A young stallion with his future on the brink and an older, proven star of the stallion ranks sired the winners of the two important 3-year-old preps at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans on Saturday, Feb. 17.
The once-beaten Monomoy Girl is a second-crop daughter of the Tapit stallion Tapizar, whose offspring so invigorated buyers at sales of yearlings and 2-year-olds in 2016 and 2017. The chestnut filly won the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths from a field of six competitors.
Now a winner in five of her six starts, Monomoy Girl is out of the Henny Hughes mare Drumette and was bred in Kentucky by FPF LLC and Highfield Ranch.
The co-breeders of the filly are Brendan and Olive Gallagher of Frankfort Park Farm (formerly Jim Plemmons' Old Frankfort Stud) and Michael Hernon under the name of Highfield Ranch. Hernon, who is responsible for sales of seasons and shares for Gainesway Farm, which stands Tapizar and his illustrious sire Tapit, said that the effort by Monomoy Girl in the Rachel Alexandra was important because she “raced in a much different style, not trying to wire the field as she did in the Rags to Riches (at Churchill Downs last year). Instead, she rated behind and finished well. That should give her more versatility and perhaps allow her to go a bit farther.”
As a result of their athletic looks, “This mare's foals are proving very popular with buyers,” Hernon noted. The breeders bought Drumette carrying Monomoy Girl and sold the filly at the 2016 Keeneland September sale for $100,000 to Liz Crow, agent. Since then, Gainesway consigned the full brother to Monomoy Girl to the Fasig-Tipton October Sale last year, where he sold for $175,000, the highest price for a Tapizar yearling in 2017.
Hernon said that Drumette “is a good-sized, attractive mare who looks particularly good this morning. She gets an appealing, athletic type, and they are racing to their looks.”
Racing to their looks is the one thing needed for the young sire Tapizar, whose first foals raced in 2016, when 21 of his juveniles in training sold for an average price of $117,533, a massive advance on a $15,000 stud fee.
On the racetrack, Tapizar did not do badly with the initial crop that so many buyers loved. But he fell victim to what a good friend of a psychological bent described as “the disconfirmation of expectations.” People expected great things, and good to average were the results.
From the young stallion's second-crop results, he ranked 11th nationally in 2017, and Tapizar currently ranks fifth among third-crop sires. If Monomoy Girl keeps ascending the ladder of class and success, she is going to have a strong influence on the fortunes of her sire.
Tapizar's situation as a sire on the cusp of something important underscores the magnitude of what it takes to become a national leading sire.
Like Awesome Again.
Also at the Fair Grounds on Saturday, Awesome Again's son Bravazo upset all the applecarts in the G2 Risen Star Stakes with a nose victory over the 41-to-1 shot Snapper Sinclair (City Zip). Allowed to race at odds of 21-to-1, Bravazo had finished second to Free Drop Billy in the G1 Breeders' Futurity last season and was winning for the second time in two starts at 3.
Bravazo is the latest significant son of the outstanding racehorse and sire Awesome Again (Deputy Minister), winner of the G1 Breeders' Cup Classic in 1998 and the sire of 64 stakes winners and the earners of nearly $87 million. A tidily made stallion produced by the Blushing Groom mare Primal Force, Awesome Again is also a half-brother to the good sire Macho Uno (Holy Bull), winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and champion of his division at 2.
At stud at Frank Stronach's Adena Springs, Awesome Again is best known for siring horses who need at least a mile, if not further, to show their top form. His best is doubtless Horse of the Year and leading sire Ghostzapper, but the dapper bay stallion also is responsible for champion Ginger Punch (BC Distaff and five other G1s) and million-dollar winners Game on Dude (Pacific Classic, Santa Anita Handicap three times, Hollywood Gold Cup twice), Awesome Gem (Hollywood Gold Cup), Wilko (BC Juvenile), and Round Pond (BC Distaff), among others.
Among the others are Preakness winner Oxbow and Haskell winner Paynter. Of even more interest in relation to the Risen Star winner, each is out of a mare by the California-based stallion Cee's Tizzy (Relaunch), who is best known as the sire of Horse of the Year Tiznow. And the dams of Oxbow and Paynter are full sisters to Tiznow.
Bravazo offers further reason for deep consideration of Cee's Tizzy because the colt is out of yet another broodmare by that Relaunch stallion.
Bred in Kentucky by Calumet Farm and racing for the breeder, Bravazo offers yet another classic prospect for the grand tradition of Calumet Farm and Awesome Again.
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 chief of biomechanics for DataTrack International and 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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