05/06/2013 5:33PM

DRF Breeding Weekend Wrap: Breakthrough winners for Malibu Moon, Majestic Warrior

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Barbara D. Livingston
Orb became the first classic winner for sire Malibu Moon in the Kentucky Derby.

With all eyes squarely focused on Churchill Downs last Friday and Saturday, a talented and tested colt homebred by one of Thoroughbred racing’s most esteemed partnerships emerged to capture the 139th Kentucky Derby early Saturday evening with a powerful stretch run. One day earlier, an unheralded filly from one of the game’s self-proclaimed “little guys” unleashed a similarly effective late move to score an upset win in the Kentucky Oaks.

Friday’s win by Princess of Sylmar in the Oaks brought Pennsylvania owner-breeder Ed Stanco to the highest reaches of the sport, and also gave young Ashford Stud sire Majestic Warrior his first Grade 1 winner. The 8-year-old son of A.P. Indy, who won the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes as a juvenile, has been one of the busiest stallions in North America since retiring to Coolmore’s Ashford satellite in Versailles, Ky., in 2008. He bred 167 Northern Hemisphere mares last year.

Princess of Sylmar’s dam Storm Dixie, by Catienus, was stakes-placed on the racetrack. She is a half-sister to Group 3 winner Rhythm Band and to Grade 3-placed Musical.

For a more detailed pedigree analysis of Princess of Sylmar, click here.

The following day, under much worse weather and track conditions, Orb powered home with a six-wide move to prove much the best in the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby. His win was a validation for the successful partnership of owner-breeders Stuart Janney III and Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps and their longtime trainer Shug McGaughey, who added a Kentucky Derby win to their respective résumés.

Orb also becomes the first classic winner for Spendthrift Farm’s Malibu Moon, a true success story as a sire who entered stud at Country Life Farm in Maryland for a $3,000 fee in 2000. This year, he is firmly established as a stalwart performer at B. Wayne Hughes’ Lexington, Ky., property, standing for $70,000.

Hughes bred and owned Malibu Moon, who only raced twice with one win before he was retired due to injury. The 16-year-old son of A.P. Indy has, to this point, mainly been known as a sire of top-class fillies, with Grade 1 winners such as Life At Ten, Devil May Care, and Malibu Prayer among his best performers, but Orb’s emphatic score in the Derby, coupled with his solid chances to pick up one if not two more classic wins in the coming weeks, should go a long way toward altering that perception.

Orb hails from a female family tree stacked with class tracing back through several generations of Phipps Stable and Janney runners, including the great Ruffian. Still, both Dinny Phipps and Stuart Janney were less than impressed with Orb’s dam, the winning Unbridled mare Lady Liberty, early in her breeding career.

For a more detailed pedigree analysis of Orb, click here.

Both Princess of Sylmar and Orb were sired by sons of the great A.P. Indy, who is a pensioner at Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Ky.

Weekend notes: The weekend’s top Beyer Speed Figure for a route race went to another son of A.P. Indy, as Take Charge Indy absolutely dominated his opponents in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes on Friday at Churchill, earning a figure of 109.

Take Charge Indy’s pedigree is well-known as he is out of multiple Grade 1 winner Take Charge Lady and is therefore a half-brother to multiple stakes-winning 3-year-old Will Take Charge, by Unbridled’s Song. Will Take Charge finished a somewhat unlucky eighth in the Kentucky Derby after he had to check sharply in early stretch to avoid a retreating Verrazano.

The weekend’s highest sprint Beyer, also 109, was earned by a romping Delaunay in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes on Saturday’s Derby undercard. The 6-year-old gelding, by Gainesway Farm stallion Smoke Glacken, took his first graded stakes with aplomb and has now won six consecutive starts dating back to last year.

The Maryland-bred is out of the stakes-winning Coronado’s Quest mare Perilous Night and is a half-brother to stakes-placed Night Officer and to three other winners. It is the family of Grade 1 winner Wings of Jove, Japanese Group 1 winner Testa Matta, and Grade 3 winner Broad Smile.

Away from the Twin Spires limelight, Arnold Zetcher’s Liaison recorded a 105 Beyer in winning the 1 1/16-mile Mervyn LeRoy at Hollywood Park Saturday evening. The 4-year-old Indian Charlie picked up his first graded stakes win since taking the CashCall Futurity at Hollywood as a juvenile; sixth in last year’s Kentucky Derby, he is now two-for-two this year.

Liaison is one of two winners out of multiple stakes winner Galloping Gal, by Victory Gallop. Other family members include Grade 3 winner Bright Again and stakes winner Tensas Punch.