Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Saturday, July 27, 2013

| Churchill Downs Communications | 07/27/2013 #
  • Willlcox Inn will likely make his next start in Saratoga's G2 Fourstardave.

In Today’s Notes: Arlington Infants: Sunday, July 28 Preview; Saratoga-Bound Willcox Inn Impresses Clockers

Sunday’s second race, the sister fixture to the subject of Friday’s Arlington Infants, features seven 2-year-old fillies going one mile on Arlington International Racecourse’s world-renowned turf course.  Four fillies in particular jump off the page from a pedigree standpoint.

From the barn of Richard Scherer and warranting the services of talented apprentice Emmanuel Esquivel (currently second in the standings), Carolyn K. Friedberg’s American Beauty offers a pedigree as complex as the plot of the 1999 Oscar-winning film of the same name.  By one of the most exciting freshman sires of 2013, European stakes winner U S Ranger, out of a Diesis mare, it is no surprise that the bay filly will be kicking her career off on the lawn.

U S Ranger was a champion sprinter in Europe at three and four and was one of the most highly regarded juveniles of his generation.  He was one of the last sons of Danzig to enter stud and looks to follow in the successful footsteps of War Front (also bred by Joseph Allen).  Out of a three-quarter sister to super sire Dynaformer, U S Ranger’s pedigree (like War Front’s) could produce everything – sprinters, routers, turf specialists and dirt runners. 

In the case of American Beauty, turf looks like the obvious goal of her breeding, as she is out of Majestic Beauty – a grass champion-producing Diesis mare.  Diesis mares have crossed better with Danzig stallions (especially Danehill) than any other stallion line – including 2007 European Horse of the Year Dylan Thomas.  What makes Majestic Beauty even more interesting is that she hails from the female family of Dynaformer, as well. 

In total, American Beauty is inbred to Andover Way (the dam of Dynaformer) and Roberto (the sire of Dynaformer).  Add to this the fact that she’s also inbred to Danzig, and you have the recipe for turf brilliance.  If the raw racehorse material is there, U S Ranger’s first winner could pass the post here at Arlington.

What would a 2-year-old turf maiden race be without a Kitten’s Joy offspring?  On Sunday we get double dose of America’s top turf sire in Beth Ann’s Kitten and Lien On Kitten, both from the barn of Wayne Catalano and owned by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey.

Beth Ann’s Kitten is out of the Pulpit mare Crumbs of Comfort, a winner of two of eight races for the Ramseys.  Crumbs of Comfort hails from the strong female family of George Strawbridge’s Augustin Farm and is out of a mare by his champion European miler Selkirk.  This female line traces back to Champion 3-Year-Old Filly (1966) and Broodmare (1981) Natashka.

As impressive as that pedigree is, it is soundly trumped by Lien On Kitten’s.  A rare gray “Kitten,” Lien On Kitten is out of the Chester House mare Mortgage the House.  Arlington Million winner Chester House had a short-lived stallion career, but he was potent in that brevity.  His offspring include Breeders’ Cup Marathon victor Muhannak, Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Ventura and Met Mile conqueror Divine Park – all from his 2004 crop.  The son of Mr. Prospector out of the incomparable broodmare Toussaud would have had to sire a seahorse to have been more reproductively diverse.  

As a broodmare sire, Chester House has already produced the brilliant but delicate Twirling Candy.  Lien On Kitten gets his silvery sheen from her granddam, Fee, a daughter of the iconic Spectacular Bid.  A product of the initial Claiborne Farm years of Spectacular Bid’s stud career, Fee was unraced but comes from generations of Hancock’s handiwork.   Lien On Kitten and Beth Ann’s Kitten have been working identically at Keeneland and it would not be a surprise to see them fill the exacta on Sunday.

Willcox Inn, one of Arlington International Racecourse’s classiest locally based horses, impressed clockers this morning with a work in :48 flat.  Finishing up well, the Lael Stable and All In Stable-owned horse’s work was the seventh fastest of 52 moves at four furlongs.

Though a return run in the Aug. 17 Arlington Million – in which he finished eighth last year – is doubtful, the son of Harlan’s Holiday may instead end up in the Grade II $250,000 Bernard Baruch Stakes for trainer Mike Stidham.  Contested at 1 1/16 miles, the Baruch will be a drop in distance after an experiment going 1 3/8 miles in the Grade I $500,000 United Nations in early July resulted in a fifth-place finish.  The last time the talented dark bay raced at that distance – the 2011 Arlington Classic – he drew off to win by a widening 2½ lengths.