12/31/2007 12:00AM

Grand Slam runner finds success on turf


Over the last decade, Calder has become the training ground in December for the important New York stables that are preparing for the Gulfstream Park meet, which begins the first week in January. On Dec. 17, Christophe Clement, whose large contingent of runners are mostly grass horses, saddled first-time starter Hall of Famer to win a 1 1/16-mile maiden race on turf by a nose at 7-1. Hall of Famer is a 2-year-old colt by hidden turf sire Grand Slam, a son of the equally versatile Gone West. Hall of Famer's dam, Quimper, is out of turf influence Palace Music, a son of The Minstrel (by Northern Dancer).

* Clement had another winner Dec. 20 when the blue-blooded Blue Rider won an optional-claiming allowance at 1=1/16 miles on the turf. Blue Rider, a 3-year-old gelding by A.P. Indy, is out of the Kingmambo mare Bluemamba, winner of the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches. Blue Rider's third dam, Bonita Francita, is the dam of Orpen, Jules, Etterby Park, and Black Penny, the second dam of Blue Rider. His fourth dam, Raise the Standard, was a half-sister to the immortal Northern Dancer and produced the highly successful broodmare Coup de Folie, the dam of champions Machiavellian and Coup de Genie as well as Hydro Calido and Exit to Nowhere.

* Following a victory at Calder on Nov. 17, Chagall won an optional-claiming allowance at five furlongs on the turf for Belmont Park-based Todd Pletcher. Chagall, a 3-year-old filly by Successful Appeal, is out of the Unbridled mare Risky Double, a half-sister to stakes winner Diabolical. Chagall's third dam is stakes winner Plenty of Grace, a three-quarter sister to champion turf mare Soaring Softly.

* Empire Maker, sire of two-time Grade 1 winner Country Star and Grade 2 winner Mushka in his first crop of runners, got another winner Dec. 22 when Nor'easter Kate won a one-mile maiden race by a nose after a stretch-long battle with Ready to Fly. Nor'easter Kate is out of the Nureyev mare Fluid Move, who descends from the immediate female family that produced Majestic Prince, Graustark, His Majesty, and five-time Horse of the Year Kelso.

* Kafwain is among 2007's very good group of freshman sires, and is a son of Cherokee Run, who was a leading freshman sire himself and a strong sire of juveniles in general. On Dec. 23, Validain, a 2-year-old filly by Kafwain and out of the Valid Appeal mare Valid Annie, scored a front-running victory in a six-furlong maiden race by 4 1/2 lengths. She had finished second in a maiden race at Churchill Downs on Nov. 1.

Fair Grounds

Trainers from the Northeast also are making their presence felt at Fair Grounds. On Dec. 21, Bill Mott's 2-year-old colt He's the Commander won 1 1/16-mile maiden race by two lengths as the $4.80 favorite. By speed sire Elusive Quality, He's the Commander is out of the Capote mare Trumanita and is a half-brother to stakes winners True Passion and Nijinsky's Passion. With the Elusive Quality-Capote cross, it is highly unlikely that He's the Commander is Kentucky Derby material.

* Regarding distance limitations, the same can be said of Sok Sok, who captured the Sugar Bowl Stakes for 2-year-olds on Dec. 22. While he romped home by 8 3/4 lengths sprinting six furlongs, the son of Trippi out of a Great Above mare (an SPx2 pedigree pattern) has even less of a chance to be effective at 1 1/4 miles.

* Highest Class, a 2-year-old filly from the first crop of Horse of the Year Mineshaft, won 1 1/16-mile allowance on Dec. 23 for trainer Neil Howard as the heavy 3-5 favorite. Highest Class is out of the With Approval mare Classic Approval and is a half-sister to stakes winner Gulch Approval. Classic Approval is a half-sister to Class Kris, the dam of stakes winners Gradepoint and Student Council.

* Haven's Honey crossed the finish line first in a one-mile maiden race on Dec. 23, but was disqualified and placed ninth, making Fluff the winner at $16.80. Fluff is a 2-year-old filly from the impressive first crop of Flatter out of a Boundary mare. Flatter is by A.P. Indy and from one of the most prolific female families in racing history. Flatter's second dam is stakes winner Wild Applause, one of seven stakes winners produced by 1993 Broodmare of the Year Glowing Tribute.


Into Mischief's victory in the CashCall Futurity moved him into the top tier of juvenile colts and he is from the highly successful freshman crop of Harlan's Holiday. Into Mischief is out of the Tricky Creek mare Leslie's Lady and he descends from the classy George D. Widener blue hen Pontivy, the dam of another coveted broodmare, Patelin.