Oppenheim: Second-Crop Sires: Darby Dan Time

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Shackleford | Matt Goins

By Bill Oppenheim

Once again this year, sires with their first potential Classic crops of 3-year-olds (referred to as “second-crop” sires as their second crop [of 2-year-olds] have now reached racing age) are competing to muscle their way into breeders’ consciousness, and some are succeeding; quite a few, in fact, so much so that at this early juncture the North American crop of F2014 sires, anyway, reminds us of the F2012 crop (fourth-crop sires, oldest now 5-year-olds), with as many as 10 or 15 good stories. In Europe, Thunder Snow’s win over Japan’s Epicharis (Gold Allure), who already qualified for the GI Kentucky Derby (but is said to be more likely perhaps for the GI Belmont), in the G2 UAE Derby in Dubai not only qualified Thunder Snow for a spot in the Derby starting gate, but his earnings Saturday of $1.2 million also guaranteed that his second-crop sire, Darley’s Helmet, an Australian-raced son of Exceed And Excel reviewed yesterday in Andrew Caulfield’s column (click here), is the leading European second-crop sire to date this year (click here), over $1 million ahead of Juddmonte’s Frankel (Galileo) and Ireland’s Tally Ho Stud’s Sir Prancealot (Tamayuz)–though of course the European turf season only got underway last Sunday.

Interestingly, Helmet is only fourth on the 2016-2017 Australian second-crop sire list (www.stallions.com.au); number one on that list is Coolmore’s So You Think, the 10-time Group 1 winner by High Chaparral who could barely get a winner up north last year, but those were 2-year-olds, and his Australian 3-year-olds include two Group 1 winners, the colt Inference (G1 Randwick Guineas) and the filly La Bella Diosa (G1 NZ 1000 Guineas). High Chaparral has another very promising son in Australia in Arrowfield’s Dundeel, a six-time Group 1 winner who has thus far had 23 yearlings from his first crop average A$177,717, and has 17 catalogued at the upcoming William Inglis Easter Yearling Sale (Apr. 4-6). It may be that High Chaparral is the Sadler’s Wells who will click in Australia, just as El Prado was the Sadler’s Wells who clicked in America. But I digress; the story up north is Helmet, courtesy of Thunder Snow, who is unbeaten in three starts since running two lengths fourth to Churchill in the G1 Dewhurst, including the G1 Criterium International on soft turf at Saint-Cloud last October, and now on the dirt in the G2 UAE Derby.

Malagacy’s win the Mar. 18 GII Rebel vaulted his sire, Shackleford (by Forestry but for me throws more to his damsire Unbridled) into the top spot among 2017 North American second-crop sires (click here), but there were some big results for second-crop sires at Turfway Park last weekend too, with the one-two in the GIII Spiral S. (winner–Fast and Accurate, by Hansen {Tapit}; second–Blueridge Traveler, by Gainesway’s To Honor And Serve {Bernardini}), and the winner of the Rushaway S. on the undercard was Montu, by Darby Dan’s Leading Freshman Sire of 2016, Dialed In (Mineshaft). This was Dialed In’s third Black-Type Winner (BTW) this year, and his fifth overall, including the GII Fountain of Youth S. winner and probable GI Florida Derby favorite this weekend, Gunnevera. The two Darby Dan sires are now one-two on the 2017 second-crop list, Shackleford leading Dialed in, and they’re one-two on the cumulative North American second-crop list (click here), with Dialed In the leader. Either way it adds up to a big resurgence in the Darby Dan stallion ranks, and by the way, both are standing for $15,000 this year, so if they happen to have any openings those look like pretty righteous prices.

Two other sires have over $700,000 in 2017 progeny earnings so far: Ashford’s Stay Thirsty (Bernardini, $831k) and now Hansen ($743k), who stood the 2013 season at Ashford, then was sold to Korea. We can see where Hansen ranks by looking at the second-crop list of all NH Sires (click here), where we can work out that is fourth in North America, but is listed there as number eight, behind also Helmet and Japanese second-crop sires Rulership (King Kamehameha), Deep Brillante (Deep Impact), and I’ll Have Another (Flower Alley). He also ranks fifth in North America on the cumulative second crop list (click here), behind Dialed In, Shackleford, Lane’s End’s Union Rags (Dixie Union), and Stay Thirsty.

Shackleford and Dialed In are among six F2014 North American sires with four black-type horses each this year, and a total of 12 of them (leaving aside Hansen, who did have only this one crop in North America) have 2017 progeny earnings so far of $394,000+. Also with four 2017 BTH are: Hill ‘n’ Dale’s Maclean’s Music (Distorted Humor, fourth by progeny earnings with $585k); Lane’s End’s The Factor (War Front, fifth with $543k); Gainesway’s To Honor And Serve (Bernardini, seventh with $502k, including two Graded Stakes Horses in GIII Spiral S. second Blueridge Traveler and GII Tampa Bay Derby second State of Honor, another heading for this weekend’s GI Florida Derby); and WinStar’s Bodemeister (Empire Maker, 10th with $436k). The current top 12 is rounded out by: Gainesway’s number six Tapizar (Tapit, $503k); WinStar’s number eight Gemologist (Tiznow, $489k); Airdrie’s number nine Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway, $438k); Union Rags sits 11th ($405k); and Spendthrift’s Dominus (Smart Strike, 12th with $394k). And honorable mention for Crestwood’s Get Stormy (Stormy Atlantic, 15th), who has seven winners and earners of $287k this year, including GIII Florida Oaks winner Fifty Five. Sleeper; just $5,000 and was a really good, tough turf horse himself who ran 31 times and won 11, including three Grade I races and two Grade 2s at eight to nine furlongs.

ARROGATE: We run out of superlatives. We all saw it; broke in a tangle, sandwiched back to last, and still won eased up over a for-real Grade I horse in Gun Runner (Candy Ride). Neolithic (Harlan’s Holiday), who was third in the GI Pegasus, ran third again here; and Shaman Ghost (Ghostzapper), who had been second in the Pegasus, went out west to win the GI Santa Anita H. The form couldn’t be more solid. After Sea The Stars (foaled 2006), Frankel (2008), and American Pharoah (2012)–and nothing against some other really top horses like two-time Horse Of The Year California Chrome–you could argue that Arrogate is the fourth off-the-charts superstar racehorse we’ve witnessed since Sea The Stars went undefeated as a 3-year-old in 2009.

Contact Bill Oppenheim at [email protected] (cc [email protected]).

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