Curlin’s Needle is now being bred in 2016 to Discreet Cat (Forestry x Pretty Discreet, by Private Account; stands for $7,500 at Darley).
Unfortunately, Curlin’s Needle repeatedly came up empty after several covers by Girolamo this spring. With one last shot to try to get her in foal for 2017, we decided to switch things up and breed her to a different stallion since the pair clearly were not clicking together. Thus, Curlin’s Needle will be bred to Discreet Cat for her final cover of 2016.
Although we were specifically interested in breeding Curlin’s Needle to an A.P. Indy-line stallion (as noted in our January blog entry), the match with Discreet Cat has plenty to recommend it.
Discreet Cat was billed as the “World Champion” 3-year-old colt of his year, and was a brilliant racehorse who has sired numerous top class runners during his stud career. Successful in a 6 furlong Saratoga maiden special weight race (over future Grade 1 winners Thorn Song and Political Force) in his only juvenile start, Discreet Cat was purchased by Godolphin and resurfaced the following spring in Dubai, where he was a romping winner at a mile before stretching out to take the UAE Derby-G2 by 6 over a field that included eventual Horse of the Year Invasor. Returned to the States that summer, Discreet Cat took a 7 furlong Saratoga allowance race by 11 lengths in 1:21.53, then triumphed in the Jerome-G2 by 10 and the Cigar Mile-G1 by 3 in a track record-equalling 1:32.46 (giving actual weight to top older horses), remaining perfect through 6 starts. Returning as a 4-year-old, Discreet Cat wasn’t quite the same, finishing 3rd in the Vosburgh-G1 and the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile from three starts.
In the breeding shed, Discreet Cat has sired the likes of Grade 1 winners Discreet Marq, Dads Caps and Secret Compass, and his other Graded winners include Discreet Dancer, Mamma Kimbo, Sage Valley, Debt Ceiling, Out of Bounds, etc. He is also responsible for 2016 sophomore stakes winners Discreetness and Too Discreet. After a solid-if-unspectacular start at stud (read more from John Sparkman), Discreet Cat’s numbers dropped a bit, as they tend to do, and he will have only 59 two-year-olds of 2016. But he covered 108 mares in 2014 before a drop in his stud fee to $7,500 LFSN resulted in 128 mates in 2015. At that fee, with his proven track record, he is clearly a bargain (as noted by Bill Oppenheim).
The mating of Curlin’s Needle to Discreet Cat is good for a “B+” TrueNicks rating, based on the cross of Discreet Cat with mares from Mr. Prospector-line sires. In fact, of Discreet Cat’s top class runners listed above, only Secret Compass and Mamma Kimbo are without Mr. Prospector in their pedigrees.
Furthermore, Discreet Marq, Debt Ceiling and Too Marquet are all out of mares by Marquetry, a Mr. Prospector grandson who also contributes a cross of Vice Regent, of which Curlin’s Needle has two herself. The dam of Discreetness is bred on a Mr. Prospector over Vice Regent cross, and although Mamma Kimbo has no Mr. Prospector, her second dam is by Vice Regent’s grandson Silver Deputy.
Discreet Cat’s success with Mr. Prospector-line mares comes as no real surprise, given that his own pedigree is free of the long-time Claiborne stalwart.
The female family of Curlin’s Needle has also had success when crossed with Storm Cat-line sires like Discreet Cat. For instance, Curlin’s Needle herself is a half-sister to a winner by the Giant’s Causeway stallion Aragorn, while her close relative Eye of the Sphynx has produced Bigstormbrewin’, a winner of over $283,000, by Stormy Atlantic. And Quiet Reward, like Curlin’s Needle a granddaughter of Queen of Egypt by a Mr. Prospector-line stallion, has produced the stakes winner Behemoth by Giant’s Causeway.
This mating will result in inbreeding of 5x5x5 to Northern Dancer (plus Curlin’s Needle herself contributes two crosses of both Vice Regent and No Class).
Although their pedigrees share no meaningful similarities, Discreet Cat’s speed, race record and physical profile are similar to those of Girolamo (though Discreet Cat is not quite as bulky as Girolamo, other than in his neck and shoulder), and the brilliance that Discreet Cat will contribute to the mating is something from which Curlin’s Needle’s foal will benefit.