Breeding Watch: Young Guns

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Pioneerof the Nile kept hold of the top spot on North America’s second-crop sire list with a pair of stakes victories on a weekend that also saw some first-crop stallions start to assert themselves.

The Hollywood Oaks is now the Summertime Oaks and the Grade 2 race went to Zayat Stables Jojo Warrior last Saturday at Santa Anita Park. The 3-year-old filly is the fourth stakes winner from 94 first crop foals by Pioneerof the Nile, a multiple Grade 1 winner by the Unbridled stallion Empire Maker who stands at Kenny Troutt’s WinStar Farm in Versailles, Kentucky.

Another of those, Conquest Top Gun, is now a two-time stakes winner after conquering the feature at Woodbine the following afternoon. The 3-year-old colt took the Marine Stakes on May 25 and he easily vanquished three rivals in the Victoria Park Stakes Sunday. Conquest Top Gun is the second stakes winner out a mare by the A.P. Indy son Jump Start and is at least the 10th stakes winner bred on the larger Unbridled-A.P. Indy cross that’s also produced Empire Maker’s own multiple champion Royal Delta.

Getting back to Jojo Warrior, she’s the fourth stakes winner out of the Carson City mare Carson Jen, who now has to at least be in the conversation as a candidate for Broodmare of the Year honors. She’s already the dam of Bernardini’s first North American Grade 1 winner, 2010 Frizette Stakes victor A Z Warrior. Also to her credit are graded stakes-winning juvenile E Z Warrior (to the cover of the Storm Cat son Exploit) and the four-time listed winner J Z Warrior, who’s by the Storm Cat grandson Harlan’s Holiday. Jojo Warrior makes it 109 stakes winners for the daughters of the late Carson City, who stood alongside Storm Cat at the Young family’s Overbrook Farm in Lexington.

The first round of serious juvenile stakes are in the books in both North America and Europe and progeny of 2014 first-crop sires factored heavily in the results.

Lane’s End Farm‘s Quality Road has been among the commercial leaders of his crop and is the first of his generation to sire a stakes winner. His son, the Wesley Ward-trained Hootenanny, took the Windsor Castle Stakes on the opening card of the Royal Ascot meeting. The bay colt is out of a mare by the Storm Cat son Hennessy, his 46th stakes winner as a dam sire.

Warrior’s Reward was mentioned in the June 11 edition of Breeding Watch after his three-winner outburst May 30. Two of those winners are now stakes-placed with Liatris (dam by A. P. Indy) finishing second in the Astoria Stakes June 14 at Belmont Park and Unbridled Reward (dam by Unbridled) the runner-up in the Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs. The Spendthrift Farm stallion added another starter and winner to his burgeoning resume when Bad Read Sanchez romped by 10 lengths in his debut June 20 at Santa Anita.

We also saw the first black-type horses emerge by Darley’s and Sequel Stallions New York‘s Desert Party (by Street Cry) and Airdrie Stud‘s Majesticperfection (by Harlan’s Holiday).

Desert Party’s Rousanne, out of a daughter of Valiant Nature, earned the show spot in Churchill’s Debutante while Majesticperfection’s son Homer Matt, out of a daughter of Indian Charlie, placed third in the Santa Anita Juvenile. Lookin At Lucky leads all first-crop stallions with seven winners and we expect to report on his first black-type runners shortly.

The Texas-based Silver City has but 19 juveniles in his first crop but four of them have already graduated at the maiden special weight level.

Among those is the unbeaten Promise Me Silver, who proved best in the aforementioned Debutante going 6 furlongs. Based at Valor Farm in Pilot Point, Silver City won Oaklawn Park’s Dixieland Stakes as a 3-year-old in 2009 before completing an Unbridled’s Song-sired exacta behind Old Fashioned in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes. Promise Me Silver is the first stakes winner out of a mare by Macho Uno and is inbred to Blushing Groom at 4×4. There are now 99 black-type winners that show a double of Blushing Groom within four generations, about 4% from starters carrying this pattern.

The black-type winner strike rate for starters inbred to Storm Cat within four generations is closer to 3% but we can report the 21st such stakes winner – Mark My Way, winner of the male division of the New York Stallion Stakes at Belmont. The 3-year-old gelding is out of a Storm Cat daughter and is by Noonmark, a son of Unbridled’s Song and the Storm Cat mare In The Storm, so he’s inbred to Storm Cat at 2×3. Noonmark previously stood at Becky Thomas’ Sequel Stallions New York before being sold to interests in the Philippines.

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