Two Good Weekends for Broken Vow

In his first crop, sired at a relatively modest fee of $10,000, Broken Vow (TrueNicks,SRO) came up with a very promising colt in Private Vow. Winner of the Futurity Stakes (gr. II) and Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II), Private Vow might also have gone close in the Breeders' Cup Futurity (gr. I) had a rein not broken in the straight. A leading winter fancy for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Private Vow did fill the minor place behind Lawyer Ron and subsequent Derby third Steppenwolfer in the Arkansas Derby (gr. I), but could finish no better than fifteenth in the Run for the Roses. He made only three subsequent starts, finishing third in an allowance race. He now stands at stud in Louisiana, and has his first runners in 2012.

Since then, Broken Vow has gone on to established himself as a very consistent graded stakes sire: he now has 43 stakes winners (16 graded) in his first seven crops, and his offspring have averaged 12 stakes per year over the last five years. The high spots, however, have frequently been with fillies and mares, such as the multiple grade I-winning sprint star Sassy Image, Acorn Stakes (gr. I) heroine Cotton Blossom, and Unbridled Belle, a grade I winner of nearly $2 million. Broken Vow has also found success with his turf males, with Interactif, Polonius, Lethal Combination, and Broken Dream all graded stakes laureates on the sward.

As a result, we haven't seen a lot of the Broken Vows featuring prominently on the Triple Crown trail. Two weekends ago, though, Broken Vow's son Done Talking almost certainly raced his way into the Derby, staying on in determined fashion to take the Illinois Derby (gr. III). The win brought Done Talking's graded earnings to $311,000, currently 17th on the list, but with at least two or three unlikely starters above him.

If he does go to Louisville, the speed figures suggest that Done Talking will have to find considerable improvement, but he stayed on at Hawthorne in a manner that suggests the 10 furlongs will not be a problem for him. We can certainly note that Broken Vow, himself a multiple graded winner at nine furlongs, could hardly have a more classic pedigree as he's by Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled out of a mare by English Triple Crown victor Nijinsky II. In the third generation of the pedigree, the sires are Mr. Prospector (sire of Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus (TrueNicks,SRO)), Le Fabuleux (winner of the French Derby), Northern Dancer (winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes) and Blushing Groom (winner of the French 2,000 Guineas, and third in the Epsom Derby).

Done Talking's dam, Dixie Talking, a daughter of Dixieland Band, won the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship Stakes over 8½ furlongs at 2, and the Cicada Stakes (gr. III) over seven furlongs at 3. Dixie Talking is out of Gin Talking (by the Mr. Prospector horse, Allen's Prospect). A Maryland-bred champion, Gin Talking won four Maryland-bred stakes events, but also took the nine-furlong Anne Arundel Stakes (gr. III) and Broad Brush Stakes, and finished second in the Snow Goose Handicap. Gin Talking is a member of a prolific Maryland family, and her dam, stakes-placed Vodka Talking, is a sister to graded scorer Shortley, the granddam of Henny Hughes (TrueNicks,SRO).

Done Talking (TrueNicks A+) is bred on a cross that has proved extremely productive for Broken Vow. He, Cotton Blossom, and graded stakes-winning and grade I-placed Sindy With An S are three of just 18 starters by the sire of out Dixieland Band mares (17% stakes winners to starters). The broader cross of Unbridled line stallions over Dixieland Band mares has produced three other stakes winners, including the ill-fated Kentucky Derby runner-up Eight Belles, and Secret Circle, who like Done Talking may take his place in this year's Derby line-up.

Over the most recent weekend, Broken's Vow's stock continued to rise when Ken and Sarah Ramsey's 5-year-old Lonesome Street rolled from last to capture the Commonwealth Stakes (gr. II), run at seven furlongs on Keeneland's Polytrack. This was Lonesome Street's second stakes win and first graded score. Lonesome Street is out of the Storm Cat mare Street Cat, making him the second graded winner and third graded stakes horse on the Broken Vow/Storm Cat cross (TrueNicks A) from just 15 starters.

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