For the second year in a row, the late In Excess—a former juggernaut on the California stallion scene—has figured in the first three generations of a Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (G1) winner.
As the broodmare sire of Always Dreaming, a Bodemeister colt who captured the Derby May 6, In Excess is also the paternal great-grandsire of last year's Derby winner Nyquist . Nyquist is by 2010 champion juvenile colt and leading freshman sire of 2015 and second-crop sire of 2016 Uncle Mo , himself by Indian Charlie (a son of In Excess).
In Excess—bred in Ireland by Ahmed Foustok—sired 57 black-type stakes winners from 1,046 foals (a strike rate of 5.4%) and progeny that earned more than $46.8 million. He represents an increasingly rare branch of the Nasrullah sire line, whose tail-male descendants are now mostly represented in America by Nasrullah's son Bold Ruler and paternal grandson Blushing Groom. Nasrullah also sired Grey Sovereign, who shared his sire's disagreeable temper and talent on the track and at stud (he led the British juvenile sire list twice and its French counterpart once).
Grey Sovereign's best runners included 1962 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp victor Fortino II, who became best known as sire of Caro, winner of the 1970 Poule D'essai Des Poulains (French Two Thousand Guineas). Imported to America in 1977, Caro became an important stallion. He sired 1985 champion turf male and 1996 leading sire Cozzene, as well as French classic winner Siberian Express. At stud, Siberian Express got two solid handicappers: 1993 Strub Stakes (G1) winner Siberian Summer and In Excess.
For owner Jack Munari, In Excess successfully carried his speed to four straight grade 1 wins over distances ranging from eight to ten furlongs. In the fall and summer of 1991, the bay registered grade 1 victories in the Metropolitan Mile, Suburban Handicap (where he set a Belmont Park track record for 1 1/4 miles), Whitney Handicap, and Woodward Stakes.
A finalist for the 1991 champion older male Eclipse Award, In Excess stood his whole career in California, where he led the state's sire list in 2002 and 2003. After he entered stud at Munari's Rancho Why Worry in 1993, he migrated to Vessels Stallion Farm (now Ocean Breeze Ranch) in Bonsall, Calif. The nursery's late owner, Frank "Scoop" Vessels, fell in love with the stallion and In Excess stood at the farm until he was pensioned in 2011.
True to their sire's form, In Excess' best foals could carry their speed over near-classic distances. His daughter Musical Chimes won the 2003 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French One Thousand Guineas, G1) over about a mile, then the 1 1/8-mile John C. Mabee (G1T) the following year. His sons Romanceishope and Indian Charlie won major races over 1 1/8 miles. The former took the 2001 Del Mar Derby (G2T), while the latter won the 1998 Santa Anita Derby (G1) and finished third in that year's Kentucky Derby.
Before his death in 2011, Indian Charlie sired five U.S. or Canadian champions: Uncle Mo, two-time Eclipse Award winner Indian Blessing, 2006 champion older female Fleet Indian, and Canadian female sprint stars Roxy Gap and Indian Apple Is. Current Spendthrift Farm stallions Cinco Charlie and Liaison , both by Indian Charlie, scored their best victories at 2: the first in the six-furlong 2014 Bashford Manor (G3), the latter in the 1 1/16-mile 2011 CashCall Futurity (G1). To this point Uncle Mo has sired the same type of horses as his sire, but his best runners have stretched to nine furlongs (grade 1 winners Outwork and Laoban ) or even ten furlongs (Nyquist).
In Excess—who died in 2013 at age 26—has sired the dams of 1,113 foals with a strike rate of about 60% starters, 43% winners, and 3% black-type winners. Through May 18 In Excess ranked 10th on the North American broodmare sire list.
Always Dreaming's dam, Above Perfection, sizzled six furlongs in 1:08 3/5 to win the 2002 Las Flores (G3). In addition to her classic-winning son, she has foaled Hot Dixie Chick (by Dixie Union), who covered seven furlongs in 1:22 1/5 when she won the 2009 Spinaway Stakes (G1) as a juvenile. Always Dreaming's sire, Bodemeister, mirrors In Excess. With a quick turn of foot, he wired the field in the 2012 Arkansas Derby (G1), then set blistering fractions on the front in the Derby before yielding to I'll Have Another . Above Perfection was bred to Nyquist this season.
In Excess' daughters have produced 2011 champion sprinter Amazombie (by Northern Afleet ), who catapulted himself to the top of his division with back-to-back victories in the Ancient Title (G1) and the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1). And then there's Canadian classic winner and Horse of the Year Lexie Lou. Thanks to an injection of stamina from her sire, Hollywood Turf Cup (G1T) winner Sligo Bay , Lexie Lou beat the boys in the ten-furlong Queen's Plate.
On the same day as Always Dreaming's Derby win, In Excess was the broodmare sire of two additional graded stakes winners. Limousine Liberal (by Successful Appeal ) won the seven-furlong Churchill Down Stakes Presented by TwinSpires.com (G2) and burgeoning turf star Sircat Sally (by Surf Cat), kept her undefeated record intact with a win in the Senorita (G3T) over nine furlongs at Santa Anita Park.