Pedigree Insights: Roadster


Roadster | Benoit


The weekend’s 3-year-old action at America’s leading tracks underlined the truth of the adage that success breeds success. In racing, the second wave of success can be expected four or five years after the first and this is what happened in the trials for the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Kentucky Oaks.

Take a look back to the leading sires’ lists for 2014 and you will find the general sires’ table was headed for the first time by Tapit, who amassed the eye-catching total of 11 individual graded stakes winners, headed by the champion 3-year-old filly Untapable, the GI Belmont S. winner Tonalist and the GI Florida Derby hero Constitution. As a consequence, Tapit’s fee for 2015 was doubled to $300,000.

In fifth position, his highest placing up to that point, came Candy Ride (Arg), whose team of eight graded winners featured champion Shared Belief. The much-missed gelding compensated for missing the Kentucky Derby with Grade I victories in the Pacific Classic, Awesome Again S. and Malibu S. Like Tapit, Candy Ride was to stand at a career-high fee, of $60,000, in 2015.

Turn your attention to the first-crop sires of 2014 and you will find that this championship was taken by Quality Road, thanks largely to Hootenanny, winner of the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, and Blofeld, a dual Grade II winner.

An encouraging fifth among the first-crop sires was Munnings, with 27 winners from 53 starters. Much of Munnings’ success came too late to raise his fee for 2015, but his profile received a considerable boost when his daughter I’m A Chatterbox developed into a smart performer in the first few months of her sophomore year.

All four of the above stallions were in fine form over the weekend. With the help of Close Hatches (First Defence), a clear-cut winner of 2014’s Older Female Eclipse Award, Tapit sired Tacitus, the progressive Juddmonte colt who followed up his win in the GII Tampa Bay Derby with another Grade II success in the Wood Memorial. Stamina will not be a problem for Tacitus as he bids to become Tapit’s first Kentucky Derby winner.

Candy Ride is also trying to add a Kentucky Derby winner to his CV, and he has more than one chance. Vekoma improved his record to three wins from his first four starts in decisively landing the GII Toyota Blue Grass S. His only defeat was his third behind Code of Honor (Noble Mission {GB}) and Tapit’s son Bourbon War in the GII Fountain of Youth S. after a four-month break. And, while Candy Ride’s champion 2-year-old Game Winner has found one too good for him in both of his 3-year-old starts, he has been beaten only a nose in the GII Rebel S. and half a length in the GI Santa Anita Derby.

Game Winner’s defeat in the Santa Anita Derby came at the hands of Roadster, a son of Quality Road. The Lane’s End stallion had earlier also landed the GI Santa Anita Oaks with Bellafina, a filly who heads for the Kentucky Oaks with a record of six wins from eight starts. Stamina doubts about Munnings’ unbeaten daughter Fancy Dress Party mean that this unbeaten winner of the GIII Beaumont S. probably won’t be among Bellafina’s opposition.

Roadster probably owes his existence to Hootenanny’s Breeders’ Cup victory, as Quality Road sired Hootenanny from a grand-daughter of that good mare Dance Teacher and Roadster’s dam Ghost Dancing is another of Dance Teacher’s grand-daughters.

This was Ghost Dancing’s first visit to Quality Road and Arthur Hancock received excellent value for his $35,000 investment in his Silver Ghost mare, with Roadster selling for $525,000 as a yearling. Now a winner of three of his four starts, Roadster has already earned more than $700,000 for his buyers, Speedway Stables. His only defeat, when third behind Game Winner in the GI Del Mar Futurity, has been attributed partly to a wind issue, which was corrected by minor throat surgery.

Hancock bought Ghost Dancing for his Stone Farm for $220,000 at the 2011 dispersal of Edward P. Evans’ mares. I am guessing that Hancock liked the fact that the mare is inbred 4 x 4 to Hail To Reason, sire also of Halo, who was twice champion sire during his career at Stone Farm. Coincidentally, Ned Evans also bred and raced Quality Road, so there is a nice symmetry to Roadster’s pedigree.

Ghost Dancing provided Hancock with an immediate dividend, as the Candy Ride colt she was carrying at the time of her purchase proved to be Ascend, winner of the GI Woodford Reserve Manhattan S. over a mile and a quarter on turf for the partnership of Stone Farm and Madaket Stables. Another of Ghost Dancing’s sons, the Tapit colt Moro Tap, once finished a respectable fourth to The Pizza Man (English Channel) in the GIII Stars and Stripes S. over a mile and a half, so there is some stamina here.

Roadster is inbred 4 x 3 to Mr. Prospector, via Gone West and Silver Ghost. Gone West was primarily considered a miler, despite his win in the GI Dwyer S. over a furlong further, and the non-stakes-winning Silver Ghost did his winning at around six furlongs. Normally this wouldn’t encourage me to think that Roadster will be suited by a mile and a quarter, but the way he finished at Santa Anita suggests otherwise.

Hopefully he has inherited some of the stamina which enabled his third dam Dance Teacher to win the GI Ladies H. over a mile and a quarter. This versatile mare also won the GIII Gallorette H. on turf, and Roadster’s dam Ghost Dancing was a minor stakes winner on turf, over 5 1/2 furlongs. It therefore wasn’t too surprising that Hootenanny (whose first foals are being born this year) was successful at Royal Ascot as a 2-year-old before finishing second in the G1 Prix Morny.


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