01/08/2018 11:29AM

Sparkman: Cicatrix adds glitter to Violence's first crop

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In the big-book era of Thoroughbred breeding, first-crop success for a young stallion is more important than ever. If a sire’s first 2-year-olds, which race during a stallion’s fourth season at stud, fail to win stakes races, the number of mares craters for season five, and in too many cases a stallion’s career is essentially over.

Stallions as good as Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm’s Curlin, whose fifth-crop number of foals dropped to 40 after his first juveniles failed to shine, can overcome early stumbles, but Hill ‘n’ Dale’s young sire Violence will not have that problem.

Cicatrix, winner of the listed Glitter Woman Stakes at Gulfstream Park last Saturday, is his fifth stakes winner from 126 foals in his first crop, which is sure to attract more and better mares for the son of Medaglia d’Oro’s fifth season at stud.

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Bred in Kentucky by the Justice family’s Dell Ridge Farm, Violence was the second foal out of the winning Gone West mare Violent Beauty, a granddaughter of Racing Hall of Fame member Sky Beauty, who is by Blushing Groom. Sky Beauty’s dam, Maplejinsky, by Nijinsky II, won the Alabama Stakes. Maplejinsky’s dam, Gold Beauty, by Mr. Prospector, was champion sprinter of 1983, and is tail-female ancestress of Dayjur, Pleasant Home, Point of Entry, Pine Island, and Tale of Ekati.

Purchased for $600,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale by Stephen Marshall’s Black Rock Stables, with Sallusto and Albina as agent, Violence was trained by Todd Pletcher. He won his first start, running seven furlongs at Saratoga in an excellent 1:22.91, beating Titletown Five and future Kentucky Derby winner Orb. He did not run again until almost three months later, and made a deep impression with a comfortable two-length victory in the Grade 2 Nashua Stakes, running the mile in 1:35.32. Shipped to California for the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity, he rallied from just off the pace to win again, by 1 1/4 lengths over Fury Kapcori.

That made Violence one of the winter-book favorites for the Kentucky Derby, but he was beaten in his 3-year-old debut in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth when the rapidly maturing Orb ran him down by a half-length. Sadly, Violence emerged from his first defeat with a fracture of the medial sesamoid of his right front ankle, forcing his retirement to stud. Since he would not have been able to cover mares until at least April, his debut as a stallion was delayed until the following year at a fee of $15,000.

A handsome, lengthy horse in the classic mold of his sire, Medaglia d’Oro, he was immediately popular with breeders and in the auction ring. It did not take long for his first 2-year-olds to ring the bell. Buy Sell Hold (out of Melody Lady, by Unbridled’s Song) broke her maiden at Keeneland’s April meeting and followed up with victory in the Kentucky Juvenile Stakes in May at Churchill Downs. Barry Lee (Light of a Star, by Muqtarib) captured the Arlington-Washington Futurity and ran second on the Grade 3 Belmont Futurity. Encumbered (Dying to Dance, by Street Cry) showed versatility on turf winning the Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes.

Bred in Kentucky by CESA Farm, Cicatrix is the sixth foal and first stakes winner out of Provincial, by Pulpit. Provincial won four times, earning $176,507 and placing in the Misty Gallore and Ajina stakes. Provincial’s dam, Colonial Review, by Pleasant Colony, also placed in stakes but produced nothing else of note. She was, however, a full sister to multiple graded winner Dance Colony, and a half-sister to Grade 1 winners Another Review, by Buckaroo, and No Review, by Nodouble. No Review was the dam of stakes winners The Bull Hayes, by Sadler’s Wells, and Smashing Review, by Pleasant Tap. The family was developed primarily by Thomas Mellon Evans and his son Ned Evans from the Reviewer mare Dumfries, a half-sister to the great sire Lyphard.

Purchased for $85,000 as a weanling at the 2015 Keeneland November sale by Canaan Creek Stables, Cicatrix broke her maiden by an impressive 7 1/2 lengths in November for trainer Ian Wilkes and owner Bill Whitman. The Glitter Woman was her second outing.

The success of Violence’s first crop bumped his stud fee for 2018 to $25,000. With 182 second-crop 2-year-olds getting ready to race for him, that may not be his last price increase.