The greatly loved Allen Jerkens, ‘the Chief,’ with his Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Wagon Limit, at Saratoga 1999. pic.twitter.com/eZys0A48e3
— Barbara Livingston (@DRFLivingston) March 3, 2015
So Dear was recently acquired while pregnant for the first time — and if all goes smoothly she will be delivering a Florida-bred, Florida-sired foal at T-Square Stud sometime in April, by the 27YO (26 at the time of conception) stallion Wagon Limit. Normally, we would not be particularly excited about a foal by a relatively old, relatively obscure stallion, but this particular foal is the exception to that rule.
What makes Wagon Limit exciting as a covering sire for So Dear is the fact that she is a half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner & millionaire Silver Wagon and multiple stakes winner and Grade 3-placed Rehoboth (who earned more than $700k), both of whom are sired by Wagon Limit — meaning that So Dear’s foal will be a 3/4-sibling to that hard-knocking pair, as well as to three more winners of $130k, $65k and $44k, respectively. Plus, So Dear’s dam is a half-sister to the dam of a stakes-placed, 10x winner and earner of $160k by Wagon Limit, as well.
So Dear was actually the only mare bred to Wagon Limit last year, according to the Jockey Club’s Report of Mares Bred. And while there is research out there which suggests older stallions do not get their top horses at the same rate that they do when younger, this research is often more tied to “foal order” rather than age in and of itself. And since Wagon Limit has only sired 220 foals so far, we’re less concerned about his age as a detriment than we would otherwise be — given that many stallions nowadays cover that many mares in a single Northern Hemisphere season.
And while he did not scale the heights of commerciality as a stallion, Wagon Limit’s credentials are actually quite solid. He ran 10 times at 3 and 10 times at 4, winning 6 of those starts, including the G3 Westchester at a mile and the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at 10 furlongs over Skip Away and Gentleman, after finishing 3rd in that race the year before. Then at stud, Wagon Limit has sired the aforementioned Silver Wagon (from his first crop, and who won the G1 Hopeful at 2YO and the G1 Carter at 6YO while placing in between in the likes of the G1 Met Mile, G1 Forego, G2 Fountain of You, and G3 Holy Bull, among 12 total stakes wins/placings), G2 winner Delta Bluesman (from his tenth crop, and also out of a Darn That Alarm mare, like Silver Wagon), Silver Wagon’s full-brother (and So Dear’s half-brother) Rehoboth, and four more stakes winners (3.2% from foals), plus another ten stakes-placed runners. His foals have earned an average of $68,832/starter, and he has a 1.30 AEI compared to just a 1.07 CI, meaning what he’s accomplished has come with very little help from his mates.
As mentioned repeatedly above, Wagon Limit has also produced a couple of top class horses (and a few more very useful horses) from So Dear’s immediate female family. Coincidentally, we recently finished Edwin Anthony’s informative tome “The American Thoroughbred, Volume I” and he features the pedigrees of Silver Wagon and Wagon Limit in some detail. Anthony attributes the success of Wagon Limit to reinforced inbreeding to the Blue Hen mare Lavendula through Ambiorix and Turn-To (the latter of which appears via sex-balanced inbreeding), as well as the presence in his pedigree three stallions who trace to the full-sisters Miz Clementine and Two Lea. Obviously Silver Wagon shares these features in his pedigree, and adds another appearance of Two Lea, plus another of Ambiorix (through a son, this time, whereas Wagon Limit carries him through a daughter). Anthony also points out that Silver Wagon’s pedigree carries another set of full-sisters in Big Beauty and Galleon Gold, while Wagon Limit’s grandsire Mr. Prospector and So Ritzy’s sire Darn That Alarm “both carry Native Dancer, Case Ace and Count Fleet in a concentrated format. What a beautiful pedigree!” (emphasis and exclamation both in original, p. 496).
So Dear’s foal by Wagon Limit will obviously contain all of these same elements in its pedigree, and also (via Fury Kapcori) adds another instance of both Two Lea and Mr. Prospector, plus two additional crosses of Count Fleet (via his broodmare sire Go For Gin) which reinforces what Anthony noted. Additionally, in keeping with Anthony’s themes, Fury Kapcori’s appearance here creates, in So Dear’s foal by Wagon Limit, sex-balanced inbreeding to Fred Hooper’s foundation stallion Olympia.
All of which is a long-winded way of saying that we’re very excited to have acquired this young mare and her in utero Wagon Limit foal!
So Dear’s covering sire, Wagon Limit, upsets the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup