This seems to be a year to be wary of maidens in major West Coast juvenile events. The Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar in August saw Know More stamp himself as a colt of considerable promise by scoring on his racecourse debut. Second to Rolling Fog in early September’s Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) next time out, Know More returned Sept. 29 to start favorite for the FrontRunner (formerly Norfolk) Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park, but was convincingly defeated by Power Broker, who in turn was scoring his first victory in four starts.
There is a clear explanation for the turnaround that saw Power Broker transformed from thrice-defeated maiden to 6 1/2-length grade I winner, as the FrontRunner was the colt's first start on a natural dirt surface. A $360,000 Keeneland September yearling, Power Broker had debuted in a six-furlong event on the all-weather at Del Mar and finished fourth. Switched to the turf for his second outing, a mile maiden at Del Mar, Power Broker led at each of the first three calls but ended up third, beaten a length. On his only other outing, Power Broker tackled stakes company for the first time, missing by a neck to Dry Summer in the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf Stakes.
On pedigree, Power Broker has the right to be any kind. His sire Pulpit needs little introduction. A son of A.P. Indy, Pulpit won four of six starts, including the Fountain of Youth Stakes and Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (both gr. II). After suffering a career-ending injury while finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Pulpit retired to stud at Claiborne Farm, where he has been a successful and influential sire. To date Pulpit is sire of 62 stakes winners (7.8% stakes winners to foals), and 37 graded stakes winners—including nine stakes winners, eight of them graded, in 2012. Power Broker is his 11th grade I winner, among the others being the successful sires Tapit and Sky Mesa .
Power Broker is the third foal and first winner for his dam, the Wild Again mare Shop Again. Given that she eventually became a black type winner—albeit on a minor circuit—Shop Again took a remarkably long time to find the winners' circle. In fact, she made 13 starts at 2, 3, and 4 before breaking through to win by 9 1/2 lengths over six furlongs at Belmont Park. That event was her first drop into claiming company, and saw her breeder, Hobeau Farm, lose her for $45,000.
Shop Again made seven starts for her new connections, winning a six-furlong allowance event during summer 2006 at Prairie Meadows and, on her final starts that November, the six-furlong Ada Stakes at Remington Park, and—in her only try on the grass—a five-furlong allowance at the same venue. With her black type status, and in foal to First Samurai , the then 5-year-old Shop Again showed considerable appreciation on her claiming price of 17 months earlier when selling for $450,000 at the 2007 Keeneland November sale. Even before Power Broker's victory, Shop Again had made that price look a pretty fair investment with the First Samurai foal, a filly, realizing $330,000 as a Keeneland September yearling, followed by Power Broker's sale in 2011, and then the sale of her third foal, an unnamed daughter of Tiznow , for $200,000 at the most recent September sale.
Shop Again is out of Shopping, a three-time winner by Private Account who has turned out to be a significantly better producer than she was a runner. In addition to Shop Again, she is dam of three other stakes winners, headed by Miss Shop and Trappe Shot . Miss Shop, a daughter of Deputy Minister, captured six stakes events, including the Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I). Trappe Shot—by Pulpit's son Tapit, so similarly bred to Power Broker—was second to Lookin At Lucky in the Izod Haskell Invitational Stakes (gr. I) at 3. At 4, he won the True North Handicap (gr. II) and was beaten a nose for the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. I). Shop Again is also preceded as a stakes producer out of Shopping by her half sister Shop Here (by Dehere), dam of the Fashion Stakes winner and Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) runner-up Fifth Avenue.
Shopping was bred by Claiborne's Arthur Hancock, but she comes from a long-term Phipps female line. Her dam Impish, a daughter of Majestic Prince, also produced graded stakes winner Lay Down and stakes winner Karly's Harley. Impish's Buckpasser daughter I Pass outdid her dam by producing a brilliant sprinter in Mining, winner of six of his seven starts, including the Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I), and is ancestress of several other stakes winners, including U.S. graded scorers Forest Music and Shooter.
Impish was out of the major Phipps foundation mare Lady Be Good. Winner of the Colleen Stakes and the fillies division of the National Stallion Stakes in 1958, and a sister to the good sprinter TimeTested, Lady Be Good was by Better Self (by La Troienne's son, multiple champion Bimelech) and had War Admiral and his very close relative Seaplane 3x4. Lady Be Good was dam of four stakes winners, including the Swaps Handicap victor Disciplinarian and Test Stakes, Demoiselle Stakes, and Molly Pitcher Handicap winner Discipline. Among the major stakes winners descending from Lady Be Good are Goodbye Halo, King Halo, Squander, Val's Prince, Burning Roma, Zilzal, Awe Inspiring, Culture Vulture, Polish Precedent, Posse (the European-raced 1977 horse of that name), and Menhoubah.
When juvenile colts begin winning grade I events over a distance of ground in early autumn, it's natural that there will be speculation regarding their 3-year-old potential, particularly with regard to potential stamina limitations. Normally, one would have little doubt about a son of Pulpit out of a mare by a stallion that won a Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at 10 furlongs staying a classic trip. Here, the situation is not quite as clear cut, given a dam who was quick enough to take a stakes over six furlongs at 4. On top of that, the close relative Trappe Shot (by a son of Pulpit out of Power Broker’s granddam) scored his best win at six furlongs and only just missed in a grade I at the same distance. We can also note that Power Broker (TrueNicks A++) is one of four stakes winners sired by Pulpit from just seven runners out of daughters of Wild Again. The best of these, Pyro, did win the Louisiana Derby (gr. II), Risen Star Stakes (gr. III), and Northern Dancer Stakes (gr. III) at 3, but reverted to seven furlongs at 4 to score his most prestigious triumph in the Forego Stakes (gr. I).