Although racing activity reflects a natural post-Breeders’ Cup lull, Nov. 11 saw new stakes winners from a trio of freshman sires, two of whom were represented by their first black-type winners.
The most valuable stakes contest of the day in the U.S. was the Glorious Song Stakes, in which Leinan credited Ready's Image with his first black-type winner. A son of More Than Ready , Ready’s Image won three of his first four starts, including the Tremont Stakes, which he took by 7 3/4 lengths, and the Sanford Stakes (gr. II), where he scored by 4 1/2 lengths from Tale of Ekati . Favorite for the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I), Ready’s Image chased down the speedy Maimonides , only to be run down late by Majestic Warrior . Unplaced in the Champagne Stakes (gr. I), Ready’s Image was subsequently found to have chipped a knee. He did return to defeat Desert Key and True Quality in the Adjudicating Stakes first time out at 3, but failed to show similar form in three subsequent outings, and was retired to Walmac Farm to stand at a fee of $12,500.
Leinan is out of the Green Desert mare Golden Mirage. Successful in the Oral B. Marble Hill Stakes while racing in her native Ireland and 2, Golden Mirage subsequently campaigned in the U.S. and Canada, where she captured the listed Spinning World Stakes at Keeneland and was four times stakes-placed. At stud, Golden Mirage has previously been represented by Natural Speed, who took the Great Falls Stakes at Meadowlands, and Willow Bunch, successful in a pair of stakes at Woodbine and herself dam of Canadian stakes winners Somme and Alvena.
Leinan is a product of a cross that has proved remarkably prolific, that of More Than Ready and his sons with Danzig-line stallions. To date it has produced 21 stakes winners, nine of them group or graded, including Australian champion 2-year-old Sebring and other group or grade I winners Dreamaway, Benicio, and Perfectly Ready.
The filly division of the New York Stallion Series Stakes saw freshman Frost Giant represented by both winner Kelli Got Frosty and third-placed Nonnie Connie. Frost Giant, a son of Giant's Causeway and the Gone West mare Takesmybreathaway, began his racing career in England and Ireland, where he won the Killavullan Stakes (Ire-III) at 2 and the Bruce Betting Kilternan Stakes (Ire-III) at 3. Frost Giant started just once at 4, but sprang a surprise on the dirt as a 5-year-old by taking the Suburban Handicap (gr. I). Standing at Vinery New York at Sugar Maple, he is off to a promising start with nine winners from his first 14 runners, and in addition to Kelli Got Frosty and Nonnie Connie, they include the New York Breeders’ Futurity victor West Hills Giant and stakes-placed Zekes Surprise.
Kelli Got Frosty is out of the unraced Jump Start mare Nick’s Honor. The second dam, Gaye’s Express, was stakes-placed in Ohio-bred company. Gaye’s Express is a half sister to the good multiple stakes-winning and graded-placed Ohio-bred sprinter Gallant Step, and to three other stakes-placed horses, including Gaye’s Valentine, the dam of listed winner Cupids Revenge. Gaye’s Express is also a half sister to Gaye’s Delight, the dam of multiple stakes winner Bristolville, and to Gaye’s Blossom, dam of New York-bred restricted stakes winner Under Serviced and granddam of Rightly So, a New York-bred daughter of Read the Footnotes who captured the Ballerina Stakes (gr. I). The female line goes back to Domino’s sister Mannie Himyar through Saramar (who had Domino and his sister 4x4x3x3) to Kelli Got Frosty’s sixth dam Fulgent, herself ancestress of numerous talented runners, including Canadian champion turf horse Hasten To Add; Exceed And Excel, a champion sprinter in Australia and a very successful shuttle sire in Australia and Europe; and the Selene Stakes (gr. I) winner See How She Runs.
Kelli Got Frosty possesses an intriguing pedigree pattern. Broodmare sire Jump Start is by A.P. Indy (by Seattle Slew) out of a mare by Storm Cat, with a second dam by Mr. Prospector. As Frost Giant is by a son of Storm Cat, out of a mare by a son of Mr. Prospector, with a second dam by Seattle Slew, six of Jump Start’s eight great-grandparents appear in the pedigree of Frost Giant. We can also note that this combination supplies no fewer than four crosses of Secretariat.
On the West Coast, Midnight Ballet finished strongly to upset the $100,000 Sharp Cat Stakes, earning a possible shot at the Hollywood Starlet Stakes (gr. I). Midnight Ballet is the first stakes winner for Midnight Lute . A son of Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (both gr. I) victor Real Quiet (by Quiet American) going back to a stout European family, Midnight Lute refuted the evidence of his pedigree by developing into an outstanding sprinter. A graded winner and grade I-placed at 3, he earned an Eclipse Award as champion sprinter at 4 after taking the Forego Stakes and the TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint (both gr. I), the latter by 4 1/2 lengths. He started just twice at 5, but ended his stud career in a blaze of glory, defending his Breeders’ Cup Sprint crown, covering the six furlongs in 1:07.08—the fastest time in the history of the race. Retired to Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms in Kentucky, Midnight Lute has been represented by seven other first-crop winners, including the stakes-placed horses Mylute, Hold Our Destiny, and Prohibiting.
Midnight Ballet’s dam Buzz Song—who was sold for $155,000 at the Keeneland November sale the day before Midnight Ballet’s triumph—earned a black-type win in the Blue Hen Stakes at Delaware Park, and she is also dam of the stakes-placed Malibu Moon fily Moon Buzz. Buzz Song is a half sister to black-type winners Chasing Stars and Affair With Aflair, and she is also similarly bred to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Grindstone, as she is by a son of Grindstone’s sire, Unbridled, out of Buzzovertomyhouse, a sister to Grindstone’s dam, the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) victress Buzz My Bell.
Midnight Ballet owns an unusual pedigree pattern, as she is by a great-grandson of Fappiano, out of a mare by Fappiano’s grandson Unbridled's Song. The combination of Fappiano through Quiet American and Unbridled—as here—is intriguing. Quiet American is closely inbred to Dr. Fager and has a double of Fappiano’s third dam Cequillo, and Unbridled is inbred to Dr. Fager’s dam Aspidistra, and brings in In Reality (out of champion My Dear Girl, the best daughter of Dr. Fager’s sire Rough ‘n Tumble). Midnight Lute’s sire Real Quiet adds another dimension to the pedigree, as he is out of a mare by Believe It, who as a son of In Reality and a Buckpasser mare, is bred on an identical cross to Charedi, the granddam of Unbridled.