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Wildcat Red
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Coglianese Photos/Kenny Martin

Wildcat Red Stretches Speed Toward Classics

How far Wildcat Red will go is anyone's guess.

How far Wildcat Red  will go is anyone's guess, but he has already gone farther than many people thought he might and shown fine gameness while doing so. A winner of the seven-furlong Hutcheson Stakes (gr. III) three weeks earlier, the Honors Stable color bearer outgamed General a Rod  down the Gulfstream Park stretch to win the 8.5-furlong Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) by a head Feb. 22, putting himself squarely among this year's classic contenders.

Judging Wildcat Red as a sprinter based on his sire's proclivities was probably a bit premature in any event, for Wildcat Red is an example of the long-used pattern of speed over stamina. The speed comes through his sire, D'wildcat, a grade I winner at six furlongs, while the most obvious stamina source is broodmare sire Miner's Mark, winner of the 1993 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) over 10 furlongs at the expense of Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Colonial Affair.

A pure sprinter, D'wildcat first attracted notice by running off with the 2001 Swale Stakes (gr. III) by 10 1/2 lengths as a 3-year-old. Also third in that year's San Vicente Stakes (gr. II), he went on to rank among the nation's best sprinters at 4, winning the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes (gr. I) and Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II). Also a winner of the listed Live the Dream Handicap on grass, he retired to Windfields Farm in Ontario, Canada, in 2004 having won five of 18 starts. He moved to Vinery Florida in 2006 and relocated to Louisiana Stallion Station South for 2013. The sire of 13 stakes winners, including Mexican champion 3-year-old filly Telis and multiple grade II winner D' Funnybone , his 2014 fee will be $4,500 live foal.

D'wildcat's speed was in large part the legacy of his sire Forest Wildcat (Storm Cat—Victoria Beauty, by Bold Native), also the sire of successful Florida sire Wildcat Heir. A two-time grade III winner over sprint distances, Forest Wildcat was a consistent and prolific sire of sprint winners prior to his death in 2008. The dam of D'wildcat, D'Enough (by the grade II-winning Secretariat horse D'Accord), was a solid, consistent competitor who preferred a bit more distance and had enough class to run third in the restricted Montauk Stakes over nine furlongs. Her female line traces to Grass Shack, also the ancestress of two-time leading sire Deputy Minister and 1999 Horse of the Year Charismatic.

In contrast to D'wildcat, Miner's Mark strongly preferred a route and, past his juvenile season, raced almost exclusively at distances beyond a mile. As a son of the brilliantly fast Mr. Prospector out of the undefeated champion mare Personal Ensign, he had a "could be anything" pedigree (as evidenced by his full brother Our Emblem, who was at his best over seven furlongs) but took after the staying proclivities of his stout Argentine female family line. Unfortunately, he was a disappointing sire who got only 10 stakes winners from 306 foals before his death in April 2013, perhaps in part because his get tended to be a bit too stamina-oriented for the American market.

Wildcat Red was bred in Florida by Moreau Bloodstock International and Winter Racing Enterprise out of the Miner's Mark daughter Racene, who showed her best form when third in the 2002 Yerba Buena Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) at about nine furlongs. Racene is also the dam of Racing Machine (by Skimming), a stakes winner in Jamaica, and four winners from four other starters.

Racene is out of unraced Vette, whose sire Flying Paster may also contribute a bit of stamina to Wildcat Red's genetic mix. A son of the good California sire Gummo (by Fleet Nasrullah) out of Procne, by Acroterion, Flying Paster won stakes races from six to nine furlongs and was twice second to the great Spectacular Bid at 10 furlongs. Retired to stud in his native state, Flying Paster sired 48 stakes winners from 428 named foals including 1990 Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Flying Continental.

Penny Legende, the dam of Vette, captured her only win at a flat mile. While her sire, Grey Dawn II, was a precocious juvenile who captured top honors as a 2-year-old in France, at stud he reflected more of the staying orientation of his sire, Herbager, a winner of the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby). His best offspring included the "Silver Tornado," Vigors; top staying filly Christmas Past; and multiple grade I winner Swing Till Dawn, all successful in grade I company at 10 furlongs or more.

At this point on the Triple Crown trail, it still isn't clear whether Wildcat Red will want much more than the Fountain of Youth distance; while he is clearly more than a pure sprinter, it's always possible that a mile is his best trip. But given his genetic mix, don't count him out yet for the long run.