In Trouble Signals Man o' War Line Survival

In Trouble Signals Man o' War Line Survival
Photo: Coglianese Photos/Joe Labozzetta

One of the oldest sire lines native to the U.S. is that of Australian. A male line descendant of the Godolphin Arabian, and a son of English Triple Crown victor West Australian, Australian was foaled in England and imported to the U.S. in 1858 along with his dam, Emilia. A good, but not dominant, runner in his adopted country, Australian's most notable performances came with wins in the Doswell Stakes (one-mile heats) on his debut at 3 and in the Produce Stakes (two-mile heats) later in his 3-year-old season. Although he was overshadowed by the great sire Lexington, Australian proved to be an outstanding stallion in his own right and was second leading sire to that horse on three occasions.

Five generations later, the sire line came up with Man o' War, who a century after he trod the turf is still reckoned to be one of the greatest to race in North America. Although Man o' War was also an exceptional sire, the male line has over the years struggled to survive. Now, with due respect to the male line descendants of Valid Appeal, if the line is to extend far into the current century, it will almost certainly rely on the success of Tiznow   as a sire of sires. Twice winner of Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) and Horse of the Year at 3, Tiznow will certainly not go short of opportunity. He already has seven major stakes-winning sons at stud in Kentucky in American Lion  , Colonel John  , Gemologist  , Morning Line  , Tiz Wonderful  , Tizdejavu  , and Tizway  . The first of these to face the progeny test was Tiz Wonderful, who by happy coincidence stands at Spendthrift, a farm named after Australian's champion son, who, as great-great grandsire of Man o' War, is also a male line ancestor of Tiz Wonderful.

Tiz Wonderful very nearly came up with a grade I-winning 2-year-old in his first crop when My Happy Face—who had previously won the Tempted Stakes (gr. III)—was beaten just a head by the formidable Dreaming of Julia in the Frizette Stakes (gr. I). An admirably consistent performer, My Happy Face has continued to show good form this year at 3, winning the Lotka Stakes and numbering a second in the TVG Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) among her placings. While My Happy Face is still searching for her first grade I triumph, Tiz Wonderful does have a second-crop winner at the graded level with his son In Trouble, who took his record to 2-for-2 with a comfortable win in the Sept. 29 Futurity Stakes (gr. II).

A $120,000 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. April 2-year-old in training purchase, In Trouble had earlier been an RNA at Keeneland November as a weanling, and a $15,000 Fasig-Tipton October yearling. He is the second foal of his dam, Ballpark Butterfly, a daughter of Grand Slam who achieved her sole victory as a 4-year-old. The second dam, Miss Lady Bug, a daughter of the Tom Rolfe horse Rough Pearl, was a smart performer in her native California, winning nine races and more than $315,000, including the listed Waya Handicap and the Cecilia De Mille Harper California Cup Distaff Starter Handicap, and earning several other stakes placings. A half sister to the June Darling Handicap victress Belle of Paducah, Miss Lady Bug produced four winners from five starters, the best being the Solana Beach Handicap third-place finisher Caitie's Secret, a daughter of Benchmark.

Tarabilla, the dam of Miss Lady Bug and Belle of Paducah was unraced, and her dam, Right on Tune, not only failed to start, but also failed to produce a winner from three live foals. Right on Tune was by Unconscious, the best horse sired by Ribot's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe victor Prince Royal II, and so was 3x3 to Ribot, who also figures as sire of Tom Rolfe. Like most families, things improve as one goes back, and Right on Tune's dam, Golden Serenade, boasts a classic pedigree as she is by the magnificent runner Swaps out of Doug's Serenade, a stakes-winning half sister to champion 3-year-old filly and foundation mare Lady Pitt.

In Trouble is TrueNicks rated A on the basis of the Tiznow/Gone West cross, which has produced three other stakes winners as well as another stakes-placed horse for Tiz Wonderful. It may be significant that Gone West is out of a mare by Secretariat, a strain for which Tiznow appears to have something of an affinity (he also appears in Tiz Wonderful through Storm Cat, grandsire of Tiz Wonderful's dam). The other interesting feature of In Trouble's pedigree is the similarity between Tiz Wonderful's second dam Lit'l Rose and Ballpark Butterfly. Lit'l Rose is by Mr. Prospector, out of a mare by Tom Rolfe, and with a second dam by Round Table. Ballpark Butterfly is by a grandson of Mr. Prospector, and her dam is by a son of Tom Rolfe out of a mare by a son of Round Table. Incidentally, Round Table is by Princequillo (also broodmare sire of the previously-mentioned Secretariat), and Princequillo has some pedigree similarities to Ribot, who we mentioned as doubled in Ballpark Butterfly's dam, and the pair often work well together.

On his next outing, In Trouble will be attempting to emulate the record of his sire, who went 3-for-3 as a juvenile, his victories including the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) and Iroquois Stakes (gr. III). Injury disrupted Tiz Wonderful's subsequent career, and he started just twice as a 3-year-old, his best effort being a second in the More Than Ready Stakes. In general, though, the Tiznow line have proved progressive, and we can note that In Trouble's broodmare sire, Grand Slam, came back after suffering a serious injury in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) to run second in the following year's Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), so there is no reason to believe that In Trouble won't train on. A look at the TrueNicks Enhanced Report shows that the average winning distance for colts bred on the cross (7.34 furlongs) is longer than the average distance raced, which points to stamina, and we can't see In Trouble having any problems with at least nine furlongs. The bigger question, looking towards the Triple Crown events, is whether the concentrations of some classic strains in his pedigree can overcome the deficiency of class in his immediate female line. On his performances to date, this looks a distinct possibility.

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