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Fast Starting Freshmen

It's early—make that very early—to starting reviewing the progress of the 2012 freshman sires, but remarkably at least 40 of them have already been represented by a winner.

The surprise leader is Magna Graduate (TrueNicks,SRO), who has two winners from seven starters, including Blueeyesintherein, winner of the Debutante Stakes (gr. III). Out of a daughter of Mr. Greeley, Blueeyesintherein is TrueNicks rated A. Magna Graduate did win twice at 2 and finished third in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III), but he was not exactly a precocious speedster. He was, however, both tough and classy, and he went on to amass earnings of over $2.5 million with seven graded stakes wins, including the Clark Handicap (gr. II). By A.P. Indy's half brother Honor Grades, Magna Graduate adds another strand to the recent resurgence of the Danzig line in the U.S.

Magna Graduate, a son of A.P. Indy's half brother Honor Grades, currently leads the first-crop sires list.

Street Boss (TrueNicks,SRO) was another who did better later in life. In fact, he was unraced at 2, and won only a maiden at 3, before developing into a sprint ace at 4. However, the son of Street Cry (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO) already has four first crop winners, including two in Europe, confirming the expectation that the Street Bosses might well be effective on turf.

One of the big guns in this crop is Henrythenavigator (TrueNicks,SRO) (Kingmambo), who broke a course record at Royal Ascot at 2, and trained on to win four group I wins over a mile at 3. He's already had three winners in Europe, including group-placed Cristoforo Colombo, and stakes-placed Infanta Branca. Henrythenavigator's Ashford Stud companion Majestic Warrior (TrueNicks,SRO) (A.P. Indy), whose first crop lit up the boards at the 2-year-old in training sales, is in fifth on the table with a pair of winners, both out of mares by sons of Storm Cat. Henrythenavigator and Majestic Warrior are separated by Salute the Sarge (TrueNicks,SRO), a speedy son of Forest Wildcat who started in Kentucky but is now in Louisiana. He has a trio of winners from his first 11 starters.

Two sons of Silver Deputy—who has already been represented by one leading freshman sire in Posse (TrueNicks,SRO)—are in the top 10, these being Spring At Last (TrueNicks,SRO) and J Be K. Spring At Last—who didn't race at 2 himself, but won the Godolphin Mile (gr. II) at 4 and the Donn Handicap (gr. I) at 5—already has four winners, and his first two scorers tallied by 7 3/4 lengths and 5 3/4 lengths respectively. J Be K, who retired to stud in Florida but is now in Argentina, might be a find for that region. He set a new track record for 5 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga on his only start at 2, and won a trio of graded sprints, including the Woody Stephens Stakes (gr. II) at 3. He has two winners from three starters, including Baby J, a first time out winner at Belmont Park.

There had been a little bit of a buzz about Florida-based Cowtown Cat (TrueNicks,SRO)—an Illinois Derby (gr. II) and Gotham Stakes (gr. III) winner by Distorted Humor (TrueNicks,SRO) out of a Storm Cat mare—before he even had runners. He currently sits in seventh on the list with four winners from seven starters, two out of mares by sons of Seattle Slew (a cross that has been very effective for his sire), and the other two out of Clever Trick line mares (one by that horse himself, and another by Favorite Trick).

In eighth is the second Kingmambo on the list, Student Council (TrueNicks,SRO), who has two winners from nine starters. That's a pretty creditworthy effort for a horse who didn't win his first stakes until he was 5 (however, he did take the Pacific Classic (gr. I) at that age, and the Pimlico Special (gr. I) the next year). With J Be K ninth, the top 10 is rounded out by a horse who did look likely to get early runners, Run Away and Hide (TrueNicks,SRO). A son of City Zip (TrueNicks,SRO), the stud companion to Magna Graduate won all three of his starts, all at 2, including the Kentucky Stakes (gr. III) and Saratoga Special Stakes (gr. II), in a new stakes record. His first five runners include the winner On the Go.

Of the other big names we haven't mentioned, two-time Horse of the Year Curlin (TrueNicks,SRO) already has three winners, including English scorer Savanna La Mar, out of a mare by Pivotal, and Lucky First, out of a mare by Sadler's Wells (a three-quarter-brother to Pivotal's grandsire, Nureyev); champion and dual classic winner Big Brown (TrueNicks,SRO) has two winners from five starters; Tiz Wonderful (TrueNicks,SRO), an undefeated multiple graded winner at 2 and the first test for Tiznow (TrueNicks,SRO) as a sire of sires, has Scammony, a first time out winner at Churchill Downs.

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Since the title is Fast Starting Freshmen, allow the mention of freshman sire, Lifestyle (Indian Charlie-Inlaw), who's had two starters thus far. His first starter (first and only race) won convincingly at Arlington in a state-bred md. sp. wgt., and his second starter has placed twice from 2 starts. Unfortunately there exits only a handful of first crop Lifestyles-but this has no bearing on what is his genotype. Can't say that I'm at all surprised re-his start at stud (I'm not his owner), but then again I'm very partial (and confident) about this one, as you know. Partialities notwithstanding, in my true gut this is Indian Charlie's best son at stud, and not Uncle Mo. You're laughing.  

sceptre 13 Jul 2012 4:46 PM

Hi Sceptre,

I'd have to say that I don't know a lot about Lifestyle, but when I looked him up, I'm a bit familiar with some of the distaff side of the pedigree.

The broodmare sire, Gold Seam, was a talented, but lightly-raced Mr. Prospector, who was trained in England by Major Dick Hern (later Sir Richard). He had shelly feet, and I think wore stick on shoes. He retired to stand in New York, but I think died young.

The second dam, Yestday's Kisses, is a grade two winner by New York stalwart, D'Accord. The third dam, Rollrights, was one of a pair of horses sired by Ragstone (son of Ragusa, one of the best European sons of Ribot. There were a few Ragstone's imported to the U.S., the most successful of which was Lanarkland, who was brough to California by the late Brian Sweeney (General Manager of the CTBA from 1968-82). Sweeney actually bought a pair of Ragstones - Rollrights might have been the other - and Lanarkland was supposed to be the make-weight of the two, but won the San Marino Handicap.

Rollrights is out of the Belgian-bred mare, Skiboule, by a horse called Boulou, who has an entirely Belgian sire line, going back via Bouboule, Banco, Beguin (to whom he's inbred 3 x 3), Beaumont, to Mushroom, a good English two-year-old by the 1891 English Triple Crown winner, Common.

Anyway, we'll keep a look out for more Lifestyles.

Alan Porter 14 Jul 2012 12:54 PM

Hi Alan,

Thanks for researching Lifestyle a bit. Ah, the memory grows dim; you're a very busy guy, so what had stood out to me would easily have been otherwise for you.- If you're interested, go to your TrueNicks archives for the five part piece on Deveolping A Stakes-Winning Thoroughbred Filly which began on 7/2/09. Within those five parts you'll notice some paragraphs devoted to Lifestyle. Also, around that same time the BloodHorse site had a Q & A with Wesley Ward. Wesley was Lifestyle's trainer and mentioned that Lifestyle was the fastest/most talented runner he had ever trained. Lifestyle was a $1.1 M yearling who began his career with back-to-back triple digit Beyers. He later competed in the BC Sprint.  

sceptre 16 Jul 2012 4:49 PM

Hi there,

Does anyone know where the stallion Soto ended up?  I remember he seemed to get off to a great start from a poor book of mares.  He had a pretty solid horse in Japan and a couple of stake horse in America.

John Wells 19 Jul 2012 7:00 AM

Hi John,

Soto was sold to Saudi Arabia in 2009. Here's the article.

Ian Tapp 19 Jul 2012 9:21 AM

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