by Alan Porter
New York state racing officials recently received the go-ahead to begin work on a casino at Aqueduct. The facility, which could be completed by mid-2010, is likely to boost prize money at NYRA tracks and in state breeders’ incentive programs. Even before this welcome news, there is plenty of incentive to breed and race in the Empire State. On Sunday, New York-breds faced off in five New York Stallion stakes with a total of $500,000 in purse money, in addition to owner, breeder, and stallion premiums.
New York Stallion Fifth Avenue Stakes
First up was the New York Stallion Fifth Avenue Stakes, a six-furlong event for 2-year-old fillies. This fell to Sarah Accomplished (Performing Magic– Accomplished, by Awesome Again ). She is from the fourth crop of her sire, a Gone Westson who captured the Illinois Derby (gr. II), Remington Park Derby, and Derby Trial Stakes (both gr. III). Performing Magic, who stands at Sugar Maple Farm, has had decidedly limited opportunities. He was represented by only 29 named foals in his first three crops. There are 14 foals in his current 2-year-old crop, and in addition to Sarah Accomplished, they include Trinity Magic, a two-time stakes winner at Belmont Park this year.
Sarah Accomplished is the only starter from the first three foals produced by her dam, Accomplished. That daughter of Awesome Again was a $175,000 yearling, but was unplaced in her only three starts. She is, however, half-sister to stakes-winning and graded-placed Nice to Know (by Known Fact) and Cheers and Tears (by Bold Ruckus), and to Sommerfest, the dam of the Turfway Breeders’ Cup Stakes (gr. III) winner Beautiful Bets. The granddam, I’m in Celebration, is half-sister to three stakes winners, including First American, who took the Flamingo Stakes (gr. III) and who is now a successful sire in South America. By Copelan, I’m in Celebration is a close genetic relative to I’ll Get There (by Copelan out of the granddam of I’m in Celebration), the dam of Hollywood Starlet Stakes (gr. I) victress I Believe in You. Sarah Accomplished’s third dam, In Jubiliation, is herself also half-sister to the Jerome Handicap (gr. I) winner Is Your Pleasure.
Sarah Accomplished is the result of proven cross (a Gone West son bred to a Deputy Minister-line mare) that has also produced such standouts as Visionaire, El Corredor , Strong Hope, and Fire Slam. There is another interesting factor in play here. Performing Magic’s dam is by The Minstrel (by Northern Dancer out of a mare by Victoria Park), and Deputy Minister is by Vice Regent (by Northern Dancer out of a half-sister to Victoria Park), so Sarah Accomplished has the genetic relatives 3 x 4 in the center of the pedigree.
The New York Stallion Great White Way Stakes
The New York Stallion Great White Way Stakes for 2-year-old colts saw Lookin at Her (Hook and Ladder– Absolutely Lovely, by Silver Ghost) lead throughout for a convincing 5 1/4 lengths tally. Lookin at Her is the sixth stakes winner to emerge from the first two crops sired by Hook and Ladder, a son of Dixieland Bandwho stands at Sequel Stallions, and is the Northeast’s leading second-year sire. His other black type scorers include the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) winner Big Truck, and other 2008 juvenile stakes winner Sneakin Up.
Lookin at Her’s dam, Absolutely Lovely, earned over $100,000 at the track, but was a $10,000 claim on her final start. Even then the daughter of Silver Ghost looked a good value. A half-sister to the Westchester Handicap and Aqueduct Handicap (both gr. III) winner Pacific Fleet, and to stakes winner Siberian Mirage, she was out of the Prix Vanteaux (Fr-III) heroine Miroswava (FR). Lookin at Her is the second stakes winner by Hook and Ladder out of a mare by a son of Mr. Prospector, and it’s notable that her sire and Hook and Ladder’s dam are products of reverse crosses (Mr. Prospector/Turn-to and Turn-to/Mr. Prospector, respectively).
New York Stallion Staten Island Stakes
Two races later, Hook and Ladder added to his tally when the 3-year-old filly Under Serviced (Hook and Ladder – Gaye’s Blossom, by Thirty Six Red) held on to take the New York Stallion Staten Island Stakes by a nose. This was the fifth win in seven starts for Under Serviced who was a $325,000 OBS February 2-year-old in training purchase. Under Serviced is out of Gaye’s Blossom, previously the dam of the stakes-placed Freud filly Don’t Mind Me. A 2-year-old winner, Gaye’s Blossom is a half-sister to Gallant Step, who was a prolific stakes-winning sprinter, particularly in Ohio-bred company, and to four other stakes-placed horses, including Gaye’s Valentine, subsequently dam of the listed-winning Red Ransom filly Cupids Revenge. There are no major stakes winners close up in this female line, but Under Serviced’s fourth dam, Baby Beauful, is a sister to the Bed o’ Roses Handicap winner Beauful, and out of a sister to Fulvous (Arlington Lassie Stakes) and Fulcrum (Breeders’ Futurity and Ben Ali Handicap). Under Serviced, who out of a mare by Thirty Six Red, is rated A++ by TrueNicks, and is a product of the Dixieland Band/Slew o' Gold cross that has already produced four stakes winners, including graded-scored Dixieland Gold.
New York Stallion Perfect Arc Stakes
In between the two Hook and Ladder stakes winners, that horse’s stud companion, Freud , struck with Follow My Dream (Freud – Phoenician Miss, by Classic Go Go), who captured the New York Stallion Perfect Arc Stakes at 8 1/2 furlongs on turf. A brother to Giant's Causeway who was group-placed sprinting on turf in England, Freud is New York’s leading sire this year. His runners have been very effective in New York’s restricted stakes program, and he has nine stakes winners and 14 additional stakes horses from his first 127 starters (over 18% stakes horse to starters). He’s also proved his ability to get open company black type with such as Quick Little Miss — winner of the Moccasin Stakes and runner-up in the Hollywood Starlet Stakes (gr. I) and placed third in the Oak Leaf Breeders’ Cup (gr. I) — and Dagnabit, winner this year of the Tremont Stakes.
Follow My Dream is out of Phoenician Miss, who although not a black type earner, proved herself a smart and versatile performer, with seven wins — scoring on both dirt and turf — and earnings of $216,600 in 26 starts. Phoenician Miss is half-sister to the talented Californian runner Cassaleria, and her dam is half-sister to Sweetest Chant, winner of the Orchid and Matron Handicaps (both gr. II), but probably more familiar these days as the granddam of Distorted Humor . Phoenician Miss is by Classic Go Go, a son of the Australian juvenile champion Pago Pago (who at one stage of his career stood in North America). By a strange synchronicity, the weekend saw another stakes win for this relatively-obscure cross when Nistle’s Crunch, who is also by a son of Storm Catout of a mare by a son of Pago Pago, took the Commonwealth Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT). With Follow My Dream and Nistle’s Crunch joining earlier listed winner Rikman, the cross is now TrueNicks rated A++.
New York Stallion Thunder Rumble Stakes
The seven-furlong New York Stallion Thunder Rumble Stakes went to Mor Chances (American Chance — Miss Winmor, by Northern Baby). Mor Chances was claimed Sept. 21 for $50,000 out of a Belmont Park turf race, and appeared to relish the return to the main track here.
He is by the deceased Cure the Blues horse American Chance. Winner of the Forego Handicap, Jersey Derby (both gr. II), and Lafayette Stakes (gr. III), American Chance has sired 31 stakes winners from 330 runners, and they also include grade I winner America Alive, and graded winners Eye of the Tiger, Bending Strings, Lasting Chance, American Justice, American Halo, Gregorian Chance, and Devine Wind. Mor Chances’ dam, the stakes-placed Northern Baby mare Miss Winmor, is having a good year in 2008, as she is also dam of the Indiana-bred juvenile stakes winner Tenmor (by Tenpins). Miss Winmor is also half-sister to Triunfante, another mare to produce a New York-bred stakes winner, in her case the Raffie’s Majesty gelding Mt. Majesty, successful in the Genesee Valley Breeders’ Handicap. Her dam, Winmor Miss, defeated colts to take the Alberta Derby and is a half-sister to the stakes winner and graded-placed Ofelia Girl.
New York Stallion Cormorant Stakes
The final black type race on the card, the New York Stallion Cormorant Stakes, went to the 5-year-old horse Classic Pack (Regal Classic – Three Pack, by Stacked Pack), who had previously captured New York-bred stakes at 2, 3 and 4. His sire, Regal Classic, is now pensioned, but was a stalwart of the New York program for several years, having previously stood in Canada, Australia, and Kentucky. A champion at 2 in Canada, and a stakes winner at 2, 3, and 4, Regal Classic was out of the Canadian "blue hen" No Class, dam of other Canadian champions Sky Classic , Grey Classic, and Classy ‘n Smart (herself dam of grade I winner Smart Strike and champion Dance Smartly). Regal Classic is the sire of 47 stakes winners, including Canadian champions Inish Glora, One Way Love, and Colorful Vices, and Australian group I winner Regal Roller (AUS).
Classic Pack’s dam, Three Pack (by Stacked Pack, a Majestic Light half-brother to Seeking the Gold), was also a New York-bred stakes winner, taking the Schenectady Handicap and Joseph A. Gimma Stakes. Classic Pack follows Canadian classic winner Stephanotis as the second stakes winner sired by Regal Classic out of a Majestic Light-line mare, and is rated A++ by TrueNicks.