Sir Winston's victory in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes on June 8 was the second success in a Triple Crown race for a son of Breeders' Cup Classic winner and leading sire Awesome Again (by Deputy Minister). The other classic winner for Awesome Again here in the States was 2013 Preakness Stakes winner Oxbow, now a sire at Calumet Farm in Lexington, Ky.
In addition to those two classic-winning colts, Awesome Again is also the sire of the champion filly Ginger Punch and of Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, who is a leading sire in his own right and stands at Adena Springs outside Paris, Ky., alongside his famed sire.
Ken Wilkins of Adena Springs said, “Awesome Again has put together one of the great stallion resumes, and we at Adena are privileged to have bred and raced his greatest champion, Ghostzapper. Looking forward, I would see Ghostzapper working to define this male line into the future, with good sons like Shaman Ghost as stud. Awesome Again's influence is so pervasive that you can look up any stallion list, and there he is right in the thick of it.”
As one of the two top-tier sons of his famous sire Deputy Minister, along with Silver Deputy, Awesome Again is the sire of champions, Breeders' Cup winners (4), $1 million winners (12), G1 winners (15), and stakes winners (66) at such a volume that the tidy bay stallion has consistently been among the leading sires with his own progeny, and now he is among the best broodmare sires.
In addition to getting some good 2-year-olds, Awesome Again has been a consistent force for classic quality and performance. Just last year in the Preakness, the stallion's son Bravazo gave Justify the hardest race of his Triple Crown, finishing only a half-length behind the champion son of Scat Daddy.
Now Sir Winston has followed up to give his sire another piece of Triple Crown glory.
Bred in Kentucky by Tracy Farmer, Sir Winston is out of the Afleet Alex mare La Gran Bailadora, who won three stakes, including the G3 Kentucky Cup Distaff at Turfway Park, and was third in the G1 Spinster at Keeneland.
The mare's second foal is an unnamed Artie Schiller gelding, and Sir Winston is the third.
La Gran Bailadora is one of 35 stakes winners and 13 graded stakes winners by her sire, 2005 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex. He is the sire of the major winners Texas Red (G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile), Iotapa (G1 Vanity Stakes), Afleet Express (G1 Travers), Materiality (G1 Florida Derby), and others.
As a scopy horse of good size and with very good bone, Afleet Alex has been an influence for soundness (72 percent starters to foals, compared to the breed average of 60) and athleticism (50 percent winners, compared to the breed average of 42), and he seems to throw greater than average stamina in his stock, which can be a disadvantage in the marketplace and on the racetrack where opportunities to run are strongly skewed toward six furlongs.
La Gran Bailadora and nearly every one of Afleet Alex's stakes winners showed its best form at a mile or more, and the average winning distance for the stallion's progeny is 7.5 furlongs, which is very high for US racing.
As such, Sir Winston represents the classic quality, stamina, and soundness that breeders hope to produce in their best horses, and he has those qualities top and bottom in his pedigree.
In addition to a graded stakes-winning dam, Sir Winston has a second and third dam who each won stakes. His second dam, Affirmed Dancer (Affirmed), won the My Charmer Stakes at Turfway and was second in the G3 Gallorette Handicap at Pimlico. Third dam Woolloomooloo (Regal Intention) was a champion older mare and champion turf mare in Canada, and she is a half-sister to a stakes winner and to three dams of stakes winners.
Sir Winston represents a step forward in classic success for this family that it hasn't seen since the fifth dam produced Southern Arrow, winner of the G1 Premio Parioli (Italian 2,000 Guineas).
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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