Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tracking Cherokee Run Sire Line Colts

A recent question by a reader took me back to a blog I had written almost a year ago about the Cherokee Run sire line colt Brother Bird. The impetus for that blog originated from an original blog I wrote on July 3, 2009 about the importance of following descendants of the Cherokee Run sire line.

Back then I wrote: “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…

“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.”

Indeed, the Cherokee Run sire line has produced in recent years some pretty decent middle-distance runners such as Musket Man, The Pamplemousse, War Pass, Recapturetheglory, Chelokee and Zanjero. And those runners have been competitive on the Triple Crown trail.

If you had been following Brother Bird, this 3-year-old Todd Pletcher-trainee rewarded his backers yesterday with a $14.20 payday in a 7-furlong allowance race at Saratoga. Brother Bird has never been out of the money and his victory yesterday now gives him two wins, three seconds and one third-place finish in six starts.

I had hoped that Brother Bird would have been a factor on this year’s Triple Crown trail but for one reason or another, Pletcher did not put him on the trail. In fact, the only decent runner from the Cherokee Run sire line to compete on this year’s trail was Yawanna Twist who finished a respectable second in the Gotham Stakes (G3) and Illinois Derby (G3).

But, it won’t be long before we will see runners from the Cherokee Run sire line pointed on the 2011 trail. So far, The Man Uptown, a debut winner for trainer Ken McPeek in a 5-furlong sprint at Churchill Downs on May 27, and Majestic Hope, who I believe is trained by Nick Zito, are the only Cherokee Run sire line colts that I am following on the trail to the 2011 Kentucky Derby.

I really like the pedigree of Majestic Hope as the distaff part of his pedigree contains some good stamina influence and I am anxious to see how well he fares on the trail. Zito also trained War Pass and, in my opinion, a large part of his success was due to the stamina influence that he received from his dam Vue.

Stamina influence from the dam is important for Cherokee Run sire line colts and it helps to make them competitive in stakes competition.

The following is what I wrote about War Pass on the February 26, 2008 Daily Racing Form Formblog hosted by Dan Illman. I would have just provided a link to the post but the website has been updated and the old link no longer exists.


Remember in a recent post I commented that every now and then I get a “Wow” moment when studying pedigrees. Well I had another “Wow” moment recently that I think you’ll appreciate it.

Fifth generationPolynesian: won the 1945 Preakness; 1947 champion sprinter; sired the great Native Dancer. Nasrullah: champion 2-year-old colt in England; imported to U.S. in 1950; important source of stamina; sire of Bold Ruler. Count Fleet: won the Champagne stakes and was the 1943 Triple Crown winner; Horse of The Year; Champion 3-year-old colt; 1961 Hall of Fame Inductee; rated by Blood-Horse magazine as the 5th best racehorse of the 20th Century. Ribot: champion of champions; undefeated in 16 starts; two-time winner of the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe; rated by Timeform as the 3rd best runner of the 20th Century; another important source of stamina. War Admiral: sired by the great Man o’ War; 1937 Triple Crown winner; Horse of The Year; Champion 3-year-old; 1958 Hall of Fame Inductee; rated by Blood-Horse magazine as the 13th best racehorse of the 20th Century. Hill Prince: 1949 Champion 2-year-old colt; 1950 Champion 3-year-old colt; Horse of The Year; won the Preakness; finished 2nd in the Kentucky Derby; sired by Princequillo (another important source of stamina); 1991 Hall of Fame Inductee.

Fourth generationNative Dancer: one of the most influential sires of the 20th Century; another important source of stamina; won the Preakness and Belmont; probably would have won the Kentucky Derby but was seriously roughed going into the first turn and finished 2nd – beaten by a head; 1963 Hall of Fame Inductee; rated by Blood-Horse magazine as the 6th best racehorse of the 20th Century. Nashua: won the Florida Derby, Wood Memorial; finished second in the 1955 Kentucky Derby; set new track record of 1:54.60 in winning the Preakness; won the Belmont; set a new North American record for 16 furlongs of 3:20.2 in the 1956 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont; 1954 Champion 2-year-old colt; 1955 Champion 3-year-old colt and Horse of The Year; 1965 Hall of Fame Inductee; rated by Blood-Horse magazine as the 24th best racehorse of the 20th Century. Tom Rolfe: 1965 Champion 3-year-old colt; won the 1965 Preakness; finished 2nd in the Belmont; finished 3rd in the Kentucky Derby; set new track record for 10 furlongs in 2:00.3 in the 1965 American Derby at Arlington; equaled the 7 furlong record of 1:21.0 at Arlington in 1966. Bold Ruler: won the 1957 Preakness; finished 3rd in the Belmont; won with a high-weight of 134 pounds the Monmouth Handicap and Suburban Handicap both at 10 furlongs; won the Trenton Handicap at 10 furlongs; 1957 Champion 3-year-old colt and Horse of The Year; 1958 Champion Sprinter; sire of 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat; a very important source of stamina the Bold Ruler line produced 7 Kentucky Derby winners during the decade of the 1970’s; 1973 Hall of Fame Inductee; rated by Blood-Horse magazine as the 19th best racehorse of the 20th Century.

Third generationRaise A Native: 1963 Champion 2-year-old; set new track record for 5.5 furlongs of 1:02.3 at Aqueduct and equaled track record for 5 furlongs of 57.4; undefeated in four starts; retired with a bowed tendon; sired the 1969 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Majestic Prince; a very important source of stamina the Raise A Native line produced the 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed and the Kentucky Derby winners Genuine Risk (1980), Alysheba (1987) and Strike The Gold (1991). Hoist The Flag: 5-0-0 in 6 starts; 1970 Champion 2-year-old Colt; sired two-time Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe winner Alleged.

Second generationMr. Prospector: set new track record for 6 furlongs of 1:07 4/5 at Gulfstream and set new track record for 6 furlongs of 1:08 3/5 at Garden State; a sire of sires; a very important source of stamina, as well as speed, the Mr. Prospector line has carried on the influence of Native Dancer. The sire line of Mr. Prospector has produced 8 of the past 13 Kentucky Derby winners; 8 of the past 10 Preakness winners and 10 of the past 12 Belmont winners.

All of the above thoroughbreds are ancestors of Vue who is the dam of War Pass. As you can see, there is tons of stamina in the pedigree of War Pass – and that’s just on the side of the dam. He also has stamina on the sire line.

One item to note, Mr. Prospector as a broodmare sire has never produced a winner of any of the Triple Crown races, however his line did produce the 2006 Kentucky winner Barbaro via La Ville Rouge by Carson City and the 2006 Preakness winner Bernardini via Cara Rafaela by Quiet American. The broodmare sire line of Native Dancer has produced the 1993 Preakness winner Prairie Bayou and 2001 Preakness and Belmont winner Point Given.

Another thing that intrigued me about the pedigree of War Pass was that like Cherokee Run who is best known as a sprinter, there were several other ancestors who were champion sprinters that sired important horses. 1947 Champion Sprinter Polynesian sired Native Dancer who almost swept the Triple Crown and 1958 Champion Sprinter Bold Ruler sired Triple Crown winner Secretariat.

So, it will definitely be interesting to see if War Pass can live up to the greatness of some of his ancestors.

So far, he’s off to a great start.

If War Pass had remained healthy, I believe that he would have finished in the top three in the 0f the 2008 Kentucky Derby - Recapturetheglory finished a respectable fifth. That's not too shabby for a sire line known mostly for producing sprinters.


  1. Thanks Calvin. Very good commentary. Have you found a complete list of 2 year olds for all breeders yet ?

  2. Barry,

    Thanks for the compliment. I don't know if there is a complete listing available for 2YO's but Horse Racing Nation has database of several juveniles and they keep adding to it on occasion:

  3. Thanks Calvin. Bulldogger and China goes head to head. This should be something special to watch in Saratoga - Race 3.

    I notice China was released from Todd care in Aug 2009 right after the colt lost in his return to racing. Had an monstrous debut 4 1/2 furlongs against Noble Promise. Do you know if the colt was injury after his 1st and 2nd starts ?

    Baffert ships Bulldogger from Del Mar to Saratoga for the same race. Bulldogger who was touted as a promising 3 year old on the back side at Santa Anita early this year. Returns to his initial maiden win surface at Saratoga. Recent work is 1:11 for 6 furlongs.

    Can't wait to watch this one.

  4. Barry,

    Nice call on Saratoga third race. I was out earlier this afternoon and did not get to watch the race but I see that the exacta paid $67.00. Nice.

    China was a horse I was interested in last year but he did not make it to the trail. I don't know if he was injured or had some other issue holding him back from racing.

    Nice pickin.

  5. Hi Calvin,
    Thanks for posting your piece on War Pass's pedigree - great history lesson there, including some of my favorites (Mr. P and Native Dancer).
    The section on Bold Ruler caught my eye, because I didn't realize how versatile he was as far as the distances at which he could win. I guess I'm used to seeing horses that seem to primarily win at sprints or routes, but not both. I think I'll make Bold Ruler my next research project - reading your blog always inspires me to find out more about the great ones.

  6. Sharon,

    Thanks for the compliment.

    Not only was Bold Ruler a versatile runner but he was also a versatile sire too. He led the Leading Sire list eight times:

    and he had an outstanding 7.73 Average Earnings Index.

    Like Mr. Prospector today, the Bold Ruler sire line dominated the American Classics in the 1970's and 80's. I would really like to see that line come back and be more competitive on the Triple Crown trail.

    I've got my eye on Bernardini as I believe that he could possibly an important sire. He had a nice runner (Stay Thirsty) that broke his maiden by 5 1/2 lengths yesterday in 6-furlong maiden special weight at Saratoga.

    Thanks for reading the blog and good luck with your research!

  7. Calvin,
    I just went to the link you gave me for the Leading Sires. I can't believe all the information on that Thoroughbred Heritage site! Guess I know how I'll be spending my rainy Sunday afternoon. Thanks!

  8. Sharon,

    That site is fantastic. I especially like the portraits section that has several articles about important horses in the history of the Thoroughbred.