by Alan Porter
In our last column we looked at promising second-crop sire, Speightstown . This time we are going to consider another Gone West-line stallion, Whywhywhy. A son of Mr. Greeley, Whywhywhy made a very solid start with his first crop in 2007, ending the year as a top-six Leading Freshman Sire, after his son, Nownownow repelled the Europeans in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Then things went very quiet, and in 2008 Whywhywhy dropped to sixteenth on the second-crop sire list. However, he’s now back with a bang, the most recent weekend seeing Nownownow capture the San Fernando Stakes (gr. II) and another son, Ikigai, capture the Mr. Prospector Stakes (gr. III).
Whywhywhy’s race record and pedigree present a mixed message with regard to the age at which his offspring are most likely to excel. He made his racecourse debut in May of his juvenile season and three weeks later broke his maiden with a five-length win in the Flash Stakes (gr. III), over five furlongs. After adding the Sanford Stakes (gr. II) and Futurity Stakes (gr. I), he started as the favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) but finished unplaced behind Vindication. He failed to redeem his reputation the following season, four starts bringing only a third in the Swale Stakes (gr. III). Although Whywhywhy was quick to come to hand, he is by Mr. Greeley, a horse who, while capable of getting a good two-year-old, generally gets stock that do better if given some time to mature. Whywhywhy’s broodmare sire, Quiet American , was at his best at four, when he took the NYRA Mile (gr. I) and San Diego Handicap (gr. II); his offspring definitely tend to improve with age as well.
For a while it seemed that Nownownow was rather channeling his sire, Whywhywhy. Having retired to stand along side his sire at Spendthrift (the pair having since moved to Gainesway), Whywhywhy sired 11 first-crop two-year-old winners; four of his first crop – which numbered 59 – have won stakes. With scores in the With Anticipation Stakes and the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, Nownownow led the way, but his best effort in six three-year-old outings was a third in an allowance/optional claiming race at Oak Tree. However, making his second start on the all-weather surface, Nownownow returned to his juvenile form to upset the San Fernando Stakes (gr. II) by 2 3/4 lengths.
A half-brother to French listed winner, Marche de Paix, Nownownow (TrueNicks rated A) is out of Here and Now, a French-raced daughter of the Irish River horse, Exit to Nowhere. The granddam, U.S. black-type placed Aspalathus (by Spruce Needles, a grandson of Herbager), is out of Riviere Enchantee, a Riverman half-sister to the group-winning French miler, Lypheor. Here and Now is inbred to Riverman 3 x 3, this coming through Irish River (dam by Klairon) and Riviere Enchantee (granddam by Klairon). Riverman’s sire, Never Bend is out of a mare by Djeddah (by Djebel, and inbred 4 x 3 to Frizette’s daughter Banshee through the sisters Durban – dam of Djebel’s sire, Tourbillon – and Heldifann, Djeddah’s granddam). Klairon is a grandson of Djebel, so this considerably focuses the family of Frizette (third dam of Tourbillon, fourth dam of Djeddah). This becomes interesting when we consider that Whywhywhy is inbred 3 x 4 to Mr. Prospector, who traces to Frizette in direct female-line.
Ikigai – who took the Mr. Prospector Stakes (gr. III) just a few hours before Nownownow’s triumph – was a $470,000 Two-Year-Old in Training buy. Unraced at two, Ikigai had to drop down to $32,000 to break his maiden. Since, then, however, he’s taken four of his next five starts, including an earlier black-type win in the Kaiser Stakes. Judging from the style of his most recent win, he could be a real force in the sprint ranks this year.
Rated A by TrueNicks, Ikigai is the first foal of his dam, the Southern Halo matron, Contessa Halo. She is a half-sister to the Matchlite mare, Clever Idea, a multiple restricted stakes winner in the Michigan program, but does come from what has become a quality family. The granddam, Queen of Savoy, a daughter of Conquistador Cielo, won four races and $105,542, scoring her victories in a maiden special weight and then allowance company. Contessa Halo’s granddam, Jill of All Trades was placed in two legs of the Florida stallion series, and is a half-sister to minor stakes winner Jera. More importantly, however, she is a half-sister to two notable producers. One, the Baldski mare, Verabald, produced A Huevo, winner of the 2003 renewal of the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (gr. I). The other, Fappiano’s unraced daughter, Frisson, is dam of graded winner Sky Blue Pink and listed scorer Freddie Frisson (herself dam of brilliant juvenile, First Samurai). Interestingly, another daughter of Frisson, Audacious, produced the four-time stakes winner Audacious Chloe when bred to More Than Ready , a son of Ikigai’s broodmare sire, Southern Halo.
Ikigai has a complex and rather interesting pedigree pattern. He is inbred 4 x 5 x 4 to Mr. Prospector, with the dam strain coming through Conquistador Cielo (a Mr. Prospector/Bold Ruler cross, like both Mr. Greeley and his sire, Gone West). Ikigai’s granddam, Queen of Savoy, is by a son of Mr. Prospector, with a second dam by Reviewer while Mr. Greeley is by a son of Mr. Prospector, with a dam by Reviewer. Whywhywhy’s dam, Thorough Fair, and Queen of Savoy, both combine Mr. Prospector and Arts and Letters: Whywhywhy’s second dam is a Bold Ruler/Arts and Letters cross while Contessa Halo’s granddam is an Arts and Letters/Bold Ruler cross.