Spotlight on The Night of the Stars: Wicked Whisper

Wicked Whisper prepares to sell at the Night of the Stars Nathan Wilkinson

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Wicked Whisper (Liam's Map – Zayanna, by Bernardini) made quite an impression in Saratoga during the summer of 2019 when she cruised to a 6 1/4-length juvenile maiden win and earned 'TDN Rising Star' status. That victory was just the beginning for the striking chestnut, who went on to become a Grade I winner at two and a graded winner at three. Now, she prepares to go through the ring at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale carrying her first foal by Curlin.

“Wicked Whisper has every ingredient to be a foundation mare for somebody,” said Conrad Bandoroff, whose Denali Stud will consign the 5-year-old. “There are no limits to what her offspring could achieve. She has so many traits that we feel not only American buyers, but also an international audience, will appreciate.”

A $500,000 yearling purchase for Alex and JoAnn Lieblong, Wicked Whisper was the priciest yearling to sell from the first crop of Liam's Map. Bandoroff said her physical is just as stunning today.

“Wicked Whisper is drop dead gorgeous,” he said. “She's big, she's pretty and she has an unbelievable shoulder and a great hind leg. Alex buys tremendous physicals and this has been a special filly for them.”

The Steve Asmussen trainee followed her Rising Star-worthy debut with a win in the GI Frizette S., where she established control early and made easy work of the one-mile contest to win by almost three lengths over future MGSW Frank's Rockette (Into Mischief).

“It was a commanding performance,” Bandoroff said. “I think that 2-year-old form and that level of precocity is rare and it's a great quality when you're looking at a broodmare prospect. So many good mares showed ability and precocity at two. She looked like a winner throughout that race and she carried that confidence into a lot of her races.”

Wicked Whisper continued to excel at three, taking the GIII Miss Preakness S. and running second in the GIII Charles Town Oaks.

Meanwhile her half-sister Point of Honor (Curlin) was building up her own resume, winning the 2019 GII Black-Eyed Susan S. at three and placing in a trio of Grade I starts in 2020.

Their dam Zayanna, a daughter of successful broodmare sire Bernardini, is a half-sister to three graded stakes winners. Zayanna has produced four stakes performers in total including Velvet Mood (Lonhro {Aus}), who was a stakes winner at two, sold for $1 million in 2020 and now has two foals on her own produce record.

Fasig-Tipton's Boyd Browning said he believes that Wicked Whisper's young family has all the potential to become even more active.

“The depth of her pedigree is sensational,” Browning said. “She has some high-quality sisters that are producing and will be producing for many, many years. So you have this pedigree that is really strong and really deep, but it has the opportunity to explode and expand exponentially over the next decade as well.”

 

Bandoroff explained that after Wicked Whisper retired from racing last year, the Denali team put their heads together with the Lieblongs to decide on her first mating. It was an easy consensuses when they landed on Curlin.  The mating replicates the cross that produced Wicked Whisper's Curlin sister Point of Honor.

“We thought it was a perfect mating to get a Grade I-winning mare like Wicked Whisper started,” he said. “Curlin is having arguably his best year ever with the likes of Clairiere, Nest and Malathaat. The cross that we've replicated with Wicked Whisper and Curlin is a similar cross to GISW Clairiere (Curlin), who is out of the Bernardini mare Cavorting. Not only has this cross worked directly in the family with Point of Honor, but it's a cross that has proven to be gold time and time again.”

Wicked Whisper will sells as Hip 253 at the Fasig-Tipton Night of the Stars Sale. Bandoroff said he expects the young mare to be popular as buyers are scouting out broodmare prospects.

“I think Wicked Whisper has a very wide and varying appeal,” he noted. “If you're shopping for top-quality, high-end mares, she has to be on your list.”

“To me it's the complete package,” added Browning. “She's a young, Grade I winner in foal to the leading sire of Grade I stakes winners this year in Curlin, plus she's a beautiful physical and has an unbelievable pedigree. I think she gives you the opportunity, based on her 2-year-old ability, to dream early. But also based on her pedigree and the way she is bred, she gives you the opportunity to dream big in terms of being able to compete successfully at Classic-type distances. She has all the attributes to be a game changer from a broodmare perspective.”

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