A later-maturing mare who has thrown similarly slower-to-mature foals, we are going to try to inject a little precocity into Participate’s 2024 foal by sending her to the brilliant 2YO Instagrand this spring.
This is not quite the apples-to-oranges pairing that it might seem at the outset, because although Participate was a winner at 4 and 5 going two-turns on dirt and turf, her female family has actually produced some precocious members fairly close up: Participate’s half-sister threw a black-type placed 2YO (who won her first 2 starts at 2), while her dam is a half to stakes winning 2YO Polish Rifle (who was actually 2nd to Tapit in the G3 Laurel Futurity at 2 as well), and her third dam won 3 of her 5 career starts which all came at 2YO, 4 of them in stakes.
Participate’s family has also worked very well with Storm Cat-line stallions like Instagrand in the past — Participate’s aforementioned stakes-producing half-sister is by the Storm Cat grandson Lion Heart, who also sired Participate’s talented half-brother Geno Green. Meanwhile, another half-sibling to Participate’s dam produced a stakes winner (also G2-placed) by a Storm Cat son, another black-type placed runner by a different Storm Cat son, and the G2-placed 2YO Southampton Way, by Instagrand’s own sire Into Mischief.
Physically these two are not that different in size, either: Participate is maybe a tad larger and coarser, but Instagrand is a good-sized, stout individual himself — he just matured and grew into himself in time to be a $1.2 million 2YO in-training purchase (the first by Into Mischief to bring seven figures).
TrueNicks calls this a “No Rating”, but the Harlan’s Holiday/Ack Ack cross has produced 17 winners from 22 starters, including a stakes winner and another black-type placed runner (both those stakes-caliber horses being out of Include mares, actually). And going back another generation, Harlan’s Holiday with Damascus-line mares like Participate’s own dam Wings of the Storm (by the Private Account son Valley Crossing) has produced a trio of stakes winners, including G1W Audible by Into Mischief, another G1W by Shanghai Bobby, plus 3 more black-type placed horses.
So we see a lot of things that should work in this pairing, and we can’t wait to see what Participate delivers in 2024!