07/27/2017 1:46PM

First-crop sires Cairo Prince, Will Take Charge continue Unbridled line

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Barbara D. Livingston
Yearlings from Cairo Prince's first crop were well-received at Fasig-Tipton's July yearling sale in Kentucky.

The Unbridled line has been among the most classically prominent in America in recent years. The late stallion is partly responsible for two of the last three Kentucky Derby winners, as his son Empire Maker sired both Pioneerof the Nile, sire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, and Bodemeister, sire of Always Dreaming in his first crop. Pioneerof the Nile also is represented by classic-placed juvenile champion Classic Empire.

And although Unbridled’s Song died four years ago, his branch of the family tree is alive and well, as he is posthumously represented by champions Arrogate and Will Take Charge, and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Liam’s Map.

Judging by the trends in last year’s weanling market and the results of this summer’s first yearling sale, those recent successes are translating into favorable returns for first-crop sires from that line. Cairo Prince, by Pioneerof the Nile, and Will Take Charge are among those who have capitalized.

“The Unbridled line is really doing well right now,” said Bret Jones of Airdrie Stud, which stands Cairo Prince in partnership with Darley. “Pioneerof the Nile has really been exceptional, and Cairo Prince was as talented – from a pure talent standpoint – as any horse we’ve brought in.”

Cairo Prince, a graded stakes winner as a juvenile and early in his 3-year-old season before being sidelined with an injury, was the breakout star of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July selected yearling sale, the kickoff to the season. All eight of his yearlings sent through the sales ring changed hands – although two were private sales after the hammer fall – for a solid average of $141,875. He finished with two yearlings in the top 10 prices, represented by a $265,000 colt sold to WCI Investments and a $260,000 colt sold to Jay Em Ess Stable.

“We had very high expectations for them coming in, and we’re very grateful that these horses have lived up to those expectations,” Jones said. “It seemed like every time we’d go out in public, someone would say, ‘Boy I’ve got a really nice Cairo Prince at home.’ ”

“They’ve grown up just the way you would have asked for them to, and that’s very apparent by these sales results. And the good news is, I don’t think that’s stopping anytime soon. We’ve got some real superstars coming for the September sale. I know that a couple of the horses in Saratoga are big-time talkin’ horses. This momentum, I think, is going to continue. And if they run as fast as they look like they will, we’re gonna have a lot of fun for a long time.”

Cairo Prince’s chances for success were bolstered with a solid book, as Airdrie threw support behind him with its own broodmare band, and he also attracted quality mares from elsewhere. Mares bred to him in his first season included Bella Jolie, dam of champion Runhappy; Exclusive Rosette, second dam of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, by Pioneerof the Nile; Grade 1 winner No Such Word; and Canadian Horse of the Year Biofuel. The young stallion had two yearlings selected for the boutique Fasig-Tipton Saratoga catalog – a filly out of stakes winner Soundwave, from the family of graded stakes winners J Boys Echo and Letgomyecho, and a colt who is a half-brother to stakes-placed Soft Whisper.

Will Take Charge, who hit his best stride in the second half of his 3-year-old season to earn an Eclipse Award, stands at Three Chimneys Farm. Will Take Charge led first-year sires at last year’s proving grounds of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, as his 18 weanlings sold averaged $128,444. They were led by a colt out of Grade 1 winner Summer Soiree selected by noted bloodstock agent Dennis O’Neill for $350,000. His results at the Fasig-Tipton July sale were led by a $175,000 colt sold to Susan Moulton.

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Will Take Charge is “everything you’re looking for in a horse,” said Grant Williamson, director of sales at Three Chimneys. “He could get two turns. He ran against the best. He performed admirably over three seasons. He’s by a very good sire, from a female family that’s just exploded the last couple of years. When you add that all up, and you put his physical on top of it, he’s a great choice.”

Will Take Charge has 10 yearlings in the catalog for the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale, a large group for a first-crop sire. His offerings include a half-sister to three stakes winners from the family of runners such as Tale of the Cat and Johannesburg; a filly from the immediate family of champion Beholder; a half-brother to Grade 2 winner Notacatbutallama; and a colt out of multiple stakes winner Mother Ruth.

Three Chimneys has a strong hand this season, as joining Will Take Charge in the stallion barn two years ago was Strong Mandate, who romped in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes as a juvenile. The Tiznow horse made a solid showing at the July sale, led by a $240,000 colt – the second-highest price for a first-crop sire behind Cairo Prince’s offerings. He has two fillies on offer at Saratoga – one out of Grade 3 winner and multiple graded stakes producer Graeme Six, and the other out of stakes winner Lady Fifty Two, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Lady of Fifty.

Two well-bred first-year sires are represented by well-bred offerings in the Saratoga catalog. Cartier Award winner Noble Mission (Lane’s End), a full brother to champion Frankel, has a half-brother to champion She Be Wild. Can the Man (Spendthrift Farm), who is from the immediate family of blue hen Better Than Honour, has a half-sister to Canadian Horse of the Year Catch A Glimpse.

Other first-year stallions represented in the Saratoga catalog include versatile runners Verrazano (Coolmore), who had a $230,000 filly sold at the July sale, and Fed Biz (WinStar Farm). Declaration of War (Coolmore) is represented by yearlings from his first North American crop. He began his stud career the prior season in Ireland.

For a further listing of this year's first-crop yearling sires, click here.