10/29/2017 1:32PM

Sparkman: The Player scores for Street Cry male line

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
The Player, by Street Hero, wins the Grade 2 Fayette Stakes at Keeneland.

The late Street Cry will be long remembered as the sire of the greatest racemares in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres during the first two decades of the 21st century. Zenyatta’s 19 straight victories from her 20 career starts distinguishes her from all comers north of the equator, but that record streak has been surpassed by the 22 consecutive victories of Winx in Australia, culminating in her third consecutive Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate last Saturday.

Though he was by no means just a “filly sire,” three years on from his death in 2014, it is far less clear whether one of more of Street Cry’s sons will extend his sire Machiavellian’s branch of the Mr. Prospector male line. His best Northern Hemisphere son Street Sense, a champion 2-year-old male and Kentucky Derby winner, is a good but not great stallion who is not at the top of any breeder’s list as a potential sire of sires. Street Cry’s champion Australian son Shocking has sired a few stakes winners, none memorable, and his other worthy Australian sons were geldings.

Multiple Grade 1-winning sprinter Street Boss has been better than expected, siring 31 stakes winners, but Street Hero, another Grade 1-winning son of Street Cry who retired at about the same time as Street Boss, has all but disappeared after a promising beginning. His son The Player became only his seventh stakes winner and fourth graded stakes winner with his victory in the Grade 2 Fayette Stakes on Keeneland’s closing day last Saturday.

Bred, owned, and trained by Korean-born clothier Myung Kwon Cho, Street Hero was clearly one of the top 2-year-olds of 2008, though he won only once in six starts. That solitary win, though, was in the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes, where he avenged defeat by Midshipman in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity, getting first run to win by three-quarters of a length. Both ran back in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but Midshipman led most of the way, outdueling Square Eddie who held off Street Hero for second.

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Street Hero came out of the Juvenile with a fractured knee that forced his retirement to Vinery Stud in 2009. A half-brother to Grade 2 winner Premier Pegasus, by Fusaichi Pegasus, out of graded placed Squall Linda, by Summer Squall, from an outstanding family that includes the great sire Turn-to, Street Hero had plenty of pedigree, but was never very popular with breeders. He sired both a champion and a Grade 1 winner in his first crop of 80 foals, but the champion, Azarenka (out of Spirited Debate, by Successful Appeal) raced in Peru. By the time Gabriel Charles (Star of Atticus, by Atticus) won the Grade 1 Eddie Read in 2015, Street Hero had been shipped to California after Vinery was sold to Don Alberto in 2013 and ceased standing stallions.

The Player, who was bred in Kentucky by Carl Hurst and the father/son team of Fred and William “Buff” Bradley, is only Street Hero’s seventh stakes winner and fourth group/graded from 229 foals age 3 and up. The Player is the third foal and only winner to date out of Hour Queen, a Gilded Time mare bred by the same team who won 3 of 20 starts. Hour Queen has a 3-year-old colt, Hour City, by Temple City, but has not produced a live foal since foaling her 2-year-old colt Hours Truly, by Yes It’s True.

Hurst and the Bradleys also bred and raced The Player’s second dam, Town Queen, by Williamstown, who won 6 of 26 starts on the Kentucky circuit, including the 2002 My Charmer Stakes, and placed in the Wintergreen and Fairway Fun stakes. Also the dam of stakes winner Queen’s Award, by Medaglia d’Oro, Town Queen is a fifth-generation descendant of the imported Jamaica Inn mare Albany Isle, whose more famous descendants include Herecomesthebride, Perfect Soul, Zipessa, Flashy Bull, Zazu, and current English 2-year-old Roaring Lion.

The Fayette victory was The Player’s fourth win in 10 starts. He was unraced at 2, but ran a good second behind Cupid in last year’s Grade 3 Indiana Derby. He has a long way to go before he could be considered a viable stud prospect in the current hyper-competitive market.

Street Hero was listed as standing at Oak Creek Farm in California for 2017 at a $3,500 fee, and it will likely be left to Street Sense, Street Boss, or perhaps Street Cry’s current freshman sire son New Year’s Day, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, to carry on Street Cry’s male line.