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Giant's Causeway: the Classic Sire?

We've always thought that—in retrospect—it would have been very interesting had Giant's Causeway (TrueNicks,SRO) been sent from Ireland to challenge for the 2000 renewal of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). The son of Storm Cat certainly demonstrated that he was very well-suited to ten furlongs at Churchill Downs when only narrowly-defeated in a Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I, video below) photo-finish by fellow 3-year-old Tiznow (TrueNicks,SRO)—who didn't run in the Derby—with the Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus (TrueNicks,SRO) back in sixth.

It didn’t take long for Giant’s Causeway to show that he was a classic sire. In his first crop (sired in Europe) he was represented by Shamardal (TrueNicks,SRO), a champion at 2 and 3, and winner of the French 2,000 Guineas (gr. I) and French Derby (gr. I), and the undefeated Irish 2,000 Guineas (gr. I) winner Footstepsinthesand. However, it’s also clear that he can get the type of colt that has classic potential on the dirt. Two years ago, had Giant’s Causeway’s son Eskendereya (TrueNicks,SRO) not been sidelined by injury, he almost certainly would have started as a short-priced favorite for the Kentucky Derby, having prepped for the race with an 8½-length victory in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), and a 9¾-length tally in the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I).

The point is underlined by the number of Giant’s Causeways that have been on the Triple Crown trail this year. Most prominent of course is Creative Cause (TrueNicks A++), who went to the top of some Derby lists after winning the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) over the weekend. Of course, he also won the Nofolk Stakes (gr. I) and Best Pal Stakes (gr. I) last year. The horse that Creative Cause defeated in the San Felipe, Bodemeister, was filling in for his stable-companion, Fed Biz, another Giant’s Causeway colt who may have started favorite for San Felipe had he not been sidelined by a hind-end problem that will keep him out of the classics. Fed Biz (TrueNicks A), who is from the immediate family of Tale of the Cat (TrueNicks,SRO), Johannesburg, and Pulpit (TrueNicks,SRO), was reckoned by many to be Bob Baffert’s principal classic hopeful. He’d won the last two of his three starts, taking a maiden by 1¾ lengths and an allowance/optional claiming event by 5¾ lengths.

Two other Giant’s Causeway colts who have won classic trials this year are Battle Hardened (TrueNicks B+), who broke his maiden in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs, and Russian Greek (TrueNicks A++), successful in the California Derby. We also shouldn’t overlook Heavy Breathing (a brother to Suburban Handicap (gr. I) winner Frost Giant (TrueNicks,SRO)), who looked good in taking an allowance last out and will appear in a classic trial in his next start, and the fillies Wait Til Dawn, who took the Stonewall Stallions Suncoast Stakes, and Segway, a Wertheimer runner who has won her only start to date.

Giant’s Causeway is also a horse whose daughters are going to have potential as classic producers. He’s already broodmare sire of four group/grade I winners, including the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) and Del Mar Oak (gr. I) victress Evening Jewel, and Eden’s Moon (TrueNicks A++) who captured last week’s Las Virgennes Stakes (gr. I). As far as this year’s Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is concerned, as a broodmare sire Giant’s Causeway has a very serious candidate in the Pulpit colt El Padrino (TrueNicks A++), winner of the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II).

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