Few farms have an international reputation equal to that of Calumet Farm, now owned by the de Kwiatkowski family, and the historic Thoroughbred nursery with the picturesque white fences just outside Lexington added another Grade 1 winner on Sunday when the Quiet American filly Switch won the La Brea Stakes on the opening-day card at Santa Anita.
Calumet bred and raised the bay daughter of Quiet American from their homebred stakes winner Antoinette, who is one of four stakes winners by their homebred stakes winner Nicholas (by Danzig). Antoinette's form peaked at 4, when she won six of nine starts, including the G3 Athenia Handicap, and she earned $399,160 in two seasons of racing.
Antoinette is the dam of two stakes winners to date, Keystone Gulch (by Gulch) and Switch (click here for pedigree), who was already a winner at G2 level and had run second in the G1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, Lady's Secret (to Zenyatta), and third in the G1 Las Virgenes.
The farm's good producer is among the lots consigned by Calumet to the upcoming Keeneland January sale (held Jan. 10-14). The 16-year-old Antoinette is in foal to Roman Ruler, last year's leading freshman sire, on a Feb. 16 cover.
Calumet Farm manager Bill Witman said, “We operate the farm as a commercial enterprise, and all horses reach a point where they attain maximum value. This might be the time with Antoinette.”
In addition, Calumet has two daughters of Antoinette. The older of these is Art Affair, an unraced daughter of Mineshaft. The 5-year-old has produced a good filly by Quiet American and is “being booked to Midnight Lute,” twice the winner of the Breeders' Cup Sprint and by Quiet American's best son, Real Quiet.
There is a practical reason for the repeated use of Quiet American with this family. The breeder is working to add size and scope to the foals, and as a result, Calumet has repeatedly mated Antoinette to good-sized, rangy types. Their best result has been with Quiet American, one of the last remaining sons of leading sire Fappiano. But keeping to the same Mr. Prospector male line and the same rugged type, the mare also has had three colts by Lemon Drop Kid, including the eight-time winner Jano (earnings of 101,400 Euros or $140,864).
That colt's full brother, Louison, went through the Keeneland September yearling sale for $150,000 the year before Switch. In 2008, Switch sold for the same price at the Keeneland yearling sale and races for CRK Stable.
Witman said, “She was never a really big filly, but then most of this family are not.” As a yearling, Switch was nicely balanced and showed composure during her time at the sale. She has matured and strengthened to rank among the best of her age and sex.
Witman attributes the filly's progress and consistent form to trainer John Sadler, whom he said has “done a masterful job” to keep Switch racing well at the G1 level all year.
Toughness and consistency are hallmarks of the progeny of Quiet American, who stands for Darley at Jonabell. In addition to classic winner Real Quiet and G1 winner Switch, the 24-year-old stallion has sired 52 stakes winners (7% of foals), along with an outstanding proportion of runners (82%) and winners (57%) to foals.
Antoinette has done equally well with her offspring, with four winners from six foals of racing age and two stakes winners. The mare's weanling is a filly by Breeders' Cup Classic winner Pleasantly Perfect, and this was another mating with the goal of adding size and substance to the offspring.
The result is a “really nice weanling,” Witman said, that combines the strength of the dam with the scope of the sire. Whether sold as a yearling or retained, the half-sister to Switch will be yet another promising prospect for Calumet as the operation moves into the next decade of the 21st century.
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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