Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ajdal influences in 2010 out of just 35 foals in 1989

From just 35 foals in 1989 Ajdal is still having an influence on today's international racing scene. Sir Percy's first crop of foals have just gone to market with a lot of fan fair and anticipation. I don't think we have heard the last of the 2007 pensioned Mark of Esteem and Daggers Drawn is still producing. The world number 10 ranked runner Youmzain is the grandson of another Ajdal mare in Anima through her winning daughter Sadima (1998) who has produced 3 winners out of her first 4 foals. Youmzain was the winner of almost 3 million pounds and had three second place finishes in the Prix de L'arc behind three pretty good horses in Sea the Stars (2009) Zarkava (2008) and Dylan Thomas (2007). It will be interesting to follow his career as a stallion.

Something I just found out about Ajdal this week was that he held the record for highest price paid for a buy back at the Keeneland Sales for 23 years. Ralph Wilson (Buffalo Bills owner) declined a 7.4 million bid for him in 1985 and opted to buy him back for 7.5 million. That record was broken in 2008 by the Allen E Paulson estate for their yearling Vallenzeri out AP Indy and the 2002 horse of the year in the Dancer's great great granddaughter Azeri. Vallenzeri was later sold for 1.9 million as a two-year-old in training and just won his debut race at Santa Anita on Dec 30, 2009 under his new name Take Control.

Youmzain's gutsy second place finish to Dylan Thomas in the 2007 Prix de L'arc

Youmzain's second place finish to Zarkava in 2008

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Chapter 34


What Might Have Been ... Ajdal

Chapel of Dreams led the 1984 crop in earnings and possibly in extending the Dancer’s lines. She was a 3/4 sister to Storm Cat. As a three year old she only managed to place in 4 stakes but as a four year old she won several including the Palomar and Wilshire Handicaps (G2s).

She produced six winners in all but none of them had any stakes success. Seeking The Dream (1995) ($201,034 37-6-5-2), If Angels Sang (1994) ($108,715 20-4-1-3) and Goldkeeper (1990) ($75,916 13-4-2-1) were her best runners. Neither Seeking The Dream nor If Angels Sang had any significant offspring but Goldkeeper stands at stud in South Africa where he was ranked 4th on the general list of sires for 2006 thanks in large part to his stakes winning, gelding son Goldsmith (2001) ($70,000 22-6-9-0). His Zimbabwe bred daughter Battle Maiden was named Champion South African Older Filly in 2004 after winning the 2004 Garden Province Stakes. Goldkeeper had to be moved from Zimbabwe to South Africa in 2000 because of the political unrest at the time.

Chapel of Dreams’ daughter Bridal Tea (1991) managed only one win on the track but she produced Postponed (1997) ($312,332 22-4-5-2) a G2 stakes winner at Belmont. Postponed is now standing at stud in New Zealand where he was the number one sire of second crop foals in 2006. His daughter Dorabella (2003) won the New Zealand classic One Thousand Guineas. He has a few other stakes winners to his credit also in just his first 2 crops of foals.

Chapel of Dreams’ winless daughter Weiner Wald (1992) produced the French stakes winner On Reflection (1999) ($110,805 35-4-6-6) who in turn produced the winless mare Agent Du Bois (1996), dam of Ticker Tape (2001) ($1,452,396 31-8-9-5). Ticker Tape was born in Great Britain but raced in the U.S. winning the American Oaks at Hollywood Park and the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland amongst her many stakes wins.

Chapel Of Dreams’ bloodlines are extending widely in terms of generations and geography and like fine wine they seem to be improving with age.


Northern Dancer’s son Ajdal did not earn as much money as Chapel Of Dreams but he had a much more successful career on the track racing in Europe. As a two year old he won the William Dewhurst Stakes. At three he won the William Hill Sprint Championship and Norcros July Cup both G1s amongst his stakes victories. He was Europe’s Champion Sprinter in 1987.

Ajdal would stand at owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Dalham Hall Stud for his one and only season. His story could be one of the most tragic of all the Dancer’s direct offspring. On August 8, 1988 at the end of his first season in the breeding shed, Ajdal had to be put down after fracturing a hind leg. In just one crop of foals, let’s see what he produced.

Cezanne (1989) ($311,593 14-5-3-3) won the Spreti-Rennen in Germany before winning the Champion stakes in Ireland. Little Bean (1989) ($200,000 13-4-4-0) won the Suffolk Stakes, Tnt Aviation Handicap and Schweppes Golden Mile. Both Cezanne and Little Bean were geldings. Little Bean’s racing career ended when he fractured a coffin bone but it didn’t end his life. With a Canadian twist to his story “Beanie” was sent to the University of Guelph where they repaired the bone and he started a new career in hunting, jumping and dressage.

Garah (1989) ($68,951 16-4-3-3) was the third leading money winner of Ajdal’s only crop. She placed in several stakes before retiring to produce Olden Times (1998) ($350,000 13-3-0-3) winner of the Prix Jean Prat. He also finished third in the Lockinge and St James’s Palace Stakes.

Ajdal’s daughter Ahbab was a winner on the track before she retired to produce the gelding New Seeker (2000) ($313,031 13-3-3-2), winner of the Brittania Handicap at Royal Ascot.

Ajdal’s unraced daughter Homage perhaps had the biggest impact on the sport and emphasizes the tragic loss of her sire at such a young age. Homage produced 6 foals of which 2 were winners. One winner was Mark Of Esteem (1994) ($564,007 7-4-1-0) out of Darshaan. He was declared European Champion Miler in 1997 after winning the Two Thousand Guineas and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and earning a Timeform rating of 137. Mark of Esteem had already proven himself as a very capable sire when he suffered the loss of a testicle following colic surgery in 2004. He still covered over 90 mares in the 2005/6 seasons before being pensioned in 2007 due to low fertility. He produced over 500 foals with 75% runners and 53% winners and of those, a respectable 7% stakes winners. His most successful runner was the 2006 Epsom Derby winner and Two Thousand Guineas runner up, Sir Percy (2003) ($1,874,096 7-5-1-0) who was Champion Two Year Old of England after he also won the Darley Dewhurst Stakes. Sir Percy’s acceleration in the Derby was described as “Swashbuckling” (we haven’t seen that one before). He will be an outstanding stallion prospect when he does retire from racing. Mark Of Esteem’s gelding son Reverence (2001) was European Champion Sprinter in 2006 after winning the Northorpe Stakes and Sprint Cup despite suffering a broken pelvis at a young age while daughter Ameerat (1998) ($324,192 7-2-2-1) won the One Thousand Guineas. The list of Mark Of Esteem’s stakes winners is long and it is not complete yet.

Ajdal’s daughter Sun And Shade managed 4 wins before retiring to produce 7 winners including multiple stakes winner Daggers Drawn (1995) ($141,057 6-3-0-0) who is off to a great start as a young stallion in Ireland.

It would be difficult to find another Northern Dancer son who has had as much impact with such few foals as Ajdal. What a tragic loss for the sport.

Getting back to the rest of Northern Dancer’s 1984 crop, we have Rambo Dancer, winner of the Red Smith Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park. The race is named in honor of the Pulitzer Prize winning sports columnist. Rambo Dancer had a fairly successful career as a stallion that started in the U.S. before moving to England in 1990 and South Africa in 1997 where he had been a perennial top 10 sire until his death. He died after covering a mare in 2004, how appropriate. Among his best runners was Ramooz (1993) ($585,000 52-10-10-7), winner of the G3 Minstrel and Criterion Stakes. He has retired to stud in Cyprus.

Rambo Dancer’s daughter Lambent (1991) ($80,287 23-3-3-3) won in England and the U.S. finishing third in the Songstress Breeders Cup Stakes. She produced 2 stakes winners out of 3 foals. The gelding Cozy Guy (2001) ($418,104 18-7-3-3) won the Cal Cup Classic and Crystal Water Handicap at Santa Anita before being euthanized June 28, 2006 due to a myriad of illnesses (his Pedigree Online epitaph reads “Rest in Peace Cozy Guy, you were truly loved”. Lambent’s daughter Soup N Crackers (1999) ($114,373 33-9-0-1) was a three-time stakes winner.

The Dancer’s son, Alwasmi placed in several European stakes and won the G3 Lanes End John Porter Stakes. He had some modest success as a sire and broodmare sire in the U.S. and eventually West Germany. Daughter Bursting Forth (1994) ($524,474 26-10-3-4) was a multiple G3 stakes winner in the US. Alwasmi has strong Canadian connections, his Canadian bred daughter Easy Lover (1994) ($110,000 24-13-6-1) won the Premio Dorama in Chile and placed in several Chilean stakes before retiring to Japan where she is being bred to some quality stallions. Alwasmi’s daughters Oh Tee and Ivastar (1994) were both stakes winners in Canada; Ivastar won the Flaming Page Stakes. Many of Alwasmi’s daughters were producers but one in particular was Promiseville (1991), herself a stakes winner, produced Small Promises (1998) ($361,456 15-7-0-1) the Champion Older Female in Canada in 2002 and winner of the Shady Well and Algoma Stakes at Woodbine. Promiseville is also the grand dam of another Canadian stakes winner, Dancer’s Bajan (2004) through her daughter Thoughtful Deed (1996).

Sense Of Unity was another daughter of the Dancer who had some success as a broodmare. Her top runner was Family Calling (1994) ($250,297 32-7-4-7) who won the Edmond Handicap at Remington Park. He now stands at stud in West Virginia where he has already had some early success. In his first 4 crops he has produced 94 winners (3 stakes winners) of over $4,000,000 and the Champion Imported Mare of the Dominican Republic in No More Drinks (2002).

Northern Dancer had two more French stakes winners in the colt Manshood, winner of the Prix du Petit Tellier Saint-Cloud and the mare, Arctic Eclipse, winner of the Prix le Fabuleux. Neither had much of an impact in the breeding shed.

Incinderator on the other hand could only manage a second in the Feilden Stakes in England but he had a decent career as a stallion in the US. His leading money winner was the gelding Adminniestrator (1997) ($762,061 43-9-9-4) winner of the Quicken and Sunshine Million Turf Stakes. Daughter, Watch Rachel (1990) ($419,750 47-12-12-10) won the Pacific Heights Handicap among her stakes wins. Gelding son, Smoky Cinder (1994) ($389,472 57-18-10-11) won the Canadian Derby among his many stakes wins. Son, Renteria (1994) ($296,225 21-3-6-3) won the Carry Back Stakes and is off to a fairly good start to his career as a stallion producing Idaho’s Horse of The Year in Free Rent (2001) ($150,070 32-5-5-5) among his stakes winners. Incinderator’s daughter Native Wind Dancer managed to place in 4 of her 5 starts before retiring to produce among others, Summer Wind Dancer (2000) ($898,762 18-5-5-4) a multiple stakes winner in California.

The mare Yaqut produced some interesting grandchildren for the Dancer. The gelding Harik (1994) has earned in excess of 100,000 pounds with his record of 16-18-13 in 103 starts on the flat and over hurdles. Full sister to Harik, Anam (1992) has produced Annosh (2003) ($190,000 13-2-5-2) a stakes winner in Turkey and Yaqut’s son Asakir (1995) finished second in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud in France before starting his career as a stallion in Turkey.

The last member of the 1984 crop of foals we will examine is the mare Kamkova. She was lightly raced before retiring as a broodmare and producing Kirkwall (1994) ($633,356 22-8-0-2). A multiple stakes winner in France at three, he was shipped to the U.S. where he was a multiple stakes winner at five. He is standing at stud in Europe, where his first crop of foals are just starting to show some promise. Most of Kamkova’s daughters are producers but nothing of significance yet.


Great site from Lanwades Stud featuring Sir Percy and these videos - have a look at the promo video and the Epsom Derby - swashbuckling performance by Sir Percy