01/16/2015 10:42AM

Sparkman: Derby hopeful has a calculated heritage

Benoit Photo
Calculator broke his maiden with a victory in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita.

The male line of the best American racehorse of the first half of the 20th century refuses to die.

Oblivion seemed possible, if not likely, when 1948 champion 2-year-old male Blue Peter, the best son of Man o’ War’s best son, War Admiral, died before making it to stud. Instead, the male line of “Big Red” persevered through his temperamental but talented son War Relic through Intent, Intentionally, and In Reality, the latter the third-best colt behind Damascus and Dr. Fager in the great crop of 1964.

In Reality was the best sire along that male line since Man o’ War himself, and his sons Believe It, Known Fact, Relaunch, and Valid Appeal briefly made it appear that In Reality’s success could lead to a new flowering of the Man o’ War male line. Thirty years on, though, only the Relaunch branch looks likely to survive, and even that is open to considerable doubt. Relaunch’s grandson Tiznow has been a highly successful sire but has yet to establish himself as a sire of sires.

The stud career of Relaunch’s brilliantly fast son Honour and Glory was marred somewhat by his tendency to pass on wind problems, and he never sired the classic horse or brilliant 2-year-old in America who would have been a slam-dunk Kentucky stud prospect.

The best American racehorse by Honour and Glory to go to stud was Put It Back, who retired to Bridlewood Farm in Florida in 2002 after a brief but classy career on the racetrack. Put It Back did very well in Florida considering his opportunity but never caught on nationally and has developed into one of the leading sires in Brazil on annual shuttle visits.

Put It Back’s best American son, In Summation, has had little opportunity at stud in Florida, but it was gratifying for fans of the Man o’ War male line to see his son Calculator win the Grade 3 Sham Stakes on Jan. 10 at Santa Anita Park.

Overall, Honour and Glory, who now stands permanently in Argentina, has sired 71 stakes winners from 2,271 foals ages 3 and up, including American champion 2-year-old filly Caressing, Argentine champion 3-year-old male Indio Glorioso, Argentine champion 2-year-old male Mach Glory, and Chilean champion older female All Glory. Though clearly capable of siring a good horse, that depressing 3.1 percent ratio of stakes winners to foals did not recommend him as a sire of sires to American breeders.

Honour and Glory did not sire an American-bred Grade 1-winning colt, but Put It Back (out of Miss Shoplifter, by Exuberant) was among his best American sons. Bred in Florida by Hobeau Farm, the operation of the late Jack Dreyfus, he did not win in two starts at 2 but swept all five of his starts at 3. Put It Back won his maiden in his first start at 3 over Aqueduct’s inner track and then won the six-furlong Best Turn Stakes. Allowance wins at Aqueduct and Belmont were followed by a neck win over Flame Thrower in the Grade 2 Riva Ridge Stakes at seven furlongs.

Put It Back led all the way in each of his five consecutive victories at 3, but the Riva Ridge turned out to be his last appearance on the racecourse. A strong, close-coupled horse with rather bent hocks who looks like a typical sprinter, Put It Back succeeded rather better than anyone could have expected despite relatively scant patronage.

His first crop, foals of 2003, numbered only 34 but included Grade 1 winner In Summation (out of Fiesta Baby, by Dayjur), Grade 2 winner Smokey Stover (Milady’s Halo, by Jolie’s Halo), and stakes winners Black Bar Spin (Pleasant Dixie, by Dixieland Band), Put Away the Halo (Jolie’s Lillian, by Jolie’s Halo), and Put Back the Shu (Katoshu, by Katowice). His second crop of 45 foals, however, included nothing anywhere near as good, and the handwriting was already on the wall for Put It Back.

He began shuttling to Brazil in 2003 and quickly developed into just about the best stallion standing there, siring Brazilian or Uruguayan champions Requebra (Talisa, by Lode), Eliot Ness (Monday Morning, by Lode), Billion Dollar (Laura Ricci, by Lode), Skypilot (Ilang-Ilang, by Tokatee), and Nitido (Analu, by Roi Normand).

In Summation lasted much longer than Put It Back but took longer to reach top form. Bred in Florida by the late Bridlewood Farm owner Arthur I. Appleton, In Summation sold for $80,000 to Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds at the 2004 OBS August yearling sale. Pinhooked to the 2005 OBS March sale of select 2-year-olds in training, he was listed as purchased for $130,000 by Mike Maniscalco.

In Summation began his racing career for J.E.B. Stable and trainer Frank Gomez by leading throughout in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race at Calder Race Course on May 20, 2005. In Summation came within a nose of finishing his juvenile season unbeaten in six starts, winning the B L’s Sweep, Birdonthewire, Florida Stallion Dr. Fager, and Florida Stallion Affirmed stakes convincingly before succumbing to the late charge of Blazing Rate in the Florida Stallion In Reality Stakes.

Thomas Moore’s and Judy Livingston’s Waterford Stable purchased In Summation privately midway through his juvenile season, but his second season in training was not nearly as successful as his first. Although he clearly retained his ability, In Summation failed to win in eight starts at 3, despite running second in the Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes and two other black-type events.

Transferred to trainer Christophe Clement midway through his sophomore season, he improved to win 3 of 5 starts at 4, topped by a nose victory in the six-furlong, Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar. Kept in training at 5 and 6, he won consecutive editions of the Grade 3 El Conejo Handicap at Santa Anita and took the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Handicap at 5.

All of those victories were at sprint distances, and In Summation never won around two turns. In 29 starts from ages 2 through 6, however, In Summation won 12 races, 11 of them black-type events, earning $1,226,166. That admirably consistent and durable record, of course, earned him zero respect as a stallion prospect in Kentucky. Florida was the obvious place for him, and his 61 foals sired in his first crop at Ocala Stud included the stakes winner Puntrooskie (Siren Cove, by Montbrook).

Calculator is by far the best of 50 foals in In Summation’s second crop, at least to date. Bred in Florida by Ocala Stud, Calculator is the third foal to live out of the unraced Alphabet Soup mare Back to Basics. Although Back to Basics failed to reach the starting gate, she was a half-sister to the brilliantly fast turf sprinter Atticus Kristy, by Atticus, the winner of the Grade 3 Shakertown Stakes, and stakes winners Distorted Reality, by Distorted Humor, and Fiery Dancer, by Atticus.

Back to Basics’s dam, Christy Love, by Unbridled, failed to place in two starts but was a half-sister to the stakes winner Amos, by Cryptoclearance, and to the stakes-placed With Every Wish, by Lear Fan, the dam of Broodmare of the Year Oatsee, by Unbridled. Oatsee is the dam of Preakness winner Shackleford, by Forestry; Alabama Stakes winner Lady Joanne, by Orientate; and three other stakes winners.

Calculator’s third dam, Amo, by Hold Your Peace, is a half-sister to the brilliant Grade 1-winning sprinter Tappiano, by Fappiano, and this is the family of sires Gone West, Tentam, and Known Fact.

Two of those three famous sires, Tentam and Known Fact, were scions of the male line of Man o’ War, but neither was able to pass on their glorious heritage to a successful sire son. It is, of course, much too early to tell whether Calculator will even be granted the chance to sustain a 10th generation of the male line of Man o’ War. The Sham was actually his first victory in five starts, but he ran second to the brilliant American Pharoah in both the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity and Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes last autumn.

A $132,000 purchase by trainer Peter Miller on behalf of Richard C. Pell at the 2014 OBS spring sale of 2-year-olds in training, Calculator should have plenty of chances to prove himself worthy of his regal lineage.