Put It Back is the latest hope for keeping alive the Man o' War sire line.

Put It Back is the latest hope for keeping alive the Man o' War sire line.

Louise E. Reinagel

Put It Back Keeping Sire Line Alive

Put It Back is the latest hope for keeping alive the Man o' War sire line.

by Alan Porter

Were it not for Florida, there would now be no active male line tracing back to that most revered of American racehorses, Man o’ War. The line had already begun to fade from prominence when Tartan Farms’ colt In Reality came along in the stellar foal crop of 1964. Florida-foaled In Reality was a most appropriate horse to revive the line, as he was inbred 3 x 3 to Man o’ War’s son, War Relic, who in turn had two of Man o’ War’s grandparents — Rock Sand and Fairy Gold – 3 x 3 in his own pedigree. At the track, In Reality was no match for the best of his generation — including his own stable-companion, Dr. Fager, and Buckpasser —but still won 14 of 27 starts, including the Pimlico Futurity at 2; the Fountain of Youth Stakes, Florida Derby, and Jersey Derby at 3; and the Carter, Metropolitan, and John B. Campbell Handicaps at 4. At stud, In Reality proved to be the leader of his crop, despite spending virtually all his career in Florida.

In Reality’s extension of the Man o’ War line has come down to two distinct agents, Valid Appeal and Relaunch. Valid Appeal, winner of the Dwyer Handicap (gr. II) also stood in Florida throughout his career. As a sire of sires, he is most notably responsible for two sons that started their careers in Florida but have since moved elsewhere. Valid Expectations, the leading freshman sire of 2001 has stood at the Texas division of Lane’s End Farm since 2000 (his 2008 fee is $17,500) after starting out at Florida’s Mockingbird Farm. Successful Appeal , the leading freshman sire of 2004, now stands at Walmac Farm in Lexington, Ky., at a fee of $40,000, following his career in Florida at Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds. (Successful Appeal’s young son Closing Argument will stand the 2008 season at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms in Lexington after standing his initial two seasons in Florida.)

The gray, Relaunch, did his racing on the West Coast. A front-runner who forced John Henry to a world-record-equaling effort in the San Luis Rey Stakes (gr. I), Relaunch also won the Del Mar Derby and La Jolla Mile (both gr. III). At stud in Kentucky, Relaunch became a highly successful sire, and his branch of the sire line is represented by two promising young Kentucky-based stallions in Horse of the Year Tiznow  (standing for $30,000 at WinStar Farm in Versailles), who is by Relaunch’s son Cee’s Tizzy, and Officer (standing for $35,000 at Taylor Made Stallions in Nicholasville), a juvenile star who is by Relaunch’s grandson Bertrando. Another son of Relaunch, Honour and Glory, was the leading freshman sire of 2000, when he was represented by champion 2-year-old filly Caressing. Honour and Glory hasn’t maintained that level of success, although he has sired 30 Northern Hemisphere stakes winners — but in Put It Back, Honour and Glory does have a Florida-based son who might be the latest In Reality-line stallion star to emerge from that state.

A member of the same crop as Caressing, Put It Back was less precocious, running just twice at 2, finishing second in a Saratoga maiden in August and third in a similar event at Belmont in October, suffering rough trips both times. First time out at 3, Put It Back took a six-furlong maiden over Aqueduct’s inner track by 7 1/4 lengths, then returned to win the six-furlong Best Turn Stakes by 5 1/2 lengths. Against older horses in a seven-furlong Aqueduct allowance event, Put It Back led throughout to prevail by a half length, then followed up by beating the previous year’s Remsen Stakes (gr. II) winner, Windsor Castle, by 5 1/4 lengths in a Belmont Park money allowance. Put It Back’s final start came in the Riva Ridge Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont. In front throughout – as he was in all his 3-year-old events – Put It Back set fractions of :21.4; :44.2; 1:08.2; and 1:21.3 to score by a neck from Flame Thrower.

Retired to Bridlewood Farm in Ocala, Put It Back has quickly established himself as one of the leaders of the local stallion population. His first crop, which just turned 5, contains two of the fastest horses in the country in the shape of In Summation, winner on New Year’s Day of the El Conejo Handicap (gr. III), and Smokey Stover, winner last year of two graded stakes and the Sunshine Millions Padua Stables Sprint; as well as Japanese graded winner Black Bar Spin and stakes winners Put Away The Halo and Put Back the Shu. Stakes winners Secretsoftheheart and Pirate Saint are from his second crops; and in his third crop he has High Resolve, undefeated winner of four races by a total of 23 1/4 lengths at 2 last year, including the Arizona Juvenile Fillies Stakes and, on a trip back to her native Florida, the Joe O’Farrell Juvenile Fillies Stakes.

In Summation was a juvenile star in Florida at 2, capturing four black type events in his first season, and missing by just a nose in the $400,000 In Reality division of the Florida Stallion Stakes. He then seemed to lose his way in early in his 3-year-old campaign, finishing off the board in his first four starts. A switch to turf saw him pick up seconds in two graded stakes, but he ended the season without a win. Last June, In Summation broke the 21-month drought with a tally in the Sneakbox Stakes, and then a month later switched to the all-weather to pull off an upset in the Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar for his first grade I victory. He followed up that win with a dead heat for first in the Arlington Sprint Handicap, and then returned from a layoff to end the year with a second in the Vernon O. Underwood Stakes (gr. III).

In Summation’s dam, Fiesta Baby, was the product of the mating of extremes, being a daughter of the blisteringly speedy Dayjur and Fiesta Gal, heroine of the CCA Oaks and Mother Goose Stakes (both gr. I). Fiesta Baby appeared to take after the sire’s half of the pedigree, winning the first two of her five starts, both over six furlongs. In addition to In Summation, Fiesta Baby has also produced the minor stakes winner Dakota Duke (by Stormy Atlantic , who used to stand alongside Put it Back at Bridlewood Farm before departing to Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms, where he stands for $45,000 in 2008).

Fiesta Gal, who was one of the best U.S. runners for her sire, Alleged, is a sister to Australian black type winner Ostensible, and to Ghaiya, who was multiple group-placed in Ireland and France. Until In Summation put in an appearance, the descendents of Ghaiya had out performed those of Fiesta Gal: Fiesta Gal produced just one minor winner in addition to Fiesta Baby from four starters, while Ghaiya is dam of English group winner Chanzi and black type scorer Sharka (IRE), granddam of black type winner Toffee Nosed (GB), and third dam of New Zealand champion 2-year old filly Chant (NZ).

In Summation is an example of the emerging cross of Relaunch-line stallions over Danzig-line mares. His sire, Put It Back, also has stakes winner Put Back the Shu out of a mare by Katowice (by Danzig out of a half sister to Mr. Prospector, so bred rather like Dayjur, who is by Danzig out of a Mr. Prospector mare). Honour and Glory, the sire of Put It Back, has two stakes winners out of mares by Danzig sons, and Relaunch himself sired two stakes winners out of mares by sons of Danzig. Relaunch great-grandson Officer has done particularly well with this cross, as it has produced four stakes winners from his first two crops.

With regard to In Summation, we can also note that Miss Shoplifter, the dam of Put It Back, and Fiesta Gal, the granddam of In Summation, share several common ancestors, including Bold Ruler, Khaled and Beau Pere (through the three-quarters related Swaps and Sybil Brand), Prince John, and the mare Admiral’s Lady (in Fiesta Gal through Crafty Admiral, who also appears in Danzig).