03/14/2016 1:00PM

Destin gives Giant's Causeway hope for classic

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For all he has achieved at stud, there are a few accomplishments that perennial leading sire Giant’s Causeway, based at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Kentucky, has yet to check off his list. Chief among those is siring a U.S. classic winner, with his best finish in the series the third-place finish by Creative Cause in the 2012 Preakness Stakes.

Destin, a full brother to Creative Cause, signaled that he might be the best hope of the season for Giant’s Causeway with his track-record-setting victory in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on Saturday. It was the second consecutive graded stakes win for Destin, who also won the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa on Feb. 13. Finishing seventh in the Tampa Bay Derby in his season debut was another son of Giant’s Causeway, the Grade 1-winning juvenile Brody’s Cause.

Giant’s Causeway’s toughness earned him the nickname “The Iron Horse” in Europe, as he won 9 of 13 career starts, never finishing worse than second. He earned European Horse of the Year honors with five Group 1 victories in 2000, taking the Sussex, St. James’s Palace, Eclipse, and Juddmonte International in England as well as the Irish Champion Stakes. He placed in a trio of other Grade/Group 1 events that year, finishing second in both the English and Irish 2000 Guineas and the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Giant’s Causeway began his stud career at Coolmore’s Irish headquarters in 2001 but was relocated to Ashford the following season. He quickly established himself as the heir apparent to his sire, Storm Cat, finishing among the top 10 general sires every year since 2005 and leading that list in 2009, 2010, and 2012. He has sired champions in seven countries, led by 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Take Charge Brandi, European classic winner Shamardal, and Canadian classic winner Irish Mission. Giant’s Causeway also sired Showcause (New Zealand), Giant’s Steps (Chile), Step In Time (Saudi Arabia), Kung Fu Mambo (Peru), and Bambina Mia (Peru).