03/07/2014 12:15PM

Leading Florida sires: Two Step Salsa

Barbara D. Livingston
Two Step Salsa led Florida's freshman sire list for 2013.

Capable on dirt, turf, and synthetic, the underrated and speedy Two Step Salsa has gotten off to a nice start at stud, finishing 2013 atop Florida’s freshman sire list with $620,716 in progeny earnings. That figure was good enough to rank fifth among all first-crop sires in North America, and through March 6 he has kept those rankings – first in Florida, fifth in North America – on the second-crop sire list for 2014.

Perhaps best known for his victory in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile in Dubai, Two Step Salsa won half of his 12 lifetime starts, capturing three graded stakes and finishing a game third in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

Two Step Salsa is a full brother to multiple stakes-winning turf router Kingofthebluegrass. They are by Grade 2 Ohio Derby winner Petionville out of an unraced full sister to My True Lady, a Seattle Slew filly who won stakes going long on both turf and dirt.

Two Step Salsa began his career as a homebred racing for owner Everest Stables and trainer Julio Canani. Unraced at 2, Two Step Salsa won his first two starts sprinting over the old Pro-Ride synthetic surface at Santa Anita Park. He then made his only start on turf, finishing second in the Harry Henson Stakes at six furlongs at Hollywood Park.

Two Step Salsa switched to Hollywood Park’s synthetic Cushion Track and reeled off gate-to-wire wins in the seven-furlong, Grade 3 Laz Barrera Memorial Handicap and the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap at 1 1/16 miles. He then finished second in the 1 1/8-mile, Grade 2 Swaps Stakes, and he tired in his dirt debut, the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby, at that distance after being caught up in a speed duel.

In his final start at 3, Two Step Salsa returned to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Dismissed at 22-1 odds, he carved out swift early fractions and turned for home with a slight advantage. Although outfinished by both Albertus Maximus and Rebellion, Two Step Salsa ran his heart out in defeat.

Purchased by Godolphin Racing after the Breeders’ Cup, Two Step Salsa was sent to Nad al Sheba Racecourse in Dubai. He won his first start carrying 131 pounds going six furlongs and then came right back with a popular score over the talented Gayego in the Godolphin Mile.

Two Step Salsa returned to the United States that spring but failed to regain his winning form, finishing fourth in both the Grade 2 True North Handicap and the Grade 3 Salvator Mile. He retired to stud in 2010 at Get Away Farm in Lowell, Fla. The 9-year-old stands the 2014 season for a stud fee of $7,500.

Two Step Salsa’s most notable performer to date is Dance With Fate, twice Grade 1 stakes-placed last year at 2 and most recently second in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby with a 90 Beyer Speed Figure.

Dance With Fate, trained by Peter Eurton, seems as versatile as his sire. Second in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity at seven furlongs over Polytrack, he next posted another runner-up effort in the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on dirt at Santa Anita.

This year, Dance With Fate won an optional claimer on turf at Santa Anita before his good second over the synthetic track at Golden Gate Fields in the El Camino Real Derby. His connections are considering pointing the horse to the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes on Polytrack at Keeneland on April 12 as he tries to qualify for the Kentucky Derby.

Two Step Salsa also is represented by stakes-placed Purchango and Conquest Two Step. The latter was a $420,000 purchase at last year’s OBS spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. This year, Two Step Salsa has seven winners from 21 starters through March 6.

The old saying is that milers make the best sires. Two Step Salsa was quick from the gate and could carry his speed over middle distances. He has been a good fit in the Florida market and should sire solid sprinters and middle-distance horses over a variety of surfaces.