Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry is a tough business.
Fortunes rise, fade and in some cases, plummet. Claiborne Farm has
weathered them all. Established in Kentucky in 1910 by Arthur B.
Hancock. It is now run by his grandson Seth W. Hancock. Some of the
most influential stallions in American racing history helped shape
the sport from the Claiborne breeding sheds. Eight time leading sire
Bold Ruler, his son, super-horse Secretariat, dynasty forming Mr.
Prospector, Nijinsky, Buckpasser, Danzig and Princequello are some of
the most prominent stallions to stand at stud at Claiborne.
farm suffered a blow last December when their leading sire Pulpit
died suddenly at the age of 18. This year, it appears that War Front
is stepping up to fill Pulpit's horseshoes in a big way. Currently
ranked at #5 on the leading sire list in terms of earnings, he shares
the #1 spot with Giant's Causeway for number of graded stakes winners
War Front made headlines
in June as the next mate for super-mare Zenyatta. He again made the
headlines recently when Coolmore spent $2.5 million dollars to
purchase a War Front colt whose distaff line produced Met Mile winner
Tizway, sire Citidancer and stakes horses Willa on the Move and
Will's Way. The youngster is the highest priced yearling to sell at
Keeneland since 2010. So what makes War Front so special? Let's
delve into his pedigree to find out.
and bred by Joseph
War Front was a top-notch dirt sprinter. He preferred to play catch
me if you can on the lead in most of his races. Although it took
three attempts to win his maiden, once he figured out the game, War
Front crushed his opponents by 25 lengths in three consecutive races,
including the 1 1/16 mile Princelet Stakes at Belmont Park. Taking
on graded stakes competition for the first time in the Discovery
Handicap (G-3), War Front suffered his first defeat when he was rated
off the lead. Learning a valuable lesson, the H. Alan Jerken’s
trainee switched back to a sprint in the Mr. Prospector Stakes (G-3)
but fell a neck short of victory after encountering some traffic. A
few starts later, War Front became a graded stakes winner in the
G. Vanderbilt Breeders' Cup Handicap.
- Starry Dreamer, by Rubiano)
record: 16-4-5-1 ($424,205)
G. Vanderbilt (G-2) 6F
- Princelet Stakes 1 1/6 miles
– Forego Stakes (G-1) 7F
Stakes (Gr-1) 6F
- Tom Fool Handicap (Gr -2) 7F
- Deputy Minister Handicap (Gr-3) 6 ½ F
– Mr. Prospector Handicap (G-3) 6F
Front is a product of the historic Claiborne Farm breeding program
and carries the bloodlines of some of their best stallions and mares.
His sire Danzig,
a promising young son of Northern Dancer out of Pas De Nom, a stakes
winning sprinter, made only three starts in his career before
suffering an injury and retiring undefeated to Claiborne Farm.
review of Danzig's immediate distaff family wouldn't have given an
indication of his ability at stud. Of his eight half siblings to
race, only three won, and only one visited the winner's circle more
than once. His dam Pas De Nom was a stakes winning sprinter and only
one of her half siblings, the steeplechase horse Bold Begger (by Bold
Ruler) owned blacktype. This female family is clearly a case of
brilliance skipping a generation. Pas De Nom's daughters and
grand-daughters bore stakes winners and her dam Petitioner (by
Petition) was a blue hen.
promptly set about siring a dynasty. His progeny won 188 graded
stakes and ten of them became champions. Danzig became an important
international sire of sires when his son Danehill was the first
stallion in history to sire 300 stakes winners. Danzig's sons stand
world-wide, and besides Danhill, include Agnes World, Ad Valorem,
Adjudicating, Belong to Me, Green Desert, Brahms, Hard Spun,
Langfuhr, Anabaa, U S Ranger, War Front and War Chant. For his
efforts, Danzig was named an Intermediate/Classic Chef-de-Race.
Front's dam Starry Dreamer was one of three stakes winners produced
by her dam Lara's Star. At two, the pretty gray filly won three of
five starts, including the Gold Digger Stakes at Hawthorne. At three,
she won two listed stakes over the turf. Racing until she was five,
the versatile mare placed in twelve additional stakes contests,
including the Gazelle (G-1) over dirt, and the La Prevoyante Handicap
(G-2) over the turf. Although Starry Dreamer's damsire Rubiano stood
at Lane's End Farm both her second damsire the Champion and Classic
Chef-de-race Forli (Sire of Forego) and her third damsire, the
incredible Stout Chef-de-Race Round Table were stationed at
record: 31-6-11-4 ($564,789)
- Gold Digger Stakes 1 mile (T)
- Regret Stakes 1 1/16 miles (T)
- Palisades Stakes 1 1/8 miles (T)
– Gazelle Handicap (G-1) 1 1/8 miles
- La Prevoyante Handicap (G-2) 1 ½ miles (T)
- Long Island Handicap (G-2) 1 ½ miles (T)
- Black Helen Handicap (G-2) 1 1/8 miles (T)
- Sheepshead Bay Handicap (G-2) 1 3/8 miles (T)
Dreamer became a fantastic broodmare. Besides War Front, she foaled
his half siblings Ecclesiastic (by Pulpit), two-time winner of the
Jaipur Handicap (G-3) and earner of $346,472 over the turf; Teammate
(by A.P. Indy), heroine of the Bonnie Miss (G-2) and Shuvee (G-2).
She placed in the Alabama (G-1), Gazelle (G-1) and three other grade
1 events on her way to earning $618,276 on the dirt; Riviera
Cocktail (by Giant's Causeway) won a restricted race and placed twice
in graded stakes over turf and synthetics, earning $197,806. Two
other half siblings, both by Storm Cat, raced and won, but didn't
Dreamer is the most accomplished runner and producer in all five generations of
this distaff line. While War Front's third dams is stakes placed,
there's no notable blacktype runners, other than Starry Dreamer in
three generations. War Front's fourth dam Secret Promise (by
Warfare) is the grand-dam of the multiple graded stakes winner Home
At Last (by Quadratic).
he was named 1992 Champion Sprinter after recording victories in the
Carter, Vosburgh, Forego, Tom Fool and Westchester Handicaps, Rubiano
carried the genes of the Intermediate/Classic Chef-de-race Fappiano
and the Classic/Stout Chef-de-race Nijinsky. The gray stallion
passed along some of these attributes to his daughter's offspring.
Twelve of his daughter's babies won stakes races at 1 1/8 miles or
farther, including Grade 1 winning mare Take Charge Lady, the dam of
Take Charge Indy and Will Take Charge; Sham Stakes winner The
Pamplemoose, and Australian Cup hero Manighar.
was bred to only one Rubiano mare, resulting in War Front. Danzig
already had proven success with Fappiano mares, getting eight winners
from eight starters and one blacktype winner. War Front is a member
of the Lowes Female Family 4-R. Danzig had remarkable success with
this line, siring nine black-type runners, including, besides War
Front, the stallions War Chat and US Ranger.
(Fappiano - Ruby Slippers, by Nijinsky II)
record: 28-13-6-1 ($1,252,817)
– NYRA (Cigar) Mile (G-1)
– Carter H. (G-1) 7F
- Vosburgh Stakes (G-1) 7F
– Forego H. (G-2) 7F
– Tom Fool H. (G-2) 7F
– Westchester H. – twice (G-3) 1 mile
– Met Mile (G-1)
– Jamaica H. (G-2) 1 mile
– Breeders' Cup Sprint (G-1) 6F
hallmarks of a lasting sire is the versatility of his offspring and
how well he improves his mares. War Front has only four crops of
runners on the track. They are sound horses, as 69% of them have
started and half of those have won. 40 are stakes winners, 16 of
which are graded.
progeny win over all surfaces and at all distances. War Front's
brilliant son The Factor set a new track record at Santa Anita for
six furlongs in his debut. At the other end of the spectrum,
Declaration of War captured the prestigious Juddmonte International
Stakes (Gr. 1) over 10 ½ furlongs on the turf.
Front is poised to make a strong impact on the Breeders' Cup contests
this November. His son the Claiborne home-bred Departing
missed out on the Kentucky Derby, but is adding plenty of other
derbies to his resume, having captured the Illinois Derby, Super
Derby and West Virginia Derby. He's scheduled to enter the starting
gate for the Oklahoma Derby on September 29 and could target the
Breeders' Cup Classic.
of War Front's sons could have a huge impact on the Juvenile
won the With Anticipation Stakes and on the other end of the country,
Bachelor shined in the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf. Still another
Command, has been making noise across the pond. A winner of three
of four starts, the Aidan O'Brian trainee has won two Group 2 events
and placed third in the Phoenix Stakes (G-1). O'Brian has captured
the last two runnings of the Juvenile Turf with Wrote and George
is targeting the Pilgrim (G-3) on October 6 while Diamond Bachelor is
headed to the Zuma Beach Stakes the same day. Only the Pilgrim is a
Breeders' Cup Win and You're In contest.
all of the attention surrounding War Front's offspring, one can only
expect his book of mares to grow deeper in future years. It's only a
matter of time before he hits with another sales topping yearling or
two year old.