09/05/2013 9:49AM

Hot Sire: Tribal Rule


Courtesy Ballena Vista FarmTribal Rule

California stallion Tribal Rule gained an advantage in his ongoing duel with Unusual Heat at the top of the Golden State’s general sire list this year when his son Ethnic Dance won the second division of the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby on Sept. 1.

The 3-year-old dark bay or brown colt has blossomed since switched to turf by trainer John Sadler in late May, finishing second by a nose in a Hollywood Park maiden and then scoring three straight wins on the lawn, the last coming in the Del Mar Derby at 1 1/8 miles after setting the pace throughout.  Ethnic Dance covered the distance in 1:48.24 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 88.

Ethnic Dance’s career record stands at three wins from eight starts and $237,800 in earnings, He is the latest stakes winner for prominent California owner-breeder Jenny Craig, who with her late husband Sid campaigned standouts such as Paseana and Candy Ride. Ethnic Dance is owned by Jenny Craig in partnership with Michael Bello.

Tribal Rule, a 17-year-old son of Storm Cat, held an earnings lead of about $50,000 over Unusual Heat on the California general sire list as of Sept. 4, with a total of $3,523,569. The stallion currently stands at Ballena Vista Farm in Ramona, Calif., where he moved for the 2011 breeding season after standing at River Edge Farms near Buellton, which was owned by his owner-breeders Marty and Pam Wygod. The Wygods maintain an ownership interest in Tribal Rule, who finished second to Unusual Heat on the year-end California sire lists for both 2011 and 2012.

During his racing career, Tribal Rule won two of four starts over three seasons and retired at 6 to the Wygods' farm. His career was hampered by injuries but, when healthy, Tribal Rule showed flashes of brilliance. Both of his wins came at age 5, when he took two six-furlong races at Del Mar by a combined 14 lengths.

Tribal Rule comes from a productive female family, as his dam, the winning Grenfall mare Sown, also produced Santa Monica Handicap winner Key Phrase, by Flying Paster, who in turn produced stakes winner and good regional sire Yankee Gentleman. Key Phrase is also the dam of the winning Storm Cat mare Zing, who produced another good regional sire, Grade 2 winner Half Ours. Grade 3 winners Khancord Kid and Little Miss Holly are third-generation offspring of Sown. 

Given ample opportunity to prove himself as a sire by the Wygods, Tribal Rule has done just that. Through eight crops of racing age numbering 567 foals, he has sired 33 stakes winners and earners of $18,333,533 through Sept. 4. His best runner, the gelding Georgie Boy, had a very productive run through the Southern California circuit during 2007-2009.  A consistent, professional racehorse, Georgie Boy won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity and listed Graduation Stakes at 2, the Grade 2 San Felipe and San Vicente Stakes at 3, and the Grade 2 Carlos and listed Sunshine Millions Sprint at 4. Other leading Tribal Rule performers from previous years include Grade 3 winner Alphie’s Bet, five-time stakes winner Tribesman, and three-time stakes winner Eternal Rule.

Two of Tribal Rule’s four graded stakes winners to date have come this year. In addition to Ethnic Dance, the sire was flattered by Ciao Bella Luna’s upset score in the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland Race Course this spring. Those two are joined by listed winners Sunday Rules, Tribal Gal, L A Weekend, and Tribal Money on their sire’s roster of stakes winners for 2013. Sunday Rules, winner of the Generous Portion Stakes at Del Mar, has earned over $130,000 this year to date, and his success along with others has made Tribal Rule the leading synthetic surface sire in all of North America through Sept. 4 with nearly $1.4 million in earnings.

In general, Tribal Rule’s runners have performed best on dirt and synthetic surfaces over the past several years. Ethnic Dance’s affinity for turf could, if he continues to progress against stakes company, go a long way in broadening his sire’s horizons among California breeders. The colt is out of the placed Chester House mare House of Danzig, making him a half-brother to the talented and versatile Twirling Candy. That son of Candy Ride, now standing alongside his sire at Lane's End, won four graded stakes races for Jenny Craig and partners during 2010-2011, including the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes and the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby. He closed out his career with razor-thin losses in the 2011 Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup and Pacific Classic.

At auction, Tribal Rule has been a consistent presence at Barretts over the years with cameos elsewhere from time to time. His juveniles averaged $49,214 during the spring sales, led by a $120,000 colt named Oil out of the Synastry mare Sassy Synner that was purchased by Cecil Peacock and agent/trainer Dan Hendricks at the Barretts May sale. He has nine yearlings cataloged for the upcoming Barretts October sale.