Volponi's Pedigree: Classic Clearance

Published in the Nov. 2 issue of The Blood-Horse
Longtime Chicago businessman and Thoroughbred owner Phil Teinowitz took a determined chance at the 1985 Keeneland September yearling sale when he went to $190,000 for a son of Fappiano out of the Hoist the Flag mare Naval Orange from the consignment of Eaton-Williams, agent. That chance paid off as Cryptoclearance went on to score 12 wins in 44 career starts, including grade I wins in the 1987 Florida Derby and Pegasus Handicap and the 1989 Donn and Widener Handicaps. Cryptoclearance, who earned $3,376,327, was retired from racing in February of 1990 after pulling a sesamoid ligament on the inside of his left foreleg while training for the 1990 Donn.

Cryptoclearance began his stud career in 1990, originally standing at Ben P. Walden Jr.'s Dearborn/Vinery near Midway, Ky., before moving to his current location, Steve Johnson and Dr. Ira Mersack's Margaux Farm near Midway.

Since entering stud, he has sired 12 foal crops, which include three champions and 11 graded stakes winners. Cryptoclearance stood the 2002 season at Margaux for $20,000 as the property of Teinowitz.

The latest star sired by Cryptoclearance is Volponi, whose trainer and part owner, P.G. Johnson, also has roots in the Windy City. Johnson, who bred and co-owns Volponi with his wife, Mary Kay, and daughters Kathy and Karen under the Amherst Stable name, and races him in partnership with Edward Baier's Spruce Pond Stable, is originally from Chicago. Johnson trained at Arlington Park before relocating permanently to New York in 1962.

"I've had several good horses over the years, but Volponi ranks right up there with the best of them," Johnson said. "If he continues to stay healthy, he could be the best. He will be a much better horse next year."

Johnson purchased Prom Knight, the dam of Volponi, for $8,000 at the 1993 Fasig-Tipton New York yearling sale at Saratoga from the consignment of her breeder, Sugar Maple Farm. Johnson liked Prom Knight because of her sire, Sir Harry Lewis, who scored his major win in the 1987 Irish Derby (Ire-I).

"I liked her because she had a lot of big names on her pedigree and she was a good-looking mare. She was by an Irish Derby winner and had Northern Dancer in her bloodlines," he said.

Prom Knight made only one start before joining the Amherst broodmare band. She produced her first foal in 1996.

Johnson said he chose to mate Prom Knight with Cryptoclearance due to their compatible size and pedigrees, both of which featured Mr. Prospector.

Besides Volponi, Prom Knight is the dam of grade III stakes-placed Fickle Friends (by Demons Begone), who is a member of the Amherst broodmare band and is boarded at Bill and Sandra Sanborn's Sanborn Chase Farm near Nicholasville, Ky., during the breeding season. Fickle Friends, who won seven of 18 career starts before retiring in June of 2001, is carrying her first foal, by Editor's Note, on a Feb. 26 cover. The mare was shipped to Mrs. Peter von Wiesenthal's Snowberry Farm near Hudson, N.Y., on May 16.

Prom Knight also produced Romp and Stomp, a 3-year-old Olympio filly, also campaigned by Amherst and Spruce Pond. Romp and Stomp last finished 11th in a Sept. 21 turf allowance contest at Belmont. Amherst also owns the mare's 2-year-old Pleasant Tap colt, Gentle Nudge, who has yet to start.

After Volponi's victory in the 2001 Pegasus Handicap (gr. II) at Meadowlands, Johnson sold Prom Knight privately to the partnership of Beth Clifton and Mary Lester. Prom Knight is kept at Clifton's Clifton Farm near Lexington. Clifton said she was interested in Prom Knight because of her pedigree and the fact she traced back to Alleged.

Prom Knight was barren to Williamstown in 2001 and is carrying a Broad Brush foal. A mate for 2003 has yet to be determined.

Besides Volponi, Cryptoclearance is the sire of 31 stakes winners, including additional 2002 added-money winners Crypto's Twinjet, Ashwood C C, and Dazzling Crypto.

Cryptoclearance also sired 1999 champion older horse Victory Gallop, winner of the 1998 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and six other added-money wins. Victory Gallop, who finished fourth in the 1998 Classic, entered stud in 2000 at Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky. His 2002 fee was $20,000.

Cryptoclearance also sired grade I winner Millennium Wind, who won the 2001 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland. Millennium Wind was retired during the spring after reaggravating a tendon injury. Millennium Wind will stand his first season in 2003 at Ro Parra and William Hardin's Millennium Farms Kentucky near Lexington.

"Generally speaking, Cryptoclearance has an uncanny ability to sire at least one top class horse from each crop," said Danny Teinowitz, son of Phil Teinowitz. "His foals possess the same courage, heart, and tenacity he showed on the track. His foals may not be so beautiful or perfect, but have a large portion of the talent to win the big races."