Breeding racehorses is a very long process, with mating plans being made yearsprior to a horse reaching the racetrack, or even before they head to a yearling sales ring. In the case of four yearlings scheduled to sell this coming week at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Yearling Sale at Timonium, our mating recommendations which produced them were completed and published almost three years ago. Below are the text of those four Housatonic Recommended Matings for the following four hips:
Hip 163 – Colt by Collected out of I’m Engaged.
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Hip 210 – Colt by Gift Box out of Luna.
Hip 241 – Filly by Goldencents out of No More Excuses.
Hip 375 – Filly by Demarchelier out of Vibrant Spirit.
Housatonic Recommended Matings for 2021 — I’m Engaged
**Originally published January 22, 2021 by Housatonic Bloodstock
We’ve mentioned before the need to be flexible when it comes to breeding plans, for a variety of different reasons. In this particular instance, we’ve had to call it off with I’m Engaged and Jimmy Creed after her owners acquired another mare who is a great fit with that initial intended mate — and rather than put all their eggs in the same basket (even if Jimmy Creed’s basket is one that we believe in), the more prudent path is to diversify. Therefore, I’m Engaged will now visit Collected at Airdrie in 2021.
We were huge fans of Collected upon his retirement for the 2019 breeding season and sent Paluxy Princess his way that first season. After 9 of his first weanlings averaged almost $60,000 last fall, he remains a horse that we have enormous faith in, for a variety of reasons:
First, Collected is a drop-dead gorgeous specimen — he’s medium-sized, incredibly well-balanced and masculine with a lovely neck and shoulder, plenty of bone, and a correct front end (not always a given with offspring by his sire, City Zip). His resemblance to the successful racehorse and sire Blushing Groom (who appears in the 4th generation of Collected’s pedigree, as does his half-sister Allicance (the 4th dam of Collected), meaning Collected is inbred 5×5, sex-balanced, to their dam Runaway Bride) is uncanny and has been remarked upon plenty. Collected and I’m Engaged make an excellent, like-to-like physical match, and their foal will be inbred 5×5 to Blushing Groom, and thus line-bred 6x6x6 to Runaway Bride.
Collected also ran to his looks, showing all of the versatility for which City Zip was known — a debut winner and Grade 3-placed sprinting on turf at 2, Collected stretched out to win a trio of Triple Crown preps as a 3-year-old in the Grade 3 Sham, the Grade 3 Lexington and the Sunland Park Derby, then after a subpar effort in the Preakness he was given time off and returned at 4 to reel off smashing victories in the Santana Mile, the Grade 2 Californian, the Grade 3 Precisionist (by 14 lengths, earning a 111 Beyer) and the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at a mile-and-a-quarter over his Bob Baffert-trained stablemate Arrogate (earning a 115 Beyer). He subsequently finished 2nd in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and although his 5-year-old campaign did not stack up, he had already done plenty to assure himself a place at stud, with 8 wins in 15 starts and $2.9 million in earnings.
Collected’s sire City Zip passed in 2017 after a somewhat rags-to-riches stud career (to exaggerate it slightly) during which he moved from New York to Kentucky and got a plethora of good horses across the distance and surface spectrum. And while City Zip has a couple of sons that have done quite well with the opportunities so far presented to them (like Run Away and Hide), Collected was by far the highest-profile stallion prospect by his sire to head to stud after coming to hand once City Zip’s worth had finally been realized (though in the interim, Improbable put together an Eclipse caliber campaign in 2020 and retires for this spring at a $40,000 fee).
In addition to his top-class sire-line, Collected has a well-cultivated female family as referenced above, and he outran the distance limitations suggested by a pedigree containing City Zip over Johannesburg, Danehill and Lyphard — which also might have suggested more turf than dirt, in contrast with Collected’s actual race record.
And finally, Collected stands at a farm in Airdrie that knows how to make a good stallion.
We already mentioned how nice this pairing is physically, but Collected also suits I’m Engaged for plenty of pedigree-related reasons, too: (1) she’s a half-sister to the grade 2 winner Fiery Pursuit, by Collected’s grandsire Carson City, (2) City Zip rates an A++ nick with I’m Engaged’s sire Broken Vow, having produced a pair of graded stakes winners (namely Caribou Club and Stays In Vegas) from just 5 foals to race, all of which are winners and 4 of which have black-type(!), and (3) the Carson City/Private Account cross is good for an A nick, having produced 11% stakes winners to runners.
All of which makes us very excited to be able to send I’m Engaged back to Airdrie this spring to visit Collected after she delivers her 2021 foal by his barnmate Include.
Housatonic Recommended Matings for 2021 — Luna
**Originally published February 26, 2021 by Housatonic Bloodstock
Gift Box represents the third generation of his sire-line to stand at the famed Lane’s End Farm, as he’ll share a breeding shed with his sire, Twirling Candy, and grandsire, Candy Ride — and we think there is every reason to believe he could enjoy just as much success as his forebears. He enters stud in 2021 after becoming a Grade 1 winner at the American classic distance of a mile-and-a-quarter in the historic Santa Anita Handicap, and he should be an excellent first mate for the well-bred young broodmare Luna.
Gift Box had a huge reputation throughout his racing career, which included being a Grade 2-placed 2YO, a TDN Rising Star at 3, and winning the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap as an older horse. A $135,000 weanling selection by the astute judge David Ingordo, Gift Box began his racing career for owner Will Farish and trainer Chad Brown, for whom he broke his maiden second time out at 2, then finished 3rd in the G2 Remsen. He earned TDN Rising Star status in his 3YO debut, and also finished 2nd in the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga that season.
Transferred privately to Hronis Racing and trainer John Sadler, Gift Box closed out his 5YO year with a victory over Battle of Midway in the G2 San Antonio, then out-dueled McKinzie to take the G1 Santa Anita Handicap in his next start. He was subsequently 2nd in the G1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita, and closed out his career with a second win in the G2 San Antonio.
Gift Box’s sire, Twirling Candy, is one of the more promising young stallions in the game right now, with yearling sales in 2019 as high as $950,000, and several making their way into some of the biggest barns in the country (for example, “the Avengers” group will have at least 4 of his 2YOs heading to Bob Baffert in 2021). And grandsire Candy Ride has been one of the elite stallions in the country for some time now.
A hallmark of this sire-line has been versatility, and that is something that Luna showed plenty of as well, being a winner on dirt and turf from 2-6YO. She broke her maiden as a juvenile at the Fair Grounds for owner/breeder Stone Farm and trainer Mike Stidham in maiden special weight company, and went on to win 4 more races, placing another 8 times and earning a total of $88,779, with her wins coming from a mile to 1-1/16 miles.
Luna is one of three winners so far out of her dam, Ruthville, who is a stakes winner by dual classic winner Afleet Alex. Ruthville is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Rutherienne, Grade 3 winner Ruthenia, plus stakes-placed winners Gemologister and Big Wig. Ruthenia is also the dam of a pair of stakes winners in Pubilius Syrus and Our Bay B Ruth, while another half to Ruthville, Holly’s Kid, is the dam of Scandinavian champion Lady of Course[IRE] and stakes winner Force[IRE].
Rutherienne, Ruthenia and Holly’s Kid are all sired by Pulpit, who is a son of A.P. Indy out of a Mr. Prospector mare, just like Luna’s grandsire Malibu Moon, and given that both of Ruthenia’s stakes-winning offspring are sired by Candy Ride, we are very excited to pair Luna with Gift Box and mimic that cross a bit — especially since Rutherienne’s best offspring so far, on earnings and speed figures, is also sired by Candy Ride. Luna’s yearling half-brother is sired by Twirling Candy, too.
Twirling Candy has sired Grade 1 winner Collusion Illusion from an A.P. Indy-line mare, and Candy Ride has gotten Eclipse Champion Game Winner, Grade 1 winners Mastery and Ollie’s Candy, and 11 more stakes winners on this cross — so we like this pairing for that reason, too.
Finally, the physical matchup is a really great bit of like-to-like, as well — both Luna and Gift Box are good-sized, strong-bodied horses with plenty of length to them, and we cannot wait to see what they produce together in 2022!
Housatonic Recommended Matings for 2021 — Vibrant Spirit
A beautiful and beautifully-bred colt in the classic European mold, Demarchelier was actually campaigned in the States after Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm purchased him for the equivalent of $592,486 as a yearling at Tattersalls on the advice of Mike Ryan and Chad Brown. Demarchelier scored in his lone 2-year-old start, then took a Keeneland allowance in his first sophomore appearance to earn TDN Rising Stardom, prior to stepping into stakes company and triumphing in the G3 Pennine Ridge at Belmont with a big late run. All three of those wins came at just over a mile, and these proclivities line up perfectly with what Vibrant Spirit showed on the track, as she was a winner going 1-1/16 miles on turf at both 2YO and 3YO.
The pair are also a very strong case of like-to-like physically, both being well-balanced, medium-sized individuals.
Although Kitten’s Joy mares have not had any chances with Dubawi yet, the broader cross of Dubawi over Sadler’s Wells has produced a host of good horses, starting with 2020’s top-rated racehorse in the world, Ghaiyyath. Other G1 winners bred this way include Night of Thunder, Too Darn Hot, Old Persian, Monterosso, etc. Vibrant Spirit also has Nureyev appearing in her pedigree via Spinning World, the sire of her second dam, and Nureyev is closely related to Sadler’s Wells — this combination is one that has been consistently successful as well, bringing in multiple strains of Northern Dancer and the Blue Hen mare Special.
All of which we think points to a very attractive foal from this pairing, with a big future on turf.
Housatonic Recommended Matings for 2021 – No More Excuses
**Originally published October 31, 2020 by Housatonic Bloodstock
As a very well-made, well-bred young broodmare who showed plenty of ability on the racetrack, we want to make sure that No More Excuses gets every chance to prove herself in the breeding shed, and as such she will visit the exciting young stallion Goldencents in 2021.
Until Authentic came along and won this year’s Kentucky Derby, Goldencents was the best (male) runner sired by Into Mischief, who last year finally cemented his status as the best stallion in the country when topping both the General Sires and Juvenile Sires lists.
Goldencents has done his best to get Into Mischief off to a strong start as a sire-of-sires as well, having improved on his second-place finish on the 2018 Freshman Sire List, to be the leading second-crop sire of 2019, and he is tops on the third-crop list so far in 2020. Goldencents has led the class by runners and winners every year, and last year and this year is also tops in stakes winners and graded winners. He has four pre-entries in next weekend’s Breeders’ Cup races, namely By My Standards (Classic), Empire of Gold (Sprint), Mr. Money (Dirt Mile), and Wildman Jack (Turf Sprint).
This match rates a “B” on TrueNicks, with three of Goldencents’ best runners being out of Mr. Prospector-line mares, including his top runner By My Standards. He does have two runners so far out of Not For Love mares, one of those being a winner. His sire, Into Mischief, has five foals out of Not For Love mares, and they are all winners. Furthermore, No More Excuses’s dam, Lucky Dance, is by Kafwain, and he is the broodmare sire of Into Mischief’s superstar filly Gamine. There is also a stakes winner, Lionhearted Lady, by a Storm Cat-line stallion (like Goldencents) out of a half-sister to Lucky Dance, so that bodes well, too.
Physically, No More Excuses is a tall, strong-bodied mare with plenty of substance, and she should be a perfect type to pair with the slightly smaller, less robust Goldencents. And as far as racetrack proclivities, although No More Excuses herself did her winning at sprint distances, she was bred to stretch out a bit and that should pair nicely with the miler tendencies demonstrated by Goldencents and his best offspring.