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Lane's End Versailles, KY | 2014 | Entered Stud 2019 | 2019 Fee $35,000

Pedigree Insights: Bricks and Mortar

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Bricks and Mortar | Coglianese photo

By Andrew Caulfield

After an early childhood when the radio was the prime source of entertainment, I have plenty of vintage songs imprinted on my memory, including Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters urging me to ac-cent-u-ate the positive, e-lim-in-ate the negative and latch on to the affirmative.

I wish I could do so following the inaugural running of the GI Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational S., but unfortunately it left me feeling rather underwhelmed. Perhaps I would have felt differently had the finish been fought out by the four previous Grade I winners in the ten-horse field, but none of them made the first four. Instead, the bulk of the nearly $7 million in prize money went to a 5-year-old, a 4-year-old and two 6-year-olds, none of which had previously won anything better than a Grade II. In other words, the prize money seemed to be out of proportion to the talent on show.

Let’s hope that future editions attract more strength in depth, but to do so, the race probably needs to attract some top-class colts from Europe and Japan (this year’s only overseas challengers were an Irish filly and a Japanese mare). I wonder whether it will be able to do so in its current position in the calendar. It is surely too close to the breeding season for any European colt whose stallion debut is imminent. And colts which are set to continue racing have the carrot of the Dubai World Cup Festival dangling before them, with the $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic and the $4 million Dubai Turf among the possible targets.

I would like to be proved wrong, and it is going to be interesting to see whether the decisive inaugural winner Bricks and Mortar (Giant’s Causeway) can develop into another turf champion for Chad Brown. It’s far from impossible that he will. Although he recently turned five, the son of Giant’s Causeway has raced only eight times and he has the proud record of having won six of them. He appeared poised to reach the big time when he defeated Yoshida (Heart’s Cry {Jpn}) in the GIII National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame S. in August 2017, to gain his fourth win from as many starts, but that win was followed by two defeats and an injury-induced absence from the track of more than 14 months.

Incidentally, I suppose that I shouldn’t be too surprised that the connections of Bricks and Mortar and his fellow Grade I winners Yoshida and Next Shares were among those who turned down Gulfstream’s admirable offer of a 7lb allowance for horses running without Lasix.

Bricks and Mortar’s latest success makes him the 28th Grade I winner by Giant’s Causeway. It will be interesting to see whether this former champion sire can add many more Grade I winners to his tally, despite a recent lack of ammunition. Although he is credited with 91 live foals in 2015 and 77 in 2016, the son of Storm Cat had only 38 live foals in 2017 and 15 in 2018. He covered just nine mares last year before dying at the age of 21 in April.

Bricks and Mortar is inbred 3 x 3 to the champion European 2-year-old Storm Bird through his sons Storm Cat and Ocean Crest. While Storm Cat is a household name, the same cannot be said of Bricks and Mortar’s broodmare sire Ocean Crest. His finest moment during his ten-race career came when he landed the GII Del Mar Derby Invitational on turf in 1994.

After failing to make it to the races as a 4-year-old, Ocean Crest began his stallion career at Prestonwood Farm in 1996, at a fee of only $5,000. He wasn’t a great success, but his first crop contained Bricks and Mortar’s dam Beyond The Waves, who proved to be a very consistent stakes performer in France. She won the Listed Prix des Tourelles over a mile and a half and was runner-up in the G2 Prix de Royallieu and in a couple of Group 3s. She was also second in the GIII Bewitch S. when returned to the U.S.

Only a handful of Ocean Crest’s broodmare daughters enjoyed graded success, but two of them did very well. One of them, Surf Club, produced the Grade I winner Emcee and Grade II scorer Surfer. Beyond The Waves was the other good broodmare. In addition to Bricks and Mortar, she has produced the Grade III winner Emerald Beech to Maria’s Mon, the Listed winner Beyond Smart to Smart Strike and the Group 3-placed Sir Ector to Dynaformer. One of Beyond The Waves’s half-sisters, Miss Excitement, also enjoyed Grade I success as a broodmare thanks to her son Bordonaro, winner of the Ancient Title S. over six furlongs.

Bricks and Mortar is by no means the first high-class performer closely inbred to Storm Bird. Summer Bird, a Grade I winner of the Belmont S., Travers S. and Jockey Club Gold Cup, was another inbred 3 x 3, while the three-time Australian Group 1 winner Trapeze Artist, the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tamarkuz and the Australasian Oaks winner Maybe Discreet are all inbred 4 x 3. Then there’s Mind Control, last year’s winner of the GI Hopeful S., who is inbred 3 x 4.

Mention of Storm Bird reminds me that he clearly wasn’t a favourite of my esteemed colleague Tony Morris. In his book, Thoroughbred Stallions, Morris commented that “Storm Bird’s name will always be closely identified with the 1980s madness in the Thoroughbred business.”

He illustrated this claim, saying that “in January, fit and well and hot favourite for both the 2000 Guineas and the Derby, he was worth $15 million. In July, having not turned out for either classic–or any other race that year–and obviously not exactly in the pink of condition, he was worth $30 million.”

Morris also mentioned that some of Storm Bird’s stock had wind problems, but there is no getting away from the fact that Storm Bird hit the heights both as a racehorse and a stallion. Unbeaten in five juvenile starts, including the National S. and the Dewhurst S., the son of Northern Dancer earned the lofty Timeform rating of 134.

His greatest achievement as a stallion was surely the dual champion sire Storm Cat, but he also gave us the Preakness winner Summer Squall, the outstanding European mare Indian Skimmer and the Oaks winner Balanchine, who was good enough to beat the colts in the Irish Derby.

 

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