When it comes to following 2YO colts on the Triple Crown Trail it is always important to try and keep abreast of new emerging trends and sire lines. This year I am going to keep a watchful eye on the colts from the sire line of Cherokee Run and his sons Kafwain and Yonaguska.
All three were known primarily as sprinters but Cherokee Run finished 2nd in the G1 Preakness Stakes and Kafwain won the G2 Norfolk Stakes at (8.5 furlongs). Yonaguska’s best win in stakes competition was the 7 furlong G1 Hopeful Stakes at the age of two and the 7 furlong G2 Hutcheson Stakes at the age of three.
Most of their offspring have done well in sprint competition but in the past few of years, all three, especially Cherokee Run, have produced some very good middle-distance stakes winners.
I’m not saying that the 2010 Kentucky Derby winner will come from the sire line of Cherokee Run. But, when it comes to handicapping precocious colts descended from sires known as sprinters who on occasion also get good middle-distance runners – that is the kind of edge that I look for.
I think it is safe to say that Cherokee Run gets more than an occasional good middle distance runner. His first middle-distance stakes winner was Kafwain who won the 2002 Norfolk Stakes at (8.5 furlongs). Next was Sir Cherokee who won the 2003 Arkansas Derby at (9 furlongs). Later that year, During won the Swaps stakes at (9 furlongs) defeating Ten Most Wanted who a little over a month earlier was runner up to Empire Maker in the Belmont Stakes.
There’s a gap of a few years and then Cherokee Run really begins to blossom as a sire of good middle-distance stakes winners.
In 2007, Chelokee and Zanjero continue to add stakes wins to the resume of Cherokee Run. Chelokee won the Northern Dancer Breeders’ Cup Stakes and the Barbaro Stakes – both at 8.5 furlong. Zanjero won the Indiana Derby (8.5 furlongs) and the West Virginia Derby (9 furlongs) at the age of three. At the age of four, Zanjero won the Kentucky Cup Classic (9 furlongs) and the West Virginia Governor’s Stakes (8.5 furlongs) and would go on to be Cherokee Run’s all-time leading money earner with $1,620,786.
In 2008, the brilliant War Pass came on the scene but he failed to live up to his previous 2YO form he demonstrated in winning the Champagne Stakes (8 furlongs) and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (8.5 furlongs). War Pass did not run in the Kentucky Derby but he did end up as Cherokee Run’s 2nd highest money earner with $1,583.400 in earnings.
However, Illinois Derby winner Recapturetheglory did run in the Kentucky Derby and he finished a respectable 5th. I can not help but think that if War Pass had ran in the Derby, Cherokee Run would have two sons to finish in the top five finishers which would have been very impressive for a sire known mostly as a sire of sprinters.
All in all, in the span of six years, Cherokee Run has had a total of seven colts that proved themselves as good middle-distance stakes winners.
In 2009, Cherokee Run did not have any runners of note on the Triple Crown Trail but his sons Yonaguska and Kafwain produced from their second crop of foals some very good stakes winning thoroughbreds.
Yonaguska produced the outstanding Musket Man who won the Illinois Derby (9 furlongs) and Tampa Bay Derby (8.5 furlongs). He also finished 3rd in Sam F. Davis Stakes (8.5 furlongs), Kentucky Derby (10 furlongs) and Preakness Stakes (9.5 furlongs). Musket Man currently has a 5-0-3 record in 8 starts and is Yonaguska’s top money earner with $893,600 in earnings.
Kafwain produced The Pamplemousse who showed brilliance in winning the San Rafael Stakes (8 furlongs) and Sham Stakes (9 furlongs). The Pamplemousse was one of the favorites leading up to the Santa Anita Derby but he did not run because he was sidelined with an injury.
So, in the span of seven years, there have been a total of nine thoroughbreds descended from the Cherokee Run sire line that have proved themselves to be good middle-distance stakes winners.
Will the sire line of Cherokee Run produce any good middle-distance stakes winners on the 2010 Triple Crown Trail?
Only time will tell.
This Sunday, Kelly Breen sends out the 2YO Yonaguska colt Goombada Guska in a 5 furlong $47K Maiden Special Weight in the 4th race at Monmouth Park. If he shows any brilliance in his debut, you can bet that I will be watching him when he stretches out to a route race.