Currently North America’s leading fourth-crop sire of graded winners and 2012 leader by worldwide earnings, ROCK HARD TEN is having another big year. His five 2012 stakes winners puts him on par with A.P. Indy, Bernardini, Distorted Humor, Dynaformer, etc., and the fact that four of those are graded winners means that only one NA sire–Giant’s Causeway–has more 2012 graded winners than ROCK HARD TEN. (It could be noted, too, that Giant’s Causeway has 211 runners as of May 22, compared to ROCK HARD TEN’s 92.) ROCK HARD TEN, #4 on the Leading Turf Sires list, is the leading sire of stakes winners in the nation on grass. Notably, of his 12 career stakes winners, nine are graded, giving him a 75% GSWS/SWS ratio!
ROCK HARD TEN’s latest stakes winners include the 3-year-old colt Blandophobic, who recently became a group winner in Turkey, as well as the G3 Inglewood S. hero Utopian, who got his head down in the nine-furlong feature at Santa Anita Apr. 27. Utopian, bred by G. Watts and Louise I. Humphrey, sold for $360,000 as a weanling from Lane’s End’s 2007 Keeneland November draft. He is owned by farm client Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Shirreffs, the connections who, of course, campaigned Horse of the Year and Lane’s End resident Zenyatta.
May has been good to ROCK HARD TEN runners. On the Preakness undercard at Pimlico, his 3-year-old son Mr. Handsome was third by a neck and a nose to a pair of ENGLISH CHANNEL colts in the $100,000 James W. Murphy S. The $110,000 Lane’s End sales grad came flying to just miss winner Skyring and runner-up Easy Crossing. In his previous race, Mr. Handsome placed second in the $260,500 Robert Hilton Memorial S. Apr. 14, finishing just a length off the well-regarded Flashy Dresser for the win.
A few days earlier at Pimlico, the 2-year-old filly Ten Plush lived up to 4-5 advanced billing in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special May 17. Sent out for the Derby-winning connections of J. Paul Reddam, trainer Doug O’Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez, the dark bay led every step and dug in to win by 3/4 lengths. Meanwhile, the 3-year-old filly Lady Ten won a maiden special at Betfair Hollywood Park May 12, while Rock and Glory, Warm Hugs and First Run won allowance races at Hollywood, Churchill and Presque Isle, respectively, in the month of May.
On Apr. 21, ROCK HARD TEN boasted a one-three finish in the G2 Santa Barbara H. at Santa Anita. It was the great Dahlia’s granddaughter Capital Plan who won the 1 1/4-mile turf event, beating a salty field by 1 1/2 lengths. Capital Plan was bred by Madeleine Pickens and Diamond A Racing Corp. and is owned by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and Mark DeDomenico. Fellow 4-year-old Hard Seven completed the trifecta and missed the place spot by a nose over the classy Cambina (Ire).
Grade 2 winner Doubles Partner nearly overcame a tough trip to finish a close-up third in the G1 Maker’s 46 Mile S. at Keeneland Apr. 13. According to the official chart, the 5-year-old WinStar colorbearer “shifted out to commence his advance on the second turn, was bottled up between horses into the stretch, steadied when Get Stormy drifted out…and finished well but was left with too much to do.” Doubles Partner won the G3 Canadian Turf S. at Gulfstream earlier in the year.
In Europe, the colt Abtaal, a $325,000 FTSAAUG yearling, was beaten just a neck when runner-up in the G3 Prix Djebel S. at Maisons-Laffitte.
In New York, the Lane’s End-sold Reserve Currency, another 3-year-old colt by ROCK HARD TEN, made a huge impression winning a $65,000 maiden special by a resounding eight-length margin at Aqueduct Apr. 14. Ten Broeck Farm bred Reserve Currency, who was produced by the LEMON DROP KID mare Cute Cakes.
ROCK HARD TEN bred full books bred in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and the best may be yet to come for the horse who has been become the torchbearer for the Roberto line!