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Da Doo Ron Ron

Ron the Greek looked like a horse who could develop into a genuine classic prospect when closing late to take the 2010 renewal of the LeComte Stakes (gr. III) by 1½ lengths. At that point, the Florida-bred was a winner of three of his four starts, but rather surprisingly, it would take another 22 months and ten races before he revisted the winner's circle. That return to form came in the shape of a five-length win in the Sunny and Mild Stakes, a somewhat ironic name since it was run in slop at Aqueduct in mid-November. Ron the Greek ended the 2011 campaign with a 2½-length win in the Queens County Handicap, then kicked off this year with a good second to Mucho Macho Man in the Sunshine Millions Classic. After that bright effort, Bill Mott elected to send his charge west to tackle ten furlongs for the first time in his career in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I). Benefitting from the suicidal pace set by the front-runners, Ron the Greek – who was the better part of 15 lengths off of a first half run in :44.55 – charged late to score by 3¼ lengths.

Ron the Greek is from the third crop of his sire Full Mandate (TrueNicks), who stands at Hartley/DeRenzo in Florida, and is listed as standing for just $2,500 for 2012. By A.P. Indy out of the grade I-winning Deputy Minister mare Clear Mandate, Full Mandate sired 57 winners in his first crop, and looked off to a promising start when a son, Thoroughly, took one of the early 2-year-old black-type events in California, the Willard L. Proctor Stakes. He has had 50 winners from 80 foals in his second crop, but no stakes scorers, and Ron the Greek is one of 41 winners from the 83 foals in his third crop.

Ron the Greek’s dam, the Fortunate Prospect mare Flambe’, was a minor winner at 2 and 3, and has bred three other winners, including the stakes-placed Omega Code (TrueNicks,SRO) filly Max Speed, and Baba’s Mandate, a sister to Ron the Greek who has earned nearly $100,000. Despite Ron the Greek’s relatively humble immediate ancestry, he does have quite a close relationship to another top-class performer. Flambe’ is a sister to stakes-placed Fortuesque, who in turn is the dam of Musket Man, winner of four stakes events including the Illinois Derby (gr. II) and Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III), and third in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) in 2009. The granddam, Flambeau, is by Dixieland Band out of Moment’s Prayer (granddam of champion English 2-year-old colt Mujahid). The fourth dam, Prayer Cap, is a stakes-winning half sister to juvenile champion Silent Screen. This is the Prayer Bell branch of the famous family of Sunday Evening, and other descendants of Prayer Bell include Henrythenavigator (TrueNicks,SRO), Mujahid, Tap Dance, Saffron Walden, Insight, Listen, and Silver Music.

Ron the Greek is bred on a version of the A.P. Indy/Mr. Prospector cross, a nick that has proved to be a prolific one, and we can also note that the Seattle Slew line in general has been a positive for Fortunate Prospect mares. Ron the Greek is the only stakes winner for his sire out of a Mr. Prospector line mare, but the nick has produced six of his ten total stakes horses.

Ron the Greek apart, it was also a good weekend to have the A.P. Indy/Mr. Prospector cross in your sire line. The La Virgenes Stakes (gr. I)—on the Santa Anita Handicap undercard—went to Eden’s Moon (by Malibu Moon (TrueNicks,SRO)), while in New York, one of last year’s 3-year-old stars It’s Tricky (by Mineshaft (TrueNicks,SRO)) captured the Top Flight Handicap (gr. II) on her season debut, and champion 2-year-old Hansen (TrueNicks) (by Tapit (TrueNicks,SRO), whose sire Pulpit (TrueNicks,SRO) is, like Malibu Moon and Mineshaft, by A. P. Indy out of a Mr. Prospector mare), showed he will by one to contend with in the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) with a stylish Gotham Stakes (gr. III) victory. Incidentally, Eden’s Moon, It’s Tricky, and Hansen all have something else in common, as they are all out of mares by sons of Storm Cat (Giant's Causeway (TrueNicks,SRO), Tale of the Cat (TrueNicks,SRO), and Sir Cat).

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