Breeding Watch: Cup Success

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Champagne Royale, the dam of Arkansas Derby winner Danza and Gold Cup at Santa Anita winner Majestic Harbor, is the clear frontrunner for 2014 Broodmare of the Year honors. But maybe 2005 Broodmare of the Year Baby Zip should be nominated for a repeat.

Baby Zip was rewarded for the racing exploits of Grade 1 winners City Zip and Ghostzapper a decade ago. Last weekend those two showed their prowess as sires on Breeders’ Cup Saturday at Santa Anita Park.

City Zip’s Dayatthespa was already a Grade 1 winner at 9 and 9 furlongs before she broke from the gate in the 10-furlong Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. She used the speed she inherited from her sire to establish an easy early lead and coasted home in front at the wire. Five races later, the much less heralded Work All Week zipped home first in the Xpressbet Breeders’ Cup Sprint. It was the first Grade 1 victory and second graded stakes score for the 5-year-old gelding. Both runners are out of Hail to Reason-line mares. Dayatthespa is out a mare by Doc’s Leader, a son of the Hail to Reason stallion Mr. Leader, while Work All Week is by Repriced, by Hail to Reason’s top son Roberto.

Lane’s End Farm’s City Zip now has four Grade 1 winners on his ledger in 2014, tops among North American stallions. His stud fee will see a well-earned boost to $40,000 in 2015.

Less than an hour after Dayatthespa wired the Filly and Mare Turf, City Zip’s little brother Ghostzapper answered with the exacta in the DraftKings Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. Last year’s runner-up Judy The Beauty got the jump on the field turning for home but had to fend off a late challenge from the other Ghostzapper mare in the field, Grade 1 winner Better Lucky. The pair are among seven Grade 1 winners for the Adena Springs-based son of Awesome Again. He’ll get a stud fee boost in 2015, too, going from $50,000 to $60,000.

Ramsey Farm’s Kitten’s Joy also enjoyed a pretty good Breeders’ Cup weekend with Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Bobby’s Kitten, a pair of strong seconds turned in by multiple Grade 1 winner Stephanie’s Kitten in the Filly and Mare Turf and the up-and-comer Luck of the Kitten in Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. All three are out of granddaughters of Storm Cat. Luck of the Kitten is out of a daughter of Giant’s Causeway while Stephanie’s Kitten is out of a mare by the Ramsey-raced Storm Cat son Catienus. Bobby’s Kitten is the second Grade 1 winner out of a mare by Forestry. Kitten’s Joy’s 2015 fee will remain at $100,000.

Tapit sired his fifth Breeders’ Cup winner during the Friday card when certain champion Untapable scored in the Distaff. Those five Breeders’ Cup winners put him in the lead among active sires and ties him with some legends for the all-time lead. Kris S., Storm Cat and Sadler’s Wells are the others with five career Breeders’ Cup winners.

The Tapit graded stakes winner Tapiture also put in a good run to grab second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and helped push Tapit over the $15 million mark in progeny earnings for the year. He’s the first North American stallion to surpass that earnings threshold. The Gainesway Farm stallion reached yet another milestone this week when a filly out of Serena’s Cat, by Storm Cat, brought $3 million at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, making her the most expensive North American weanling in history. Tapit will see his fee double to $300,000 in 2015 and with the year he’s had on the track and in the ring that already seems like a bargain.

Lane’s End’s Quality Road also had a fantastic weekend on both coasts. His first Breeders’ Cup starter, Hootenanny, triumphed in the Juvenile Turf and helped push his sire to the top of the freshman sire charts. Two days later, Blofeld remained unbeaten with a nifty score in the Grade 2 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct. Blofeld also won the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont and is one of the top East Coast juveniles on dirt.

Quality Road is showing an early affinity for the Storm Cat broodmare line early on as Blofeld is of a mare by the great Storm Cat, while Hootenanny is out of a mare by the Storm Cat son Hennessy.

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