Future Stars Friday: POPPING CHAMPAGNE
Courtesy of Ren Carothers (@RenCarothers)
With a $500,000 purse, ten Kentucky Derby points, and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile berth on the line, you best believe the connections of the colt who comes out on top in Belmont Park’s G1 Champagne will be popping bottles! This storied race was first inaugurated in 1867 and its list of winners includes numerous Hall of Famers, such as Seattle Slew, Easy Goer, Spectacular Bid, and Buckpasser. Shanghai Bobby (2012), Uncle Mo (2010), Timber Country (1994), and Fly So Free (1990) won the Champagne along the way to capturing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Eclipse champion two-year-old honors.
Might there be a future champion in this field? Time will tell. For now, these boys are set to tackle a G1 mile to prove potential, a distance only two have tried so far. Here’s a closer look at the field and its family connections:
#1 Endorsed – He won his debut start for Godolphin, Kiaran McLaughlin, and jockey Joe Bravo in impressive fashion, stalking the pace and closing in for the win in a six furlong maiden special weight at Saratoga, earning an 89 Beyer. Added ground will suit Endorsed just fine. He is by multiple G1 winner Medaglia d’Oro, whose victories include the Travers, Whitney, and Donn Handicap. He also racked up runner-up efforts in the Belmont, Pacific Classic, Dubai World Cup, and the 2002 and 2003 editions of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Endorsed’s mother, Dance Card, is a G1 winning daughter of Tapit. She was third in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, finishing just a length off Groupie Doll. Her full brother, Tempted to Tapit, picked up a G2 placing in the Risen Star, and the show dough in the G3 Sunland Derby in 2010. Their dam, multiple stakes placed Tempting Note, is by Editor’s Note. He collected G1 scores in the 1996 Belmont Stakes and Super Derby, and was third in the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind Unbridled’s Song and Hennessy.
Turning attention back to Endorsed’s second dam, Tempting Note, one of her stakes placings was in the Busanda. This is fitting, considering the fact that, should you trace the female family back from mother to mother, you will eventually come to the great “Reine de Course” La Troienne, whose impact on the breed cannot be overstated. Some of the best horses of all time have sprung from the branches of her daughters, like Businesslike, who produced the talented Busanda. Busanda might be recognized just as much, if not more, for being the dam of Hall of Famer Buckpasser as she is for her own accomplished racing career. He is the first juvenile to win over $500,000, racking up stakes wins in the National Stallion, Tremont, Sapling, Hopeful, Arlington-Washington Futurity, and Champagne in 1965.
#2 Trophy Chaser – Only Del Mar Futurity and American Pharoah Stakes victor Game Winner has run a higher Beyer in this two-year-old crop, and just a notch above at 97 to Trophy Chaser’s 96. Trophy Chaser earned the figure in a six furlong romp in the slop, which he won by 15-3/4 lengths. The runner- up, Café Du Monde, won next out, earning a 73 BSF for the effort. Considering how this colt has performed, he looks like at absolute steal, having sold for $42,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale in March. The price does not reflect the pedigree, either...
Trophy Chaser is by Twirling Candy, who was a winner on turf, dirt, and synthetic, with scores in the G2 Del Mar Derby, G1 Malibu, and G2 Californian. His dam, European Union, is an unraced daughter of the speedy Successful Appeal. He won the Cowdin, Withers, Amsterdam, Kentucky Cup Sprint Stakes, and Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap. Successful Appeal wasn’t as successful in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, running fifth in the 1999 edition and seventh in 2000. European Union is a half sister to stakes placed Chatham, who produced three-time Gr1 winner and European champion two-year-old Air Force Blue.
European Union’s other half sisters, Starlight Tiara and Lost Gold, foaled stakes winners Surfside Tiara and Miss Double d’Oro, respectively. The black type doesn’t stop there, as Trophy Chaser’s second dam is an unraced full sister to Eclipse champion two-year-old filly Flanders, winner of the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. As a broodmare, Flanders produced Surfside. Surfside won the Frizette and Hollywood Starlet at two, and was third in the 1999 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The next year, she put together quite a campaign, winning the Santa Ysabel, Las Virgenes, and Santa Anita Oaks. She was second in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, but beat the boys in the Clark, leading to Eclipse champion three- year-old filly honors.
#3 Achilles Warrior – He won an off-turf event at Saratoga and the 2-1/2 length score earned another chance on the dirt. He has been working well over it, drilling a bullet 5f in :59 4/5 on September 15th. His sire, Warrior’s Reward, won the 2010 Carter Handicap and capped his career with a fifth place finish ahead of a three-year-old Wise Dan in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Achilles’ dam is by 2006’s Eclipse champion two-year-old colt Street Sense, the first horse to complete the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile – Kentucky Derby double, and she’s a three-quarters sister to multiple G3 winner Southdale, whose wins include the Eclipse and Durham Cup Stakes at Woodbine. The colt’s second dam, Pinafore Park, was a stakes winner in Canada, too, scoring in the Breeders’ Stakes. She also picked up a G2 placing, getting the show dough in the Sheepshead Bay. Her half brother, Iron Courage, set a new course record winning the G3 Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap, which was just one of his five stakes victories. Pinafore Park’s other half sibling, Dance for Lucy, won the Cardinal and Mint Julep Handicaps, in addition to the Glorious Song Stakes. This female family traces back to Betty Derr, whose line can be traced in the pedigrees of Kentucky Derby champions Swaps (1955), Iron Liege (1957), and California Chrome (2014).
#4 Complexity – There was nothing complex about this colt’s dominant debut, which had him 4-1/4 lengths in front at the wire. The third place finisher, King for a Day, just came back to wire a maiden special weight field, going a 1-1/16th at Belmont with a winning margin of 2-1/4 lengths. Complexity’s father, Maclean’s Music, only raced once, but made it count, posting the highest debut Beyer recorded since their inception – 114. One can imagine how good Maclean’s Music could have been, being a son of multiple graded-stakes winner Distorted Humor (Ack Ack Handicap, Churchill Downs Handicap, Commonwealth Breeders’ Cup Stakes, Salvator Mile Handicap) and out of Forest Music, a G2 winning daughter of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Florida Stakes winner Unbridled’s Song.
Complexity’s dam, Goldfield, is by G1 winning sprinter Yes It’s True, and though she was unraced, her Curlin filly, Valadorna, won this year’s G3 Doubledogdare and was most recently second in the G3 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes. Valadorna also picked up a nice paycheck at two, getting up for second behind Champagne Room in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Additionally, Goldfield is a half sister to G2 Demoiselle winner Springside, and her dam, Complexity’s “grandma”, is stakes winner Folly Dollar, who won the Proud Puppy Handicap and ran second in the G2 Distaff Breeders’ Cup Handicap. Other graded stakes winners in this family include Real Cash (G2 American Derby, G2 San Felipe) and Noble Court (G2 San Vicente, G3 Ack Ack), who was seventh in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
#5 Call Paul – This colt beat Mind Control, winner of the G1 Hopeful, on debut by 2-1/4 lengths. Call Paul followed that victory up with a near gate-to-wire score in the G2 Saratoga Special. His sire, Friesan Fire, strung together three consecutive graded-stakes wins in 2009 (G3 LeComte, G3 Risen Star, G2 Louisiana Derby) and his damsire, Forestry, won the G1 King’s Bishop before a fourth place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint of 1999. Call Paul’s dam didn’t accomplish much on track, and his second dam was unraced, but this female family has some powerhouse names in the mix if you dig deep enough. This colt’s third dam, Royal Strait Flush, is an unraced full sister to 1982 Eclipse champion two-year-old filly Landaluce, and other relatives include Jade Flush (G2 Rare Perfume Handicap) and G1 winners Startac (Secretariat Stakes), and Harmonious (G1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, G1 American Oaks).
#6 Listing – This California shipper beat winners on debut at 22-1 in the I’m Smokin Stakes, which is restricted to Cal-breds. His sire, Square Eddie, won the 2008 Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity before running second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to Midshipman. Listing’s dam, Marquis Diamond, has already had success paired with this sire, producing stakes winners More Complexity (Betty Grable S., 3rd Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint) and Green With Eddie (Graduation S., 2nd Santa Anita Juvenile). Marquis Diamond is a daughter of Yonaguska, who won the Hopeful and was third in the Champagne in 2000.
#7 Successful Zip – This son of the aforementioned Successful Appeal is coming off a second place finish to Unionizer in the Sapling Stakes. His dam, Zip Up, is by 2004’s Breeders’ Cup Classic champion and Hall of Famer, Ghostzapper. Her half brother, Big League, was second to Klimt in the 2016 G2 Best Pal Stakes. Successful Zip’s second dam and third dams, Reunited and Tivli, were both stakes winners, with the former picking up a G3 in the Thoroughbred Club of America.
#8 Code of Honor – Will Farish of Lane’s End Farm bred and owns this colt, who is a son of stabled stallion Noble Mission. He sure impressed on debut, wiring the field going 6f at Saratoga. Also impressive is the September 23rd bullet drill of 4f in :46. The turn of foot is especially noteworthy, considering Noble Mission, a full brother to the great Frankel, who won Cartier champion older horse honors in 2014, shone brightest at five-years-old, winning the Gr1 QIPCO Champion Stakes at 1-1/4 miles, the Gr1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud at 1-1/2, and the Gr1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at 1-1/4. Funny enough, some of that speed may come from his dam, Reunited, who won the Thoroughbred Club of America in 2005. She’s by two-time G1 winner Dixie Union (Malibu, Haskell) and out Tivli, a stakes winning daughter of Mt. Livermore. If these names sound familiar, it’s because you just read them. Reunited is Successful Zip’s grandmother and Tivli is his great-grandmother. So, this female family has two shots to get some G1 black type added to the page.
#9 Aurelius Maximus – He wasn’t ready to win first out back in July, but, allowed a bit more time to mature, rewarded connections with a 7-3/4 length victory at Belmont on September 9th over a sloppy track. A fast track looks to be to his liking, too, as he’s worked quite well over it. He’s a son of Pioneerof the Nile, who, before siring “Grand Slam” champion American Pharoah, had a successful racing career himself. Following a fifth place finish in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he racked up four, consecutive, graded-stakes scores (G1 CashCall Futurity, G2 Robert B. Lewis, G2 San Felipe, G1 Santa Anita Derby), before finishing second in the Kentucky Derby. Maximus’ dam, La Reina, is a daughter of Hall of Famer and Breeders’ Cup Classic champion A.P. Indy. She won the G3 Tempted Stakes and was second in the G2 Demoiselle and G2 Forward Gal, before producing Chief Havoc, who won the G2 Swaps. La Reina’s dam, Maximus’ “grandma”, is 1991’s Eclipse champion older mare, Queena. She rattled off three G1 victories (Ballerina S., Maskette S., Ruffian Hcp.) before finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in her final start. As a broodmare, in addition to La Reina, Queena also produced Brahms, who won the G1 Hollywood Derby, and picked up a number of G1 placings, running second in the Dewhurst, and third in the Middle Park Stakes, Shoemaker Breeders’ Cup Mile, and Woodford Reserve Turf Classic. Brahms was also third in the Stephen Foster and closed out his career with a sixth place finish in the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Mile.
#10 Casa Creed – He beat Social Paranoia in his second start and that colt most recently ran third in the G3 Pilgrim Stakes. We will see if Casa Creed can stretch out. He’s by Jimmy Creed, who got the best of the ever-game Private Zone in the 2012 G1 Malibu. His dam is Achalaya, an unraced daughter of G1 winner Bellamy Road (who won the Wood Memorial by a stunning 17-1/2 lengths in a record time of 1:47.16 for 1-1/8th miles), and Wild Heart Racing, whose victories include the G2 Canadian, G3 Boiling Springs, G3 Athenia, and G3 My Charmer Handicaps. Her half brother, Man From Wicklow, won the G1 Gulfstream Park Breeders’ Cup Handicap in 2003.
Kentucky Derby points and berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on #FutureStarsFriday is on the line. Time will tell if there is a champion in the making in this field. One thing, however, is pretty fair to assume. With ten talented juveniles loading in the gate, the Champagne will be, figuratively, popping, and for the connections of the winner, most likely, LITERALLY.
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