BOWMAN'S CAUSEWAY (Giant’s Causeway – Victory Encounter, by Victory Speech) enters the Florida Derby with only a maiden win to his credit, but will be making his third start off of a layoff in the Grade 1 event.
The Patrick Biancone trainee needed three starts to win his maiden, but got the job done on February 11 at Gulfstream Park getting 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.87. Wheeled back only two weeks later in the Fountain Of Youth (G-2), Bowman’s Causeway played bumper cars with four other starters, then had to steady almost immediately on the first turn. He managed to grab fourth place, 6 ¾ lengths behind To Honor And Serve, and was over 9 lengths ahead of the fifth place horse, Shackelford. Taking a step down, Bowman’s Causeway showed little against allowance company on March 19, finishing third going a mile over the speed favoring main track.
Sold for $110,000 at the Adena Springs April Two Year Olds of 2010, sale, the chestnut colt is by the international sire Giant’s Causeway. Nicknamed “The Iron Horse,” for his exploits over the English, Irish and French racecourses, Giant’s Causeway came within a flared nostril of winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic in his only start on dirt, racing over a left-handed course in an unfamiliar setting. The 2000 European Horse Of The Year won from a mile to 1 5/16 miles (10.5 furlongs) and placed at the shorter distance of seven furlongs. He competed in ten Group 1 Stakes and was victorious in six of them, including the St. James Palace, Juddmonte International, Irish Champion, Queen Elizabeth II, and Prix de la Salamandre. Giant’s Causeway raced 13 times in two years, winning nine events and placing six times.
Giant’s Causeway has upheld his Iron Horse moniker at stud. The son of the world’s most expensive sire Storm Cat out of Maria’s Storm, a Grade 1 winning mare by Rahy. Giant’s Causeway is in demand in both the US and his shuttle country, Australia. In only eight racing crops, he has sired two English and one Italian Champion (Shamardal, Man Of Iron and Primary) and 51 graded stakes winners, including last year’s Derby hopeful Eskendereya, second-crop sires Aragorn, First Samuari, and the list goes on. He was leading sire by earnings in 2009. In September 2010, Giant’s Causeway was recognized as a Classic Chef-de-Race, meaning, in a nutshell, that it is recognized that Giant’s Causeway passes classic stamina to his offspring.
Taking a peek at Bowman’s Causeway’s distaff line, his dam Victory Encounter won four stakes races, from a mile to 1 1/8 miles, including the El Encino (G-2) and Vanity Handicap (G-1). Overall, the hardy mare entered the starting gate 14 times, was victorious seven times and placed or showed thrice. Bowman’s Causeway is the third foal produced by his dam and the second to race. His half brother has raced three times, placing once. Victory Encounter is proof that one never knows when a good horse will come along. She is the only stakes winner in her immediate family. Bowman’s Causeway’s third dam Olympic Moment was stakes placed and she produced a stakes winner and stakes placed runner, however, Victory Encounter’s dam Marvelous Moment was unplaced in her only start. Bowman's Causeway descends from the Lowe Female Family 4-p. If he were to win one of the Triple Crown events, Bowman’s Causeway would be the first in his family to hold that honor.
Bowman’s Causeway’s damsire Victory Speech, a son of Deputy Minister out of an Alydar mare, was a multiple Grade 2 Stakes winner at 1 1/8 miles and also won the 1 ¼ mile Strub Stakes in his 29 race career. He spent the majority of his stud career shuttling to Argentina and has been standing at stud in Japan since 2002. As a broodmare sire, he is represented by six Argentinian Group Stakes winners ranging in distance from 7 ½ furlongs to 1 3/16 miles.
Looking back one generation, Bowman’s Causeway’s second damsire is the incomparable Raise A Native. He was unbeaten in four starts, but was retired early due to injury. Raise A Native shined in the breeding shed, siring a dynasty through his sons Mr. Prospector, Classic winner Majestic Prince, Triple Crown runner-up Alydar and Exclusive Native, the sire of Triple Crown hero Affirmed. Raise A Native is also a Chef-de-Race, he supplies brilliant speed to his offspring, which is necessary to balance the stamina in pedigrees, otherwise we’d have a herd of plodders.
The Giant’s Causeway/Deputy Minister bloodline cross is pretty solid. It has produced Breeders’ Cup Marathon hero Man Of Iron, the listed stakes winner Perfect For You and two stakes placed runners.
Conformation wise, Bowman’s Causeway appears to be a tall, lean horse built to run two turns. He has a deep, well-angled shoulder, which doesn’t appear overly-powerful, and he appears to have a relatively smooth topline (from his neck to rump). His hindquarters appear powerful, but not overwhelming, and he has the long forearm and short cannons, typical of a route horse.
Bowman’s Causeway has a lot of catching up to do if he wants a berth in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. He would have to win the Florida Derby over a speed favoring track that plays against his stalking running style. Without a win in Florida, Bowman’s Causeway would have to race again and win a major stakes race in order to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. He has the pedigree and conformation to handle the Classic distances, but should he fail in the Florida Derby, hopefully his connections will skip the Derby and focus on the Preakness or Belmont Stakes. Should he fail to improve over the dirt, Bowman’s Causeway might have a very good career as a turf star, as her certainly receives those attributes through his sire and distaff line. Either way, Bowman’s Causeway appears to be a promising colt with a bright future.