Multiple champion racers and stellar producers have been winners of the Spinaway Stakes through its historic past, and the winner of Sunday's running of the Spinaway may prove a memorable addition to the club.
Bred in Kentucky by Brent Harris, Beth Harris, and Darley, Sweet Reason is a daughter of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, and she completed the seven-furlong Spinaway in 1:23.42 over a track labeled sloppy.
The track remained much the same for Monday's racing, when the Tiznow colt Strong Mandate won the Hopeful Stakes by 9 3/4 lengths in 1:23.55 for the same distance. Both juveniles defeated their competition handily on the day and in such similar conditions and times to suggest that the filly and the colt hold similar prospects for the future. In addition, the sires of the Spinaway and Hopeful winners are typically regarded as “staying sires,” and their offspring are frequently better going a mile or more.
Therefore, the stamina potential of this pair offers more than hope to the connections of both premium winners over the Labor Day weekend at Saratoga, and there is a further tantalizing aspect to Sweet Reason. Her sire is currently in Japan, where he covered mares this year at the Darley Japan stallion complex on Hokkaido.
At Darley Japan, Street Sense stands along with a half-dozen other stallions under the Darley banner. There are three locally bred stallions — Admire Moon, Deep Sky, and Furioso — and three others bred elsewhere — Kings Best, Pyro, and Storming Home.
Sweet Reason is a member of the third crop of foals by the Kentucky Derby winner, a scopy and good-looking son of Darley's homebred Street Cry. From his sire's first crop, Street Sense pushed his sire to the top of the lists of freshmen sires, then second-crop sires with outstanding performances as a 2-year-old and 3-year-old.
A winner of the 2006 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Street Sense progressed at 3 to win the first classic of the Triple Crown, then finished a desperately close second to Curlin in the Preakness. The colt then won the Jim Dandy and Travers at Saratoga in 2007, which was the year of Darley's great strike in buying up all the premium stallion prospects.
Darley swooped in and bought Hard Spun, second to Street Sense in the Kentucky Derby, the breeding giant purchased the Distorted Humor colt Any Given Saturday, and they already owned the year-older star Discreet Cat. But the star of the Darley acquisitions that season was Street Sense.
Not only the champion at 2 but also a Kentucky Derby winner at 3, Street Sense combined stamina and scope with more quality than is always apparent in the stock by his sire, Street Cry.
This is the third generation of this male line that Darley has stood at stud, as Street Cry's sire Machiavellian spent his career at their facility in England.
But when Street Sense's stock started to race, and race very creditably, there must have come a sense in 2012 that the good young stallion could be better appreciated elsewhere. He had been shuttling to Australia for the Southern Hemisphere and was routed to Japan for the 2013 covering season in the Northern Hemisphere. In Japan, Street Sense stands for 4.5 million yen (about $53,000), and the commercial market here in the States would not support that.
Or at least it wouldn't have done a year ago.
Now, Street Sense has two current winners at the Grade 1 level in Sweet Reason and Aubby K, along with seven other stakes winners this season, and the stallion is the leading third-crop sire by gross progeny earnings.
The stallion's accomplishments on the racetrack and his potential as a classic sire who might get classy juveniles attracted some excellent mares to his first two books, but breeders tend to get anxious about using an unproven stallion his third and fourth years.
The Harrises took their well-bought Mt. Livermore mare to Street Sense and did very well. The resulting foal was well-grown and athletic, coming on the heels of a graded-winning half-sister, and Sweet Reason sold for $185,000 at the Keeneland September sale last year to Jeff Treadway.
Sweet Reason was one of 57 Northern Hemisphere yearlings by Street Sense consigned to sales in 2012. In all, 47 sold, but only 11 brought more than she did.
There was no mistaking that Sweet Reason was a very nice prospect.
The filly's dam had already produced G3 winner Don't Forget Gil (by Kafwain), winner of the Florida Oaks and second in the G1 Coaching Club American Oaks. At last year's November sale, Don't Forget Gil, in foal to Candy Ride, sold to Shadai for $360,000.
When Sweet Reason came to the races, she justified hopes for her athletic prowess. She debuted on a sloppy track, dropped 18 lengths off the pace in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint, but won by 6 1/4 lengths.
Trainer Leah Gyarmati said that Sweet Reason “trains very well on a dry track” but is “anxious to see how that translates into what she does in the afternoon on a dry track.”
We all would, and the filly is expected to race next in the Frizette Stakes at Belmont on October 5.
Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is a private consultant to breeders on pedigrees, matings, and conformation. He is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in central Kentucky. Check out Frank's lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.
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