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A-SPIRE-ATIONS AT CHURCHILL DOWNS

Courtesy of Ren Carothers (@RenCarothers)

 

This Saturday, Churchill Downs will host two “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series races for juveniles. The G3, $150,000 Iroquois offers berth into the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and is, additionally, the first event offering points toward the Kentucky Derby, with the victor picking up 10. The G2, $200,000 Pocahontas paves the way to the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and offers 10 Kentucky Oaks points to the winning filly. Both races will be run at 1-1/16th miles, the same distance of their corresponding Breeders’ Cup contests.

The Iroquois is named for the first American-bred horse to win the storied Epsom Derby. He was a son of Leamington, and was bred by Aristides Welch, for whom our first Kentucky Derby winner (and another son of Leamington), Aristides, is named. Though Iroquois was small in height, measuring just over 15.2 hands, he made big noise on the track, and, if not for a second-place finish in the 2,000 Guineas, would have won the English Triple Crown, as he followed up his Derby triumph with victory in the St. Leger.

This year’s edition of the Iroquois has drawn a field of twelve. Here’s a closer look at their pedigrees:

 

#1 Mr Wrench It – His sire, Lookin at Lucky, was Eclipse champion colt at two and three years old, collected five career G1s (among them the Preakness and Haskell), was second in the 2009 G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and fourth in the 2010 G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic. His dam, Candle Maker, is a daughter of super sire Tapit. His second dam, stakes winner Your Call, is a full sister to 1994’s Del Mar Debutante winner, Call Now, who is also the granddam of 2012’s G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile champ, Tapizar. Your Call’s half brother, Olympio, won the G1 Hollywood Derby, and her half sister, Bistra, produced G2 winner Fun House. Fun House is the dam of 2014’s Eclipse champion three-year-old filly and G1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff champion Untapable, and G1 winner Paddy O’Prado, who was fifth in the 2010 G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Other G1 winners in the family include Pyro (2009 Forego Stakes) and Cuvee (2003 Futurity).

 

#2 Royal Urn – Sire Kantharos had a brief, but successful, career, going three-for-three, with two of those wins being stakes scores in the G3 Bashford Manor and G2 Saratoga Special. His dam, Born to Royalty, is a daughter of multiple Group 1 winner, King of Kings. She is also a half sister to G3 winner Smart N Classy (2006 Eatontown Handicap) and New Jersey Futurity winner Rough Road Ahead.

 

#3 Drunk as a Skunk – Pops is Eclipse champion Sprinter Midnight Lute, who won back-to-back editions of the G1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (2008, 2007). Skunk’s dam was unraced, but is out of multiple G1 winner Spun Sugar (2006 Apple Blossom, Go for Wand Handicap). Spun Sugar is also a full sister to Daaher, who won the G2 Jerome and G1 Cigar Mile in 2007.

 

#4 Tight Ten – The Saratoga Special runner-up is one of two entries for trainer Steve Asmussen, who has conditioned three Iroquois winners (2009 Thiskyhasnolimit, 2010 Astrology, 2014 Lucky Player). Tight Ten is a son of Tapit, making him a full brother to All in Fun, who picked up a stakes placing in the 2015 Hilltop. Their dam didn’t accomplish a ton on the track, but is a half sister to Stormy Renee, who produced 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint winner, Hightail. Tight Ten’s second dam is multiple G1 winner Fleet Renee, who was in contention for three-year-old champion filly honors in 2001, with scores in the Ashland and Mother Goose. Unfortunately, Fleet Renee tied-up ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and had to withdraw. She was sired by Triple Crown champion Seattle Slew and out of multiple G3 winner Darien Miss, making her a half sister to 1995’s Del Mar Futurity winner, Future Quest. Keep

digging through the layers of this pedigree, and you’ll find this family reaches back to a British import from whom a number of celebrated American runners can be traced – The Apple. You’ll find her in the pedigrees of influential sire Bull Lea, champions Bold Forbes and Nellie Morse, as well as Hall of Famers Forego and Shuvee, the latter of which won the Frizette in 1968.

 

#5 My Sixth Sense – He sold for $225,000 as a two-year-old in training at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale and for good reason, being a full brother to multiple G1 winner Sweet Reason. She won the 2013 Spinaway, was second in the Frizette, and fourth in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at two, and at three, she added the Acorn and Test to her G1 résumé. Their sire, 2006 Eclipse champion two-year-old, Street Sense, won the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and put an exclamation on his depth of class, winning the Kentucky Derby the following year. Their dam, Livermore Leslie, was second in the Marigold Stakes, and also produced Don’t Forget Gil, who won the 2009 Florida Oaks and was second in the G1 Coaching Club American Oaks later that year. Livermore Leslie is also the dam of stakes winner Battle Girl and 2017 Peter Pan runner-up Meantime, and a is a half sister to G3 winner Highland Gold and multiple stakes placed Fountain Square, dam of G2 Pennsylvania Derby victor Timber Reserve.

 

#6 Tobacco Road – This son of four-time G1 winner and track record setter Quality Road looks to be on a roll, coming off two consecutive wins, including the Ellis Park Juvenile. He is a half brother to Isabella Sings, who maintained graded-stakes winning form from three to five years old, the G2 Mrs. Revere among those wins, and it is worth noting she was second in the 2014 edition of the G2 Natalma at two. Tobacco Road is also a half brother to multiple stakes winner, G3 placed Alaura Michele. His dam, Isobel Baillie, is a stakes placed daughter of 1991’s Horse of the Year in Germany, Lomitas. Jumping to his third dam, Ring of Music, you’ll find she is a half sister to 1996’s Eclipse champion grass horse, Singspiel, who was second in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf that same year. He went on to collect a prestigious collection of victories, including the 1996 Japan Cup and, in 1997, the Dubai World Cup, Coronation Cup, and Juddmonte International. This, of course, means she’s also a half sister to G2 winner, Group 1 placed Rahy, and that Tobacco’s Road’s fourth dam is Glorious Song, who was the 1980 Sovereign Award Horse of the Year and also earned the Eclipse Award for champion older mare.

 

#7 Pole Setter – It will be interesting to see Pole Setter get a chance to contest the dirt. He is by G1 winner Take Charge Indy, a son of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner A.P. Indy. Take Charge Indy was fifth in the 2011 G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, won the G1 Florida Derby, G2 Alysheba, and picked up a couple of G1 placings, running second in the Clark Handicap and third in the Donn. Pole Setter’s dam, Irish Smoke, won the G1 Spinaway, and among her siblings is the unraced Clever Babe, dam of Book Review, winner of the 2012 G1 La Brea. His second dam, Added Time, is a full sister to Added Gold, who won the G2 Black-Eyed Susan in 1998. “Grandma” is also a half sibling to G3 winner Added Asset, who wears the title of “grandma” in relation to a current two-year-old sensation Instagrand. Both colts share G3 winner Added Elegance as their third dam, as does 2011’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner and Eclipse champion two-year-old filly, My Miss Aurelia.

 

#8 Cairo Cat – His sire, Cairo Prince, picked up the G2 Nashua at two in 2013 and, at three, the G2 Holy Bull, which was fitting, being out of a Holy Bull mare. Cairo Cat’s dam, La Belle Cat, is a half sister to stakes winner, G2 placed Palace Pier. His second dam, La Belle Danse, is a stakes placed daughter of G1`winner Beau Genius, and her half sister, Charming Kain, produced G3 Calder Derby winner Union Place, who won the 1-1/16th miles Ft. Lauderdale Stakes in 1:38.26, which was a new course record in

2005. Tracing the limbs of this tree further, Cairo Cat’s third dam is a half sister to Heavenly Ballerina, the dam of 2006 Sovereign Award champion grass horse, Sky Conqueror.

 

#9 Manny Wah – Who can forget the edge-of-your seat, three-way photo finish of the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic? Manny Wah’s multiple G1 winning sire, Will Take Charge, came up a mere nose short of the winner’s circle that day, with Mucho Macho Man hanging on and Declaration of War just behind in third. This colt’s dam, Battlefield Angel, won the Christiana Stakes and was third in the 2013 G1 Darley Alcibiades behind My Conquestadory and Rosalind. She is a full sister to multiple G3 winner Blended Citizen, who won this year’s Jeff Ruby and Peter Pan Stakes. Their stakes winning half brother, Lookin at Lee, was fourth in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and second in the 2017 Kentucky Derby. Manny Wah’s second and third dams, Langara Lass and Capilano, were both multiple stakes winners in Canada.

 

#10 Hog Creek Hustle – This boy’s sire, Overanalyze, won the G2 Futurity at Belmont Park before running third in the 2012 Iroquois. He followed that performance up with a winning effort in the G2 Remsen and, at three, took the G1 Arkansas Derby. Hog Creek Hustle’s dam, Candy Fortune, is an unraced daughter of the undefeated Candy Ride, who won the G1 Pacific Classic in 2003. She is out of the stakes winning mare Ready for Fortune, who, in addition to winning the Dearly Precious, was second in the G2 Comely and G3 Cicada back in 2008.

 

#11 Synthesis – After tangling with the likes of Instagrand and Rowayton, Keith Desormeaux ships in Synthesis, a son of First Samurai, whose precociousness led to G1 wins in the 2005 Hopeful and Champagne Stakes, as well as a third place finish in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Synthesis only cost $16,000 as a yearling, despite having an interesting female family. The low figure could be blamed, in part, with first dam, Trust in Hope, being unraced and unproven as a broodmare, and second dam, Paraskevoulla, not making it to the winner’s circle. Still, you’ll see that his mom is by 2006’s Eclipse champion three-year-old Bernardini, so what made her dam, Paraskevoulla, worthy of going to the shed? Perhaps the fact that Paraskevoulla’s mother, Synthesis’ third dam, is multiple stakes winner, G2 placed Schematic, who was a half sister to 1987’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Very Subtle.

 

#12 Everfast – Trainer Dale Romans has won the Iroquois twice, with Cleburne in 2013 and Not This Time in 2016. This time, he has Everfast, who, like Pole Setter, is a son of Take Charge Indy. He is out of the Awesome Again mare, Awesome Surprise, who is a full sister to 2004’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champ, Wilko. Wilko may have only gotten his picture taken three times, but the G1 gameness was no fluke, as he was runner up in the 2006 Dubai World Cup, and got the show dough in the 2006 Santa Anita Handicap, 2005 Santa Anita Derby, and 2004 Hollywood Futurity. Awesome Surprise is also a half sister to Dr. Cheryl P., who produced multiple stakes winner, G3 placed Bodhisattva.

 

 

Now, let’s move on to the G2 Pocahontas, which was first run in 1969 on Thanksgiving Day. The story of Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan, ruler of the Powhatan tribal nation, and her involvement with the colony of Jamestown is well known. Not as widely known, outside racing, is that there was a filly given her name, bred by King William the IV at the Royal Stud at Hampton Court, who was born in 1837, and though winless in nine career starts, she secured her place as Thoroughbred royalty by producing Stockwell. Among Stockwell’s wins were the 2,000 Guineas and a ten length romp in the St. Leger. He was known as “The Emperor of Stallions” in his day, and he, and by extension, Pocahontas, can be found in the pedigrees of every Triple Crown winner. Trace the sireline of prolific studs of the past, like Northern Dancer and Mr. Prospector, and those of today, such as Tapit, and you’ll find Stockwell.

Let us, however, talk fillies, and take a closer look at the pedigrees making up the field of this year’s running of the Pocahontas Stakes:

 

#1 Serengeti Empress – This miss just crushed by 13-1/2 lengths in the Ellis Park Debutante. She’s by Alternation. He won over a million dollars, going nine-for-nineteen over the course of his career, with the 2011 G2 Peter Pan and 2012 G2 Oaklawn Handicap among his wins. Her dam is an unraced daughter of Bernardini and Love Dancing, a G3 winner in Argentina. This filly’s third dam, Le Midi, was a multiple G2 winner, G1 placed runner in Argentina, as well.

#2 Love My Honey – She sold for $155,000 at the OBS sale in April and this daughter of multiple G1 winner Shackleford rewarded her buyers with a debut score. Her dam, an unraced daughter of 1998’s G1 Santa Anita Derby winner, Indian Charlie (who was third in the Kentucky Derby), produced stakes winning half sisters Honey’s Sox Appeal and Happy Hour Honey, both sprinters.

 

#3 My Wynter Rose – Her sire’s name, Raison d’Etat, translates to “reason of state”. While he only managed graded-stakes placing, he is a son of A.P. Indy and seven-time G1 winner Sightseek, who was fourth in the 2003 G1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Rose is a half sister to multiple stakes placed Foxtrot Sally and out of the Exchange Rate mare, Inspired Exchange, who is a half to G2 winner The Niagara Queen. Other graded, winning black type in the pedigree is provided by G3 runners Casual Lies and Le Famo.

 

#4 Profound Legacy – She’s by Proud Citizen, winner of the 2002 G2 Coolmore Lexington Stakes, runner- up in the Kentucky Derby, and third in the Preakness. This makes her a full sister to Believe You Can, who was sixth in 2011 Pocahontas Stakes, but became a G1 winner at three, seizing victory in the Kentucky Oaks. Their dam, an unraced daughter of El Prado, is a half sister to Classic Elegance, and among her wins are the 2004 G2 Schuylerville and G3 Debutante.

 

#5 Splashy Kisses – Doug O’Neill ships in this daughter of 2010 Eclipse champion older male, Blame, who managed to hold off Zenyatta to win that year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. Her dam, Indian Valley, is by 1994’s Eclipse champion sprinter Cherokee Run, who won that year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Indian Valley is a half sister to stakes winner Chhaya Dance and multiple G2 placed Convocation. This filly’s second dam, Shade Dance, is a half to stakes winners Cole D’Art, Equerry, and Tempera. Tempera won the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on her way to Eclipse champion two-year-old filly honors. Splashy Kisses’ third dam, Colour Chart, was a Group 2 winner in France and G1 placed three times in the United States. Colour Chart’s full brother, Always a Rainbow, won the 1994 Cup and Saucer after a second place finish in the Summer Stakes. Colour Chart’s half sibling, Rainbows for Life, not only won the Summer and Cup and Saucer, but was named Sovereign Award winning champion two-year-old colt in 1990, as well as champion grass and older horse in 1992.

 

#6 Lightscameraaction – This daughter of the aforementioned Will Take Charge is out of Stop the Lights, a daughter of G1 winner and influential sire, Storm Cat, who was second to Tasso in the second running of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Stop the Lights is a half sister to three stakes winners, but most notably among them is Cross Traffic, who beat a field which included Mucho Macho Man and Fort Larned, both Breeders’ Cup Classic winners over the course of their careers, in the 2013 Whitney Invitational. This, of course, means Lightscameraacction’s second dam is multiple G1 winner Stop Traffic.

 

#7 Include Edition – She’s by G1 winner Include and is out of a daughter of 1996 Belmont Stakes winner Editor’s Note, who was third in the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. While her dam is a half sister to two

stakes placed runners, the pedigree gets really interesting when it branches out below third dam Fun Flight, as stakes horses in this female family include multiple G1 winners Zensational and Bolt d’Oro, G2 winning millionaire Departing, G3 winners Trip, Clearly Foxy, and Ageless, with further black type provided by Tour, Passport, Sonic Mule, Recruiting Ready, Laity, Joke, Irish You Well, The Great War, Flight Forty Nine, Pink Shoes, Prom Shoes, Wildcat Shoes, Isabelle’s Shoes, Special Warrior, Tricky Fun, and It’s a Done Deal. Phew!

 

#8 Two Dozen Roses – Todd Pletcher will try to win the Pocahontas for the first time with a daughter of his first Kentucky Derby winner, Super Saver. She’s a half sister to stakes placed Sarah Her Highness, but let’s get to the juicy stuff, eh? Her dam, Judy B., is by multiple G1 winner Marquetry and out of blue hen broodmare Leslie’s Lady. That’s right... Judy B. is a half sister to four-time Eclipse champion Beholder, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in 2012, and the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in 2013 and 2016. This also makes Judy B. a half to G1 CashCall Futurity winner and sire sensation Into Mischief, as well as 2017’s G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf champ, Mendelssohn, who most recently put in a game second place finish in the G1 Travers.

 

#9 It Justhitthe Wire – This miss went for $410,000 at OBS in April. She’s a daughter of 2006’s Eclipse champion three-year-old colt, Bernardini, who got caught by Invasor in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Her dam, C J’s Leelee, was G2 placed and is a half sister to Capo Bastone. In 2012, he was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to Shanghai Bobby and He’s Had Enough, and, in 2013, he pulled a 28-1 upset In the G1 King’s Bishop.

 

#10 Taylor’s Spirit – This undefeated filly is by a son of Bernardini, G3 winner Algorithms. His dam, Avaknowsthecode, also produced G1 winners Justin Phillip and Greenpointcrusader, as well as G2 winner Keyed Entry and G3 winner Successful Mission. Taylor’s dam, Spirit Rising, is by 1993’s Eclipse champion two-year-old colt, Dehere, and her “grandma” is a half sister to Delta Jackpot winner Outta Here. Keep skipping down the generations to her fourth dam, and you’ll see that she’s a half sister to G1 turfer Joyeux Danseur.

 

#11 Saved At Dawn – She’s another daughter of Super Saver and out of Torrey Pines winner Third Dawn, who was also 2nd to Stardom Bound in the G1 Santa Anita Oaks in 2009. Third Dawn’s sire, Sky Mesa, won the 2002 G1 Hopeful. Saved At Dawn’s second dam is a half sibling to Estrela Brynhild, a G2 winner, G1 placed runner in Brazil, and her third dam, Sunset Song, is a full sister to Dixieland Heat, winner of the 1993 G3 Louisiana Derby.

 

#12 Tapping Pearl – This daughter of prepotent sire Tapit rounds out the field. She’s out of the Storm Cat mare Cat Dancer, making her a half sister to Drill, who won the G1 Del Mar Futurity in 2011 and G2 San Vicente Stakes in 2012. Cat Dancer’s sister, Magic Storm, won the G2 Monmouth Breeders’ Cup Oaks and was third in the G1 Spinaway, but the further you go in the pedigree, the better it gets. Pearl’s third dam, stakes winner Water Dance, was a half sister to 1974’s Eclipse champion three-year-old colt Little Current, and Prayers’n Promises, who won the G1 Matron and G1 Spinaway in 1980. Their dam, Pearl’s fourth, is Luiana, a half-sister to 1963’s champion three-year-old colt and Kentucky Derby victor, Chateaugay, and Primonetta, 1962’s champion older mare. Furthermore, Luiana is the third dam of Hard Spun, who won the 2006 Pennsylvania Nursery and Port Penn Stakes as a juvenile, and developed into an even more talented three year old, winning the G1 King’s Bishop, G2 Lane’s End Stakes, G2 Kentucky Cup Classic, G3 LeComte, and putting in runner up efforts in the Kentucky Derby, Haskell Invitational, and Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Both the Iroquois and Pocahontas Stakes are offering full fields of beautifully bred babies. Though lightly raced, these juveniles are past-performance heavy when it comes to their family relations. The winners of these races will add further black type to their pages, and, in so doing, they will also earn the opportunity to shine beneath the spires again on #FutureStarsFriday.

 

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