By Andrew Caulfield
Memories being as short as they are, anyone could be forgiven for thinking that the youngsters who were first past the post in Los Alamitos’s Saturday features were equine bluebloods. After all, the GI CashCall Futurity was “won” by Solomini, whose sire Curlin currently commands a fee of $150,000. Then the Starlet S. was taken in very encouraging style by Dream Tree–the fifth GI winner to represent Uncle Mo, who stood the 2017 season at $150,000.
While Curlin and Uncle Mo have earned the right to rank among Kentucky’s most sought-after stallions, they were available for less than $30,000 back in 2014, when their Los Alamitos GI winners were conceived. This helps explain why Dream Tree is the first graded stakes winner to appear under any of her first three dams. Solomini, on the other hand, has a pedigree packed with black-type, with his dam Surf Song being a half-sister to Midshipman, a champion 2-year-old, and to Fast Cookie, dam of the highly talented Frosted. Here, the fly in the ointment was Surf Song’s own record as a broodmare. When this daughter of Storm Cat was offered at Keeneland’s 2015 November Breeding Stock sales, roughly six months after foaling Solomini, the price for the then-14-year-old fell to a mere $25,000, down $42,000 from her price two years earlier.
So where does McKinzie, the Street Sense colt who was the main benefactor from Solomini’s demotion, fit into this picture? His yearling price of $170,000 sets the scene. Only three Street Sense colts sold for more than McKinzie in 2016 and his price was more than double the average for sons of Street Sense, who stood the 2014 season at $40,000.
McKinzie’s sale price was therefore good, without being spectacular, a description which could equally be applied to Street Sense’s stallion career. He’s still only 13, though, so this winner of the extremely difficult Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-Kentucky Derby double still has time to rise to the higher echelons. One of his 2017 weanlings, a sister to the GI-winning Callback, sold for a record $1 million and his 2015 GI Starlet S. winner Street Fancy, was sold to Bridlewood Farm for $1.5 million at Keeneland’s November Sale. Earlier in the year his 2-year-old son Walk In The Sun brought €1.4 million at the Arqana Breeze-Up.
Another cause for optimism is that the current 2-year-olds out of Street Sense’s daughters include Roaring Lion, the G2 Royal Lodge S. winner who is officially ranked the third-best juvenile in Europe, and Speed Franco, the inexperienced Declaration of War colt who was designated a ‘TDN Rising Star’ following his easy victory in the Pulpit S. three days ago.
Street Sense’s racing career ensured that he began his stallion career at Jonabell at a high level, with his opening fee being set at $75,000. However, it was down to $40,000 by his fourth season and he has been operating at around that level ever since, with his 2018 price being $35,000.
The fact that he was transferred to Japan for the 2013 season indicated that his first two crops hadn’t shone incandescently, though he had enjoyed graded success with Motor City (GIII Iroquois S. in 2011) and Castaway (GIII Southwest S. in 2012). The GII Demoiselle S. success of his daughter Unlimited Budget came a month after the announcement that Street Sense was heading for Darley’s Japanese branch.
I’ve no idea whether the original intention was for Street Sense to move permanently to Japan, but his progeny’s achievements in 2013 ensured that he was given a return ticket to Kentucky. Aubby K took the GI Humana Distaff S., while Sweet Reason won the GI Spinaway S., and Unlimited Budget landed another GII success in the Fair Ground Oaks. There were also GIII victories by Cigar Street, Fleet Street (in Japan), Ice Cream Silence and Wedding Toast.
Sweet Reason went on to further GI successes in the Acorn S. and Test S. prior to being sold to Japan for $2.7 million, and Wedding Toast also became a multiple GI winner, taking the Beldame S. and Ogden Phipps S.
Interestingly, Aubby K (who sold for $2.4 million in 2015), Sweet Reason, Wedding Toast, Street Fancy and Callback are all fillies, so McKinzie is the first male GI winner to represent Street Sense in the Northern Hemisphere. Street Sense is, of course, a son of Street Cry (Ire), a stallion responsible for two of the world’s greatest distaffers in Zenyatta and Winx, and Street Sense is out of a mare by Dixieland Band, a stallion who had six fillies among his nine GI winners.
I should quickly add that two of Street Sense’s three Southern Hemisphere G1 winners are males and that McKinzie isn’t the only smart colt among Street Sense’s current North American 2-year-olds. Avery Island was a decisive winner of the GII Nashua S. before finishing second as the favorite for the GII Remsen S.
With a Kentucky Derby winner as his sire, McKinzie must have good prospects of staying a mile and a quarter next year. His dam Runway Model was one of those rags-to-riches performers whose stories inspire people to try their luck as a racehorse owner.
The rags part of that description is a bit harsh, as she cost Nick de Meric $75,000 as a yearling. De Meric then consigned her to the 2004 Ocala February sale, where the price for the daughter of Petionville jumped to $260,000. Everyone connected to Runway Model was a winner financially, as she made $2.7 million at Keeneland as a 4-year-old, when in foal to Storm Cat. In the interim, she had proved both her toughness and her talent, as her busy juvenile campaign featured GII successes in the Alcibiades S. and Golden Rod S., both over a mile and a sixteenth. She also took third place behind Sweet Catomine in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
McKinzie’s broodmare sire, the veteran Petionville, isn’t exactly a household name. By the time he won the GIII La Jolla H. on Del Mar’s turf course in August 1995, his record stood at six wins from nine starts, with five of those victories coming at the stakes level. He had earlier won the GIII Louisiana Derby and the GII Ohio Derby, so he was a graded winner on both dirt and turf. Runway Model ranks alongside Two Step Salsa as one of five GII winners by Petionville, whose best effort was Island Fashion, a filly versatile enough to win the GI Alabama S. over a mile and a quarter as well as two other GIs over seven furlongs.
Thanks to the stewards, McKinzie is the first GI winner out of a Petionville mare. He had every right to shine as a juvenile, as his second dam Ticket To Houston won half of her eight starts as a 2-year-old, including a couple of listed races. Ticket To Houston now has four graded-stakes-winner-producing daughters by four different stallions–a record any mare could be proud of.