Calumet Farm Returns with Trio of New Stallions
Written by Alan Porter | Nov 29, 2012 |
Calumet Farm is a name that has been associated with history-making stallions since the arrival of English Derby winner Blenheim II in 1936. In that case, Calumet—for whom Blenheim II sired Triple Crown hero Whirlaway—was only part of the investment group that brought the Aga Khan's classic victor to the U.S., Blenheim II's stateside home being Claiborne Farm. However, it wouldn't be long before Calumet would have their own stallion superstar in the shape of Bull Lea. A son of the imported French sire Bull Dog, Bull Lea retired to stand at Calumet in 1940. 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 horses who earned honors as Horse of the Year: Twilight Tear, Coaltown, and Armed.
Other prominent horses to stand at Calumet in the immediate post-WWII era were the Triple Crown winner 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 initial 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.
After a hiatus of more than a decade, Calumet reopened its stallion barn last year, when country singer Toby Keith's duo of Cactus Ridge (TrueNicks) and Ice Box (TrueNicks,SRO) took up residence. That duo have now moved on, but for 2013 Calumet—now in new ownership—will be standing three new sires.
The most illustrious of these is Americain (TrueNicks), who re-establishes the Calumet tradition of history-making, as he will be the first winner of "the race that stops a nation," the Melbourne Cup (Aus-I), to stand in the U.S. since the 1946 victor, Russia, stood for a short while in the 1950s. Bred by the Wertheimer brothers, Americain began his career in the famed blue and white silks. In two starts at 2, he scored over seven furlongs at Chantilly and finished third in the Criterium du Fonds Euorpeen de l'Elevage. The following year he recorded his first listed victory, taking the Prix de l'Avre. At 4, Americain captured his first group event, the Prix Vicomtesse Vigier (Fr-II) from three French outings.
As smart as he'd been up to that point, however, it was at 5, and racing for a new ownership group, that Americain developed into a true force to be reckoned with, taking five straight races. He kicked off the streak with a conditions win at Clairefontaine, then added the Prix du Carrousel, and the Prix Kergorlay (Fr-II). Shipped to Australia, Americain took the 1 1/2-mile Geelong Cup (Aus-III) on his debut, then 10 days later scored his smashing victory in the Melbourne Cup.
If anything, Americain was even better the following year. In a European season designed to prep him for a second tilt at the Melbourne Cup, he captured the Prix de Reux. In Australia, he captured the Moonee Valley Gold Cup (Aus-II), then finished a heroic fourth under top-weight in the Melbourne Cup after being widest of all turning for home. Just 11 days later, and dropping back to 12 furlongs, Americain produced his customary turn off foot to take the Sandown Classic (Aus-II) over the excellent performer Manighar. On the year-ending International Classifications, Americain's merit was acknowledged in no uncertain fashion, his efforts in 2011 earning him an official ranking as the world's top stayer.
Remaining in Australia for the spring of 2012 (the Australian fall racing season) Americain produced two more sterling efforts. Dropping down to 10 furlongs for the Australian Cup (Aus-I), Americain finished third, beaten just a short head and a neck by Manighar and multiple group I winner Southern Speed. He followed that up with another fine middle-distance effort, closing well to take second in the BMW (Aus-I) after being short of room when beginning his challenge. A stakes-performer for six straight seasons, Americain retires with a record of 11 wins in 34 starts and earnings of $5,152,721.
While it's clear from his record that Americain is a turf stayer, there is a good reason that fact would not have deterred Calumet Farm, which also is the principal owner of English Channel (TrueNicks,SRO), a champion turf horse who enjoyed his finest moment when ending his career with a romp in the 2007 Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT). English Channel's first crop—3-year-olds of 2012—has already produced nine individual stakes winners, including the record-breaking Queen's Plate victor Strait of Dover and graded scorers Blueskiesnrainbows and Optimizer, propelling their sire to a position of third on the second-crop sires list behind only Hard Spun (TrueNicks,SRO) and Scat Daddy (TrueNicks,SRO).
Like English Channel, Americain was not only a top-class turf runner, but he also has a top-class pedigree. He is by Roberto's son Dynaformer, himself a course-record breaker over 1 1/2 miles, who fought his way from the bargain basement to a position as one of the world's leading sires. Americain's dam, America, was purchased by the Wertheimers as a yearling and went on to win the Prix de Malleret (Fr-II) and Prix Vanteaux (Fr-III). A daughter of the unforgettable Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Arazi, America is a half sister to Rose Indien, a stakes winner who set a course record for seven furlongs at Belmont Park, and to group winner Majorien. The granddam, Green Rosy, a stakes-placed daughter of Green Dancer, is a full sister to stakes winner Big Sink Hope, and half sister to Rose Bouquet, who took the Pucker Up Stakes (gr. IIIT). She is also a half sister to the dam of Jovial, winner of four graded stakes events, including the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. I) and Swaps Stakes (gr. II).
Calumet is doubling down on Dynaformer in 2013, as it will also introduce that horse's son Lentenor (TrueNicks), a stakes-winning brother to the ill-starred Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hero Barbaro. Seemingly more of a miler type than his classic-winning brother, Lentenor won four times on the turf, gaining a black-type win in the 8 1/2-furlong Kitten's Joy Stakes, and setting a new course standard for 8 1/2 furlongs at Tampa Bay Downs. Although his winning efforts were confined to the sward, Lentenor did perform with distinction on his dirt and stakes debut, where, despite a bump in the stretch, he was a good fourth to eventual Kentucky Derby runner-up Ice Box, Pleasant Prince, and Rule (TrueNicks) in the Florida Derby (gr. I).
Lentenor is not only a brother to Barbaro, but also to two other stakes performers in Nicanor and Margano, and half brother to stakes winner Holy Ground. His dam, La Ville Rouge, is a multiple graded stakes-placed daughter of Carson City and La Reine Rouge, who took the Toddler Stakes over 5 1/2 furlongs at 2.
The third of Calumet's new trio of stallions is the talented sprinter/miler Aikenite (TrueNicks). An earner of over $875,000, Aikenite gained graded stakes victories in the Churchill Downs Stakes (gr. II) and Commonwealth Stakes (gr. II). His placings include seconds in the Breeders' Futurity (gr. I), Derby Trial (gr. III), and Phoenix Stakes (gr. III), and thirds in the Hopeful (gr. I), Forego (gr. I), and Fountain of Youth (gr. II). A sound runner, Aikenite started 24 times, including 11 starts at age 3.
By Yes It's True (TrueNicks,SRO)—by Is It True, a son of two-time champion sire Raja Baba—Aikenite represents what is now virtually the only viable branch of the Bold Ruler line, outside of Seattle Slew. His dam, the Saint Ballado mare SIlverlado, is a half sister to stakes winners Clover Hunter and Love of Silver, the latter group I-placed at 2 in France. The granddam, Silver Clover, is by Secretariat and out of the Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes captress Clover Lane, ancestress of several other talented performers, including grade I scorers Stately Victor and Collect the Cash. Clover Lane is also a half sister to Shakney, the granddam of Deputy Minister, and this is also the immediate family of another multiple champion sire in Exclusive Native.