10/27/2016 12:16PM

Shaman Ghost can make sire-line history in BC Classic

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Barbara D. Livingston
Shaman Ghost comes into the Classic off a win in the Grade 1 Woodward, just like his sire Ghostzapper.

Frank Stronach thinks highly of the Breeders’ Cup Classic as a stallion-making race. That’s no secret.

Five Classic winners have resided on Stronach’s Adena Springs stallion roster, and Shaman Ghost surely will have a place in the stud barn regardless of the outcome Nov. 5 at Santa Anita. But a Classic win by the homebred colt would be a history-making achievement that would take generations to match.

Shaman Ghost is a son of 2004 Classic winner Ghostzapper, who is by Awesome Again, the 1998 Classic winner.

No sire line has produced three Breeders’ Cup Classic winners. That feat, if it happens, would be even more impressive since all three are Stronach homebreds. Both Awesome Again and Ghostzapper stand at Adena Springs in Paris, Ky.

Awesome Again, a 22-year-old son of Deputy Minister, is already in unprecedented territory as the only Breeders’ Cup Classic winner to sire a Classic winner. The only stallion with a chance to join that group this year is 2007 Classic winner Curlin, who is represented in the race by Keen Ice.

Awesome Again has quietly put together one of the strongest stallion résumés of his generation.

Among his progeny’s accolades are a Horse of the Year title, two Eclipse Award winners, four Breeders’ Cup trophies, a Preakness Stakes score, 13 North American Grade 1 winners, and a variety of sons entered into stallion duty. Despite those accomplishments, his 17 crops have produced only three pre-racing-age horses who sold for seven figures at auction – two yearlings and a single juvenile.

Stronach said the winner’s circle was always more important than the auction ring with his farm’s cornerstone sire.

“We are not really commercial, so we never really overbred the horse, but he’s got quite a few Grade 1 winners,” Stronach said.

Shaman Ghost is among the best runners by his sire, Ghostzapper, and likely would clinch that title with a win in the Classic. His closest competitors over eight crops of racing age include champion sprinter Judy the Beauty, Canadian champion Hunters Bay, and Grade 1 winners Better Lucky, Contested, and Moreno.

Ghostzapper’s 2004 Classic win at Lone Star Park remains the fastest in the race’s history, as he ran 1 1/4 miles in 1:59.02.

“I spent a fair amount of time with [trainer] Bobby Frankel, and he said, ‘Frank, Ghostzapper is the best horse I’ve ever had,’ ” Stronach said. “He could sprint, he could go long, he could run on the dirt, and that’s an amazing plus.”

Shaman Ghost enters the Classic with more in common with his sire line than just blood. Like Awesome Again, Shaman Ghost is an Ontario-bred Queen’s Plate winner, and like Ghostzapper, he enters the Classic off a win in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes.

Shaman Ghost’s bold stretch drive in the Woodward gave Stronach hope that the colt could give Adena Springs another Classic winner at stud.

“I always thought he was a good horse, but the last time he won, he gave me the indication that he might be a very good horse,” Stronach said. “As he was going through the home stretch and he had to stop and go around, it looked like he was screwed. Horses went by, but he came on again.

“You’ve got to believe in ghosts.”