Horse Racing

Bloodlines Presented By Indiana Thoroughbred Alliance: Connect Enters The Lead Pack In Freshman Sire Race

Rattle N Roll wins the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.

Victory in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland made Rattle N Roll the first Grade 1 winner for his sire Connect (by Curlin), who ranks now as the second-leading freshman sire behind crop leader Gun Runner (Candy Ride).

Connect is the third freshman sire from this group to have a G1 winner, so far, and the Lane’s End stallion stood for $15,000 live foal in 2021. Three Chimneys Farm stallion Gun Runner has a pair of G1 winners, Echo Zulu (Spinaway and Frizette) and Gunite (Hopeful), and Caravaggio (Scat Daddy) has Tenebrism, winner of the Cheveley Park at Newmarket on Sept. 25.

The latter ranks fourth on the freshman list, with progeny earnings of about $30,000 less than Practical Joke (Into Mischief) and with about $100,000 more than juvenile champion Classic Empire (Pioneerof the Nile). The latter trio all stand at Ashford Stud, and the quintet are at least a quarter-million ahead of the nearest pursuer in the 2021 freshman sire race.

If this group appears rather above average, with three already siring a G1 winner, the sale and resale markets have likewise placed them highly those young sires likely to succeed.

In 2020, the first yearlings by Connect brought an average price of $51,266 for 59 sold, and in 2021, his first juveniles in training brought an average price of $112,118, with 34 sold.

Rattle N Roll is Connect’s second stakes winner, following G3 Pocahontas Stakes winner Hidden Connection, and the young stallion has a pair of stakes-placed runners, as well.

Bred in Kentucky by St. Simon Place, Rattle N Roll is out of the Johannesburg mare Jazz Tune. He is the dam’s third foal and first winner. The mare’s first foal, a Mineshaft filly named Jazz Festival, brought $160,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale in 2018; so she looked the part of a good prospect. She is unraced, however, and the next foal, a filly by Outwork, is a nonwinner in four starts.

Jazz Tune has a yearling colt by Belmont Stakes winner Tapwrit (Tapit) who brought $55,000 at the Keeneland September sale last month.

Rattle N Roll brought the same price as a weanling at the 2019 Keeneland November sale and then resold for $210,000 at the September sale last year. The chestnut colt brought the second-highest price for a yearling by his sire last year.

The buyer was trainer Kenny McPeek, agent for Lucky Seven Stable, who now has a live prospect both for the Breeders’ Cup and for the classics next year.

The trainer said, “We’re still walking him. I like to give them three days of walking after a race, and he’s going back to Churchill Downs on Wednesday. I’m still wondering whether it might not be best for this colt to point for something like the Kentucky Jockey Club to finish this year and then the classics next year. I believe this colt really wants 10 furlongs. He’s a big, leggy colt who stands over a lot of ground, and there’s a lot of stamina back in his pedigree, with Pleasant Tap as the sire of the second dam and Dance Review (Northern Dancer) as the third dam.” The latter produced three stakes winners, including G1 winners Another Review (Buckaroo) and No Review (Nodouble).

Rattle N Roll is the first G1 winner for this branch of Dance Review’s family since the pair above, but another mare out of Dance Review, the winning Pleasant Colony mare Promenade Colony, is the dam of three-time G1 winner Cavorting (Bernardini), who’s the dam of 2021 G1 winner Clairiere.

With Rattle N Roll’s victory in the Breeders’ Futurity, Connect becomes the second son of Curlin to sire a G1 winner; the stallion’s first-crop classic winner, Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice, had a first-crop G1 winner in Structor, victor in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

It is one of the fascinations of breeding that both sons have sired a G1 winner at two, when Curlin was unraced and which is not the prime strength of the stallion as a sire. Instead, he is one of America’s eminent classic sires, already counting a Belmont winner and a Preakness winner (Exaggerator) among his progeny. In addition to those two, Curlin’s champion juvenile, Good Magic, was second in the Kentucky Derby, and the sire’s other G1 stars include older champion Vino Rosso (BC Classic), Stellar Wind (Apple Blossom, Beholder Mile, Santa Anita Oaks, etc.), Keen Ice (Travers), Curalina (Acorn), Global Campaign (Woodward), Off the Tracks (Mother Goose), and five G1 winners this season: star 3-year-old filly Malathaat (Kentucky Oaks, Alabama); Known Agenda (Florida Derby), Clairiere (Cotillion), Idol (Santa Anita Handicap), and Grace Adler (Del Mar Debutante).

As a sire who produces a consistent stream of G1 performers, Curlin also sires colts and fillies of equal high merit, as well as juveniles, 3-year-olds, and older horses. He is a stallion who had it all on the racetrack: speed, stamina, consistency, and toughness, and he is proving to reproduce those attributes in his offspring under a wide variety of conditions and trainers.

Curlin was also a yearling that McPeek picked out at the September sale, when the brawny chestnut was still a work in progress and was faulted by some. The son of Smart Strike, however, proved a sterling performer who won 11 of 16 races over two seasons, including the Preakness, BC Classic, Jockey Club Gold Cup twice, Woodward, and Dubai World Cup, all under the training of Steve Asmussen.

How fitting would it be, then, if McPeek found himself back at the Kentucky Derby with a son of Curlin?


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