Standing stallions is a highly competitive business, and the farms that stand the premium sires rarely have as successful a day as Lane's End Farm had on April 6, when the 3-year-old colt Roadster (by Lane's End stallion Quality Road) won his first stakes in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby against odds-on favorite Game Winner (Candy Ride), who was second by a half-length. On the same day at Santa Anita, Quality Road's daughter Bellafina won the G1 Santa Anita Oaks, and Gift Box (Twirling Candy) won the G1 Santa Anita Handicap.
Quality Road, Candy Ride, and Twirling Candy are all based at the Versailles, Ky., farm founded by Will Farish. Also, Candy Ride is the sire of Twirling Candy, one of the sire's first sons at stud, and Candy Ride sired the winner of the G2 Blue Grass Stakes, Vekoma, who is now a winner of three races from four starts, like Roadster.
Roadster won his race at the direct expense of last season's champion juvenile colt Game Winner, who has narrowly lost both of his 2019 starts. Had the decision gone the other direction, Candy Ride would be hailed for having one of the strongest groups of colts aiming for next month's Kentucky Derby. In addition to Vekoma and Game Winner, Candy Ride is also sire of G2 Bob Lewis Stakes winner Sparky Ville.
Of the three, however, the one making the most signal progress is the Blue Grass winner, who advanced promptly from a maiden special in his debut at 2 to win the G3 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct last fall. Laid off till the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream on March 2, Vekoma ran third in his only loss. The chestnut colt's progress coming into the Blue Grass helped to make him the 1.40 to 1 favorite, and he looks a horse likely to progress further, perhaps notably.
Not the least reason for the expectation of continuing improvement is that the colt was foaled May 22 and is yet another May foal, who would have been penalized somewhat against others at the sales, yet who is continuing his improvement toward the classics against contemporaries who had somewhat earlier maturity due to their birth dates.
This is a distinguished female family that traces back to fourth dam Lianga, who was the highweight sprinter in France in 1975. Lianga was also perhaps the best racehorse sired by Peter Fuller's distinguished racer Dancer's Image (Native Dancer), who finished first in the 1968 Kentucky Derby, then was disqualified for the presence of bute in his system. Bute was prohibited in racehorses at that time.
From his second and third crops of foals, Dancer's Image sired the high-quality performers Lianga and Saritamer, who won the 1974 July Cup for Vincent O'Brien and was the high-weight sprinter in England in 1974. The evidence of such high-class European form and speed in his offspring sent Dancer's Image to Ireland in 1974, then to France three years later. The gray was sold to Japan in 1979 and died in December 1992 at Hayata Stud.
His famous daughter Lianga produced 10 foals, including the stakes winner Darling Misty and stakes-placed Legion d'Honneur (both by the great sire Alydar and inbred 3×3 to Native Dancer). Although not a stakes winner, Lianga's second foal, the Reviewer mare Long Legend, won four of her six starts.
At stud, Long Legend was well named.
She is the dam of leading sire Mr. Greeley, and five of Long Legend's daughters have produced stakes horses. This is the family of Kentucky Derby winner and champion juvenile Street Sense (Street Cry) and multiple G1 winner Paradise Woods (Union Rags).
Possibly the least of Long Legend's daughters on the racetrack was the Linkage mare Society Gal, who was unplaced in two starts but produced Mona de Momma from a mating to the champion sprinter and important sire Speightstown.
Although on paper Vekoma has more of a miler's pedigree, Candy Ride has gotten top-class horses with high speed like champions Shared Belief and Gun Runner who nonetheless were capable of carrying their speed and elite form at 10 furlongs in top company.
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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