Breed­ers scram­ble for Plan B

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Ni­cole Russo

The sud­den death of Lucky Pul­pit, among the most ac­tive stal­lions in Cal­i­for­nia in re­cent years, will have a num­ber of mare own­ers hus­tling to make timely al­ter­nate plans as the breeding sea­son be­gins.

Lucky Pul­pit has only one son at stud in Cal­i­for­nia – Rous­ing Ser­mon, who is start­ing his se­cond sea­son at Ran­cho San Miguel for an ad­ver­tised fee of $3,000. Rous­ing Ser­mon cov­ered 16 mares in 2016, ac­cord­ing to The Jockey Club’s Re­port of Mares Bred. A mul­ti­ple stakes win­ner who bankrolled $821,572, Rous­ing Ser­mon placed in four graded stakes, in­clud­ing a run­ner-up ef­fort in the Grade 1 CashCall Fu­tu­rity.

Rous­ing Ser­mon stands in a unique po­si­tion to ben­e­fit from mare own­ers look­ing to stay with Lucky Pul­pit’s im­me­di­ate line, be­cause all of Lucky Pul­pit’s other close rel­a­tives stand too far away from the Cal­i­for­nia mar­ket to be­come prac­ti­cal choices. Cal­i­for­nia Chrome, Lucky Pul­pit’s only other son at stud, is, of course, en­ter­ing stal­lion duty at Tay­lor Made Farm in Ken­tucky. Lucky Pul­pit’s half-brother Drew­man, a fairly suc­cess­ful re­gional sire, stands at Dutch­lane Farm in Ohio. An­other half-brother, Lucks Mine, most re­cently stood in Idaho.

Lucky Pul­pit is a son of the late Pul­pit, sire of three-time North Amer­i­can-lead­ing sire Tapit. Lucky Pul­pit is the only son of Pul­pit at stud in Cal­i­for­nia. Oth­ers from the same A.P. Indy sire-line avail­able in the state in­clude Indy Film (San Lee Ranch), Indy Pa­cific (Chris-Mar Farms), Mesa Thun­der (Par­adise Road Ranch), North­ern Indy (Par­adise Road Ranch), Sun­dar­ban (Milky Way Farm), Time to Get Even (Lo­vacres Ranch), Un­der Cau­tion (Daehling Ranch), and World Renowned (Brazeau Thor­ough­bred Farms).

An­other young Cal­i­for­nia stal­lion, Fin­negans Wake, also is in po­si­tion to add mares to his book fol­low­ing Lucky Pul­pit’s sud­den death. The Grade 1win­ning mil­lion­aire en­ters stud this year at Bal­lena Vista Farm for owner Gary Har­tu­nian’s Rock­ing­ham Ranch. A day af­ter the death of Lucky Pul­pit, Har­tu­nian an­nounced that all brood­mares who had been booked to the lead­ing sire were el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive a free sea­son to Fin­negans Wake.

“Lucky Pul­pit has been syn­ony­mous with ‘Cal­i­for­nia stal­lion’ for years,” Har­tu­nian said. “He has done so much for Cal-bred rac­ing. I wanted to do some­thing to help pay his legacy for­ward. It makes me feel good that I could of­fer some re­lief to my fel­low Cal-bred own­ers who have been af­fected by this tragedy.”

Some breed­ers in Ken­tucky also have had to make al­ter­nate plans due to the un­avail­abil­ity of an­other son of Pul­pit. Mul­ti­ple Grade 1 win­ner Lord Nel­son was pre­par­ing to stand his first sea­son at Spend­thrift Farm, where he was to be in­cluded in the farm’s pi­o­neer­ing Share the Up­side breeder in­cen­tive pro­gram. But in late Jan­uary the farm an­nounced that he would miss the sea­son af­ter de­vel­op­ing lamini­tis as a com­pli­ca­tion from a leg in­jury and in­fec­tion suf­fered last fall. Spend­thrift gen­eral man­ager Ned Tof­fey said Lord Nel­son had a full book of mares.

Among those plan­ning to breed a mare to Lord Nel­son was Ge­orge Adams of Housatonic Blood­stock, who had booked I’m En­gaged, a Bro­ken Vow mare from the fam­ily of cham­pi­ons Flanders and Surf­side. Rather than stay­ing with the Pul­pit or A.P. Indy line when Lord Nel­son was de­clared un­avail­able, Adams went in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion, booking I’m En­gaged to Dec­la­ra­tion of War at Cool­more’s Ash­ford Stud. The War Front stal­lion rep­re­sents a re­turn to the Danzig line for I’m En­gaged, who was bred to Ex­change Rate in 2015 and The Fac­tor in 2016.

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