After a 10-year wait, the grand opening of Aqueduct’s racetrack casino came in October. The impact on racing and breeding in New York has been immediate and dramatic. Along with a projected increase of $44.8 million in additional purse money at NYRA tracks for 2012 and an extra $6.9 million to the Thoroughbred Breeding Fund for that same period, the New York Breeding and Development Fund announced a 50% across-the-board increase in awards for 2012.
Those events have seen an influx of stallions into the state for the 2012 breeding season, with notable examples including Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) winner Dublin (owned by Spendthrift Farm, and standing at Keane Stud), Girolamo (owned by Darley, and standing at the newly-reopened Sequel Stallions), and Bluegrass Cat (who will stand at Vinery New York at Sugar Maple in a joint venture with WinStar). Coincidentally the latter duo—who, at $15,000 for Girolamo and $17,500 for Bluegrass Cat, look likely to be the highest-priced stallions in New York for the coming year—also closely related. Winner of the Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) and Jerome Handicap (gr. II), Girolamo is by A.P. Indy out of the graded stakes-winning Mr. Prospector mare Get Lucky. This means that he is a brother, not only to Supercharger, dam of 2010 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Super Saver , but also to She’s A Winner, the dam of Bluegrass Cat.
It was in New York that Bluegrass Cat initially drew attention to himself as a late-season 2-year-old, capturing the Nashua Stakes (gr. III) and Remsen Stakes (gr. II). Those efforts stamped the son of Storm Cat as a potential classic candidate, and after a win in the Sam F. Davis Stakes to start his sophomore campaign, he duly took second in both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Emerging from the Triple Crown trail in good order, Bluegrass Cat ran the race of his life to capture the Haskell Invitational Stakes (gr. I) by seven lengths, then ran second to Bernardini in the Travers Stakes (gr. I). Bluegrass Cat’s first crop hit the track in 2010 and he ended the year second to Vinery’s Congrats on the freshman sire table. A victory by his 2-year-old son Sabercat November 11 in the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot (gr. III) saw Bluegrass Cat move into the runner-up spot on the second-season sire list, behind only Bernardini .
In winning the Jackpot, Sabercat became the fifth stakes winner to emerge from his sire’s first two crops. Bluegrass Cat’s first crop is headed by Kathmanblu, a winner of four stakes events to date, including the Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II) and Rachel Alexandra Stakes (gr. III); Blue Laser, winner of the Grey Stakes (Can-III) at Woodbine; and two-time stakes winner Zayda; and contains seven other stakes horses. From Bluegrass Cat’s second crop, Sabercat was preceded as a black type winner by Zow, who took the Gold and Roses Stakes at Saratoga, and there are also already five other stakes horses, including grade I Hopeful third Big Blue Nation.
Now a winner of three of his six starts, Sabercat is out of the unraced Forty Niner mare Miner’s Blessing. She is dam of seven winners from seven starters, the best of her previous foals being Olivine (by Royal Academy, a close relative to Bluegrass Cat’s sire, Storm Cat), winner of the 2007 Busher Stakes at Aqueduct. Out of the stakes-placed Halo mare Bless You, Miner’s Blessing is closely related to the stakes-winning and grade I-placed Conquistadoress (by Seeking the Gold, like Forty Niner a son of Mr.Prospector, and out of Bless You), and to the Alydar Stakes winner Awesome Gambler (by Forty Niner’s son Coronado’s Quest, out of a daughter of Bless You). Sabercat’s third dam, the Hoist the Flag daughter Wedding Party, won the Gallorette and Chrysanthemum handicaps (both gr. IIIT). She is also dam of Deputation, who took a trio of black-type contests, including the Tempted Stakes (gr. III), as well as snaring runner-up spot in the Hempstead Handicap (gr. I). Deputation subsequently became granddam of 2008 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (gr. I) heroine Carriage Trail (by Giant’s Causeway, another son of Storm Cat, out of a mare by a son of Mr. Prospector, so bred on similar lines to Sabercat), and of multiple graded stakes winner Criminologist. Another of Wedding Party’s daughters, the unplaced Assert mare Certainly, is dam of Gran Fortaleza, who earned honors as champion 3-year-old filly in Venezuela. In tail-female line, Wedding Party traces to La Troienne, her fourth dam being the great mare’s daughter Belle Histoire.
Sabercat and his stakes-winning contemporary Zow (out of a mare by Distorted Humor ) are two of only 10 starters for Bluegrass Cat out of Forty Niner-line mares, the cross also producing stakes-placed Hysterical Cat. Overall, Bluegrass Cat has three stakes winners and eight stakes horses from 64 starters out of mares by Mr. Prospector and his sons and grandsons (all of which have a second cross of Mr. Prospector through Bluegrass Cat’s second dam). Halo, the sire of the second dam of Sabercat, also appears as grandsire of the dam of Bluegrass Cat’s second-highest earner, Kathmanblu (whose dam is a daughter of Devil’s Bag).
Finally, we mentioned that Sabercat traces to La Troienne, and we can note that his sixth dam, Narrative, is by War Relic out of La Troienne’s daughter Belle Histoire. Bluegrass Cat’s broodmare sire, A.P. Indy, is by Seattle Slew (dam inbred 3x3 to the sisters Striking and Busher, both by War Admiral—like War Relic, a son of Man o’War—out of La Troienne’s daughter Baby League), out of a mare with a dam by Buckpasser (out of Busanda, another daughter of War Admiral out of a daughter of La Troienne). Bluegrass Cat’s fourth dam, Numbered Account, has Busanda and Striking 2x3, so with five related strains of La Troienne, it's not surprising to see him do well with a mare tracing to the great matriarch through similarly-bred channels.