First and Foremost - by Evan Hammonds

The hopes from the Breeders’ Cup for the breeding industry are that the day’s best runners would go on to advance the breed through their offspring. The breed-shapers of the day have indeed come out of Breeders’ Cup races…horses such as Galileo, who ran sixth behind Tiznow at Belmont Park in the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) and has gone on to sire 251 stakes winners worldwide (he has 21 grade/group I wins in 2016 alone); and A.P. Indy, the sire of 164 stakes winners after winning the 1992 Classic.

Sunday Silence, the Classic winner of 1989, rewrote the sire records in Japan during his reign, and the influence of Unbridled, the ’90 Classic winner, is still felt today in American bloodlines. Tiznow and Ghostzapper are still adding to their résumés.

It is interesting to go back today and take a look to that first running in 1984—as remembered by Edward L. Bowen in this week’s “BloodHorse 100” feature—to see if those results are reflected in today’s bloodlines.

Wild Again, winner of the inaugural Classic, was a solid sire beyond his 31-1 odds at Hollywood Park as witnessed by his 88 stakes winners but has had a minimal impact on the history of the World Championships. He is represented as the sire of 1997 Sprint (gr. I) winner Elmhurst and paternal grandsire of She Be Wild, a daughter of Offlee Wild, winner of the 2009 Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Santa Anita. He’s also the broodmare sire of Winning Call, the dam of 2012 Dirt Mile (gr. I) winner Tapizar.

However, it’s a pair of also-rans behind the brilliant Royal Heroine in the first Mile (gr. IT) that have seen their bloodlines continue. And it’s not a surprise that both stallions made their marks at Gainesway, the farm developed by the late John Gaines, the father of the Breeders’ Cup.
As a runner, Cozzene was a solid third on that sunny afternoon at Hollywood Park but came back even better on a cloudy, wind-whipped day in ’85 to win the Mile as the 7-2 second choice at Aqueduct. A mainstay at Gainesway Farm as a stallion, two of his 93 stakes winners include ’96 Classic winner Alphabet Soup and ’94 Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) winner Tikkanen. Cozzene’s son Mizzen Mast has sired a pair of Breeders’ Cup winners including Mizdirection and he is also the broodmare sire of Lucky Pulpit, the sire of 2016 Classic favorite California Chrome. Lucky Pulpit’s paternal grandsire just so happens to be A.P. Indy.

Seventh in the 1984 mile was Ahmed Salman’s Lear Fan, a 3-year-old son of Roberto. A group I winner in France, he stood at Gainesway until he was pensioned after the 2004 breeding season. Before he died in July 2008, he did manage to sire Kitten’s First, the dam of Kitten’s Joy. Catching a bog of a course at Lone Star Park in 2004, Kitten’s Joy was unable to catch Better Talk Now in the stretch of the John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf but has more than made up for it in the breeding shed. With a leading sire title already under his belt, he’s sired two Breeders’ Cup winners and, even though we’re a week away from pre-entries, we’d be shocked if there were not a litter of ‘Kittens’ among the line-up Nov. 4-5 at Santa Anita Park.

For good measure, Strawberry Road set the pace, but succumbed to 53-1 Lashkari in the inaugural Turf, finishing fourth. His name appears in today’s pedigrees as the broodmare sire of Quality Road, the sire of 2014 Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) winner Hootenanny in his first crop, and of Klimt, a likely player for this year’s Sentient Jet Juvenile (gr. I).

So, from the first to the next, the Breeders’ Cup has proved successful guiding breeders to the pinnacle of the sport.

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