Curlin’s Needle is now being bred in 2017 to Jump Start (A.P. Indy x Steady Cat, by Storm Cat; $10,000 LFSN at Northview PA)
After finding out that Curlin’s Needle is, in fact, pregnant to Discreet Cat off of a June cover from last spring, we have changed our plans with her and will no longer be breeding her to Flashback in 2017; by the time she foals and that baby is old enough to travel back to Kentucky, at best we would only get a single, very late, shot for a foal of 2018 with Flashback. Instead, we are going to try to get Curlin’s Needle bred this spring to the Mid-Atlantic’s leading active sire, Jump Start.
As we mentioned last year and in our write-up of why we initially picked Flashback for her this year, we acquired Curlin’s Needle specifically to breed to an A.P. Indy-line stallion in order to duplicate the cross that has produced Champion and classic winner Eye of the Leopard, multiple Graded stakes winner Deceptive Vision, and their stakes-winning full-brother Hotep – all of whom are sired by A.P. Indy out of Curlin’s Needle’s close relative, the Champion and classic-winning Smart Strike mare Eye of the Sphynx. Jump Start fits this bill perfectly, as he is a son of A.P. Indy.
Jump Start was victorious first time out as a 2-year-old, winning by open lengths in June of his juvenile season going 5-1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs. He came back to take the Grade 2 Saratoga Special in his second start, a victory that was impressive enough to have his connections already dreaming of the Kentucky Derby (not that trainer D. Wayne Lukas has ever needed much of an excuse for that). After a 5th-place finish in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes, Jump Start finished 2nd in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes prior to suffering multiple fractures of his left foreleg when off the board in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Those fractures necessitated Jump Start’s retirement to stud in Kentucky at Overbrook Farm, which bred and owned him. Upon the closure of Overbrook, Jump Start relocated to Pennsylvania in 2010, and moved to his current home at Northview PA in 2012.
Jump Start was the Mid-Atlantic’s leading sire in 2014 according to the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred (though not according to the Blood-Horse’s statistics), and in 2015 (including per the Blood-Horse’s statistics). He led the Mid-Atlantic again in 2016 and is already on top in 2017.
Among the more than 45 lifetimes stakes winners sired by Jump Start are Grade 1 winners Rail Trip, Idolo Porteno, Surest, Dona Joya and Livingstone (the last four sired during shuttle service in Argentina), plus other North American Graded stakes winners Prayer For Relief, Pants on Fire, Miss Behavior, Sir Whimsey, Jump On In, Bold Start, San Pablo, etc. Jump Start’s career Average Earnings Index (AEI) is 1.46, compared with a 1.33 Comparative Index (CI) – making him one of just a third of all stallions who have a higher AEI than CI. His 2016 stakes winners included the unbeaten 2-year-old Downhill Racer and the tough Mid-Atlantic sprinting mare Disco Chick.
The foal by Jump Start out of Curlin’s Needle will be inbred 4×4 to Mr. Prospector and 5x5x5 to Northern Dancer. While inbreeding to both of those twentieth century stalwarts is pretty common, it is interesting to note that eight of Jump Start’s seventeen Graded stakes winners feature 4×3 or 4×4 inbreeding to Mr. Prospector, as do no fewer than seventeen of his other stakes winners.
The TrueNicks rating for this mating, based on the cross of A.P. Indy and his sons over Smart Strike and his sons and grandsons, is an “A”, highlighted by Grade 1 winner First Dude and Grade 2 winner Juanita, in addition to the three stakes winners previously noted from the cross with this particular female family. In addition to the successful cross of sire-lines, Curlin’s Needle herself is a half-sister to the stakes-placed, five-time winner Clearer View, by A.P. Indy’s grandson Tapit, as well as to another winner by the A.P. Indy stallion Malibu Moon.
It is also worth mentioning that Curlin has had strong results so far when crossed with mares from the line of A.P. Indy’s sire Seattle Slew, with his runners from such mares including Eclipse Champion Stellar Wind, Grade 1 winners Exaggerator and Off the Tracks, plus Grade 2 winner Moulin de Mougin. English Channel, another son of Smart Strike, has also sired a pair of Graded stakes winners from Seattle Slew-line mares. So while it is too early in Curlin’s stud career for him to have accumulated any meaningful broodmare sire statistics, there is every reason to expect that his daughters will blend nicely with sires from the line of A.P. Indy.
Another factor in Jump Start’s favor is that he is an older, established stallion, which will enable us to get a better gauge on Curlin’s Needle’s ability as a producer.
Finally, in addition to the foregoing pedigree-related reasons that led us to this mating, the pair should make a nice physical match, as both Jump Start and Curlin’s Needle are big, strong specimens with plenty of scope, as well as great bone. Hopefully their foal will inherit the same.