02/19/2018 10:01AM

Sparkman: Buena Vista winner definitely Blame's Fault

Benoit Photo
Fault becomes Blame's second Grade 2 winner by taking the Buena Vista on Saturday at Santa Anita.

As with any great race, winners of the Breeders’ Cup Classic have earned varying degrees of success at stud.

Just since 2000, Tiznow, Ghostzapper, Saint Liam (though short-lived), and Curlin can be counted as genuine successes, while Volponi, Pleasantly Perfect, Invasor, and Drosselmeyer cannot.

Blame, who famously handed Zenyatta her sole defeat in the 2010 edition of the Classic, has not achieved at the same level as Curlin, Tiznow, or Ghostzapper, but he has done more than some other recent Classic winners, and one of his best offspring, Fault, gave him another graded stakes win in the Grade 2 Buena Vista Stakes at Santa Anita last Saturday.

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Bred in Kentucky by his owners, Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, and trained by Al Stall, Blame won the second of his two starts at 2 in 2008, a Beard-course maiden at Keeneland’s fall meeting, but did not make it back to the races until June of his 3-year-old season. Beaten first time back, he captured a Churchill Downs allowance before winning the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga. He was not quite ready to beat the front-running Regal Ransom in the Grade 2 Super Derby, but handled the graduation to graded company next time out, closing the season with victories in the Grade 2 Fayette and Clark handicaps.

At 4, Blame extended his winning streak to five with victories in the Grade 3 William Donald Schaefer, Grade 1 Stephen Foster, and Grade 1 Whitney, where he wore down heavily favored Quality Road by a head while in receipt of five pounds. But Haynesfield stole the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup from him, romping on a slow pace.

Zenyatta started even more slowly than usual in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but Blame ran his usual race, rallying from the middle of the pack to make the lead in midstretch and hold off Zenyatta’s late thrust.

Blame retired to his birthplace as the champion older male of 2010, with the sterling record of 9 wins in 13 starts and earnings of $4,368,214. He took with him an equally sterling pedigree as the best son of Super Derby winner Arch, an undeniably successful stallion despite never achieving the heights of commercial fashionability. Blame’s dam, the stakes-placed Liable, by Seeking the Gold, was half-sister to Group 1 winner Archipenko, by Kingmambo, and stakes winner Limit, by Cox’s Ridge, from the great family of Thong that includes top stallions Sadler’s Wells, Nureyev, and Fairy King. A compact, correct horse, Blame does not possess the substance of his sire and looks rather more like his broodmare sire, Seeking the Gold.

Although he is capable of siring good horses, Blame has never quite gotten over the hump as a stallion. The best of his 15 stakes winners from 316 foals age 3 and up (4.7%) is Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) winner Senga (out of Beta Leo, by A.P. Indy), and Fault is only his second Grade 2 winner, following Woody Stephens Stakes winner March (Lifeinthefastlane, by Unbridled’s Song).

Bred in Kentucky by Claiborne, Fault was purchased for $120,000 by Klaravich Stable at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale. She was claimed for $50,000 last year out of her fifth start, and races for Agave Racing Stable and Little Feather Racing and is trained by Philip D’Amato. The Buena Vista was her second graded stakes win, following a victory in the Grade 3 Pucker Up Stakes last summer.

She is the seventh foal and second stakes winner out of stakes winner Charming N Lovable, by Horse Chestnut. Charming N Lovable’s first foal, Apply, by First Samurai, captured the $11,000 Governor’s Handicap at the Ely fair track in Nevada. Charming N Lovable has since produced an unraced 3-year-old colt by Orb named Iron Cor, a 2-year-old filly by Lookin At Lucky, a yearling filly by Orb, and was bred back to Runhappy.

Charming N Lovable is half-sister to Grade 2 American Derby winner Mananan McLir, by Royal Academy, and to stakes winners Big Sur, by Malibu Moon, and Sandra’s Rose, by Old Trieste, dam of stakes winner He’s the Reason, by The Factor. Another half-sister, Move Clickly, by Cherokee Run, is dam of Graded 2 winner Fioretti, by Bernardini, and stakes winner Louisville First, by Girolamo. The family traces to foundation mare Quick Touch, by Count Fleet, dam of champion Quill, and tail-female ancestress of champions or classic winners Run the Gantlet, Caucasus, Vettori, Awesome Feather, and Maruzensky, among many others.