacked one important thing: a grade I winner. That omission was corrected over the weekend when his progressive daughter Buster’s Ready (TrueNicks A++) captured the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I, video below).

Buster’s Ready was bred by the late Edward P. Evans, one of the cleverest and most successful U.S. breeders of recent times. Her dam, the unraced Honour and Glory mare Beatem Buster, is a half sister to Horse of the Year Saint Liam (by a son of More Than Ready’s grandsire Halo), and three other stakes winners. The granddam, stakes-winning and graded stakes-placed Quiet Dance, is from the same branch of the famous Gallorette family as Misty Gallore (also by Halo), Minstrella, Pleasant Strike (TrueNicks), Minidar, A Little Warm, and Mini Sermon. Buster’s Ready is the third stakes winner from only 16 starters by More Than Ready out of In Reality line mares, and from three different branches. More Than Ready also likes In Reality’s fellow Tartan-background horse Fappiano, who is here through Quiet American, and is also in six other More Than Ready stakes winners.

Buster’s Ready’s win came at the expense of odds-on favorite Joyful Victory (TrueNicks A++), preventing an absolutely knockout weekend for Joyful Victory’s sire, Tapit (TrueNicks,SRO) (before moving on to Tapit, we’ll note that the third here was R Gypsy Gold, by Tapit’s fellow A.P. Indy line stallion Bernardini (TrueNicks,SRO) out of a Seeking the Gold mare, who gave her sire his seventh grade I performer from his first crop of 3-year-olds). Although Joyful Victory – who has a pair of graded stakes to her name this year – didn’t deliver a win in the Mother Goose, Tapit did tally at the weekend through previous grade I winner Zazu (TrueNicks A++) in the Hollywood Oaks (gr. I, video below), and Headache (TrueNicks A++) in the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (gr. III). Zazu is out of a mare by Mr. Greeley (by Gone West) – and has three crosses of Mr. Prospector and two of Nijinsky II – and Headache is out of a mare by Woodman – with a second dam by Capote, so giving a reverse Mr. Prospector/Seattle Slew cross to both Tapit and his sire Pulpit (TrueNicks,SRO). Since the dams of both these stakes winners are Mr. Prospector line, one might assume that Tapit does well over that line, but one shouldn’t jump to that conclusion. In fact a look shows that he’s two-for-two (stakes winners/starters) with Woodman mares, and two-for-eight with Gone West line mares, but 0-for-35 with mares by Mr. Prospector and all of his others sons and grandsons.

Another A.P. Indy line horse with a strong weekend was Pennsylvania’s Jump Start. Represented by the Pegasus Stakes (gr. III, video below) winner Pants On Fire (co-incidentally from the same family as Buster’s Ready) last week, he added Prayer For Relief, winner of the Iowa Derby (gr. III), and Golddigger’s Boy, successful in the Donald LeVine Memorial Handicap, this weekend. Prayer For Relief (TrueNicks A) is an interesting example for those who feel that a nick is bound to regress to the mean when it is frequently tried: he is one of 327 starters by A.P. Indy and his sons out of Deputy Minister line mares, and with the cross maintaining a 9% stakes winners to starters strike-rate, it’s continually outperformed the achievements it’s constituants when bred to all other mates. Golddigger’s Boy is out of Prenup (by Cyane mare) and rated A++.

When looking at turf racing, it’s hard to keep Sadler’s Wells out of the picture, even in the U.S. In Canada, the King Edward Stakes (gr. II) was upset by Court of the Realm (TrueNicks A++), from the first crop of the Sadler’s Wells horse Powerscourt (GB) (TrueNicks,SRO) (close relative to current English star Frankel, and now standing in Turkey). Court of the Realm is out of a mare by Lear Fan, with a second dam by Nureyev, so has three-parts-brothers Sadler’s Wells/Nureyev 2x3, with Lt. Stevens (broodmare sire of Lear Fan, and a brother to Thong, the granddam of Nureyev and third dam of Sadler’s Wells) also in the pedigree. The third-place finisher, Society’s Chairman, was by Not Impossible, a son of Sadler’s Wells and brother to Perfect Soul.

In the New York Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares on the turf, Giants Play (TrueNicks A++), by Giant's Causeway (TrueNicks,SRO) out of Sadler’s Wells group I-winning daughter Playful Act, earned her first black type win. She is the first foal of Playful Act, who cost a mere $10.5 million at the 2007 Keeneland November sale. Playful Act is a sister to multiple group winner Percussionist, and multiple graded-winning and group-placed Changing Skies, three-parts-sister to Nathaniel (recent winner of the gr. II King Edward VII Stakes), and half sister to group winner Echoes in Eternity (dam of stakes winner Whispering Gallery), and listed winners Stylelistick and Petera Bay. The granddam, Magnificent Style (by Silver Hawk), won the Musidora Stakes (gr. III) before going on to a career as a “super producer.” Giants Play is the fifth stakes winner for her sire out of a mare by Sadler’s Wells, and from 30 starters.

Holy Bull (TrueNicks,SRO)’s son Flashy Bull (TrueNicks,SRO) leapt to the top of the freshman sire list when his daughter Flashy Lassie took the Debutante Stakes (gr. III, video below). Flashy Lassie is out of a mare by Lemon Drop Kid (TrueNicks,SRO), a grandson of Mr. Prospector. Holy Bull himself was very disappointing with Mr. Prospector line mares (five stakes winners, none graded, from 168 starters), but it could be that the sons are going to go in a different direction. Three of them have sired a total of four stakes winners on the cross (from 102 starters), including 2011 classic contender Mucho Macho Man (by Macho Uno (TrueNicks,SRO)). Like Macho Uno, Flashy Bull is out of a Blushing Groom line mare, so perhaps that is a factor.

Currently second on the freshman list is New Mexico’s The Way Home, a Giant’s Causeway son and brother to graded winner Giant Wrecker, who was represented by the first two home in the Mountain Top New Mexico Bred Thoroughbred Futurity. The winner, My Homey, is out of an Out of Place mare.

Another 2-year-old event, the My Dear Stakes at Woodbine, was won in impressive style by Tu Endie Wei (TrueNicks A++). She is by Johar (TrueNicks,SRO) (by Gone West), who dead-heated for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I) and wouldn’t generally by expected to get early sprinting 2-year-olds (the best of the other five stakes winners from his first three crops is the very good turf filly Keertana). However, she is a half sister to Biofuel (by Stormin Fever (TrueNicks,SRO)), champion at 2 in Canada, and Horse of the Year there at 3, in 2010.

Finally, and also at Woodbine, the classic Queen’s Plate (video below) went to the filly Inglorious (TrueNicks A+). She is by Hennessy out of a mare by Smart Strike (TrueNicks,SRO) (becoming a good foil for Storm Cat line stallions), with a second dam by Green Dancer (by Nijinsky II). Remarkably, there are already around 100 stakes winners with Storm Cat in the sire and Mr. Prospector and Nijinsky II (genetic relative to Storm Bird, the sire of Storm Cat).

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