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Calumet Farm Back in the Stallion Business

Established in 1924 to raise Standardbreds, Calumet Farm became a Thoroughbred nursery in 1932. The farm’s first major stallion was Bull Lea, a son of the imported French stallion Bull Dog. Winner of 10 of his 27 starts, including the Blue Grass Stakes, Widener Handicap, and Pimlico Handicap, Bull Lea was only lightly regarded initially. However, he went on to sire 58 stakes winners from 377 named foals, and to claim the leading sire title five times. In addition to the immortal Citation–who also stood at Calumet–Bull Lea sired three other winners of Horse of the Year honors: Twilight Tear, Coaltown, and Armed.

Other prominent horses to stand at Calument in the immediate post-WWII era were the Triple Crown victor Whirlaway; Bull Lea’s Kentucky Derby-winning son Iron Liege; English-sired, but Kentucky born, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Pensive; and his Kentucky Derby-winning son Ponder, himself sire of another Kentucky Derby winner in Needles. In more recent times the farm stood such as Alydar, the leading sire of 1990, and for part of their careers Wild Again, who took the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) and sired more than 80 stakes winners, and Capote, champion 2-year-old and sire of 63 stakes winners, including another juvenile champion, Boston Harbor.

It’s now almost a decade since the last stallion stood at Calumet Farm, but that is set to change for the 2012 breeding season. First it was announced that Toby Keith’s Hennessy son Cactus Ridge (TrueNicks,SRO) would be moving to Calumet, and then a day later it was announced that Cactus Ridge would be joined by the 2010 Florida Derby (gr. I) winner and Kentucky Derby (gr. I) runner-up Ice Box (TrueNicks,SRO).

Cactus Ridge, who is out of the grade-I placed Lycius mare Double Park, only raced at 2. At that age he was undefeated in four starts, including the Canterbury Park Juvenile Stakes, James C. Ellis Juvenile Stakes, and Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. III). Cactus Ridge has sired 13 stakes winners in his first four crops, including champion Canadian sprinter Hollywood Hit, and Hot Cha Cha, winner of four graded stakes, including the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. I). Cactus Ridge will stand for $5,000 in 2012.

Ice Box broke his maiden over an extend mile at the Meadowlands at 2. The following year, he took a nine furlong Gulfstream Park allowance race before capturing the Florida Derby (gr. I) on his grade I-debut. In the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Ice Box charged from nineteenth to finish a fast closing second to Super Saver, with Paddy O’Prado, Lookin At Lucky, Dublin, Stately Victor, Devil May Care, Sidney’s Candy, Line of David, Discreetly Mine, Jackson Bend, and Noble’s Promise among those behind.

A Pedigree Consultants recommended mating, Ice Box is by Pulpit, who has already made his mark as a sire of sires with Tapit and Sky Mesa. His dam, Spice Island, a daughter of Tabasco Cat, gained a graded stakes triumph in the Long Island Handicap (gr. II). The second dam, Crown of Sheba, provides a tenuous link to Calumet’s past, as she is by Alydar’s Kentucky Derby-winning champion Alysheba. Crown of Sheba also has a classic connection on the distaff side, as she is a half sister to another Kentucky Derby hero in champion 3-year-old and Horse of the Year Spend a Buck. The family goes back to Adargatis, a French Oaks-winning three-parts-sister to La Troienne.

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