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War Front colts stand out on opening day at Royal Ascot
By Nicole Russo
Although Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom faltered in his attempt to make history at Royal Ascot, Kentucky breeding still played a prominent role as the famed race meeting opened on Tuesday in England.
Declaration of War, who is closely related to another recent American classic winner, posted a victory in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes as Animal Kingdom finished 11th in his final career start. The winner is by popular young Claiborne Farm stallion War Front, who later was represented by a second winner on the card when War Command captured the Group 2 Coventry Stakes for juveniles. Both colts were bred in Kentucky by Joseph Allen, and now race for the Coolmore team and trainer Aidan O’Brien.
Declaration of War was a Group 3 winner in Ireland last year, capturing the Diamond Stakes. The 4-year-old colt, out of the winning Rahy mare Tempo West, is a full brother to stakes-placed winner War Pact and a half-brother to stakes winner and Grade 3-placed Vertiformer.
Out of the Gone West mare Tempo, Tempo West is a half-sister to Union Rags, winner of the 2012 Belmont Stakes. Phyllis Wyeth’s Union Rags also won the Grade 1 Champagne as a juvenile, and won or placed in six graded stakes for his career.
War Command is out of the Grade 2-winning Red Ransom mare Wandering Star, who also produced Group 3 winner Naval Officer and multiple stakes producer Wonder Woman. It is the family of Group 3 winner and sire Silver Hawk and New Zealand 1,000 Guineas winner and champion Rollout the Carpet.
Grade 2 winner War Front, an 11-year-old son of Danzig, is enjoying a solid season, ranking in the top 10 general sires in North America through the first half of 2013. In addition to his two Royal Ascot winners, the majority of War Front’s earnings this year have come from a pair of classic starters: Lines of Battle, who won the Group 2 U.A.E. Derby before finishing unplaced in the Kentucky Derby; and Departing, who captured the Grade 3 Illinois Derby before starting in the Preakness. Lines of Battle was bred in Kentucky by Allen.
War Front’s other top runners include multiple Grade 1-winning sprinter The Factor; millionaire Warning Flag, a stakes winner in Hong Kong; Grade 1 winners winners Data Link and Summer Soiree, both of whom excelled on turf; and the versatile Soldat, a graded stakes winner on both turf and dirt.
War Front is the most expensive stallion on Claiborne's roster, with an advertised fee of $80,000 for 2013. His book this season included 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta.
Other stallions with ties to Coolmore and to Allen also saw their progeny make an impact on the opening day of Royal Ascot. Sir John Hawkins, by Coolmore sire Henrythenavigator and out of European champion and Irish classic winner Peeping Fawn, checked in third behind War Command in the Coventry.
Henrythenavigator, a son of Kingmambo, reigned as the leading North American freshman sire of 2012. The stallion began his stud career at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky.; he is now based at the operation’s Irish facility.
Lieutenant Miller, who finished third in the Ascot Stakes, is by Beat All, a stakes-winning stallion bred by Allen. A son of late Three Chimneys Farm stallion Dynaformer, Beat All now stands at Pastures Barn Stud in Great Britain.