Drill Part of Danzig Revival
The Danzig line in the U.S. has experienced something of a resurgence during the past few years.
Following on the heels of a 3-year-old championship for Danzig’s grandson Big Brown has come the rapid rise of War Front to be one of the hottest young sires around; a bright beginning by the spectacular Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) winner Bellamy Road ; a highly-promising start by 2012 second-season horse Hard Spun ; not to mention some good work by Exchange Rate , who had four stakes-winning juveniles from his first Kentucky crop last year; and, Florida-based Pomeroy , whose first crop included the very smart 2011 sophomores Pomeroys Pistol and Flashpoint.
Returned to the dirt, Lawyer Ron rebounded to begin his win streak with a score in a Louisiana Downs allowance, which he took by 10 3⁄4 lengths, before ending a busy juvenile season with an 8½-length triumph in the Peninsula Gaming’s Diamond Jo Stakes. The following year the sequence continued in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III), which he captured by 8 ¼ lengths, the Southwest Stakes, Rebel Stakes (gr. III) and Arkansas Derby (gr. II). Following the Arkansas Derby, Stonewall Farms Racing Div 1, an affiliate of Stonewall Farms Stallions, purchased an interest in Lawyer Ron from the Estate of James T. Hines (Hines having been found dead in his indoor swimming pool just five days prior to the Southwest Stakes).
Through the winter, Pletcher worked on getting the headstrong Lawyer Ron to relax a little more, and the efforts appeared to have paid dividends when Lawyer Ron kicked off his 4-year-old campaign with wins in an optional claiming/allowance event at Gulfstream Park, and the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II).
However, Lawyer Ron’s next two efforts were disappointing, as he finished third to Corinthian and Political Force in the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I), and was then beaten a neck by Gotcha Gold in the Salvator Mile Handicap (gr. III) at odds of 1-10. Saratoga in summer saw a very different Lawyer Ron. In the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) he relaxed behind the early pace, then rocketed clear to score by 4 3⁄4 lengths while setting a track record for nine furlongs. Back over the same course and distance for the Woodward Handicap (gr. I), he devastated a very strong field (including Corinthian, Sun King, Political Force, Brass Hat, Wanderin Boy and Magna Graduate ), taking over before the three-quarters, and drawing off for an 8 1⁄4-length victory. Tackling 10 furlongs, a distance probably beyond his best, in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), Lawyer Ron delivered another excellent effort, going down by a neck to the 3-year-old star, Curlin , after a fierce battle. Lawyer Ron’s final start came in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), where he failed to handle the atrociously sloppy conditions that prevailed at Monmouth Park that day, fading from contention after the opening quarter.
Despite ending his career with two defeats, his two spectacular Saratoga efforts were sufficient to see Lawyer Ron earn the Eclipse Award as champion older horse.
A daughter of Storm Cat, Cat Dancer, had modest credentials as a runner, scoring her sole victory in an 8 ½-furlong maiden event at Monmouth Park as a 3-year-old. However, she was a sister to a far more talented performer in the shape of Magic Storm, who took the Monmouth Breeders’ Cup Oaks (gr. II), as well as finishing third in both the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) and Adirondack Stakes (gr. II).
Drill’s second dam, Foppy Dancer, a 2-year-old winner by Fappiano, was out of Water Dance, winner of the Twilight Tear Stakes, and also graded placed. Water Dance never produced a black-type winner, but there was certainly nothing to cavil about as far as her pedigree was concerned. A daughter of Nijinsky II—the most recent winner of the English Triple Crown—she was half sister to Little Current, a Sea Bird II son who earned honors as champion 3-year-old after capturing both the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Another half sister to Water Dance, Prayers’n Promises was one of the best 2-year-old fillies of her crop, winning the Matron Stakes (gr. I) and Spinaway Stakes (gr. I). Subsequently, Prayers’n Promises produced the group winner Nabeel Dancer, and stakes winner Anjiz, and she’s also granddam of graded scorer Buffalo Berry, and third dam of graded winner Chattahoochee War.
Drill’s fourth dam, Luiana, is a half sister to the Darby Dan siblings Chateaugay, hero of the 1963 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and Primonetta, the champion older mare of 1962, and subsequently a Broodmare of the Year in 1978. Luiana is also dam of the Roberto mare, Darbyvail. She was a minor winner, but attained significance through her daughter Turkish Tryst, a stakes winning and graded stakes placed performer who subsequently produced Hard Spun (by Danzig, the grandsire of Drill). The family arrived in the U.S. with the 1912 mare Tuscan Red (also granddam of champion 3-year-old filly War Plumage) in the period immediately following WWI, and traces to Ornament, a sister to the undefeated English Triple Crown winner Ormonde.
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