12/11/2015 4:54PM

Sparkman: Word on the Street

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Cathryn Sophia is the latest stakes winner for sire Street Boss, by Street Cry.

The late Street Cry forever will be remembered as the sire of 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta, but he is also slowly developing a promising portfolio as a sire of sires. His best son, champion 2-year-old male and Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, started slowly but has developed into a solid sire with 40 stakes winners, including six Grade 1 or Group 1 winners.

Street Cry’s sprinting son Street Boss did not go to stud with the championship patina of Street Sense, but he is gradually making his own way as a sire of versatile runners in both hemispheres. Street Boss’s most recent stakes winner, juvenile Cathryn Sophia, who captured the Gin Talking Stakes on Dec. 5 at Laurel by 16 1/4 lengths, may well turn out to be one of his best.

Bred in Kentucky by Phil McCarthy’s Brilliant Stable, Street Boss sold for $300,000 at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale to Worldwide Bloodstock as agent for a partnership that included trainer Bruce Headley, Marsha Naify, and Simon Yu’s Bluegate. He did not race, however, until two Septembers later, when he surfaced in a six-furlong Del Mar maiden special weight race, obliging by 1 1/2 lengths over Orientate Slew, but requiring 1:12.68 to complete the distance over Del Mar’s quirky Polytrack surface.

It was difficult to know what to make of Street Boss’s debut, and it took another six months before he proved just how talented he was. Street Boss’s come-from-behind style worked against him in his second start, when the talented Johnny Eves, who won the Grade 1 Malibu three starts later, got an easy lead and held off Street Boss’s rally by 1 1/4 lengths.

Rider Alex Solis tried to remedy that problem by keeping Street Boss closer to the pace in a seven-furlong allowance at the Oak Tree meeting, but the Street Cry colt did not appreciate the early pressure, fading to sixth in a moderate field. His fourth and final 3-year-old start was not much better, finishing fourth in a six-furlong allowance race at the same track.

Street Boss appeared to have lost his way, but after a 2 1/2-month break he looked like a different horse in a
5 1/2-furlong Santa Anita allowance race, rallying furiously to win by five lengths in track-record time of 1:01.27. Street Boss made the lead in the stretch in his next start, a 6 1/2-furlong optional claimer at Santa Anita, but Doppio outfinished him to win by a neck.

At that point in his career, Street Boss had won 2 of 6 starts and looked on paper like a talented but perhaps quirky runner who might never fulfill his potential. He proceeded to win five consecutive races and prove himself one of the best sprinters in the country. Allowance and optional-claiming victories at 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita in March and April showed he was ready for stakes company, and he proved he belonged with a come-from-behind win in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap in track-record time of 1:07.55 when Hollywood Park opened. Two months later, he won Hollywood’s premier sprint race, the Grade 1 Triple Bend Inv. Handicap, beating Elite Squadron, and three weeks after that he beat In Summation to win the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar, setting another track record of 1:08.67.

Both Street Boss’s pedigree and style of racing indicated that he was likely to be effective at longer distances, but Headley had purposely focused on sprints with the Breeders’ Cup Sprint as his target. Though Street Boss did not win, he did nothing in his prep race, the Grade 1 Ancient Title, to discourage those hopes, closing well to finish second to Cost of Freedom.

In the big race itself, though, Street Boss simply was not as good as Midnight Lute powered past everything to win by 1 3/4 lengths, with front-running Fatal Bullet holding on for second with Street Boss another 1 3/4 lengths away in third.

Street Boss was retired after the Breeders’ Cup to stand at Darley alongside both his sire and his paternal half-brother Street Sense at a fee of $25,000. Both his race record and his pedigree offered an alternative to the two-turn preferences of Street Cry and Street Sense. A tall, solidly made, correct horse, he is less imposing than the towering Street Sense, but much more correct and attractive than his sire.

Street Boss’s dam, Blushing Ogygian, by Ogygian, placed in a minor stakes and produced another talented runner in Habiboo, by Unbridled’s Song, who ran second in the Grade 2 First Flight Handicap. Blushing Ogygian’s full sister Tiny Decision was also stakes-placed and is the grandam of stakes winner Street Storm, by Stormy Atlantic.

Street Boss’s second dam, Fruhlingshochzeit, by Blushing Groom, placed in stakes in France, and is a half-sister to three stakes winners, including Grade 2 winner Running Stag, out of French classic-placed Fruhlingstag, from one of the many top families developed by France’s greatest breeder, Marcel Boussac.

The results of Street Boss’s first few crops, both in the U.S. and Australia, where he has shuttled all but one year since 2009, have been promising without throwing up any real champions. Capo Bastone (out of Fight to Love, by Fit to Fight) got him off to a good start by running third in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and followed up at 3 with a victory in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop.

Danza (Champagne Royale, by French Deputy), from Street Boss’s second American crop, has been his most talented runner to date, winning the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby and finishing third in the 2014 Kentucky Derby. Street Boss’s best Australian runners include Group 3 winners Thiamandi, Scarlet Billows, and Petits Filous.

Cathryn Sophia may well prove talented enough to add to Street Boss’s list of graded stakes winners. Bred in Maryland by Bob Manfuso, she was purchased for $30,000 by Chuck Zacney of Afleet Alex fame at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic fall yearling sale. She won her first start for Smarty Jones’s trainer, John Servis, at Parx in October by 12 3/4 lengths, and her 16 1/4-length victory in the Gin Talking in just her second start was even more impressive.

Cathryn Sophia is the first foal out of Sheave, an unraced daughter of Mineshaft out of Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes winner Belterra, by Unbridled. Cathryn Sophia is closely related to the best racehorse out of Belterra, $225,775-earner and stakes winner Taketheodds, by Street Sense. Belterra is herself a half-sister to another good horse in $891,501-earner and multiple graded stakes winner Royal Haven, by Hail Emperor.

The female line has been based in Maryland for most of the last five decades and has produced some pretty good runners, but only one smasher, 1991 champion grass female and Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Miss Alleged, by Alleged.

Sheave has since produced a Bullsbay filly named Great Craic who sold for only $2,700 to Thomas Rooney at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic yearling sale, and a weanling filly by Denman. She was bred back to Bullsbay in 2015.

Cathryn Sophia is inbred 4x4x5 to Mr. Prospector, which is extremely common in contemporary pedigrees, but also carries fifth- and sixth-generation duplications of Hoist the Flag and Tartan Farms’ excellent broodmare Grand Splendor, which are not at all common.

It is all too easy to get excited about wide-margin winners against weak company, but Cathryn Sophia has enough pedigree to confirm that promise in better company.

As for Street Boss, he has done just well enough to keep breeders interested without achieving anything like star level. Cathryn Sophia is his 22nd stakes winner from 520 foals of racing age, a 4.2 percent strike rate.

Street Boss has shown enough to make one think he might well do better if he could attract better mares, but with Street Sense still at Darley after their sire’s death, that may not happen.