By Alan Porter
In an era when Mr. Prospector, Northern Dancer, and Seattle Slew/A.P. Indy are the dominant forces in U.S. racing, it comes as a pleasant surprise that the leading 2-year-old colts on either coast are male-line descendents of Man o’ War through In Reality.
The much-vaunted Boys At Tosconova impressed while winning the Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) September 6 at Saratoga over two other colts who appear to have a bright future: Stay Thirsty (from the promising first crop of Bernardini ) and Wine Police (by Speightstown ). Boys At Toscanova is by Officer, who goes back to In Reality through Bertrando, Skywalker, and Relaunch (whose male line has another chance of perpetuation through Tiznow , who already has stallion sons). Officer was himself a juvenile sensation, with wins in the Graduation Stakes, Best Pal Stakes (gr. III), Del Mar Futurity (gr. II), and Champagne Stakes (gr. I). The quick-actioned colt disappointed as favorite in the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I), however, and in his only start at 3, he reverted to sprinting to take the 6½-furlong Zany Tactics Stakes. Officer has been a useful sire of fast and precocious horses, but he has never previously been responsible for anything with the class of Boys At Tosconova.
Boys At Tosconova’s dam, Little Bonnet, won over nine furlongs, and ran third in the Sands Point Stakes at the same distance. She is by Coronado’s Quest (by Forty Niner), who was somewhat disappointing as a sire, but who is beginning to redeem himself as a broodmare sire. (Incidentally, Boys At Tosconova is one of three stakes winners sired by Officer from only 14 starters out of Forty Niner-line mares, so keep a look out of for any bred that way at the sales.)
The second dam, Valid Bonnet (by Valid Appeal) won the Honeybee Stakes and Ak-Sar-Ben Oaks (both gr. III), and is out of the Matron Stakes (gr. I) third Miss Cox’s Hat (by Cox’s Ridge). Boys At Tosconova’s fourth dam, Hat Brim, is by In Reality, so Valid Bonnet has In Reality 2x3. In Reality was inbred 3x3 to War Relic, who in turn was 3x3 to Rock Sand and Fairy Gold, two of the grandparents of Man o’ War. Boys At Tosconova has In Reality 5x4x5, and one has to wonder if this linebreeding to an inbred horse has given a little cohesion to the pedigree, as Officer is quite an outcrossed horse.
Two days after Boys At Tosconova became a grade I winner--and across the continent on the West Coast--J P's Gusto sped to a 4½-length victory in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I). That was his fourth straight stakes win following tallies in the Willard L. Proctor Memorial Stakes, Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III), and Best Pal Stakes (gr. II). J P’s Gusto is by Successful Appeal , a smart 2-year-old and sprinter/miler by Valid Appeal. Successful Appeal’s wins included the Cowdin Stakes (gr. II) at 2; the Withers and Kentucky Cup Sprint Stakes (both gr. II) at 3; and the A. G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II) at 4. The leading freshman sire of 2004, Successful Appeal has previously sired another grade I-winning juvenile in Appealing Zophie, who took the Spinaway (gr. I), and also had Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) winner Closing Argument, who outstayed his pedigree to take second in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
J P’s Gusto is out of the Caller I. D. (by Phone Trick) mare Call Her Magic. She did win at a mile, but was really something of a short-course specialist, with two minor stakes wins at five furlongs. The family is a re-emerging one, as Call Her Magic’s half sister, Pacific Spell, is dam of 2008 champion 3-year-old filly Proud Spell. The granddam, Malibu Magic, is by Encino, a sharp brother to Royal Academy, and is half sister to the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) victress Imaginary Lady.
Both these pedigrees seem oriented towards speed, and while either Boys At Tosconova or J P’s Gusto may be mature and talented enough to deal with their contemporaries in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I), in the long term they look more like sprinter/milers rather than classic horses. That said, both have already earned their place at stud, and with it another shot at furthering the Man o' War sire line.