Champion sire of sires A P Indy dominates the Belmont Stakes this Saturday. His sons Pulpit, Mineshaft and Stephen Got Even have the first three in the market for the third leg of the Triple Crown.
A.P. Indy (Seattle Slew – Weekend Surprise by Secretariat) stands for a $150,000 fee at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky. His most prominent sire son in Australia is USA Horse of the Year Bernardini who has covered two books at Darley.
Trainer Nick Zito will also play a big hand in New York’s signature event when he saddles up the two favourites Ice Box (Pulpit) and Fly Down (Mineshaft).
Zito has won the Belmont Stakes with longshots Birdstone (2004) and Da’ Tara (2008) but finds himself in a different role this year. “Obviously, there’s more pressure,” he said. “On the other hand, if they run well, you have to be content.”
Ice Box (3c Pulpit – Spice Island by Tabasco Cat) is the 3-1 public elect. He won the Florida Derby before heading to Churchill Downs where he ran a game second in the Kentucky Derby.
Ice Box is by Pulpit who stands for a $60,000 fee Claiborne Farm. His dam Spice Island was a G2 winner of the Long Island Hcp at Aqueduct and second dam Crown Of Sheba (Alysheba) is a half-sister to 1985 Kentucky Derby winner Spend A Buck. Another close relation is 1999 Irish 1000 Guineas winner Hula Angel (Woodman).
The late Jim Fleming bought Hula Angel as a yearling in the United States. At stud, she produced Irish winners by Sadler’s Wells and Rock of Gibraltar before arriving at Fleming’s Tyreel Stud in 2006.
She has a 2YO colt named Gazardiel (Redoute’s Choice) and, after foaling a filly by Elusive Quality, was sold back to Irish interests for $550,000 at the 2008 Inglis Broodmare Sale. Her Elusive Quality filly was exported to South Africa in April.
“We’ve tried to duplicate the same training method with Ice Box as before the Kentucky Derby,” Zito explained. “We sharpened him up at Churchill Downs and we’re doing the same thing now. I hope it works.”
Fly Down (3c Mineshaft – Queen Randi by Fly So Free) is coming off a six-length victory in the G2 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park. Mineshaft stands alongside A P Indy at Lane’s End for a $20,000 fee. He was USA Horse of the Year in 2003 and is a half-brother to Racetree stallion Monashee Mountain.
Fly Down is a younger half-brother to Seafree (Chief Seattle) who was a G2 winner of the La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita.
The only other Belmont Stakes starter under double figures is Preakness Stakes runner-up First Dude. The massively-built colt is trained by Dale Romans and will race close to the lead beneath jockey Ramon Dominguez.
First Dude (3c Stephen Got Even – Run Sarah Run by Smart Strike) is by another Lane’s End resident although Stephen Got Even’s fee is a modest $7,500. His dam won 6 races and was placed in the Listed Sam Houston Oaks.
Darley sire Bernardini had his first northern hemisphere starter at Kempton Park on Wednesday evening when USA bred youngster Zanazzi made her debut in an EBF Maiden Fillies Stakes. The filly is trained by John Gosden for HRH Princess Haya Of Jordan and she worked home nicely to finish second to Lily Again (American Post) over 1200m.
Zanazzi (2f Bernardini – Silken Cat by Storm Cat) was a US$360,000 yearling purchase and is a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Speightstown. He is now based at WinStar Farm in Kentucky and was a leading second-season sire in the United States last year.