10/12/2007 12:00AM

Juvenile favorites share female line

EmailLEXINGTON, Ky. - Following last weekend's stakes, two favorites for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile are colts who are sons of previous Breeders' Cup winners.

War Pass won the Champagne Stakes at Belmont, and he is a son of Cherokee Run, winner of the Breeders' Cup Sprint in 1994 and the champion sprinter. At Keeneland, Wicked Style won the Breeders' Futurity, and he is a son of freshman sire Macho Uno, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in 2000 and the champion 2-year-old colt.

In addition to their sires being Breeders' Cup winners, both War Pass and Wicked Style are unbeaten in three starts to date. While the Champagne was the first stakes success for War Pass, Wicked Style had won the Arlington-Washington Futurity on Sept. 1.

Both promising young colts descend from a female line nurtured at the Hancock family's Claiborne Farm near Paris, Ky., for more than a half-century. In 1951, Bull Hancock purchased a 9-year-old broodmare named Bourtai (by Claiborne stallion Stimulus) from Sylvester Labrot. At the time, the mare was carrying a foal later named Delta (Nasrullah), and in 1953 and 1954, Bourtai foaled the major stakes winners Levee and Bayou (both by Hill Prince).

Bourtai is the fifth dam of War Pass through her daughter Bayou, and Bourtai is the sixth dam of Wicked Style through her daughter Delta.

War Pass was bred in Kentucky by Cherry Valley Farm. Cherry Valley is the personal breeding operation of Claiborne's president, Seth Hancock, and Claiborne leases the Cherry Valley property from Hancock.

War Pass is a half-brother to the high-class stakes winner Oath and is out of Vue, by Mr. Prospector. War Pass is the second-to-last foal of his dam, and Vue is out of the Hoist the Flag mare Harbor Flag.

Vue's first foal was Spinaway Stakes winner Oath, by English 2000 Guineas winner Known Fact. The mare subsequently produced the stakes-placed Danzig filly Vision of Beauty.

In 2006, Claiborne, agent for Cherry Valley, sold War Pass for $180,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale, the second-highest price for a Cherokee Run yearling last year.

At last month's Keeneland September yearling sale, Claiborne sold the yearling half-brother to War Pass by 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos to Nick Zito, agent, for $200,000. That colt was the last foal out of Vue, who died in July 2006 as the result of colic.

Whereas War Pass was still a Claiborne horse, Wicked Style was bred in Kentucky by Adena Springs and is out of the Trempolino mare Deviletta.

The female family of Wicked Style has been out of the hands of the Hancock family for a few generations, with the first and second dams bred by Henryk de Kwiatkowski in the names of his Calumet Farm and Kennelot Stable. But the colt's third dam is the Danzig mare Polonia, winner of the Prix de l'Abbaye in France, and Polonia was the last stakes winner and next-to-last foal of the Round Table mare Moss.

Moss was one of several good racehorses that Claiborne bred from the Nasrullah mare Delta, a major stakes winner and a member of the first crop of yearlings that Bull Hancock kept for racing after he decided that Claiborne had better prospects to breed and race than to breed and sell.

If Hancock ever thought about revising that plan during his lifetime, Delta was doubtless one of the reasons he didn't consider it for too long. Hancock had ended a tradition of selling the entire crop of Hancock-bred yearlings that had been established by his grandfather, and Delta became the first stakes winner in the group to carry the Claiborne Farm silks.

Given the economics of racing and breeding at the time, Hancock was right to quit selling his yearlings. By the time they retired, Delta and her sisters Levee and Bayou had earned more money together than any entire crop of Hancock yearlings had brought at auction.

And much more was still to come.

After being a major success at the races, Delta retired to Claiborne, where she produced five stakes winners, including Dike, winner of the Wood Memorial and third in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes.

Although Delta's half-sister Bayou was not quite as successful as a broodmare, she did produce an outstanding stakes winner in the Bold Ruler filly Batteur, winner of the Santa Monica, Santa Margarita, Santa Maria, and Santa Barbara, as well as the New York Handicap.

Another of Bayou's daughters, the unraced Buckpasser mare Alluvial, produced a pair of major racehorses. Her best foals were Belmont Stakes winner Coastal (Majestic Prince) and champion Slew o' Gold (Seattle Slew). Their half-sister Dokki (Northern Dancer) is the dam of major winners Sleep Easy (Seattle Slew) and Aptitude (A.P. Indy).

Bayou's daughter Bayou Blue (Bold Ruler) didn't produce any stakes winners, but her daughter Harbor Flag produced stakes winners Country Light and Packet, as well as stakes-placed Vue, the dam of War Pass.