Forebears and Future Stars: The Norfolk
Courtesy of Ren Carothers
The Group 2 Norfolk Stakes was first inaugurated in 1843 as the New Stakes. It became the Norfolk in 1973 in recognition of the 16th Duke of Norfolk, Bernard Marmaduke Fitzalan-Howard, who held the post of Her Majesty’s Representative at Ascot, overseeing the Ascot Office at St. James’s Palace and admittance of guests to the Royal Enclosure. The Duke also held the title of Earl Marshal, head of the College of Heralds and organized events such as the funerals of King George VI and Sir Winston Churchill, and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Yet another of his many titles was Steward of the Jockey Club. He even bred a top racehorse in 1974’s Gr1 Ascot Gold Cup champ, Ragstone.
The Norfolk is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series event for the Juvenile Turf Sprint on Future Stars Friday.
Let’s take a look at the field with a pedigree perspective:
#1 A’ALI is by Society Rock, who sadly passed away before his progeny debuted due to laminitis. He was a multiple Gr1 winner, with scores in Royal Ascot’s Golden Jubilee and Haydock’s Betfred Sprint Cup. Society Rock was by Rock of Gibraltar, whose sensational Gr1 stakes winning streak (Grand Criterium, Dewhurst, 2000 Guineas, Irish 2,000 Guineas, St. James’s Palace, Sussex, Prix du Moulin de Longchamp) was stopped at seven when he was just ¾ of a length short of Domedriver in the 2002 Breeders’ Cup Mile. A’ali’s dam, Motion Lass, is by 2005 Epsom Derby champ and British Horseracing Board’s Horse of the Year, Motivator. Her half brother, Enforcer, won the Gr3 Lexus Darley Stakes and picked up a couple of Gr1 show placings in the Coronation Cup and Preis von Europa. A name which might be more familiar to American audiences is A’ali’s great-grandmother, Willowy Mood. Among her fourteen victories are the 1986 Barbara Fritchie Handicap and 1984 Tempted, both at G3 level. She also got the show dough in the G1 Mother Goose of 1985.
#2 AIR FORCE JET has a pretty formidable pedigree, indeed. He’s by Charm Spirit, a multiple Gr1 winner (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Qatar Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, Prix Jean Prat), and his dam, Wind Fire is a multiple stakes winning, multiple Gr2 placed daughter of multiple G2W and influential sire Distorted Humor. Her dam, A.P. Dream, is a full sister to SW Crystal Current and Majestic Warrior, who won the G1 Hopeful before striking at stud. This makes Jet’s great-grandmother none other than speedy, multiple G1 winning millionaire, Dream Supreme (Test Stakes, Ballerina Handicap). She finished 6th in the 2000 edition of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, four lengths off champ Kona Gold. The horse just in front of her in fifth? More Than Ready. In addition to Dream Supreme’s graded stakes success, it’s fun to note that she equaled what was the track record for 5.5f at the time, 1:03 2/5 when she was unveiled at Saratoga.
#3 COOL SPHERE is aptly named, being by 2010’s Kentucky Derby victor, Orb, and out of a mare named Faringdon Circle, a daughter of 2004’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint/Eclipse Champion Sprinter, Speightstown. Her ½ brother, Firespike, was a multiple stakes winner as a juvenile and, at three, was third in the G3 Spiral. This female family includes Basqueian, Sovereign Horse of the Year in Canada, and Karelian, who won the G1 Maker’s Mark Mile, five months after a sixth place finish in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Mile, 3- 3/4 lengths off the great Goldikova.
#4 DUBAI STATION represents Brazen Beau, a champion sprinter in Australia. His dam, Princess Guest, is by the speedy Iffraaj, and she’s a ½ sister to Doncaster Stakes winner Imperial Guest. Dubai Station’s great-grandmother, Perfect Sister, was a full sister to Frankly Perfect, whose career rebounded from a DNF in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Turf with a number of graded stakes scores, including G1 triumphs in the San Luis Rey Stakes and Hollywood Turf Cup.
#5 EXPRESSIONIST is a son of Night of Thunder, whose Gr1 wins include the 2,000 Guineas and Lockinge Stakes, the former of which saw him prevail over the likes of Kingman, Australia, and Charm Spirit. Expressionist’s dam, Permission Slip, was third in the Prix Charles Laffitte, and is out of a full sister to 1998’s Champion 2yo filly in Europe, Bint Allayl. The family also includes Gr3 winner Kheleyf, 2nd in the Norfolk in 2003, and fourth dam, La Voyageuse, who was Canada’s Champion 3-year-old filly in 1978 and came back to earn Champion Older Sprinter honors in 1980.
#6 FIREPOWER is by four-time Gr1 winner Starspangledbanner (July Cup, Golden Jubilee, Caufield Guineas, Oakleigh Plate), and out of Torentosa, a stakes placed daughter of Oasis Dream. Her ½ brother, Wings of Eagles, won the 2017 Epsom Derby and was third in the Irish Derby.
#7 KING NEPTUNE has an American-leaning pedigree, being a son of Alfred G. Vanderbilt winner War Front and out of Agreeable Miss, an unraced daughter of Speightstown and G2 Princess Stakes winner, Sweet and Ready. King Neptune is a full brother to Faydhan, who was a winner at two years old and third in the CSP European Free Handicap. Most interestingly, this family includes the speedy Chris’s Bad Boy, whose 1:08.05 in the 2003 Kennedy Road Stakes was a new track record, and multiple G1 winner Vasilika. A 4th place finish in the 2018 Matriarch interrupted what could have been a 13-race win streak, which included scores in the Rodeo Drive and Gamely, the latter of which capped her career.
#8 MAVEN, represents the highly anticipated first crop of American Pharoah, who, in 2015, became the first horse in 37 years to win the storied Triple Crown, and set a new precedent by conquering the Breeders’ Cup Classic, too. Maven won his only start, which came on dirt, but the move to turf makes sense, as his dam, another Ward trainee, Richies Party Girl (by G1W Any Given Saturday) won the Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint Stakes, setting, at the time, a new course record of 1:16 2/5 for 6.5 furlongs. She also won the Juvenile Turf Sprint, as well as the Wait a While. Her ½ brother, Strategic Partner, won the G3 American Turf and was 2nd in the G2 Jamaica and National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Handicaps. Another ½ sibling, Victory Light, was 2nd in what was the G2 Summer. Maven’s 2nd dam, Very Special Lite, won the G3 Vineland Handicap and the Bryan Station Stakes, the latter of which in a, then, new course record time of 1:33 3/5. This family is also responsible for graded-stakes winning millionaire Two Step Salsa, who was third in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Oak Tree (on the all weather) after setting the pace and grudgingly giving way to Albertus Maximus and Rebellion. Maven put in a gate-to-wire debut performance on dirt. Considering the grass heavy influences in the pedigree, what might we see when he gets to switch to turf? Exciting.
#9 MISTY GREY is by the precocious Dark Angel, winner of four-of-nine starts as a juvenile, including the St Leger Yearling, Gr2 Mill Reef, and Gr1 Middle Park Stakes. Dam Chinese White (by 2003 European Horse of the Year Dalakhani) was fourth in the Gr1 Irish Oaks, but developed into a Gr1 winner, earning Champion Older Mare honors in Ireland. Her dam, Chiang Mai, won the Gr3 Blandford Stakes, and is a ½ sister to Rafha. Rafha won the Gr1 Prix de Diane and produced Gr1W and sire Invincible Spirit (Haydock Sprint Cup), whose notable progeny include Vale of York (2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile), Charm Spirit (2014 Queen Elizabeth II S., Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, Prix Jean Prat) and 2014 Cartier Horse of the Year, Kingman.
#10 MOUNT FUJI, another son of Dark Angel, is out of the Desert Style, stakes winning/MG3P mare Shermeen, making him a ½ brother to Sudirman, winner of the Gr1 Phoenix Stakes in 2013. Other runners of note hailing from this family include Gr2 Queen Mary winner Anthem Alexander, Gr3W/Gr1P Dandy Man (Gr3 Palace House S.), and Amandhla, who was champion three-year-old in Austria in 1991. #11 REAL APPEAL is by Sidestep, 2012’s Champion two-year-old in Australia by champion Australian sprinter Exceed and Excel. Dam Runaway Sparkle is a daughter of Gr1 sprinter Green Desert. The family includes third dam Mistle Song, who won the Gr3 Rothmans Royals Park Hill Stakes.
#12 STRIVE FOR GLORY’s sire is no stranger to those on this side of the pond, being Florida Derby winner Dialed In. Glory is out of Chu and You, a multiple stakes winning daughter of record-setting You and I, winner of the 1995 edition of the Met Mile. Other notable horses in the tree include New Advantage (G3 Golden Gate Derby), and Noble and Nice (G1 Santa Ana Handicap).
#13 SUNDAY SOVEREIGN has won his last two starts by a combined ten lengths. He’s a son of Equiano, a top class sprinter who won the Gr1 King’s Stand twice and has sired the likes of Gr1 sprinter The Tin Man [GB] (British Champions Sprint, Diamond Jubilee, Sprint Cup). Sovereign’s mom, Red Sovereign, won 5 races across ages two-to-five, and placed on 11 occasions. She’s a daughter of Danzig Connection. He won the World Appeal at two and was second in the G1 Young America Stakes. At three, he won the Peter Pan and Belmont.
#14 VENTURA REBEL is two-for-two. Sire Pastoral Pursuits (a son of Cartier Champion two-year-old colt Bahamian Bounty) won the Gr3 Sirenia Stakes at two and became a Gr1 winner at 4-years-old, taking the 2005 July Cup. Rebel’s dam, Finalize, is by Firebreak, who counts the Gr1 Hong Kong Mile among his wins. The extended family includes another Sirenia winner, Lipstick, as well as Sir Nicholas, a multiple stakes winner in Hong Kong, who also ran 2nd in the Gr3 Coventry at Royal Ascot.
#15 EMTEN, the filly, is by another precocious son of Exceed and Excel named Bungle Inthejungle. As a juvenile, Bungle won the Gr3 Cornwallis Stakes, a 5f contest at Ascot, and the 5f Gr3 Molecomb at Goodwood. Dam Lucky Leigh was 4th in the Gr2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and her Clodovil foal, Something Lucky, got a stakes placing as runner-up in the Criterium de Vitesse at Longchamp. Lucky Leigh is a daughter of multiple Gr1W Piccolo, who won the 1994 Nunthorpe and 1995 King’s Stand.
- September 25, 2021
Royal Patronage Scores in Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes and Earns Automatic Berth into Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf
Highclere Thoroughbred Racing’s Royal Patronage (FR) landed a thrilling Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (G2) at Newmarket, securing his guaranteed start in the US$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
- September 24, 2021
This is the fourth of eight weekly news releases focusing on the horses and races leading to the 38th Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday, Nov. 5 and Saturday, Nov. 6 at Del Mar.
- September 24, 2021
Masekela Heads to Newmarket for Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes and Automatic Berth into Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf
Mick and Janice Mariscotti’s Masekela (IRE) heads a field of seven in Saturday’s Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (G2) at Newmarket.