(G-2) at Turfway Park was to be the long-awaited season debut of
Grade 2 winners UNCAPTURED
THE BOOKS. Instead, an overlooked longshot named Black Onyx stole the show.
Bravo let Black Onyx settle near mid-pack on a long, relaxed
rein, staying out of traffic and kickback while traveling four and
five wide the entire way.
BY THE STORM
handled the tepid early pace. Around the far turn, it looked like
Taken by the Storm and Giant Finish would continue on, but Joe Bravo
gave Black Onyx his head. The dark bay colt lengthened stride and
and cruised under the finish line 1 ½ lengths in front. Uncaptured
made a bold move to get up for second, ½ length in front of Giant
Finish. The final time of 1:51.98 was comparable to last year's
winner Went the day Well (1:51.33) and faster than 2011's winner
Animal Kingdom (1:52.32).
(Rock Hard Ten - Kalahari Cat, by Cape Town) was bred by Cloverleaf
Farms. The colt was bought out of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August
2011 Yearling Sale for $125K by Sam Herzberg of Sterling
Racing and turned over to trainer Kelly
Breen for conditioning. Black Onyx raced twice as a two year
old, both times over sloppy tracks. He won his maiden in his second
start. The dark brown colt made his three year old debut at
Gulfstream Park with a lack-luster fourth place finish over a fast
track. He was 19 lengths behind the winner, Bradester. Switched to
turf, Black Onyx posted a victory over allowance foes at 1 1/16
miles, beating future Rushaway Stakes winner Crop Report by almost
two lengths. With his Spiral Stakes triumph, Black Onyx earned 50
points on in the Derby Points System and owns a 5-3-1-0 ($407,810)
Hard Ten is a son of Kris S. out of Tersa, a French Champion who
happened to be a half-sister to Kentucky Derby winner Gato Del Sol.
The gorgeous, nearly black, 17.3 hands high stallion needed time to
grow into his frame. Making his debut in February of his three year
old season, Rock Hard Ten quickly gained the attention of
handicappers looking for the next Kentucky Derby star. In only his
third start, Rock Hard Ten jumped into the Santa Anita Derby fray and
finished second. Unfortunately, he was disqualified for bearing in
through the stretch. The son of Kris S. skipped the Kentucky Derby
due to insufficient earnings. Like the rest of the three year olds of
2004, Rock Hard Ten proved no match for the brilliant Smarty Jones in
the Preakness, but he did finish second in the classic race. He won
twice more to finish out his three year old season. Rock Hard Ten
faced the starter only four times as a four year old and was
were high expectations for Rock Hard Ten as a stallion, but so far,
he has only 12 stakes winners. As a grandson of the Irish Champion
Roberto, his turf genes are showing. The majority of his offspring
are slow maturing turf and synthetic routers. Unfortunately, Rock
Hard Ten's small number of stakes winners and slow maturing runners
weren't popular amongst American Breeders and the stallion was sold
to improve the Korean breeding program.
record: 11-7-1-1 ($1,870,380)
- Santa Anita Handicap [G1] 1 ¼ miles
- Malibu Stakes [G1] 7F
- Swaps Stakes [G2] 1 1/8 miles
- Charles H. Strub Stakes [G2] 1 1/8 miles
- Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap [G2] 1 1/8 miles
- Preakness Stakes [G1] 1 3/16 miles
- Santa Anita Derby [G1] 1 1/8 miles
Onyx's dam Kalahari
Cat (Cape Town - Desert Stormette, by Storm Cat) never earned
black-type, but she compiled a good 14-3-4-3 ($106,760) race record.
She didn't make it to the races until she was four and needed nine
starts to win her maiden. The daughter of Cape Town won once
sprinting over dirt and twice at a mile on turf. Kalahari Cat is a
decent broomare. Her second foal Quality Council (by Elusive Quality)
was third in the Nashua Stakes and spent his racing career as a dirt
sprinter. His younger brother Francois (by Smarty Jones) won the one
mile Straight Line Stakes over the Arlington Polytrack. Black Onyx
is the first graded stakes winner foaled by his dam. Kalahari Cat
has a two year old Pioneerof the Nile colt named Opsec, plus a
yearling Tapit colt and she's in foal to Congrats.
Cat is a half sister to the stakes winner Desert Gold (by Seeking The
Gold). That one bore the English Group 1 winner White Moonstone (by
Dynaformer). Black Onyx's second dam Desert Stormette (by Storm Cat)
didn't win a stakes race, however she's a full sister to Breeders'
Cup Sprint heroine Desert Stormer. Other notable members of this
distaff family include the Grade 1 turf mare Better Lucky and the
Grade 2 turf horse Casino Host.
Onyx is a member of the Lowe Female Family 21-a. A member of this
family hasn't won the Kentucky Derby since 1927 when Whiskery got the
job done. Only one other member, Plaudit (1898) has worn the roses.
21-a members have fared better in the Preakness Stakes. Four winners,
including Deputed Testamony (1983) and Tanks Prospect (1985) won the
race. Another famed member of the family is Broad Brush, who was
third in the 1986 Preakness. Only one horse from the 21-a family has
won the Belmont, that was Hastings in 1896.
Onyx's damsire Cape Town, a half brother to Champion Juvenile Filly
Golden Attraction (by Mr. Prospector) was a cross of the best
Overbrook Farm/Claiborne Farm bloodlines. As a juvenile, he won the
Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. At three, he was naturally pointed to
the Triple Crown Trail. The Wayne Lukas trainee won the Holy Bull
Stakes and Florida Derby, and was third in the Blue Grass. Cape Town
finished an even fifth, beaten just three lengths Kentucky Derby. He
made a sharp move in the Preakness, but faded in the stretch. Cape
Town was retired after the Preakness.
a sire, Cape Town's offspring prefer sprints to 1 1/6 miles, although
a few have won at 1 1/8 miles and he has one winner at 1 ¼ miles.
His best runner is Kentucky Oaks heroine Bird Town. To date, his
daughters have produced six stakes winners. Most are best up to 1 1/6
miles. Two, Louisiana Derby surprise Pants on Fire and now Black
Onyx, are winners at 1 1/8 miles.
(Seeking the Gold - Seaside Attraction, by Seattle Slew)
– Florida Derby (G-1) 1 1/8 miles
- Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G-2) 1 1/6 miles
– Holy Bull Stakes (G-3) 1 1/16 miles
– Blue Grass Stakes (G-1) 1 1/8 miles
Hard Ten has been bred to two daughters of Cape Town, both foals are
winners and one is now a blacktype winner. Rock Hard Ten has three
runners, all winners out of Seeking The Gold mares.
Onyx is a large dark brown colt who, with his blazed face, looks
remarkably like his third tail sire (great grand sire) Roberto. Black
Onyx is still maturing physically and mentally. He drifted out down
the Turfway stretch due to left-handed whipping, but he didn't impede
horses behind him. Black Onyx has a beautiful long stride, but a
high knee action like many turf horses. Roberto, Kris S. (sire of
Zenyatta) and Rock Hard Ten's offspring all carry a powerful shoulder
and are big, lengthy horses. They love the mud and in the case of
Rock Hard Ten's offspring, are best over turf and Polytrack.
questions than answers surround Black Onyx after his victory in the
Spiral Stakes. Distance? Check. He won't have a problem getting 1 ¼
miles. Dirt surface? Well... The major issue here is surface. His
worst race of his career came over fast dirt. The most logical step
for Black Onyx would be the Bluegrass Stakes over the Keeneland
Polytrack. If he does enter the starting gate on the first Saturday
in May, Black Onyx supporters better pray for rain.