04/13/2013 8:39PM

Owner-breeder Fipke excited about Derby prospects for Java’s War

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Java's War, outside, won the Blue Grass Stakes for owner-breeder Charles Fipke.

Punching a ticket to the Kentucky Derby is exciting. Doing so with a homebred is even better, according to owner-breeder Charles Fipke, who watched his Java's War storm down the stretch to win the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland Saturday afternoon.

"It's absolutely wonderful," Fipke said. "What can you say? It's really wonderful. It's tougher to do it with homebreds. The feeling is much more nice than going and buying at the sales, to actually breed them yourself."

Java's War joins Live Oak Plantation's Brilliant Speed (2011) as the only homebreds to win the Blue Grass in the last decade. The War Pass colt came into the race off a runner-up effort to likely Kentucky Derby favorite Verrazano in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Fipke purchased Java's War's dam, the winning Rainbow Quest mare Java, for $350,000 out of the 2009 Keeneland November breeding stock sale; she was carrying the colt at the time. The mare has produced four winners from as many starters, including stakes-placed Coffee Bar.

Out of the Grade 1-placed stakes-winning Explodent mare Island Jamboree, Java is a full sister to champion grass mare Fiji, who has gone on to become a solid producer herself. The multiple Grade 1 winner is the dam of Group 3-placed Marcus Andronicus and stakes producer Lady Indy. Java and Fiji are also half-sisters to Group 3 winner Capri.

It is the family of Grade 1 winners Careless Jewel, Subordination, and Fabulous Notion, the latter of whom produced Grade 1 winner Fabulously Fast.

"Mr. Fipke deserves all the credit," trainer Ken McPeek said. "The man breeds quality horses. He puts a lot of energy and money into it, and I'm happy for him. He deserves it."

Java's War is from the first of just two crops by 2007 champion juvenile War Pass, who died suddenly in December 2010. The Cherokee Run horse, who stood at Lane's End Farm before his death, won five of seven career starts, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Champagne Stakes. War Pass is also represented on this year's Triple Crown trail by Louisiana Derby winner Revolutionary.

Fipke homebred Tale of Ekati finished fourth behind War Pass in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. But Tale of Ekati turned the tables the following spring, defeating the champion by a half-length in the Wood Memorial.

"We used to run against War Pass," Fipke said. "We ran against him with Tale of Ekati, and basically, in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, he cleaned our ass. War Pass was a fantastic horse. Fortunately, Tale of Ekati came on and cleaned War Pass' ass in the Wood Memorial. We mated him to a mare by Rainbow Quest, who is a fantastic broodmare sire. He gives that extra distance that could be very, very interesting in the Derby."

Six homebreds have captured the Kentucky Derby in the last decade: Smarty Jones (2004), Giacomo (2005), Barbaro (2006), Street Sense (2007), Super Saver (2010), and Animal Kingdom (2011).