06/27/2013 1:03PM

John P. Sparkman: Another good runner for consistent Langfuhr

Coady Photography
London Lane, under Horacio Karamanos, won the Grade 2 Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs on June 22 for Danzig’s most successful North American sire son, Langfuhr.

For a three-time leading American sire, the late, great Danzig left a surprisingly light footprint on the domestic sire list.

Danzig’s English-trained sons Danehill and Green Desert both have established vibrant, thriving male lines abroad to the degree that male-line descendants of Danzig dominated the prestigious 2013 Royal Ascot meeting, winning 14 of the 30 races at the five-day meet. Danehill earned multiple sire championships in both Europe and Australia, and his sons Dansili and Danehill Dancer also are champion sires.

The only son of Danzig to rank among the top five sires in North America, however, has been his Canadian champion son Langfuhr, whose son London Lane captured the Grade 2 Colonial Turf Cup on June 22. Langfuhr ranked as high as fifth on the American sire list in 2003, when his son Wando was Horse of the Year in Canada, and in 2007, when his best son, Lawyer Ron, earned an Eclipse Award as champion older male.

Bred in Canada by his owner, Gustav Schickedanz, Langfuhr was very well bred in Canadian terms. His dam, Sweet Briar Too, by leading Canadian sire Briartic, won the prestigious Princess Elizabeth Stakes and produced two other good Canadian stakes winners. Langfuhr was something more than a good Canadian stakes winner, though it took him a while to prove it.

Unraced at 2, his connections predictably targeted Canada’s greatest race, the Queen’s Plate, early in his 3-year-old season. He ran second to All Firmed Up in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial Stakes, but he faded badly after setting the early pace in the Queen’s Plate. He ran a similar race later in the year in the 1 1/8-mile Pennsylvania Derby, and for all but one of his subsequent starts, trainer Michael Keogh restricted him to distances of a mile or less.

Throughout most of his 4- and 5-year-old seasons, Langfuhr proved himself a formidable competitor at six furlongs to a mile on a fast dirt track, but he was far less effective on turf or on wet going. Beginning with an optional claimer at Woodbine in August 1996, he won five of his last seven starts, including the Grade 1 Metropolitan and Carter Handicaps and Vosburgh Stakes, as well as the Grade 2 Forego Handicap, losing only the 1996 Breeders’ Cup Sprint and the Vigil Handicap in his first start at 5 the following spring.

Retired initially to the original Vinery Stud near Midway, Ky., in 1998 and moved to Lane’s End in Versailles, Ky., in 2004, Langfuhr, now 21, resembles his powerfully built sire but is taller and leggier and is one of the most extravagantly fluent movers in Kentucky. Voted the champion sprinter in Canada in 1996, his three American Grade 1 wins and his paternity made him a very attractive stud proposition south of the 49th parallel.

Langfuhr has consistently produced graded-caliber stakes winners without ever matching the percentages of the best sires, and though he himself was clearly not as good on turf as on dirt, many of his better offspring have reflected the general aptitude of Danzig’s descendants for the greensward. London Lane is his 76th stakes winner from 1,504 foals ages 3 and up, but that 5.1 percent ratio of stakes winners to foals is a bit misleading for American breeders since it includes the results of several shuttle seasons in Australia, where he was notably unsuccessful.

His first crop included the high-class filly Imperial Gesture (out of Honor an Offer, by Hoist the Flag), who ran second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at 2 and won the Grade 1 Beldame and Gazelle Stakes at 3. Two Canadian champions – 2003 Canadian Horse of the Year and Canadian Triple Crown winner Wando (Kathie’s Colleen, by Woodman) and his stablemate and principal rival, Mobil (Kinetigal, by Naskra) – headed his second crop. A third Sovereign Award winner, 2006 Canadian champion 3-year-old filly Kimchi (Alljazz, by Stop the Music), followed in his fifth crop.

Langfuhr’s most talented offspring to date, however, was doubtless Lawyer Ron (Donation, by Lord Avie), an elegant, headstrong chestnut who won the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby in 2006 and returned to top form at 4 with wins in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap and Woodward Stakes to earn champion older male honors. Lawyer Ron, sadly, lasted only two seasons at stud before his untimely death but showed promise, siring graded winners Itsmyluckyday, Drill, and Stealcase.

Langfuhr has sired six Grade 1 winners, but London Lane has not yet reached that level. The Colonial Turf Cup was his fifth victory in 22 starts spread over five racing seasons. He is the sixth foal, third winner, and first stakes winner out of Travelling, an unraced daughter of Miswaki who is a half-sister to five stakes winners and from an outstanding female family.

The five stakes winners produced by London Lane’s second dam, Foufa, by Storm Bird, were not only by five different sires, but those five sires were from four different sire lines. Her best son, Foufa’s Warrior, by Mr. Prospector’s son Jade Hunter, won the Grade 3 Kent Breeders’ Cup Stakes, and both he and his four black-type siblings raced mostly on the Maryland-Virginia-Delaware circuit.

Maryland Moon, by Al Mamoon (In Reality line); Full Brush, by Broad Brush (Ack Ack line); Certantee, by Known Fact (In Reality); and Media Access, by Devil’s Bag (Halo line), each earned more than $200,000. Media Access, the only filly among the five, produced Maryland stakes winner Access to Charlie, by Indian Charlie.

Another daughter of Foufa, by a sire from yet another different sire line, Private Pouf, by Private Terms (Damascus line), produced the remarkably long-winded Successful Appeal gelding Successful Affair, an earner of $478,115. Still another daughter from a diverse sire line, Maryland Mist, by Cozzene (Caro line), produced the stakes winner Ice Mist, by Forest Danger.

Foufa’s dam, Afifa, by Dewan, was a high-class racemare, equaling the track record while winning the 1978 Grade 1 Vanity Handicap. Her half-brother Alias Smith, by Al Hattab, won the Grade 2 Donald P. Ross Handicap in 1979. Alias Smith’s stakes-winning half-sister, Whow, by Spectacular Bid, is the dam of the high-class but unfortunate Grade 3 winner Second of June, by Louis Quatorze, and the second dam of Grade 1 winner Any Given Saturday, by Distorted Humor.

Alias Smith also was a half-brother to the high-class English sprinter Auction Ring, by Bold Bidder, who also was a good sire in Ireland. Another half-sister, Passing My Way, by Pass the Glass, is the dam of champion Phone Chatter, by Phone Trick, who is the second dam of Grade 1 winners In Lingerie, by Empire Maker, and Dixie Chatter, by Dixie Union.

London Lane’s fourth dam, Hooplah, by Hillary, won the 1968 Hollywood Oaks and is a sixth-generation descendant of Black Brocade, a Neil Gow mare imported in 1916 by J.O. Keene (Keeneland’s namesake) who stands at the head of a family that also includes Remsen winner Lord Boswell, 1956 Preakness winner Fabius, and top sires Relaunch and Tapit.

Like so many of his contemporaries, London Lane is inbred to Northern Dancer, in his case 3x4, but his sire, Langfuhr, is even more closely inbred to Northern Dancer’s sire Nearctic, 3x3. Those duplications, plus additional multiples of Native Dancer, Nasrullah, and Princequillo, give London Lane an inbreeding coefficient of 2.89 percent within the first six generations.

London Lane may never reach the heights of some of his relatives, but his Colonial Turf Cup score is a reminder of his sire’s prowess as the most thoroughly proven of Danzig’s American-based sons to date and the deep and abiding quality of his female family.