By Frank Mitchell
Position Limit's blowout in Sunday's Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga proved a pleasant reminder of her sire Bellamy Road's 17 1/2-length victory in the G1 Wood Memorial of 2005.
Bellamy Road's dominating performance in the Wood Memorial was so overpowering, so convincing, and so inspiring that journalists from around the world came to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby in tingling anticipation of seeing Bellamy Road become the next great American racehorse.
Bellamy Road also was the best shot that the late George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees, had at winning the Kentucky Derby. Having the 'Boss' win the Derby could only have been a massive boost to the visibility and general awareness of our sport, and just before the race, Steinbrenner told me that “there is nothing I'd rather do than win the Kentucky Derby. It's the greatest race in the world. Standing in that winner's circle would be the greatest thrill in the world. You know, I've already won the World Series!”
To the disappointment of his owner, as well as the thousands in the massive Derby Day crowd who made him the betting favorite, that did not happen. The big, nearly black, son of Concerto had a rough trip, and his effort in the Derby did not approach his outstanding form of the Wood.
Bellamy Road made his next start in the Travers, ran second to Flower Alley, and never started again. Although the horse remained in training at 4 in an attempt to regain his best form, even the attentive work of trainer Nick Zito could not quite keep the big horse comfortable enough to show what he could do.
Bellamy Road entered stud for a syndicate led by Kentucky horseman Ben Walden Jr. in February 2007.
It had been 18 months since Bellamy Road had raced. The horse's amazing Wood performance was nearly 24 months in the past. And the sales economy was on the cusp of sliding into a recession.
That is not a combination of factors to aid any young stallion in the quest for success.
But this is truly a game of second chances, and apparently all that Bellamy Road needed was a fair chance.
In his career at stud, the big great-great grandson of Northern Dancer took advantage of the opportunity to prove that his talent was genuinely outstanding and would carry forward into the performances of the next generation.
Most of the time, that seems like a longer shot than winning the Kentucky Derby, but for Bellamy Road, his early innings are very promising.
Rob Whiteley, owner of Liberation Farm and a shareholder in Bellamy Road, bred Bellamy Road's first stakes winner, Embellished.
Whiteley said, “As a commercial breeder, I realized that Bellamy Road's pedigree would not turn heads in the marketplace. However, stallion prospects that carry uncommon achievements with them when they go to stud cannot be ignored.
“I was very much taken by his size, balance, and athleticism, and I considered his winning race in the Wood to be one of the top 10 races I've seen in the last 25 years,” Whiteley added. “Therefore, I stepped up and bought several shares, and my only regret is that I didn't buy more.”
To date, the horse has had five winners, and on Sunday, he got his second stakes winner and first graded stakes winner when Position Limit ran away with the Adirondack.
The good-looking filly came home strongly to suggest that she will appreciate every increase in distance, and she won by five lengths from the promising Rock Hard Ten filly Alienation, who likewise had five lengths on the Successful Appeal filly Coax Liberty.
Bred in Virginia by Lazy Lane Farms, Position Limit sold for $55,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July auction of selected yearlings last year. The bay filly races for Starlight Partners and is trained by Todd Pletcher.
Position Limit is out of Payable on Demand, a daughter of Out of Place and the fine Procida mare Missuma, the dam of two stakes winners and a half-sister to four stakes winners, including Belmont Stakes winner Summing.
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.
Copyright © 2010, Frank Mitchell
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