Breeding Digest: Timberlake Bred to Stretch Mischief Speed

Timberlake | Coady

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By now we're long familiar with the key transition that sealed the hegemony of Into Mischief. The moment of “Authentication” came in 2020, with a Horse of the Year from the first book of mares the Spendthrift phenomenon had covered even at $45,000; while the next crop, conceived at $75,000, produced a second consecutive GI Kentucky Derby winner in Mandaloun. While the latter was indebted to the disqualification of the winner, the fact remains that he managed to outstay the other 17 starters. In the process, he confirmed that Into Mischief, with the upgrading of his mares, could stretch his trademark speed to meet the demands of Classic racing.

From the same crop, Life Is Good admittedly appeared to approach the limit of his ability to do so through a 10th furlong; while Into Mischief's Classic winner last year, Pretty Mischievous, was subsequently dropped in distance. Into Mischief will clearly always remain primarily a speed brand, but it's evident that the mares he typically entertains nowadays–this is his third season at $250,000–are eligible to get him stock competent for the most prestigious races around two turns. And it's hard to believe that many of them can give him more assistance, in this regard, than the dam of Timberlake.

While the GII Rebel S. winner ultimately traces to one of the iconic founts of European speed, with Mumtaz Mahal (GB) herself lurking as 10th dam, this particular branch of her dynasty has lately been curated with a complementary emphasis on the constitution and stamina required for Epsom.

This has largely been the work of Richard and Roisin Henry. Richard is a friend to so many in the business on either side of the water, who clearly deserves no less esteem in his sideline as a breeder than in his day job with Primus Advertising in Ireland.

It all started with the purchase of Jude (GB), a daughter of the eminent broodmare sire Darshaan (GB), for 92,000gns at Tattersalls in 1997 after showing little in a light track career for Prince Fahd Salman. She had been bred (and sold as a yearling) by Kirsten Rausing and Sonia Rogers from Alruccaba (Ire) (Crystal Palace {Fr}), the Lanwades foundation mare, who had by then already produced a couple of top-class performers and has since united the pedigrees of numerous others, not least the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Alpinista (GB) (Frankel {GB}).

Henry's professional association with Coolmore facilitated serial trysts for Jude with the farm's champion sire Sadler's Wells. The first of these resulted in the Group 1-winning juvenile Quarter Moon (Ire), who went on to finish runner-up in three consecutive Classics; and the next produced Yesterday (Ire), who won the G1 Irish 1,000 Guineas and then emulated her sister as runner-up in the G1 Oaks at Epsom. Quarter Moon subsequently achieved corresponding stature as a producer, her Group 1-winning daughter Diamondsandrubies (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) being represented last year by a smart juvenile in Pearls And Rubies (Ire) (No Nay Never), beaten in a photo at Royal Ascot and again runner-up in the G1 Cheveley Park S.

Jude's sixth foal by Sadler's Wells, All My Loving, remarkably became the third sister to be placed in the Oaks at Epsom, besides finishing second in the G2 Ribblesdale S., also over a mile and a half, at Royal Ascot. Her son Thomas Chippendale (Ire) (Dansili {GB}) was sold as a yearling before winning at the royal meeting two years running, in the G2 King Edward VII S. (“the Ascot Derby”) and G2 Hardwicke S. Both those races were also over 12 furlongs, confirming the abundance of Classic stamina in this family.

In 2011, All My Loving made a visit to Coolmore's Kentucky wing, at Ashford, where she was covered by Lookin At Lucky. Having just started out, that stallion had yet to suffer the deplorable neglect of the commercial market, which he ultimately proved unable to convince despite winners of the GI Breeders' Cup Classic and GI Kentucky Derby. Anyhow, his daughter out of All My Loving was scratched from Book 1 at Tattersalls as a yearling, and instead surfaced in the silks of trainer Richard Fahey, whose services for the Henrys have lately included a Group 3 success for another of Jude's granddaughters, Midnight Mile (Ire) (No Nay Never).

Under the name of Pin Up (Ire), the daughter of All My Loving and Lookin At Lucky confirmed stamina to be her forte by rounding off her career over 14 furlongs, rallying to win a handicap before gaining black-type in a small field at Ascot.

Though she did not go through the ring, she evidently satisfied a transatlantic order for a well-bred turf stayer. Her first foal, a War Front colt, was listed as co-bred by St. Elias Stables and Joseph Allen. Whatever deal they had struck, those partners can only have been delighted after their colt brought $1.2 million from Shadwell at the Keeneland September Sale. (While he did manage to win in Britain, he needed a mile and a half despite the input of War Front, and is these days plying his trade as a gelding in U.A.E. handicaps.)

Pin Up has since been given some curiously diverse covers (in each case St. Elias registered as sole breeder), visiting Noble Mission (GB) and Dialed In with unexciting results before suddenly getting a $175,000 audience with Into Mischief in 2020. The resulting colt was bought from the Gainesway consignment as a Keeneland September yearling by Maverick Racing and Siena Farm for $350,000 and last year proceeded to become one of the leading juveniles on the East Coast.

For this, of course, is Timberlake. And it should be clear by now that Pin Up's staying power, come the first Saturday in May, should amply complement the speed he has inherited from Into Mischief.  He still looked a work in progress on Saturday, notably in his response to the whip, which was a little surprising in one whose juvenile campaign (a shattering 428 seconds) can nowadays be described as “long” by his trainer. But he duly outclassed a field of inferiors to resume the curve he was on before being blown away, like everyone else, by Fierceness (City Of Light) at the Breeders' Cup.

With apologies to any exhausted by past pontifications on this theme, what I love about this pedigree is the way it attests to the mutual services available–but long neglected–between the respective gene pools either side of the Atlantic. Sadler's Wells and Darshaan have always been turf brands, of course. But while Lookin At Lucky did little for my conviction that “dirt” sires (not least the one who sired Sadler's Wells) can help European horses carry speed on grass, his input is evidently doing no harm now in reconciling a Classic turf family to the American dash of Into Mischief.

Roses Bloom in the Desert

In the very same year that Richard and Roisin Henry purchased Jude, Texas oilman Joe Peacock, Sr. bought a handful of mares from the estate of Joe Straus, Jr., who had been a driving force of the sport in San Antonio. Having started out with Quarter Horses in New Mexico, Peacock had decided to try his luck with Thoroughbreds and sent one of his acquisitions–Snippet (Alysheba), who had only cost $9,500, though out of a graded stakes winner by Damascus and herself a four-time winner–to Kentucky to be covered by Peaks and Valleys.

The resulting filly achieved little on the track, and was unfortunately confined to just two named foals in his second career–but one of those was Rose's Desert (Desert God), who won 10 of her 15 starts (seven in state-bred stakes) and was second in the other five, all spread between Sunland and Zia Park.

Her sire owed his stud career (five times champion in New Mexico) entirely to his aristocratic blood, as an unraced Fappiano half-brother to elite runner/producer Better Than Honour (Deputy Minister). Peacock decided that Rose's Desert was such a good breeding prospect that he consolidated his entire breeding program, which had at one point extended to 20 head, to prioritize the quality of her covers. Her first foal, by Ghostzapper, promptly put Peacock and his family on the road to Churchill by winning the GIII Sunland Derby, only to be sidelined by a shin injury. He returned to win several more stakes, ending up with earnings approaching $800,000. Yet it has now turned out that he was only an overture.

Senor Buscador surges to lead in Saudi Cup | Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia

Because a few weeks after his family grieved the loss of Peacock, aged 88 in 2020, a colt by Mineshaft out of Rose's Desert made a winning debut at Remington Park. His trainer Todd Fincher then urged Peacock's heirs to fast-track him to the Springboard Mile on the same track, where his dazzling surge from off the pace once again seemed to bring the Twin Spires into focus. But there was again a derailment, for over a year after running fifth in what proved to be a very hot GII Risen Star S. (behind Mandaloun, Proxy, Midnight Bourbon and O Besos). Instead it has only been with maturity, over the past 18 months, that Senor Buscador has fulfilled his early potential–reaching an incredible climax last weekend in the world's richest horse race.

Among the Peacock family's victory toasts will have been the team at Shawhan Place, the Kentucky nursery that has served their program for many years, including in foaling and raising Senor Buscador. In a remarkable double on the day for Shawhan, by the way, shock GIII Honeybee S. winner Lemon Muffin (Collected) is another farm graduate.

Senor Buscador was named as a Spanish approximation of Mr. Prospector, who recurs, respectively, as damsire of Mineshaft and grandsire of Desert God. That's hardly an uncommon blend, of course, and those scratching their heads over the New Mexico antecedents of this horse need only review the three other mares who join Snippet in his third generation: from the top, these are Weekend Surprise (Secretariat), Up The Flagpole (Hoist The Flag) and Blush With Pride (Blushing Groom {Fr}).

As I'm always saying, feel free to carry on matching your sire-lines, but I feel happier with sheer depth of quality, knowing that it really doesn't matter then which thread of a pedigree comes through. That's part of the logic of using stallions as well-bred as Mineshaft, now embarked on his 20th year at stud and great value to prove a mare, at $10,000, for those sensible enough to resist the (largely self-fulfilling) prejudice against older sires. Senor Buscador is his eighth elite winner.

Remember that even the mating that brings Snippet alongside those three blue hens was itself with a very well-bred stallion. Peaks And Valleys finished up with a modest overall record at stud, but he was a conduit for excellent blood. From his multiple stakes-winning half-sister, Pin Oak bred millionaires Alternation (Distorted Humor) and Higher Power (Medaglia d'Oro).

And actually another of their siblings is the granddam of Mucho Gusto (Mucho Macho Man), winner of the GI Pegasus World Cup in 2020. A month or so ago, second place in the latest running must have felt like as much of a contribution as Senor Buscador might have been expected to make to dynastic earnings. As it is, he has completed an amazing journey from the deserts of New Mexico to the sands of Arabia.

Miller Set to do His Pedigree Justice

Hot on the heels of Sierra Leone (Gun Runner), a second grandson of Darling My Darling (Deputy Minister) duly kept her in the sophomore spotlight for the second weekend running when Forever Young (Jpn) (Real Steel {Jpn}) won the G3 Saudi Derby. We won't go back over their shared family tree here, having done so last week in considering the GII Risen Star S. winner, but will instead record how another big pedigree is set to repay pretty big bucks.

Judge Miller (Curlin) has admittedly required patience of Muir Hut Stables, who gave $550,000 for him at the 2021 Keeneland September Sale–a price that reflected full-sister Clairiere's emergence as one of the best fillies of her crop, albeit at that point she was no more than a Grade II winner. But while she continued to work diligently for his page, winning the first of three elite prizes in the Cotillon S. just days later, her kid brother did not surface until last November when second in a sprint maiden at Del Mar. But he now looks ready to make up for lost time, having won a similar race at Santa Anita on Boxing Day and then produced an extraordinary performance round a second turn in an allowance there last weekend. His 11-length allowance score has been gilded by the joint-highest Beyer of the year to date.

Let's hope that he can now match the competitive durability of his sister, because he certainly has plenty of that loaded into what is plainly a stallion's page. Their very fast dam Cavorting, yet another feather in Bernardini's cap as a broodmare sire, was up and running to win the GII Adirondack S., but still going strong two years later when carving her name on the same GI Ogden Phipps S. trophy that would subsequently be won twice by her daughter.

Clairiere, of course, was retained by breeders Stonestreet, who had made an inspired purchase of Cavorting as a $360,000 weanling at the Keeneland November Sale in 2012. They also doubled down with the mare's second daughter, La Crete (Medaglia d'Oro), who won the Silverbulletday S. on her second start before suffering a condylar fracture on her graded stakes debut. Thankfully salvaged by surgery, she gave the farm a perfect start to the current foaling season by safely delivering a colt by the inevitable Curlin.

Clairiere | Sarah Andrew

Despite his sketchy profile to date, there's an auspicious robustness to Judge Miller's family. Cavorting's own mother Promenade Colony (Carson City) was campaigned at a high level for three years (8-for-21 including the GII Molly Pitcher H. and a couple of Grade I placings); and the next dam, who was by that wholesome influence Pleasant Colony, was a half-sister to Grade I winners Another Review (by Buckaroo, 8-for-27 across 24 months) and No Review (by Nodouble, 9-for-27 across 26) and full-sister to dual Grade II winner Dance Colony (actually another Adirondack winner, and 6-for-28).

The world being what it is today, you know that Judge Miller has already done enough to get 200 mares next spring even if he is never seen again. But with all this old school resilience behind him, it's worth accepting that this horse was simply too “huge” to make a 2-year-old, according to Mark Glatt, and then was troubled by a foot abscess last summer. If he can now build on his breakout, he could certainly become a stud prospect to satisfy the more exacting standards of the past, as well.

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