Our favorite tactic in planning matings for a mare is to find something that has already worked with her female family and find the best option for trying to duplicate that — for Winning Bet, that means a 2019 visit to Giant’s Causeway’s fantastically-bred son Imagining in a Housatonic Recommended Mating.
It is somewhat shocking to us that Winning Bet has never previously been tried with a Storm Cat-line stallion (though we didn’t send her to one our first two years with her either), given that not only is she a half-sister to Grade 1-winning 2- and 3-year-old filly Finder’s Fee by Storm Cat, but also to that one’s winning full-sister, Dream Time, who is a stakes producer. Another sibling, Inquisitive (by Giant’s Causeway), was a winner of just shy of $100,000 in his career. Meanwhile, Winning Bet’s dam, the Grade 1 winner Fantastic Find, is a half-sister to the Grade 1 winner Furlough (by Easy Goer), who is the granddam of Grade 2 winner Annual Report (by Storm Cat’s grandson Harlan’s Holiday), stakes winner Giant Payday (by Giant’s Causeway), and the multiple stakes-placed winner Flores Island (also by Giant’s Causeway). Fantastic Find is also a half-sister to the dam of Eclipse Champion Heavenly Prize, who is, in turn, the dam of Grade 1 winner Good Reward and Grade 2 winner Pure Prize (both by Storm Cat), and of Enhancing (by Storm Cat’s son Forestry), who is the dam of 2018 G3 Lecomte winner Instilled Regard. Yet another half-sister to Fantastic Find is Home Leave, the third dam of Chilean Champion and Group 1 winner Wapi, by Scat Daddy (a Storm Cat-line sire).
The success that Winning Bet’s female family has had with Storm Cat-line stallions is complemented in this case by the success that Giant’s Causeway has had with mares by Dixieland Band (sire of Winning Bet’s sire, Dixie Union) and his sons, which is a cross that has accounted for multiple Grade 1 winner and sire First Samurai, and the Grade 2 winners Await the Dawn and Gigantic Breeze. In addition, Giant’s Causeway’s son Eskendereya (who is out of a mare by Seattle Slew, and thus quite similarly-bred to Imagining) sired the brilliant multiple Grade 1 winner Mor Spirit out of a Dixie Union mare, while the Storm Cat son Stormy Atlantic (another out of a Seattle Slew daughter) crossed with Dixieland Band to produce Graded winners Assateague and Asakusa Genki. The G1 Goldmine rating program gives this cross their “Perfect Match” designation.
Imagining himself has plenty to recommend him as well. He scored nine wins with seven more placings from 26 career starts, good for earnings of over $1.1 million. His biggest career victory came in the G1 Man o’ War at Belmont, in which he went wire-to-wire over the top-class Real Solution. Imagining also scored impressively in the G3 Red Smith and the G3 Pan American, as well as a pair of other stakes races, and was second or third in four other Grade 1 races. He retired to Maryland at the end of 2015, and his first crop will reach the races in 2019 after his first yearlings included a $95,000 colt and another that brought $50,000 at the Timonium sale.
In addition to his own race track achievements, Imagining comes from a fantastic female family filled with successful sires. His dam, the Grade 2 winner Daydreaming, is a full-sister to Grade 1 winner Girolamo (sire of multiple 2017 Graded Stakes winner Highway Star), as well as to the dams of G1 Kentucky Derby winner and promising young Kentucky stallion Super Saver, and G1 Kentucky Derby runner-up and leading California sire Bluegrass Cat. Daydreaming is out of Grade 3 winner Get Lucky, a full-sister to the perennial leading Maryland sire Not For Love, and her Grade 1-winning dam, Dance Number, is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner and leading sire Private Account, and to another leading Maryland sire in Polish Numbers (who recently teamed up with Not For Love in the pedigree of California Chrome).
Imagining combines his race record and pedigree page with a drop-dead gorgeous physique: he is tall, extremely muscular and well-balanced, very correct in his conformation, and he should add plenty of leg and length to the foal of the more compact Winning Bet — a foal that we hope will live up to the previous success of this pedigree cross.
Imagining wins the G1 Man o’ War
Imagining wins the G3 Red Smith
Imagining wins the G3 Pan American
Imagining wins the Idle Rich