07/17/2006 11:00PM

Expect Johannesburg to produce turf stars

Arson Squad, winning the Swaps on July 8, is by Brahms out of Majestic Fire. Like Irish Osprey, a recent maiden winner at Delaware, he descends from Beaver Street.

Colonial Downs

First-crop sire Johannesburg (Hennessy) is going to be a major grass stallion. He won all eight of his races at age 2 (seven on turf in England, Ireland, and France), including a dominating victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and his 2-year-olds are showing an affinity for grass. On July 3, Johann Star, a 2-year-old colt out of the Pleasant Colony mare Surina Star, went wire to wire in a one-mile maiden race on turf to win by 4 1/2 lengths. On July 15, trainer Bill Mott unveiled first-time starter Marcavelly, another son of Johannesburg, to roll by six lengths over the Belmont turf.


More Than Ready was a four-time stakes winner at 2 and won the King's Bishop and Hutcheson Stakes at 3. By Southern Halo, he inherited his sire's high speed, and his offspring have displayed this speed on dirt and have really triumphed on grass. On July 3, Now More Than Ever, a 3-year-old filly by More Than Ready out of the Dixieland Band mare Rapidamente, scored a wire-to-wire victory in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race on turf for trainer John Kimmel. Rapidamente is out of multiple Grade 1 winner I'm Splendid, who was owned and bred by Kimmel's father, Caesar P. Kimmel, who also campaigned I'm Splendid's half-brother, Ima Hell Raiser, a stakes-placed horse who was a successful sire.

* Spring at Last won a six-furlong maiden race on July 4, drawing off to a 5 1/4-length victory. A 3-year-old colt by Silver Deputy, his career got off to a belated start, but he looks to have a bright future. Out of the Dynaformer mare Winter's Gone, he is a half-brother to stakes winner Sharp Lisa. Winter's Gone, bred by Darby Dan Farm, is a half-sister to multiple Grade 1-winning turf specialist Bien Bien and multiple grass stakes winner Dr. Schwartzman.

* Stallions descending in tail-male line to Northern Dancer have the "turf gene," and even if they were successful on dirt, most of these stallions pass on turf ability to their offspring, thus the moniker "hidden turf sire." One such example is Forest Wildcat, one of Storm Cat's best sons at stud (and a great-grandson of Northern Dancer) and a reliable source of speed. On July 8, Winzalot, a 3-year-old colt by Forest Wildcat, showed good speed to win a six-furlong maiden race on turf at 11-1. Winzalot is out of the Mr. Prospector (more speed) mare Winze, a daughter of stakes winner Wisla, who had wicked speed.

Churchill Downs

One of this year's freshmen sires who was expected to do well is Jump Start, who won the Saratoga Special and finished second to Officer in the Champagne Stakes before suffering a career-ending injury in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. By A.P. Indy and out of the stakes-placed Steady Cat (Storm Cat), Jump Start went to stud with much fanfare considering he is an A.P. Indy who had 2-year-old speed. In addition, his second dam, Hopespringsforever, is a three-quarter sister to stakes winner and important sire Miswaki. On July 8, Early Vintage, a 2-year-old filly by Jump Start making her career debut, showed tactical speed and rallied to win a six-furlong maiden race by 1 3/4 lengths in 1:10.07.

* Unbridled Express won a six-furlong maiden race for 2-year-old colts in a sizzling 1:09.23 on July 9. An Unbridled's Song colt, he is from the female family that produced Japanese sprinters Agnes World and Hishi Akebono. Finishing second in that maiden race was Street Sense, a colt from the first crop of Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry, whom many forget was a major juvenile himself when he finished second in the Del Mar Futurity and Norfolk Stakes and third behind Macho Uno and Point Given in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Street Sense is out of the Dixieland Band mare Bedazzle, and his second dam, Majestic Legend, is a half-sister to Mr. Greeley.

Delaware Park

Irish Osprey became the latest grass winner by Super Derby winner Arch when he won a maiden race on the turf at the about distance of 1 1/8 miles on July 8. A 3-year-old gelding, Irish Osprey is out of the Mr. Prospector mare Maiden Voyage, and his second dam, Queen of the River, is a full sister to River Special. His fourth dam, Street Dancer, was a full sister to Native Street, one of the best fillies from the 1963 foal crop, who became a prolific broodmare.


On the same day that Irish Osprey won a maiden race at Delaware Park, Arson Squad (Brahms) won the Swaps Stakes, upsetting Point Determined and A. P. Warrior. Irish Osprey and Arson Squad come from the same female family; both descend from the blue hen Beaver Street.

* Fantastic Light was a champion on turf. A son of Rahy, he won 10 important stakes, including the Breeders' Cup Turf, and his first foals are just 3. On July 9, his 3-year-old filly In Reality (not to be confused with the American-bred In Reality, one of the best racehorses from the 1964 foal crop that included Dr. Fager and Damascus), rallied to win a 1 1/16-mile maiden race on the turf by a nose at 7-1. Finishing second was Thunder Goddess (Thunder Gulch), a half-sister to stakes winners The Seven Seas and Royal Gem, with Alice Portlock (Sahm) another half-length back in third. Alice Portlock is out of stakes winner Stardusk, a full sister to 1977 grass champion Johnny D. The $1 trifecta returned $184.20.