Know More

Know More

Benoit Photography

No More U.S. Lion Hearts After Current 2YOs

Best Pal winner Know More is from the last U.S. crop sired by Lion Heart.

In August 2011 trainer Doug O’Neill entered a promising Reddam Racing-owned juvenile in the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) off a maiden special weight victory in his first outing. The colt, future Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner I'll Have Another , placed second.

The same connections ran a true maiden in the Best Pal this year and were awarded with a win. Know More is a bay son of Lion Heart, whose January 2010 sale to Turkey may be yet another example of the old joke about how to heat up a stallion's stud career: export him. The sire of 12 stakes winners (five of them graded) at the time of his sale, Lion Heart since has been represented by 15 more, including 2010 Arkansas Derby (gr. I) winner Line of David; Dangerous Midge, winner of the 2010 Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT); Kantharos , a highly regarded multiple graded stakes winner as a juvenile of 2010; the very quick filly Agave Kiss, winner of this year's Cicada Stakes (gr. III); and unbeaten Canadian juvenile Uncaptured , a two-time stakes winner who looks ready for bigger things.

One of the leaders of his crop at both 2 and 3, Lion Heart won the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) as a juvenile and the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at 3, as well as running a brave second to Smarty Jones  in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) at a distance many thought might be a little beyond him. He retired to Ashford Stud after suffering a fracture in his right forefoot during the running of the Traver Stakes (gr. I), having won half his 10 starts and $1,390,800.

Given his race record and his combination of looks and action—he was the sales topper at the 2003 Fasig-Tipton February sale of 2-year-olds in training—it is hardly surprising that Lion Heart proved extremely popular in his first season, covering 233 mares. While his books dropped off the next few years, they were still well into triple digits, suggesting that horsemen liked what they were seeing in his foals. But more than ever, the modern stallion market is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately game, and the fact that his first crop failed to produce a real standout plus a vigorous effort by the Jockey Club of Turkey to secure some younger stallions with solid credentials landed him on a plane to Istanbul.

Like Line of David and Dangerous Midge, Know More is the product of a Seattle Slew daughter or granddaughter, a cross that has also produced multiple grade I-placed grade III winner Pretty Prolific. While Lion Heart's sire Tale of the Cat  never has shown any significant affinity for mares packing Seattle Slew, the key here is probably Lion Heart's dam Satin Sunrise.

A daughter of the good Hail to Reason horse Mr. Leader out of a mare by the Nasrullah grandson Naskra, Satin Sunrise reverses the cross of the Nasrullah line over that of Hail to Reason that produced Seattle Slew's sire Bold Reasoning. This reverse of Bold Reasoning is repeated in Bactu Reason, the granddam of Satin Sunrise, who was sired by the Hail to Reason horse Bold Reason out of Bacchian, a maternal granddaughter of Nasrullah. Adding spice to the mix is a trio of stallions in Lion Heart's pedigree tracing in the direct female line to Frizette, also the direct ancestress of Seattle Slew: Mr. Prospector, broodmare sire of Tale of the Cat ; Djeddah, maternal grandsire of Mr. Leader; and Tourbillon, paternal grandsire of Djeddah.

Of course, in Know More's case, a quality female line probably doesn't hurt either. Bred by Joseph LaCombe Stables, the colt is out of the Seattle Slew daughter Seattle Qui, also the dam of grade II-placed stakes winner Classical Slew (by Bernstein). Her dam Qui Bid is by another of the all-time greats in Spectacular Bid, lending credence to the idea that Know More may not only train on but have a liking for classic distances. Qui Bid herself never raced, but her three stakes winners include dual German classic winner Que Belle (by Seattle Dancer), herself the dam of grade/group III winners Osidy (by Storm Cat) and Quetsche (by Gone West).

A full sister to grade III winner Sum and a half sister to 1985 English champion 2-year-old male Bakharoff (by The Minstrel), English group II winner Emperor Jones (by Danzig), and four other stakes winners, Qui Bid is out of grade III-placed Qui Royalty, by the Raise a Native horse Native Royalty out of Qui Blink (by Francis S.), also the dam of grade III winner Qui Native. A half sister to French group III winner Wronsky (by In Reality), Qui Blink traces back to French-bred Imprudence II, who was imported to the United States after victories in the 1947 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, One Thousand Guineas, and Epsom Oaks. This is much the best North American branch of the family of Black Gem, whose full sister Black Ray is the ancestress of the important sires Khaled, Mill Reef, and Blushing Groom (the latter two of which were champions on the Turf as well) and of 2011 champion juvenile male Hansen.

Whether Know More will prove the equal of Hansen as a racer or of his other distant kin as a sire has yet to be seen, but he is certainly off to a good start despite racing a bit greenly in the Best Pal. On both paper and performance, he is one to keep an eye on.