Lane's End Goes Virtual for Annual Press Pass

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Game Winner joins Gift Box and Honor A.P. as new stallions for 2021 at Lane's End Farm. | Horsephotos 

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The Lane's End Press Pass event has become increasingly popular over the past few years, and while hosting a large gathering in their stud barn was made impossible for the farm due to the current circumstances, Lane's End still worked to make the third annual Press Pass a reality.

Through a Zoom meeting, media members joined the virtual get-together to chat with Bill Farish and the rest of the Lane's End team about the farm's stallion program.

TVG racing analyst Scott Hazelton hosted the event and led participants through the list of 21 members of the Lane's End stud roster. Trainers John Shirreffs, Brad Cox, Steve Asmussen, and Kenny McPeek, as well as bloodstock agents John Moynihan and Mike Ryan made appearances to speak on several of the stallions.

Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg}), Honor A.P. (Honor Code) and Gift Box (Twirling Candy) will each begin their inaugural season at stud alongside their sires, while the red-hot Daredevil (More Than Ready) returns to the United States to stand under the Turkish Jockey Club banner.

Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg}), $30,000

   Bill Farish: Game Winner was a very important horse for us to get for a lot of reasons. We sold him as a yearling to Gary and Mary West. He's by Candy Ride and out of an A.P. Indy mare so it's almost surprising we didn't have the honor of having bred him, because he's bred exactly how we would hope.

To have him go from the yearling sales and run early as a 2-year-old and win three Grade I races and become Champion 2-year-old, we were very keen to get him at that point and unfortunately so was everybody else, so we had quite a negotiation to get him.

But he's a very exciting young horse and so far the breeders have really responded. He's got a  phenomenal first book so far and he's closed down already. That's a great sign for any young horse.

 Daredevil (More Than Ready), $25,000

   Chance Timm: We're all aware of Daredevil's accomplishments, but it's important to put into perspective just how remarkable they are. When Shedaresthedevil and Swiss Skydiver went one-two in the GI Kentucky Oaks, that has only happened 12 times in history in the past 585 runnings of Classic races where a sire has sired both the first and second-place finishers. He's the only first-crop sire to ever have an individual winner of the GI Preakness S. and the GI Kentucky Oaks.

This all puts him in rarified air and I think what's most impressive is that these two fillies are really what make Grade I American dirt racing what it is. They have speed, they press the pace, they don't stop and they can win these top-class races going long on the dirt and that's really what American racing is all about.

So this horse is doing something pretty remarkable and we feel very fortunate to have him. We think he's poised to continue to do that. He's from a very important sire line and he's the only proven son of More Than Ready in Central Kentucky. He is in a unique position to carry on a very important sire line for this country and the breed.

Honor A.P. (Honor Code), $15,000

   John Shirreffs: Honor A.P. got over the ground really nicely. When he was working, it almost seemed effortless and he hit the ground so lightly and got into his next stride so easily that it was always a little deceiving. As a trainer, you're watching your horse work and getting a feeling for how he's doing, and then you look down at the stopwatch and go, 'Oh my gosh, he actually did that.' That's the feeling I got with Honor A.P.

He was good because his talent made him good. He was not a particularly mature 2-year-old, but his talent made him seem to be that way. He always got over the ground well. That was one of the first things I noticed about him was how lightly he got over the ground. So just his sheer talent made him a threat as a 2-year-old.

When he got a little older, he got stronger, which is something you look for. He got stronger and bigger, so he was maturing, but he wasn't maturing quickly. He was just one of those athletes that was ahead of his class.

Honor A.P. is a very intense horse. He's 100% man as you would say. He's a big strong guy and his qualities are really amazing, because he has a forearm like Paul Bunyan. You can just see his strength. He's got a nice long back that gives him a great length of stride and he has hocks that are very clean and large and strong that give him a lot of drive from the hind end. His conformation is perfect for a racehorse.

Gift Box (Twirling Candy), $10,000

   Alys Emson: Gift Box is a really nice horse to be around. We did raise him from a weanling to a yearling. Like a lot of the Candy Rides and Twirling Candys, they're very amenable horses, good-minded, and I think that's a big part of the equation down the road. I think trainers are able to get the most out of these horses because they're willing to work and they want to work.

I think he'll be attractive to a lot of breeders for several reasons. He's a very consistent, durable horse. He ran 18 times and was only off the board twice. From a physical standpoint, you can see why he's so durable and consistent. He's very correct, great through his knees and he's got a big fluid walk like a lot of the Twirling Candys do.

From a pedigree standpoint, I think at this price point you'll find a lot of horses that just outran their pedigrees, but this horse is out of an exceptional mare that has had three graded stakes winners. She's a half-sister to a Grade I winner. So he really ran true to his pedigree and at the price point we have him at, I think he should be really attractive to breeders especially being free from Storm Cat and A.P. Indy lines which have both been very successful with the Twirling Candy and Candy Ride cross.

SF Bloodstock's Tom Ryan spoke on Gift Box's sire Twirling Candy, noting that SF Bloodstock has become increasingly invested in the stallion in the past few years.

“Twirling Candy brought himself to our attention,” he said. “Every time you pick up a paper you see, whether it's a five-furlong turf sprinter or a mile-and-a-sixteenth dirt router, he's there. His crops have really started to rise to the top. With the fact that he's got four individual Grade I winners and double-digit stakes horses, he made a great impression on us. He's a horse that is just making steps in the right direction and we see future growth for him.”

Bill Farish also spoke on Quality Road, who commands the highest stud fee of the roster for 2021 at $150,000. Farish talked on what it means to have the top Grade I-producing stallion in their stud barn.

“Quality Road has been so successful and it's been an interesting case study to watch his stud fee rise,” Farish said. “This year he had a very good year both in the sales ring and on the race track. The 2020 crop of 2-year-olds were bred at a stud fee of $35,000. He then jumped to $70,000, so the 2-year-olds for this upcoming year will be at a much higher stud fee. Then he went to $150,000 from there and has just had phenomenal mares. So we're very excited and he has so much in front of him. Having already sired 11 Grade I winners now, he's a very special horse to us and we look forward to what he has in store in the future.”

Top agent Mike Ryan spoke on City of Light, a son of Quality Road who will be represented by his first crop of yearlings in 2021.

“City of Light is a magnificent physical, an unbelievable equine specimen,” Ryan said.” I think he was one of the most highly-recruited horses of his generation. Every stud farm was trying to get him to stand as a stallion because obviously he was the complete package.

Of his first crop of foals last year, Ryan added, “It wasn't a surprise to me when his foals looked so good because I have found over the years that these magnificent-looking stallions like Alydar, Secretariat and Deputy Minister have the gene strength to reproduce themselves. When they're really good physicals, it seems to be pretty common that they transmit that to their offspring and this was no exception in City of Light.”

Bill Farish concluded the event by saying, “I'd like to thank everyone for coming and being on this. I know there's a lot going on in the world but we really appreciate it. It's an event that we really love doing and we don't want to see it die. We really appreciate having the opportunity to highlight our stallions and our roster and we look forward to next year when we can be back and in a newly renovated stallion barn.”

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