05/08/2008 4:07PM

Sound sires? Japanese imports, old turf warriors


Three Japanese imports recently invaded Belmont Park, and they all have wonderful bloodlines.  Let's take a peek:

Casino Drive (Mineshaft - Better Than Honour, by Deputy Minister)
A $950,000 yearling purchase, Casino Drive is a half-brother to 2006 Belmont Stakes winner Jazil, and a three-quarter brother to 2007 Belmont winner Rags to Riches.  His dam won the Grade 2 Demoiselle as a juvenile filly.  The second dam, Blush With Pride (by Blushing Groom), won the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks and Grade 1 Santa Susana Stakes in 1982.  The third dam, Best in Show (by Traffic Judge), won the Comely Stakes at three.  Fourth dam Stolen Hour (by Mr. Busher) was thrice stakes-placed. 
Casino Drive is from the first crop of Mineshaft, the Horse of the Year in 2003 after Grade 1 wins in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Pimlico Special, Suburban Handicap, and Woodward Stakes.
Casino Drive was a favored, runaway winner in his career debut in a race restricted to first-time starters in Japan.  He led for the majority of the way in the nine furlong test, and drew off to win by 11 1/2 lengths under Yutaka Take.  He is being pointed to the Peter Pan Stakes on Saturday, and if he runs well there, he could run in the Belmont Stakes. 

Spark Candle (A.P. Indy - Serena's Song, by Rahy)
Spark Candle cost $1,500,000 as a yearling, and is a half-brother to multiple stakes-winner Serena's Tune, and Grade 2 winners Grand Reward and Harlington, and British Group 1 winner Sophisticat.  His dam, Serena's Song, was champion 3yo filly of 1995, and won 11 Grade 1 races along with $3,283,388 in earnings.  The second dam, Imagining (by Northfields) is a route-winning half-sister to Grade 3 winner Alabama Nana. 
Spark Candle's sire, A.P, Indy, won the Belmont Stakes, Breeders' Cup Classic, and the Santa Anita Derby en route to Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old honors in 1992. 
Spark Candle was the beaten favorite in his first two starts at two on turf at nine furlongs in Japan.  He won his third start by a neck at 1-10 odds in his third start going 10 furlongs on turf.  He then failed to hit the board in two starts against winners, and he bombed in his lone start on dirt in his most recent start on December 16.  He is also looking at the Peter Pan - Belmont route.

Champagne Squall (Daylami - Alluring Park, by Green Desert)
Champagne Squall cost 260,000 irish guineas as a yearling, and the son of Daylami was soon exported to Japan.  The dam was multiple stakes-placed on turf at two, is a full sister to Shinko Forest, a multiple stakes-winner in Japan, and is a half-sibling to Irish Group 3-winner Dazzling Park, and multiple Group 1 juvenile New Approach.  The second dam, Park Express (by Ahonoora), won the Group 1 Phoenix Champion Stakes in Ireland.  Daylami won six Grade/Group 1 races on turf including the Breeders' Cup Turf.   
Champagne Squall finished third as the 7-10 favorite in his only start at two going 1 1/4 miles on turf.  He's finished out of the trifecta in both starts this year (both on grass).  He will be pointed for a maiden race on the turf.


Dan, a little off-topic, but have you heard anything about Bold Hawk? He won the Hawthorne Derby, finished third in the Hollywood Derby, then was to get some time off.

Haven't heard anything specific, but he's a massive individual, and would benefit from added maturity.  He should be a force in the turf division if he's filled into his body.


Well Big Brown is 4 for 4, so when do you start calling him "GREAT"?

It's safe to say that "great" is thrown around far too liberally in the sports media.  There's no doubt that Big Brown is a very good horse, but let's see what shakes out over the next few weeks before putting the "G" label on him.


Dan....I can't for the life of me remember the name of the horse Donna Ysidra produced either the year or following year after Manila. I wish I still had access to the Jockey Club database. That was the one of the greatest perks of the job back in the mid 90's. Could you please run down all her foals in your next column? Thanks.

1982 - Unnamed colt (by Riverman)
1983 - Manila (by Lyphard)
1984 - Stately Don (by Nureyev, won Grade 1 Hollywood Derby, Grade 1 Secretariat...both on turf)
1985 - Tarlac (by Mr. Prospector, 1-7, $19,286, won sprinting on dirt)
1986 - Barkada (by Devil's Bag, 5-13, $91,996, stakes-placed on dirt)
1987 - Kasama (by Devil's Bag, 4-16, $70,672, all wins on grass)
1988 - Barren
1989 - Sister Sass (by Lyphard, 17-2-4-3, $64,800, won on both turf and dirt)
1990 - Barren
1991 - Mr. Murphy (by Nureyev, 2-1-0-1, $18,670, won career debut going long on dirt at two)


Enjoyed the excerpt on Manila. Got me thinking back to one of my favorite turf horses, Yankee Affair. They bought him for $10k and he wound up winning over $2 million winning turf stakes races until he was eight! I am friends with the trainer and had the pleasure of going to AC with him for the 1990 Caesers Intl. Steinlen won the race. Weather was hot but the drinks were cold!  Could you please post his lifetime pp's?

He was one of my favorites as well.  Here are his lifetime past performances:

Download yankee_affair.pdf


Be back tomorrow with some weekend opinions.

Take care,