01/29/2018 10:46AM

Sparkman: Taking wing like Pegasus

Debra A. Roma
Texting, a daughter of Candy Ride, wins the Grade 3 La Prevoyante Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

It is inevitable that a $16 million race with a $7 million first prize would have an outsized influence on sire lists. Last year, Arrogate’s victory in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup, quickly followed by the $6 million first prize for the Dubai World Cup gave Unbridled’s Song an unassailable lead for the 2017 sire championship.

The 2018 sire championship is not yet a done deal for Candy Ride after his champion son Gun Runner captured the second running of the Pegasus last Saturday, but the overwhelming influence of the huge purse is immediately evident from a cursory glance at the current leading sire’s list. Candy Ride, naturally, is well clear with more than $7.5 million already to his credit, but Flatter, sire of Pegasus second West Coast, is a clear second ahead of third-placed Dialed In, who, not at all coincidentally, is the sire of Pegasus third Gunnevera. Even Cowboy Cal, who is hardly a fixture anywhere near the top of the general sire list, sits in fifth place due to his son Fearless Cowboy’s game fourth in the Pegasus, for which he earned a cool $1 million.

Candy Ride also acquired a 79th stakes winner on the Pegasus card when his daughter Texting won the Grade 3 La Prevoyante Stakes. Both Gun Runner and Texting are sterling examples of the outstanding results Candy Ride has achieved from the better mares attracted to his book by his surprising first two crops, which included Grade 1 winners Misremembered (out of Beyond Perfection, by Quack), Sydney’s Candy (Fair Exchange, by Storm Cat), Twirling Candy (House of Danzing, by Chester House), Capt. Candyman Can (Stormy Way, by Storm Creek), El Brujo (Enchanted Spell, by Devil’s Bag), and Evita Argentina (Jealous Wildcat, by Forest Wildcat).

That early spate of Grade 1 winners was surprising because the racing and breeding world had pretty much forgotten about Candy Ride by the time he went to stud in 2005, because he did not make it to the races as a 5-year-old in 2004 due to an ankle injury. In addition, his Argentine pedigree was unfamiliar to American breeders, although both his sire, Ride the Rails, and broodmare sire, Candy Stripes, were American-bred. Those two factors caused many breeders to ignore the fact that Candy Ride had been unbeaten and rarely challenged in six starts in Argentina and the United States, culminating with a dominant 3 1/4-length victory over Medaglia d’Oro in the 2003 Grade 1 Pacific Classic.

Gun Runner’s dam, Quiet Giant, by Giant’s Causeway, was one of the obvious stars from the dispersal of the late Edward E. Evans bloodstock at the 2011 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. Winner of the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher Handicap in her final start before the sale, she was half-sister to the best horse Evans bred, 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam, by Saint Ballado; Grade 2 winner Congressionalhonor, by Forestry; stakes winner Dance Quietly, by A.P. Indy; and to the dam of that year’s Grade 1 Acorn Stakes winner, Buster’s Ready, by More Than Ready.

Sold for $3 million to Besilu Stables – second-highest price of the Evans dispersal and third highest of the sale – Gun Runner is her first foal, and she has since produced the once-raced 4-year-old filly Quiet Flirt, by Malibu Moon, an unnamed 3-year-old Tapit filly, a 2-year-old Tapit filly, and a yearling full brother to Gun Runner. Bred by Besilu Stables, Gun Runner raced for Ron Winchell and Three Chimneys Farm.

Texting was bred by and races for Sarah Sharp Farish, wife of Lane’s End owner William S. Farish, from a mare inherited from her late father, Bayard S. Sharp, who bred both Texting’s stakes-winning dam, Mumbo Jumbo, by Kingmambo, and stakes-winning second dam, Dixie Accent, by Dixieland Band. Both mares also are multiple stakes producers. Dixie Accent, who is half-sister to stakes winner Harriman, by Lord Gaylord, out of a half-sister to champion 2-year-old Lord Avie, by Lord Gaylord, also is dam of stakes winners King of Dixie, by Kingmambo, and Muscle Car, by A.P. Indy.

Texting is the eighth foal, second stakes winner, and fifth stakes horse out of Mumbo Jumbo, who won 6 of 9 starts, including the Pennsylvania Oaks. Her third foal, Trusty Temper, by Successful Appeal, won the Jostle Stakes, and she also is dam of graded-placed Island School, by A.P. Indy, and stakes-placed Crossword, by A.P. Indy, and Mojumbo, by Langfuhr.

Mumbo Jumbo has since produced current 3-year-old colt Jumbo Blade, by Mineshaft, and a yearling filly by Honor Code.