Updated on 09/15/2011 1:06PM

Quality of Louis Quatorze begins to emerge


LAS VEGAS - When I analyzed this year's group of freshman stallions, I expected Smoke Glacken and Valid Expectations to be among the leaders because of the speed they were expected to pass on to their offspring. In fact, both stallions have gotten off to fast starts at stud. Valid Expectations leads all first-crop sires with 18 winners, while Smoke Glacken leads with three stakes winners. Other high-profile stallions I expected would be heard from later when their runners matured and stretched out in distance were Pulpit, Touch Gold, and Louis Quatorze.

Last Saturday, those who believed in Louis Quatorze had reason to smile. While his juveniles seemed slow to come around earlier this summer, the victory by Repent in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes at Turfway Park signaled that the best is yet to come for offspring of Louis Quatorze.

Repent, in only his third lifetime start, stalked the leaders in the 1 1/16-mile stakes, and made a four-wide bid to grab the lead and win by 1 1/2 lengths in a very promising effort. Repent closed well in his debut to finish third at six furlongs, and followed that with his maiden victory at one mile, despite being bumped at the start.

Repent is out of the stakes-placed Cipayo mare Baby Grace, and is a half-brother to King Ruckus (by Bold Ruckus), Canada's 1994 champion older male and sprinter. His conformation must have matched his pedigree, as he was a $230,000 Fasig-Tipton July yearling sale purchase. According to trainer Ken McPeek, the lightly raced Repent's next start may be the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, which is four weeks from this Saturday.

Louis Quatorze is best known for his victory in the 1996 Preakness Stakes, in which he took the race from the start to win by 3 1/2 lengths over Skip Away. He also won the Jim Dandy Stakes over Will's Way, but finished second behind that rival in the Travers Stakes, while finishing ahead of Skip Away and Editor's Note. Louis Quatorze had a good season at 3, also finishing second in the Blue Grass Stakes (behind Skip Away) and third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (behind Skip Away and Cigar). His finest race may have come in defeat, when he finished second, a nose behind the older Alphabet Soup in a game effort in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Finishing behind Louis Quatorze were Cigar, Mt. Sassafras, Formal Gold, Tamayaz, Will's Way, Atticus, Dramatic Gold, Mahogany Hall, Dare and Go, Editor's Note, and Taiki Blizzard.

By the exquisitely bred Sovereign Dancer, a group-placed son of Northern Dancer, Louis Quatorze was not expected to be a win-early, precocious juvenile, but he showed talent at 2, finishing second in the Futurity Stakes (behind champion Maria's Mon) and Hopeful Stakes (behind Hennessy). Louis Quatorze had the look of something special at 4, but was injured and retired after a dazzling 13-length win in the Ben Ali Stakes.

Louis Quatorze is out of the multiple stakes winner On to Royalty, and the speed he displayed throughout his career comes mostly from his damsire, On to Glory (a half-brother to Ruffian, by Bold Lad), as well as Distinctive, a son of speed influence Never Bend. Louis Quatorze has two stunning aspects to his pedigree. First, he carries the Rasmussen Factor, as he is inbred 3x5 to one of the most influential matrons of the sport, Grey Flight. Secondly, his fourth dam, Stavroula, is a full sister to the legendary Nashua.

I expected Louis Quatorze to also be a sire of turf runners, even though he achieved his success on dirt. After all, this is the Northern Dancer sire line, and Louis Quatorze can be labeled a "hidden turf" sire. Other sons of Sovereign Dancer have excelled on turf, such as Itsallgreektome, a champion on turf in this country, and Priolo, a champion miler in Europe.

On July 9, Seren Princess became the first winner by Louis Quatorze when she won a seven-furlong maiden race in Ireland - on the turf. Expect many more grass winners by Louis Quatorze.

Not-so-Super Derby

Based on his strong runner-up effort to Point Given in the Travers Stakes, E Dubai was expected to win Sunday's Super Derby. Although E Dubai was bred to love a wet track, the Louisiana Downs surface was a very muddy and tiring track. But E Dubai was also the heavy favorite by default. None of the 3-year-olds in this year's Super Derby was bred to be effective at 1 1/4 miles, and the late run by Outofthebox was deceptive. After setting particularly trying fractions for such a surface, E Dubai struggled through a painfully slow last half-mile in 55.60 seconds to complete the 1 1/4 miles in 2:06.20.

With Point Given and Monarchos out of the Breeders' Cup Classic, the remaining 3-year-olds will have a tough time dealing with the older horses.