U.S. Breeders Rediscovering Daredevil

Thu, 04/28/2022 - 09:34

North American breeders are rediscovering Daredevil and restoring their confidence in the 10-year-old son of More Than Ready who spent one season standing for the Jockey Club of Turkey before a pair of high-profile grade 1-winning fillies, one an American classic winner, brought him back to the United States.

Daredevil is an international experiment because he is the first stallion owned by the Jockey Club of Turkey to stand in the U.S. He entered stud at WinStar Farm in 2016 and stood there for four seasons before he was exported to Turkey. After standing overseas in 2020, he returned to stand at Lane's End to stand for $25,000.

As seems to happen often with exported stallions, Daredevil had a breakout year in 2020 when his brilliant daughters Swiss Skydiver and Shedaresthedevil were titans in their sophomore class. They finished 1-2 in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1), with Shedaresthedevil prevailing, but Swiss Skydiver roared right back in the Preakness Stakes (G1) and became the sixth filly to win the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. Swiss Skydiver, the Eclipse champion 3-year-old filly for 2020, won six career graded stakes and earned $2,216,480 before she was sold for $4.7 million to Katsumi Yoshida as a broodmare prospect during The November Sale, Fasig-Tipton's select mixed sale of 2021.

Shedaresthedevil has won seven graded stakes so far and earned $2,366,458. Campaigned by Flurry Racing Stables, Qatar Racing Limited, and Whisper Hill Farm, she made her 2022 debut in the March 12 Azeri Stakes (G2) where she was third.

"It's tricky when you interrupt a stud career like that, but he had 95 mares in his first year back and has a group of horses that continue to perform well, so we're expecting a similar book this year," said Bill Farish with Lane's End. "After that, it is going to be results-driven."

This sire's first book since his return included 44 mares that were either stakes winners or stakes producers.

Daredevil is a top 10 fourth-crop sire by cumulative progeny earnings ($10,058,560) and one of five stallions in his sire class with two or more grade 1 winners. He has sired 19 winners so far this year and has one stakes performer with Shez Reckless .

Another factor in Daredevil's favor with his return is the continuing success of his sire. More Than Ready ranks among the top 20 North American sires by number of stakes winners with three, through April 25, which include New Zealand Trophy (G2) winner Jean Gros in Japan. He has another four black-type performers that include Emmanuel , a multiple winner who was third in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1).

On the sales side, More Than Ready was represented by a $1.2 million sale-topper, a colt out of the Indian Charlie mare Broad Spectrum, at the Ocala Breeders' Sales March 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale. The colt was bought by KSI and consigned by Ciaran Dunne's Wavertree Stables. 

"More Than Ready is doing great. He's been such a solid stallion and this is certainly one of his best sons," said Farish. "We're getting a good mix of owner/breeders and commercial breeders. A good Daredevil yearling is going to sell well."

A longtime respect for the ability of More Than Ready as a sire is what drew longtime owner/breeders John Ed Anthony and his son, Ed Anthony, with Shortleaf Stables to Daredevil.

Ed Anthony said his connection to More Than Ready started when he worked at Three Chimneys Farm with then-owner Robert Clay, who pursued More Than Ready as a stallion prospect. The horse ultimately went to Tom Simon's Vinery.

"It even goes back further to More Than Ready's broodmare sire Woodman," Anthony said. "He was one of those stallions that could get a good dirt horse or a good turf horse, but every time we bred to him, instead of getting a Timber Country or Hansel, we got a turf horse. It has been the same experience with us with More Than Ready. He has been getting Breeders' Cup Sprint winners and every time we breed to him, we get a turf horse."

Shortleaf has had plenty of success with those turf horses, which include graded stakes winner Bubble Rock , who won the Matron Stakes (G3T) at Belmont Park last year, and four-time stakes-placed winner Caldee . The Anthonys have tried Bubble Rock on dirt and she performed well, finishing third in this year's Fantasy Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park, but Ed Anthony said she's really best suited to turf. She did win the Cincinnati Trophy Stakes March 5 on the all-weather track at Turfway Park.

Daredevil's own success on the dirt—he won the 2014 Champagne Stakes (G1) and was runner-up in the Fasig-Tipton Swale Stakes (G2)—coupled with the grade 1 dirt successes of Swiss Skydiver and Shedaresthedevil give Ed Anthony hope of breeding an elite dirt winner from the More Than Ready sire line.

"More Than Ready has been amazing in both hemispheres but has not had an American classic winner. Daredevil had two classic winners in his first crop and do that on the dirt with a relatively limited opportunity is remarkable," Anthony said, referring to the Kentucky Oaks as a "classic" for fillies though it doesn't officially have that designation. "As breed-to-race people, we are always looking for opportunity and value. Daredevil just looks like very good value to us."

Anthony sees potential in following the strategy with Daredevil that he's used with More Than Ready, which is linebreeding to Northern Dancer and Halo. More Than Ready is by Southern Halo, whose sire is Halo and his broodmare sire is Northern Dancer. Halo is out of Cosmah, who is a Cosmic Bomb half sister to Northern Dancer's dam Natalma, by Native Dancer. Both mares are out of Almahmoud.

"Even in Australia, he's crossed well with Danehill , who goes back to the Almahmoud," said Anthony. "It is a reinforcement deal. You are trying to continue mining that vein of good genetics and get back to what worked so well originally between Northern Dancer and Halo."

Danehill is inbred 4x4 to Almahmoud as a son of Northern Dancer and out of Razyana, who is a great-granddaughter of Almahmoud.

Daredevil's stakes winners to date show a variety of inbreeding patterns that most often include inbreeding to Mr. Prospector through both his sons and daughters. Daredevil already carries Mr. Prospector inbreeding through Woodman and through his broodmare sire Forty Niner.

Shedaresthedevil is inbred 5x5x5 to Northern Dancer and inbred 4x4x5 to Mr. Prospector, adding the other line of Mr. Prospector through her broodmare sire is Congrats , a son of A.P. Indy out of the Mr. Prospector daughter Praise.

Swiss Skydiver also is inbred to Mr. Prospector 4x5x5 with her dam side including the Mr. Prospector daughter Yarn, the second dam of the grade 1 winner's broodmare sire Johannesburg . She is inbred 5x5 to Raise a Native through Mr. Prospector and through Alydar, who is in the sire line of Swiss Skydiver's second dam, Clouds of Gold. She has no Northern Dancer inbreeding but Johannesburg is Northern Dancer line sire through his grandsire Storm Cat .

A couple of Daredevil stakes winners have inbreeding to Hail to Reason, the sire of Halo. Multiple stakes winner Deviant is inbred to 5x5 to Hail to Reason through Halo and Roberto as the sire of Dynaformer, who is the broodmare sire of Deviant's second dam, Dynamite Cocktail. Korean stakes winner Haengbok Wangja, who won the Korean-recognized group 1 Grand Prix Stakes, is inbred 5x5 to Hail to Reason as well, also through Roberto, the sire of Red Ransom, who is broodmare sire of second dam, Pay On Demand.

Shortleaf's homebred Bubble Rock possesses some of the same patterns and ancestors seen in Daredevil's stakes winners. She is inbred to Northern Dancer (4x5x5) and to Mr. Prospector (4x5). Her second dam is Dixie City, a daughter of Dixie Union, who is the broodmare sire of Daredevil's grade 1-placed stakes winner Esplanande . A three-time stakes winner, Esplanande was second in the Spinaway Stakes (G1) in 2020.

"I'm a pedigree guy so I am always looking for pedigrees that can give you a leg up and allow you to compete with the big operations," said Anthony.

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