The biggest events on the Prairie Meadows Racetrack's racing calendar were carded last weekend and the progeny of Claiborne Farm's First Samurai brought home a pair of graded stakes trophies.
Both are new stakes winners and are closely related products of a rich female line and the hugely successful breeding partnership between Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider.
The 3-year-old First Samurai filly Size was up first, conquering last year's adjudged Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner Ria Antonia in the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks. The victory made it three wins in four starts for the Bill Mott trainee. A little more than an hour later the 4-year-old gelding Carve gutted out a win in the Grade 3 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap for his first black-type win. The filly races for Claiborne-Dilschneider partnership, while Carve carries the colors of owner Michael Langford.
While there are more races to conquer for Size, her breeders are no doubt anxious to see what she can do in the breeding shed. She is the first stakes winner out of the mare Extent, a daughter of Pulpit, who is bred on the A.P. Indy-Mr. Prospector cross.
Extent is out of the mare Limit, a stakes winner and graded stakes-placed runner and dam of a pair of stakes winners/graded stakes-placed runners. More importantly, Limit is a daughter of Bound and a sister to the dam 2010 Breeders' Classic winner Blame. By Nijinsky II, Bound is daughter of the appropriately named Special, also the dam of Nureyev and grandam of Sadler's Wells.
Carve hails from another offshoot of this highly prosperous female line. He is out the mare Apt, a daughter of A.P. Indy and Bound's daughter Liable, by the Mr. Prospector son Seeking the Gold.
First Samurai went to stud with a glittering reputation. He was precocious, winning the Grade 1 Hopeful and Champagne over the speedy Henny Hughes before settling for third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He added the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at 3 and retired to Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky, as the first major son of Giant's Causeway to stud in North America.
First Samurai ranked only 15th on the 2010 first-crop sire charts and lost one spot among second-crop sires the following year. Things began to turn around in 2012 and 2013, however, with runners like the Grade 1 winners Executiveprivilege and Justin Philip and graded stakes winners like Last Gunfighter and Swift Warrior. He added another Grade 1 winner earlier this year when Lea used a track record performance to win the Grade 1 Donn Handicap. With Size and Carve now on the ledger, First Samurai is siring nearly 7% stakes winners from foals in his first six crops.
Last week, we mentioned that Carson Jen put herself in the conversation for Broodmare of the Year honors with the emergence of Grade 2 Summertime Oaks winner Jojo Warrior, her fourth stakes winner and third graded winner.
Just a week later, it's safe to assume that the French Deputy mare Champagne Royal is now the clear frontrunner for this honor. She's not only the dam of Danza, winner of the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby and third in the Kentucky Derby, but she's now the dam of Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita hero Majestic Harbor.
It's also safe to say that she's been doing the heavy lifting in this pedigree.
A minor black-type runner in Western Canada, Champagne Royal is a sister to a minor stakes winner and there was but one graded winner under the first four dams prior to Danza's score on April 12. Majestic Harbor is the second Grade 1 winner for the late Rockport Harbor just as Danza is the second Grade 1 winner for his sire, the resurgent Street Boss.
Majestic Harbor joins Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap winner Moonshine Mullin as Breeders' Cup Classic qualifiers via the 'Win and You're In' program. Interestingly, Rockport Harbor stood next to Albert the Great, sire of Moonshine Mullin, at Pin Oak Lane Farm in Pennsylvania before succumbing to colic in August 2013.
Orientate is the sire of California's other Grade 1 winner last weekend - Triple Bend Stakes winner Declassify.
Formerly at Gainesway Farm in Lexington, where he sired the Grade 1 winners Lady Joanne and Intangaroo, Orientate now plies his trade at Northview Stallion Station in Maryland. He ranks third in that state behind barnmates E Dubai and Not For Love.
Declassify is out of a mare by Tale of the Cat, who had a good weekend as a broodmare sire. Another one of his daughters, Perfect Story, is the dam of the Street Cry filly Street Story, who scored her third stakes victory and first graded win in Sunday's Grade 3 Victory Ride Stakes at Belmont Park.
Dams by Tale of the Cat are now responsible for a total of 33 black-type winners, including the multiple Grade 1 winner It's Tricky.
Matt O'Neil is a freelance writer and pedigree consultant based in Chicago. A former editor of Owner-Breeder International, his work has also appeared in numerous publications that include The Blood-Horse MarketWatch, The Florida Horse and Keeneland Magazine. He is currently marketing and social media coordinator for Adena Springs Farm and a partner in the fantasy horse racing game MyFantasyStable.com.