By Avalyn Hunter
If the 2007 racing season ended right now, it would be hard to argue against Kodiak Kowboy as the champion 2-year-old male. With four straight wins under his girth, he is the most accomplished colt to emerge so far this season. There is still a lot of racing to go this year, of course, but on pedigree as well as demonstrated talent, Kodiak Kowboy has a good chance to add to his resume before the season is over.
Kodiak Kowboy is by Posse, a multiple graded stakes-winning son of the good sire Silver Deputy, who is off to a blazing start as a freshman sire. Including Kodiak Kowboy, Posse has five stakes winners so far from 59 named foals of racing age, 29 of which have started and 13 have won.
Three of Posse’s stakes winners are out of mares from the Mr. Prospector sire line, including Kodiak Kowboy, whose broodmare sire is 1998 Travers Stakes (gr. I) winner Coronado’s Quest (by Forty Niner, by Mr. Prospector). The other two are Prairie Gold Juvenile Stakes winner Possetothemax (out of Storm Witch, by Twining, by Forty Niner) and Brian Barenscheer Juvenile Stakes winner Deputy Dance (out of Graycious Dancer, by Robyn Dancer, by Crafty Prospector, by Mr. Prospector). While these results may simply be a consequence of numbers – a review of Posse’s first crop indicates that roughly a quarter of them are out of mares from the Mr. Prospector sire line – they are nonetheless promising.
Another pattern that has been frequently tried with Posse is inbreeding to Northern Dancer. Two of his stakes winners – Possetothemax and Deputy Dance – so far were produced from mares carrying Northern Dancer in their pedigrees, in both cases through Nijinsky II. The dam of Possetothemax also has Storm Cat in her ancestry. As Possetothemax and Deputy Dance both trace to Mr. Prospector in the broodmare sire line, it is difficult to tell whether inbreeding to Mr. Prospector or to Northern Dancer was the key factor. Given that the two great sires have themselves crossed effectively, it may be the dual inbreeding is also quite an effective pattern.
Although Posse’s graded wins were all at seven furlongs or less, the presence of Rahy and Roberto as his first two damsires suggests that more distance could have been a possibility. This bodes well for Posse’s ability to blend successfully with mares from stouter backgrounds to produce foals that can stay beyond sprint distances. This also bodes well for Kodiak Kowboy’s ability to remain competitive as the distances stretch out. Not only does he have a proven 10-furlong horse as his broodmare sire, but he comes from a female line which has turned up a fair number of horses that did their best running over routes.
Kokadrie, the dam of Kodiak Kowboy, never raced but is closer than a half-sister to 1993 Nassau County Handicap (gr. I) winner West by West (by Gone West, by Mr. Prospector), a multiple graded stakes winner over nine furlongs. Both were produced from West Turn, a daughter of Cox’s Ridge and the Jacinto mare Win Nona. West Turn is a full sister to 1986 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. I) winner Little Missouri, who took the historic race when it was staged over 12 furlongs.
Further back, this is the family of noted broodmare sire and stamina influence Prince John and of Cosmic Bomb, a winner of the 13-furlong Lawrence Realization and the broodmare sire of two-time leading American sire Halo. The female line traces back to *Herodias, a 1916 daughter of The Tetrarch imported as a yearling by the noted breeder William R. Coe.
Although Kodiak Kowboy is inbred 4x4 to the great sire Mr. Prospector, the linchpin of this pedigree may not be Mr. Prospector himself but his dam Gold Digger. A fine racemare and producer in her own right, she shares close genetic links with two other key females in this pedigree: Bramalea, dam of Posse’s second damsire Roberto, and Perception, fifth dam of Kodiak Kowboy.
Both Gold Digger and Bramalea are by Nashua out of mares with *Bull Dog and Blue Larkspur close up on their dam’s sides, an affinity that has appeared in a number of good runners including champions Afleet Alex and Hollywood Wildcat and Classic winners Barbaro, Dubawi, and Shamardal. As in Kodiak Kowboy’s pedigree, the affinity has been particularly effective when Roberto appears in the top half of the pedigree and Mr. Prospector appears on the bottom. Perception adds another layer of genetic alliance as she is by Count Fleet out of a Blue Larkspur mare and so is closely related to Gold Digger’s dam Sequence (by Count Fleet out of a granddaughter of Blue Larkspur).
While Kodiak Kowboy’s pedigree is by no means that of a dyed-in-the-wool stayer, his background suggests that a mile should be within his scope and nine furlongs could be a reasonable possibility. As the 7-furlong Futurity Stakes (gr. II) is tentatively scheduled as his next target, he is following a logical progression towards the longer fall races. How he responds to the longer distances will in no small part determine whether he will be a championship contender or just another nice juvenile sprinter.