A Ward Winning Week
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
By Ren Carothers
When you think of two-year-old racing the first trainer whose name comes to mind is, more often than not, Wesley Ward. Just this past Breeders’ Cup, he sent Four Wheel Drive to victory in the Juvenile Turf Sprint, and, this year, he got his 11th Royal Ascot triumph, his eighth with a juvenile, conquering the Gr2 Queen Mary. Jealous Again (2009), Acapulco (2015), and Lady Aurelia (2016) had won the race for him in past years, and it was with the connections of the latter, Stonestreet and Frankie Dettori, that he prevailed in this edition with a filly named Campanelle.
Campanelle would follow Lady Aurelia’s hoofprints to Deauville, where she, like her predecessor, became a Gr1W of the Prix Morny. In fact, she became Ward’s third winner of the race, as No Nay Never claimed it in 2013. The following year, Hootenanny, coming off a win in the Windsor Castle, had to settle for 2nd at Deauville, but he made up for the loss in his next go: the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. This year’s Prix Morny was an official “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, and there is little doubt that we will see Campanelle make her way back to Ward’s base at Keeneland, perhaps after a start in the Gr1 Cheveley Park at Newmarket. The question is, will we see her in the Juvenile Turf Sprint or the Juvenile Turf Fillies? She could be formidable in either event.
Campanelle, bred by Tally-Ho Stud, is by the speedy Kodiac, a winner of 4 starts from 2-to-5 year’s old, and while he didn’t amass a race record for the ages, he has been a champion sire of two-year-olds in Europe, and has sired the likes of Gr1Ws Best Solution, Fairyland, and Tiggy Wiggy. He’s also a . brother to another potent source for precociousness in Gr1 sprinter Invincible Spirit, but whereas Invincible Spirit is a son of Danzig’s Green Desert, Kodiac is by Danzig’s Danehill. Their dam, Rafha, was also a Gr1W, having won the Prix de Diane.
As for Campanelle’s bottom side, her dam, Janina, was a stakes winner at two-years-old, and is a daughter of Namid, who won the 2000 Gr1 Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp. Her second dam is Gr3W sprinter, Lady Dominatrix, and what makes this particularly interesting is that Lady Dominatrix is by champion juvenile Danehill Dancer, a son of the aforementioned Danehill. This adds in further doses of blue hen mare Natalma, as Danehill himself is already inbred to her, being a paternal grandson of her son Northern Dancer, and his second dam being Spring Adieu, a ó sister to Northern Dancer. Northern Dancer is found again in the pedigree of Campanelle’s broodmare sire, Namid, whose own damsire is Tate Gallery, a full brother to Sadler’s Wells.
Campanelle’s conquest was the cherry on top of an internationally profitable week for Ward babies on the grass. At Woodbine, Into the Sunrise just couldn’t hold off the talented Gretzky the Great in the 6.5 furlong Soaring Free, and another pace-setter, Illegal Smile, persevered to hold third in the fillies’ Catch a Glimpse counterpart. Earlier in the week, Amazi Yimpilo got the show dough in the 5.5 furlong Bolton Landing at Saratoga, but it was the Skidmore on Saturday that packed the most punch, with Ward trainees Golden Pal, Fauci, and the filly, Sunny Isle Beach, running first, second, and fourth, respectively, and the former putting in one of the most impressive two-year-old performances of the season thus far. Laureled with a 92 Beyer for his gate-to-wire, 3-1/2 length conquest, Golden Pal now sits atop the top figures leaderboard ahead of Reinvestment Risk (90) and Jackie’s Warrior (88). He entered the Skidmore a still a maiden, but the dominant favorite, which came as no surprise. The son of 2010’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile/Eclipse Champion two-year-old male, Uncle Mo, was coming off a near miss in the Gr2 Norfolk at Royal Ascot. The Lir Jet managed to get up just in time to score, earning berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, and most recently, crossed the wire in third in the Gr1 Phoenix (though he was elevated to second behind winner Lucky Vega with the disqualification of runner-up Aloha Star). It was the second time Golden Pal had gotten caught late in his brief career, as he was just . of a length short of a debut score in April after setting the pace in a 4.5 furlong dirt sprint.
Still, the word was out after that scintillating performance at Royal Ascot, as the Gr1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes was being considered, which would have meant a clash against older, including champion sprinter Battaash. As crazy as that might read, take in mind, champion jockey Kieren Fallon, who was looking after Ward’s Royal Ascot contingent, was quoted in a Horse Racing Planet article written by Jon Lees, that the colt, “…would definitely win the Nunthorpe if he ran.”
With that kind of endorsement, it was little wonder that Golden Pal would put in a commanding performance against his peers at Saratoga. What makes it all the more special is that, in addition to being by a Breeders’ Cup champion, he is the first foal out of a mare by a Breeders’ Cup champion - 2008’s Juvenile winner Midshipman - and this lass was nearly a Breeders’ Cup hero herself: Lady Shipman.
A winner of 13-of-21 starts, Lady Shipman, who was also bred and campaigned by Randall Lowe and ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., is an 11-time stakes winner, and came within a neck of becoming a G1W in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. She set track records on turf and all-weather, notably clocking 1:00.46 in the 5.5f Coronation Cup Stakes at Saratoga, and earned triple digit Beyer Speed Figures in seven consecutive races. Her career best came in the Klassy Briefcase at Monmouth, in which she received a 108. As a broodmare, what makes her all the more exciting is that, in combination with her own ability, she is tail-female to the prolific Blue Hen mare La Troienne.
Ward’s Skidmore runner-up, Fauci, ridden by Tyler Gafflione, was 4 lengths ahead of Sky’s Not Falling in third, has some impressive pedigree credentials, as well. The son of Malibu Moon, bred by Spendthrift Farm and owned by Lindy Farms and Ice Wine Stable, was making his second start on the grass after making his first go on the green a winning one. Fauci’s career debut came on dirt, but turf was probably always a consideration, as it’s wise to remember that his sire’s first two dams were Gr1Ws in France, and his own dam, Tashzara, is by Europe’s champion miler of 1998, Intikhab, and a ó sister to Gr1Ws Excelebration and Lancaster Bomber. The former capped his career with a 4th place finish in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Mile, and the latter put in runner-up performances in both the 2016 BC Juvenile Turf and the 2017 BC Mile. Fauci’s 4th dam is also Sarah Siddons, who won the 1976 Irish 1000 Guineas and Yorkshire Oaks, and the family includes Ragusa, whose resume commands respect, with scores in the 1963 Irish Derby, St. Leger, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Great Voltigeur, and 1964 Eclipse Stakes.
It’s always neat to see descendants of past luminaries show a spark of their own. Stay tuned to see if they continue to shine bright as we get ever closer to Breeders’ Cup and its #FutureStarsFriday card, November 6th, at Keeneland.
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