|BREEDERS' CUP CLASSIC|
2nd at 3BREEDERS' CUP CLASSIC
(gr. I , 10f , to Raven's Pass, defeating Tiago, Curlin, Go Between, Colonel John, Smooth Air, Champs Elysees (GB), Duke of Marmalade (IRE), Fairbanks, Student Council, Casino Drive ).
Although RavenÕs Pass represented the highlight of a successful BreedersÕ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships weekend for European-based runners, the chestnut colt spent his early days in Kentucky as a homebred product of Robert and Janice McNairÕs Stonerside Stable.
Sent to Great Britain as a yearling, RavenÕs Pass was making his first start in the United States when he upset the BreedersÕ Cup Classic (gr. I) field with his 13Ú4-length victory Oct. 25 at Santa Anita.
Stonerside-bred RavenÕs Pass, who also won the Sept. 27 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I), is out of the grade III-winning Lord At War mare Ascutney. The farm acquired her for $775,000 at the 2000 Keeneland January mixed sale from Longfield Farm, agent, while she was carrying her second foal.
One month after being bought by Stonerside, Ascutney produced a colt by Wild Again. Named Gigawatt, that foal went on to win $512,641 in 39 career starts. He has three stakes wins to his credit, including the 2006 Miami Mile BreedersÕ Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT).
During her racing days, Ascutney was campaigned by December Hill Farm. Her biggest win came in the 1996 Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood Park, and she also won the Salem County Stakes that year. Additionally, Ascutney placed in two other grade III contests, the Senorita and Miss Grillo Stakes.
Ascutney is a member of an extremely productive family. Although her dam, the Verbatim mare Right Word, never won a race, she has more than made up for it as a broodmare. Ascutney is a full sister to multiple stakes winner Words of War and a half-sister to multiple added-money winner Word oÕ Ransom, who have both also gone on to be successful in the breeding shed.
Word oÕ Ransom is the dam of three stakes winners, including 2008 grade IIIT winner Polonius, while Words of War has produced grade IT winner No Matter What (by Nureyev) and grade II winner E Dubai (by Mr. Prospector).
No Matter What is also a group I producer. Her 2-year-old Dynaformer filly, Rainbow View, is undefeated in four starts this year and counts the Meon Valley Stud FilliesÕ Mile (Eng-I), Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield May Hill Stakes (Eng-II), and Skybet.com Sweet Solera Stakes (Eng-III) among her victories. Rainbow View races as a homebred for George StrawbridgeÕs Augustin Stable, which took the Oct. 24 Emirates Airline BreedersÕ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) with Forever Together.
E Dubai, who won the 2001 Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) and 2002 Suburban Handicap (gr. II), now stands at Darley near Lexington. Also standing at Darley is RavenÕs PassÕ sire, Elusive Quality. Last year, Elusive Quality notched his first BreedersÕ Cup winner when Maryfield took the inaugural BreedersÕ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
A grade III-winning son of Gone West, Elusive Quality set a world record of 1:31.63 for a mile in 1998, but he is probably best known for siring 2004 champion 3-year-old male Smarty Jones, who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (both gr. I) before finishing second in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). That year, Elusive Quality led the North American leading sires list with more than $10.7 million in earnings.
Elusive Quality began his stud career at Sheikh MaktoumÕs Gainsborough Farm near Versailles, Ky. When Sheikh Maktoum died in 2006, his enterprise became part of Darley, which is overseen by his brother, Sheikh Mohammed. The operationÕs mares are generally kept at Gainsborough, while the stallions stand at Darley.
Not only does Darley stand RavenÕs PassÕ sire and another productive member of his family, but the operation also races the chestnut colt along with Princess Haya. RavenÕs Pass began his career racing for Stonerside, but was part of a package deal with Darley, and his two grade/group I victories have come for his new owners.
In September, it was announced that all but one of the Stonerside Stable runners had been sold to the Darley team. Included in the transaction were approximately 80 horses in training, plus another 170 or so broodmares, yearlings, and weanlings, as well as a 2,000-acre farm near Paris, Ky., and a training center in Aiken, S.C.
Stonerside was founded in 1994. Robert McNairÕs commitment to his NFL football team, the Houston Texans, has resulted in an insufficient amount of time being available to direct Stonerside, which was the primary reason behind the decision to sell.
The one horse in training Stonerside did keep was Cowboy Cal, who is named after one of the McNairsÕ sons. In his last start, Cowboy Cal won the Oct. 12 Bryan Station Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland. Other stakes winners this year that were bred by Stonerside include grade II winner Skylighter and grade III victor Chatain.
Darley enjoyed a successful BreedersÕ Cup this year, as it also took the Bessemer Trust BreedersÕ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) with Midshipman, who is another Stonerside homebred, and the Grey Goose BreedersÕ Cup Juvenile Turf with Donativum. The operation also finished second and third in the Oct. 24 BreedersÕ Cup LadiesÕ Classic (gr. I) with Cocoa Beach and Music Note, respectively, who run in the name of Godolphin Racing, which was founded by Sheikh Mohammed.
AscutneyÕs youngest foal is an unraced 2-year-old Storm Cat filly named Cloudspin. The mare was bred back to Storm Cat for 2007 but aborted, and she was barren to Elusive Quality for this year. Kept at the Stonerside property near Paris, Ky., 14-year-old Ascutney was sent back to Elusive Quality for 2009 and is carrying a full sibling to RavenÕs Pass. By Amanda H. Duckworth
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