03/20/2008 11:00PM

Liberty Bull shows classic bloodlines


Liberty Bull wins the $500,000 WinStar Derby last Sunday at Sunland Park. The colt is a son of Holy Bull out of the Dehere mare Lasting Sensation. P

LEXINGTON, Ky. - With his victory in the WinStar Derby, Liberty Bull earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 95 and a place as a respectable outsider on the Daily Racing Form's DerbyWatch. That said, his options for making the Derby are somewhat limited, as the colt has little graded stakes earnings and the Churchill Downs classic is likely to be overfilled.

A further reason to respect Liberty Bull as a classic prospect is that he is a son of Horse of the Year Holy Bull, already the sire of a Kentucky Derby winner in Giacomo and a sire who consistently produces some runners that improve at 3 and have the class to bring them into classic consideration.

In addition, Liberty Bull is out of Lasting Sensation, a mare by Dehere. Dehere was champion 2-year-old and a member of the same crop as Holy Bull, who beat Dehere in the Futurity and kept improving at 3 to become champion of the crop and Horse of the Year in 1994.

The second dam of Liberty Bull is the Gone West mare Newdaydawning, who was unraced and produced no stakes winners. The third dam, however, is the Roberto mare Courtney's Day, a full sister to Florida Derby winner Brian's Time (also second in the Preakness, third in the Belmont, and a leading sire in Japan) and a half-sister to stakes winner Ellie's Moment and three other stakes horses. This is the famous Darby Dan family of Golden Trail.

Newdaydawning was bred by Junior Little and sold for $100,000 as a weanling at the Keeneland November sale in 1991 to John Toffan and Trudy McCaffery. They bred Lasting Sensation, her dam's third foal, and sold her for $47,000 at the Keeneland September sale in 1999.

When Lasting Sensation sold as a broodmare prospect in the Keeneland November auction of 2002, she brought $8,000 from Larry and Jan Levin. The price was a pittance for a daughter of Dehere who had won three races and earned $100,825.

As a racer, Lasting Sensation clearly had some ability, but she had not earned black type. Nor had her dam or second dam produced anything to earn black type, and that put her beyond the pale for commercial breeders.

Jan Levin said they bought her because "she's a beautiful mare who looks a lot like Dehere. Very feminine, slightly light in the hip, but we bought her off the track. We thought she'd be a very good broodmare, and then we found out what an aggressive alpha mare she was and hoped that she would put some of that in her foals."

The mare's first foal was the Skip Away colt De Getaway, who is unraced, and the mare's second foal is Liberty Bull.

Levin said they chose Holy Bull for Lasting Sensation "because she was virtually related to everyone, and he was a good outcross for her. Physically, he was a good match for her because she was a rather refined and delicate mare, and he's a big, strong horse. Also, we were impressed by the return the Holy Bull babies were bringing at auction compared to his stud fee."

When the Levins consigned their colt to the sales through Susan Forrester, Liberty Bull brought $37,000 from George Parrish at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale of yearlings, and the gray son of Holy Bull resold as a 2-year-old in training at the Ocala Breeders Sales Company's April sale of juveniles in training for $30,000 to Kenneth Maier, who races the colt.

The Levins decided to get out of Thoroughbreds and sold Lasting Sensation while she was in foal to Slew City Slew. John Smicklas purchased her in a private transaction and bred her to his stallion, Evansville Slew.

"Every year, I buy a few mares in foal for reasonable money, foal them out and breed them to Evansville Slew, and then sell them in foal with a no-guarantee season to Evansville Slew," Smicklas said. "That way, I've got three potential Oklahoma-bred earners working for me or my stallion, even if I don't get every dollar back on the transaction."

In the case of Lasting Sensation, Smicklas sold the mare to Randy Gammill, who is co-owner of Evansville Slew.

For Smicklas, foaling and rebreeding mares is a way to promote his stallion in a competitive marketplace. One of the side benefits is having good luck from some of the mares he handles, including Lasting Sensation.

Liberty Bull was already stakes placed when he sold the mare privately to Gammill, and Smicklas also has a "lovely Slew City Slew yearling colt from Lasting Sensation. Maybe the nicest on the property."