Strong reserved a spot in the starting gate of the 2014 Kentucky Derby with his
3 ½ length victory in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial
Stakes. Previously undefeated Samraat stuck his
nose in front of a tiring Social Inclusion
for second place. Wicked Strong’s final time of
1:49.31 was comparable to that I Want Revenge’s victorious 1:49.49 in
2009 and Nobiz Like Showbiz in 2007 (1:49.46). Check out the race video:
WICKED STRONG (Hard Spun - Moyne Abbey, by Charismatic)
was bred by William
F. Lynn and originally named Moyne Spun. The bay colt was purchased by Centennial Farms
for $375,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Sent to James Jerkens
for training, Wicked Strong was second in his six furlong debut in September
over a sloppy, sealed track. A month later, he scored a two-length victory
against maidens traveling a mile. To close out his juvenile year, Wicked Strong
raced mid-pack and raced erratically down the stretch. He got up to finish third, 1/2-length behind
the battling Honor Code and Cairo Prince
in the Remsen Stakes.
the first start of his three year old season, Wicked Strong was a disappointing
ninth in the Holy Bull Stakes as the second-favorite. A month later, he was
beaten by over six lengths by eventual Florida Derby winner Constitution in
an allowance race, although his performance wasn’t as poor as it appeared on
paper. Wicked Strong raced at the back of the pack and made a three-wide move
to finish fourth over a very speed favoring track. The son of Hard Spun has a
6-2-1-1 ($704,610) record. Wicked Strong has a total of 102 points for the 2014
Kentucky Derby and is in third place on the leaderboard behind California
Chrome (150) and Vicar's in Trouble (120).
HARD SPUN (Danzig - Turkish Tryst, by
Turkoman) was a member of a spectacular crop of three year olds. He won his
five furlong debut by over eight lengths. He followed up with runaway victories
in the Port Penn Stakes and Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes. The son of top sire Danzig continued his
winner ways the following year in the LeComte Stakes, winning by six lengths.
The game colt tasted defeat for the first time in his career in the Southwest
Stakes, finishing a dull fourth. Hard Spun rectified that loss with a 3 ¼
victory in the Lanes End over the Polytrack. Made the fourth choice in the 2007
Kentucky Derby, Hard Spun lead for most
of the race until bobbling at the 1/8 pole. He was overtaken by Street Sense
and finished 2 ¼ lengths behind the Champion and 5 ¾ lengths in front of
eventual Horse of the Year Curlin. Hard
Spun continued on to place third in the Preakness, and won or placed in four
other starts. He raced for only two
years, but compiled a 13-7-3-1 ($2,673,470) race record. Unfortunately, a
perfectly sound Hard Spun was retired to stud at the end of his three year old
Spun is a member of one Danzig’s last crops.
Danzig was one of the top sires of his generation, producing over 200
stakes winners. Hard Spun’s dam won the
April Run Stakes at 1 ½ miles and is a daughter of Champion Older Horse
Turkoman. Hard Spun’s third dam bore
Preakness/Belmont Stakes hero Little Current.
Spun quickly set about siring winners at Darley Stud in Kentucky. He placed
second on the 2011 Freshmen Sire List, outperforming Champions Street Sense,
English Channel and Invasor. The plain
brown bay was the leading second crop sire in terms of earnings and graded
stakes runners and was one winner shy of leading third crop sire.
mark of a good sire is that his offspring win over a variety of surfaces and at
various distances. A good stallion also
“moves his mares up.” That is, gets a
better class of performer than what the mare or her family has previously
produced. Hard Spun’s offspring win from
sprints to classic distances. His daughter Questing won the Alabama Stakes
(G-1) and CCA Oaks (G-1). She was the first Grade 1 winner produced by her
female family in two generations and Questing earned honors as last year’s
Eclipse Champion Three Year Old Filly.
Hard Spun has sired one Champion, nine graded stakes winners and 22
stakes winners from four crops of racing age.
The stallion was shipped to Japan for the 2014 breeding season.
Strong has plenty of blacktype in his background.
MOYNE ABBEY (Charismatic - Classic Approval, by
With Approval) was slower to develop than her Grade 1 winning son. She won her
maiden in March of her three year old season after five previous attempts. A turf router, Moyne Abbey placed once more
in her career. She retired with a
12-1-0-1 ($20,519) race record.
Strong is the second of his dam’s four foals to make it to the race track. A half-sister
by Street Boss is a turf router. Moyne
Abbey bore a two year old Mineshaft colt named Our Lukester and a yearling
Sidney’s Candy colt named Cloontia.
Abbey is a half-sister to the multiple Grade 3 turf miler Gulch Approval (by
Gulch). She’s also a half-sister to Approval Rating (by Lemon Drop Kid), winner
of the 1 1/8 mile Display Stakes over Woodbine’s Polytrack. Approval Rating’s
full sister is the stakes winning turf miler Rusty Slipper and another half
sibling, Highest Class (by Mineshaft) is multiple graded stakes placed.
Strong’s second dam Classic Approval (With Approval - Classic Value, by
Copelan) placed in two route stakes over the lawn. His third dam Classic Value
(Copelan - Queen Pat, by Crozier) won four stakes races, including the
Churchill Downs Breeders’ Cup Handicap (G-3) and Las Flores Handicap
(G-3). Her daughters bore Pacific
Classic hero Student Counsel, Indiana Derby winner Don’t Get Mad and Risen Star
CHARISMATIC (Summer Squall - Bali Babe, by
Drone) is the Rodney Dangerfield of racing.
He received no respect as a runner in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness,
going to the post in both races at long odds. The game stallion was all set to
win the Belmont Stakes when his leg snapped in two places. He still finished third. Charismatic earned Champion Three Year Old
and Horse of the Year honors.
was sent to stud in Japan after standing for three years in the U.S. Currently, he is represented by 16 stakes
horses, including the Spanish Champion Mil Azul, Sun King, winner of the
Pennsylvania and Tampa Bay Derbies, plus graded stakes winners Gouldings Green
and Mahzouz. Charismatic has sired one
graded stakes winner, the Japanese-bred Wonder Acute, and a runner-up (Sun
King) at 1 ¼ miles.
daughters have produced over 100 winners, but only five blacktype earners. None of those have won or placed at ten
furlongs, however three are winners at 1 1/8 miles. This small sampling shows
the class of winners, rather than Charismatics ability as a broodmare sire to
lend his stamina genes to his daughter’s offspring. Given the abilities of Charismatic at classic
distances and the fact that he is a sire of a stakes winner at 1 ¼ miles, it
would be safe to say that his daughters can bear winners at longer distances.
Strong’s second damsire With Approval won the Canadian Triple Crown and was
awarded Horse of the Year and Champion Three Year Old in that country. He also set a world record for 1 3/16 miles
over the lawn (2:10.20) in the 1990 Bowling Green Handicap. Can his daughters get winners at 1 ¼ miles and
beyond? You bet. With Approval is an old damsire, as he was
foaled in 1986, but his daughter’s offspring are still competitive on the
track. They include Revved Up, winner of
the 13 furlong John’s Call Stakes, the veteran Silver Tree, hero of the 1 ¼ mile
Virginia Derby (G-2), and Hot Six, a Group 1 winner in Brazil.
Strong carries the conformation of a stayer. He’s a nicely balanced horse with
a nicely angled shoulder, short back and powerful hindquarters. His neck ties
in well with his withers and appears well-proportioned (this is important for a
horse to maintain balance and a rhythmic stride when running). Wicked Strong has a smooth gait with
excellent leg extension. He does have a tendency to run unevenly down the
stretch and did so in both the Remsen and Wood Memorial.
Strong has a wonderful pedigree for classic distances and with his mid-pack to
stalking style of running, he should relish the extra distance. One thing I noticed in the Wood Memorial is
that Wicked Strong doesn’t have a quick acceleration. He’s more of a grinder
type who will mow them down in the stretch. Samraat and Social Inclusion were
slowing down, rather than Wicked Strong speeding up, as evidenced by the slow final
quarter of 25:23 and 12:92 final eighth. However, being a grinder isn’t a bad
thing. In a Kentucky Derby shaping up
with plenty of front running, pace pressing speed, a colt who can sustain a
long run can wind up wearing the roses.
Just ask Giacomo and Mine That Bird.