I’m Engaged is being bred in 2017 to Lord Nelson (Pulpit x African Jade, by Seeking the Gold; $25,000 LFSN at Spendthrift)
As we mentioned in our explanation of the Share the Upside program pioneered by Spendthrift Farm, we are participating in that program with last year’s top sprinter, Lord Nelson. In addition to believing that Lord Nelson has all the requirements for a successful stallion, he also happens to match up well on paper with several current members of the Housatonic broodmare band, and we are excited to send I’m Engaged to him in his first season at stud.
Lord Nelson – a $340,000 Keeneland September yearling – broke his maiden first time out in July of his 2-year-old season, going 5 furlongs at Del Mar, back when that track had an all-weather surface. He stretched all the way out to 1-1/16 miles in Grade 1 company for his second start two months later, in which he came home 4th behind American Pharoah and Texas Red in the FrontRunner. Shortened back up to 6 furlongs, he romped by more than six lengths in the Speakeasy Stakes, then closed out his juvenile campaign with a 5th-place finish in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club.
Lord Nelson’s sophomore debut saw him out-kick Texas Red to win the Grade 2 San Vicente at 7 furlongs, and he also finished 2nd in the Grade 3 Bay Shore Stakes that spring, sandwiched between 4th-place finishes in the Grade 2 San Felipe and Grade 3 Pat Day Mile. Lord Nelson went missing that summer, eventually returning to the races with a 3rd behind Runhappy in the Grade 1 Malibu at 7 furlongs off more than a six-month layoff.
Off for another six months after that – during which time he was purchased by Spendthrift Farm – Lord Nelson returned as a 4-year-old and reeled off four wins in four starts: (1) a 6-furlong allowance over Grade 3 winner Ocho Ocho Ocho in 1:07.94, (2) the Grade 1 Triple Bend in 1:21.04 for 7 furlongs, (3) the Grade 1 Bing Crosby by four lengths in 1:07.65 for 6 furlongs (a new stakes record at Del Mar), and (4) the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship at 6 furlongs. Unfortunately, Lord Nelson had to scratch from the Breeders’ Cup Sprint two days prior to the race when a small cut on his leg became infected, and he subsequently retired to Spendthrift. He is an Eclipse Award finalist for both Champion Sprinter and Champion Older Dirt Male.
After I’m Engaged visited Danzig-line stallions each of the last two years (Exchange Rate in 2015 and The Factor in 2016), Lord Nelson represents a shift in direction as he is a son of Pulpit, from the A.P. Indy/Seattle Slew sire-line. Pulpit is the sire of Tapit, North America’s three-time reigning leading sire, as well as of Lucky Pulpit, who is the sire of Eclipse Horse of the Year and North America’s all-time leading money earner, California Chrome. Pulpit’s other useful sons at stud include Sky Mesa and Stroll. Out of a mare by Seeking the Gold, Lord Nelson is from a strong Argentinian female family that has also produced other North American Grade 1 winners Miss Linda and Carina Mia.
TrueNicks rates the cross of Pulpit and his sons over mares by Unbridled and his sons and grandsons as a “B”, whereas eNicks gives it their highest rating of “A+++”. In either event, the top class horses bred on this pattern include Grade 1 winners Tapit, Mr Speaker, General Quarters and Sky Diva. Although not part of these ratings, other successful runners bred on a similar cross are Grade 1 Kentucky Derby winner Orb and Grade 2 winner Apart, each of whom has a sire by A.P. Indy out of a Mr. Prospector dam, and both of whom are out of mares by Unbridled, as well as 2016 multiple Graded stakes-winning 2-year-old Gunnevara, who is by a grandson of A.P. Indy and out of a mare by Unbridled.
The foal from this mating will be inbred 4x4x5 to Mr. Prospector, 5×5 to Secretariat, and 5×5 to Buckpasser. Secretariat and Buckpasser are both stout pedigree influences, while Mr. Prospector contributes a large measure of speed. There are those who would hesitate at three crosses of Mr. Prospector given that he can sometimes impart unsoundness, but we are comfortable with it in this situation, given how far back those crosses appear and that both Lord Nelson and I’m Engaged were sound individuals with full careers. Furthermore, Pulpit’s son Tapit has sired numerous top runners who have Mr. Prospector appearing at least three times in the first five generations of their pedigree, including his Grade 1 winners Ring Weekend, Constitution, Zazu, Pretty City Dancer, Sweet Loretta, and Dance Card.
I’m Engaged’s female family has already had plenty of success when crossed with Seattle Slew-line stallions such as Lord Nelson. The most accomplished such runner is Eclipse Champion Surfside. Surfside’s pedigree actually looks quite similar to that of the foal from this mating, in that she has Seattle Slew over Seeking the Gold over the Starlet Storm family. Other successful runners bred on a similar pattern include Grade 2 winner My Boston Gal (by Boston Harbor out of a Forty Niner half-sister to Starlet Storm); stakes winner Coast Line (by Boston Harbor out of a Mr. Prospector mare who is out of a full-sister to Starlet Storm); stakes-placed winner Flanders Fields (by A.P. Indy out of Flanders); and Capital Spending (a winner of over $100,000 by A.P. Indy out of Starlet Storm herself). Furthermore, two of I’m Engaged’s sisters by Mr. Prospector-line stallions have already produced winners by Mineshaft.
I’m Engaged will also match well with Lord Nelson physically, as they are both medium-sized, good-bodied horses.