Updated on 09/17/2011 5:55PM

Lemon Drop Kid best of fading breed


LAS VEGAS - Over the last 30 years, American breeders have stressed the importance of speed and precocity, and as a result there are precious few sources of stamina in this country. No less than 14 of the current top 20 freshman sires are speed influences whose offspring are unlikely to be effective at the American classic distance of 1 1/4 miles.

But there are at least six freshman sires - Giant's Causeway (by Storm Cat), Fusaichi Pegasus (Mr. Prospector), Running Stag (Cozzene), War Chant (Danzig), Golden Missile (A.P. Indy), and Lemon Drop Kid (Kingmambo) - whose first crop of babies have performed admirably considering they should be much more effective as they mature and stretch out to distances over one mile at ages 3 and 4.

Perhaps the best new source of stamina in the United States is Lemon Drop Kid, who combines a stamina-laden pedigree with ontrack performance at 1 1/4 miles and beyond.

By multiple Group 1 winner Kingmambo and from the immediate female family that produced A.P. Indy, Summer Squall, and Honor Grades, Lemon Drop Kid ran to his regal pedigree, winning the Futurity Stakes at 2, the Belmont and Travers stakes at 3, and the Whitney, Suburban, and Brooklyn handicaps and Woodward Stakes at 4.

Lemon Drop Kid's runners were not expected to have much impact sprinting at 2, and they will probably catch up and surpass their contemporaries at 3, when they go two turns. For the most part, Kingmambo's runners have excelled on turf, such as El Condor Pasa, Okawango, Russian Rhythm, King's Best, Bluemamba, Voodoo Dancer, Dubai Destination, and King Cugat. Lemon Drop Kid is, by far, Kingmambo's best runner on dirt, and Lemon Drop Kid's special appeal is that his offspring should show their strength at classic distances on dirt and turf.

As of this writing, Lemon Drop Kid has eight winners from 22 starters, and two of those winners are stakes-placed. Gemilli, a 2-year-old filly out of the Alleged mare Dancing Mirage, finished second in the Miss Grillo Stakes and has one victory and two seconds in three starts, all on grass. Winning Season, a 2-year-old filly out of the Private Account mare Topicount, finished third in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies Stakes.

Lemon Drop Kid's other winners include Peppermint Lilly, a filly out of the Meadowlake mare Retiro Park, who is a full sister to juvenile filly champion Meadow Star; Vitruvian, a colt out of Aviance, and thus a half-brother to English and French champion filly Chimes of Freedom (the dam of Aldebaran, Good Journey, Tomisue's Baby, and Sea of Showers), and stakes winners Denon and Imperfect Circle (the dam of multiple champion and Breeders' Cup Mile winner Spinning World); Lemon Bar, a colt out of the Storm Bird mare Moon Tide (from the family that produced Ide and Super May); Lemon Drop King, a colt out of the Boundary mare Fleet Canoe; Basemah, a filly out of the Chief's Crown mare Attractive Crown who is a winner in France on turf; and Gran Beirut, a filly out of the Alleged mare Ten Downing Street and a winner in Puerto Rico.

Members of Lemon Drop Kid's first crop who may turn up in maiden races over the winter include:

* More Than Somewhat, a Todd Pletcher-trained colt who finished second in his only race at Saratoga behind stablemate Proud Accolade. More Than Somewhat is a half-brother to the ill-fated 1993 Preakness Stakes winner Prairie Bayou.

* Burant Orange, a filly who has a second and third in three starts and who is out of a full sister to champion sprinter and sire Cherokee Run.

* Be Envied, an unraced half-sister to stakes winner Vivano.

* Charming Kid, a colt out of the Deputy Minister mare Possible Consort, a half-sister to stakes winner Fairy Garden. His second dam is a half-sister to Homewrecker (inbred 5x5 to La Troienne), the dam of four stakes winners.

* Gum Drop Kid, an unraced half-sister to stakes winner Enjoy the Silence.

* Heartbreak Girl, a filly who was second in her only start, whose dam is a full sister to Wild Rush.

* Highest Ground, a filly out of a full sister to stakes winner Awe Inspiring.

* Apple Annie, an unraced half-sister to Heritage of Gold.

It would seem the best is yet to come for Lemon Drop Kid.

Two other stamina sources

Judging by the exciting first crop of runners by Giant's Causeway and Fusaichi Pegasus, the future looks very bright for these two former stars of the sport, too.

Giant's Causeway has 18 winners from 61 starters, led by Shamardal, the impressive winner of the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes, who is likely to be named a champion. Fusaichi Pegasus has 13 winners from 32 starters, led by the talented but enigmatic Roman Ruler. These sires were bred to high-quality broodmares, and their runners have the potential to handle classic distances next year.