By Katie Ritz
A four-time Grade I winner in training at Santa Anita under Bob Baffert, an undefeated homebred Triple Crown hopeful, and a two-year-old named a 'TDN Rising Star' after winning on debut by almost nine lengths.
This year, Street Sense is a stallion sales manager's dream. The champion juvenile and GI Kentucky Derby winner's race record speaks for itself, but now his top progeny are looking to make this their sire's biggest year yet.
Street Sense spent a year in Japan in 2013 after starting off his first five years at stud at his home base at Jonabell Farm. But Darley Sales Manager Darren Fox said that the son of Street Cry (Ire) was quickly returned to the States when his early performers started making headlines.
“He spent one season in Japan to cover Sheik Mohammed's own mares as well as the Darley Japan's clients' mares,” Fox said. “But as soon as he arrived there, he got as hot as a pistol back in the United States and was quickly brought back here. He has just gone from strength to strength since his return.”
Street Sense's leading performer to date came from that first crop upon his 2014 return. McKinzie burst onto the scene as a 2-year-old, winning the GI Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity. He added two more Grade I victories at three in the Pennsylvania Derby and the Malibu S. before taking the GI Whitney S. last year at four. Resurfacing Sunday at Santa Anita after a trip to Saudi Arabia for the G1 Saudi Cup, the bay ran to his short odds to annex the GII Triple Bend S. comfortably.
“McKinzie was a hugely important horse for Street Sense,” Fox said. “He really got the Street Sense train rolling again as a member of that first crop back from Japan. As a four-time Grade I winner of some of the most prestigious races in the country, he was certainly an announcement of what this horse can do as a sire.”
Another Street Sense colt wouldn't let McKinzie steal all of last year's hype for the sire. Maxfield broke his maiden on debut just weeks after McKinzie's romp in the Whitney, and then the juvenile went on to claim the GI Claiborne Breeders' Futurity by over five lengths.
“I was able to watch Maxfield work late in his 2-year-old season,” Fox said. “And what struck me about him at that point was that for such a big, leggy, framey-type horse, when you watched him work he was so efficient and so light on his feet. He covered the ground deceptively well.”
The Godolphin-raced colt was considered to be one of the favorites going into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but a chip kept him from reaching the starting gate in November.
After returning to the Walsh barn early this year, Maxfield came back by storm last month when he took the GIII Matt Winn S. at Churchill Downs.
“He encountered a little more hustle and bustle throughout that race,” Fox said. “So he certainly learned a lot from that experience. He's an exciting horse for us and for Street Sense.”
Maxfield remains in training with Brendan Walsh, looking to make his bid in the upcoming Triple Crown season. His connections can only hope he is able to emulate a sophomore season similar to that of his sire's.
After being named champion 2-year-old the year before, 'TDN Rising Star' Street Sense returned to Churchill Downs to take the 2007 Kentucky Derby over a field that included several other eventual notable sires in Hard Spun (Danzig), Curlin (Smart Strike), and Scat Daddy (Johannesburg). The victory made him the first horse in history to complete the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Kentucky Derby double, an honor he now shares only with fellow Darley sire Nyquist (Uncle Mo).
Street Sense rounded out his career with two more wins–in the GII Jim Dandy S. followed by the GI Travers S.–giving him additional bragging rights as the only horse of this century to complete the Kentucky Derby and Travers double.
The four-million dollar earner moved into the same stud barn as his sire upon retirement in 2008 with a $75,000 stud fee.
“We have a rich history with this sire line,” Fox said. “Street Cry was very near and dear to our hearts here at Jonabell. He is a son of Machiavellian, who stood for Sheik Mohammed's farm in Dalham Hall. Street Cry was an exceptional sire with 23 individual Grade I/Group 1 winners.”
From the beginning, Fox said that Street Sense has thrown a horse reflective of his sire line's mold.
“Physically, he tends to replicate himself,” he said. “If you have a mare who needs leg or some size and scope, he's certainly the man for the job. He just gets an athletic, two-turn type horse. He's also a very easy horse to breed to in that he's receptive to pretty much every sire line out there.”
Out of the Dixieland Band mare Bedazzle, Street Sense hails from the same family as that of graded stakes winner and influential sire Mr. Greeley (Gone West).
With a stud fee of $75,000 this year, he's also starting to garner attention as a broodmare sire with eight stakes winner to his credit including the Group 1 winner Roaring Lion (Kitten's Joy).
As his influence on both sides of the pedigree grows, demand for his progeny in the sales ring continues to increase, with a $171,00 yearling average in 2019.
With the current group of Street Sense runners in training this year, it could appear as though there's no place for that number to go but upwards.
One of the first 'TDN Rising Star' 2-year-olds of the year, Cazadero is a Street Sense homebred for Stonestreet Stables. The Asmussen trainee broke his maiden on debut by almost nine lengths, scoring an 81 Beyer Speed Figure May 29.
And of course, there's still Maxfield. The Godolphin organization is keeping close tabs on the colt that could give them their first Kentucky Derby title.
“It would be such a major coup for everyone involved, for the sire and the home team” Fox said. “Maxfield is Darley through and through, by a Darley sire and his dam is also a homebred. Everyone is Derby dreaming at this stage, but it's certainly very exciting to be able to dream right now.”