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Taking Stock: Street Sense Poised for Big Years
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“He's technically full,” said Darley America sales manager Darren Fox the other day, discussing Gl Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense (Street Cry Ire), who's standing this year for $60,000, down from $75,000 in 2020. “If you had a nice mare, there's a couple of spots that mares haven't been named yet. We keep him at around 140 mares. He was very hard to manage the demand, especially last year at 75, and he's 60 now, but that's because of overall market conditions. It wasn't a reflection of cooling off on the track or anything to that end.” Indeed, the stallion couldn't be hotter right now. Last Saturday, the Bob Baffert-trained Concert Tour, a debut TDN Rising Star for owner-breeders Gary and Mary West, won the Gll San Vicente S. at Santa Anita over seven furlongs in his second start to announce his arrival as a player in future Classics preps, and this Saturday Godolphin's undefeated 4-year-old Grade l winner Maxfield, four-for-four in a career that's been stopped several times by injury, will be heavily favored to win the Glll Mineshaft S. over a mile and a sixteenth at Fair Grounds, a race that trainer Brendan Walsh no doubt hopes will launch him into the elite races of the older-horse division. At one time, after winning the Gl Breeders' Futurity S. at Keeneland at two, Maxfield was considered a leading 2020 Classics contender for Godolphin, but in a trying year that saw him make just two starts, he was able to only salvage wins in the Glll Matt Win S. at Churchill in May and the Tenacious S. at Fair Grounds in December, missing the glamour races of the division. However, as a consolation, Godolphin did manage to win a pair of Grade lll Derbys last year with another son of Street Sense who was bred like Maxfield. Trained by Brad Cox and also from a Bernardini mare like Maxfield, Shared Sense won the Indiana and Oklahoma Derbys. If you saw TDN's list of leading sires of 3-year-olds in Wednesday's paper, you'll have noted that Street Sense leads all sires by black-type winners with three and that he's tied with Candy Ride (Arg) and Medaglia d'Oro with two graded winners through the first six weeks of the year. He's also second by progeny earnings to Into Mischief. He started the new year with Capo Kane's win in the Jerome S. over a mile at Aqueduct on Jan. 1, followed by two-for-two Shadwell homebred Zaajel's score in the seven-furlong Glll Forward Gal S. at Gulfstream on Jan. 30, which was a week before Concert Tour's San Vicente. If Maxfield wins on Saturday, he will give Street Sense a third consecutive weekend graded winner and his first in the older horse division. “When you get a good Street Sense, you get a really good one,” Baffert emphasized, and he'd know. He trained McKinzie, who won the Gl Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity at two, the Gl Pennsylvania Derby and Malibu S. at three, and the Gl Whitney at four, along with several other graded races, earning almost $3.5 million. He's standing his first year now at Gainesway for $30,000. Baffert thinks that Concert Tour, who earned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure in the San Vicente, will also get better as he matures and as the distances increase, and he's looking forward to stretching him out after two starts in sprint races. “That's how Street Sense performed,” Fox said. “That's how his more high-caliber, signature horses have been. Colts and fillies going two turns on dirt. That's how he was, and that's what gets the market most excited about him.” What Fox is most excited about, however, are the high-quality books Street Sense had in 2018, 2019, and 2020 during McKinzie's heyday, when the horse served 140, 147, and 135 mares, respectively, as his stud fee went from $35,000 to $50,000 to $75,000. What this means, Fox said, is that Street Sense is poised to have some bigger years ahead, and this is an opportune time to breed to him to capitalize on that. “He's flying on the track right now, but if you breed to him in 2021, you're going to be hitting the market perfectly because he's got three awesome books coming.” Street CredFrom a Darley roster that features an array of proven stallions and promising young guns, from Medaglia d'Oro, Bernardini, and Hard Spun to Nyquist and Frosted, Street Sense must occupy a special place as one of two on the farm along with Street Boss that are sons of Sheikh Mohammed's pivotal sire Street Cry, who's commemorated with a statue on the ex-Jonabell property for being the first to establish the Darley imprimatur. Though he died young at 16, Street Cry sired 131 black-type winners and has been influential around the world. His first N. American crop contained Street Sense, a champion 2-year-old and Kentucky Derby winner; Street Boss, a high-class specialist sprinter; and Zenyatta, a late-developing champion and icon. Add in another icon in Australia in Winx and a G1 Melbourne Cup winner in Shocking, and these five runners alone do the job of illustrating the versatility and aptitudinal scope of their sire over the span from sprints to Classic distances to two miles, on surfaces from dirt to all-weather to turf, with championship class at two and above, and Classic success at three. That's quite a legacy to follow, but the Gl Breeders' Cup Juvenile/Kentucky Derby double marked Street Sense as unique, and the other horse that has won both races is Street Sense's barnmate Nyquist, who's started his stud career in great style. Darley has a chance to land another winner of the double with Godolphin's homebred champion 2-year-old Essential Quality (Tapit), who impressively won the BC Juvenile last year, but he'll have Darley-sired Derby aspirants like Concert Tour, Caddo River (Hard Spun), Risk Taking (Medaglia d'Oro), and The Great One (Nyquist) among others to potentially contend with in preps leading up to the big race in Louisville. Street Sense, who is 16.3 hands with a deep girth and plenty of leg, is a more refined version of his coarse sire. He entered stud in 2008 for a $75,000 fee and was a member of a class that included Curlin, Hard Spun, and Scat Daddy, all of which finished behind him in the Derby. All of these horses suffered along with the industry during the tough years of the recession, and also in the aftermath of the early recovery years. Street Sense's stud fee dropped over the next four seasons to $60,000, $50,000, $40,000, and $40,000 from 2009 to 2012. He was sent to Darley Japan in 2013, but returned the following year, conceiving Mckinzie, a foal of 2015. After his return, Street Sense had attained a level of status as the sire of five Grade l winners from his first five crops, but because each of his top-level winners to this point were fillies–Aubby K (2009), Wedding Toast (2010), Sweet Reason (2011), Callback (2012), and Street Fancy (2013)–he had to fight a perceived sex bias, along with a missing domestic crop, in the immediate years after Japan. His stud fee from 2014 to 2018 ranged from $35,000 to $45,000, but McKinzie's success changed perceptions, followed by the arrival of Maxfield as a 2-year-old in 2019. Street Sense had also sired four S. Hemisphere Group 1 winners during a few shuttle seasons to Australia early on, two of them males, and this further bolstered Darley's confidence that more top-level colts would follow. Fox said Darley continues to breed 12 to 15 mares a year to him and is particularly keen about what's to come in his next three crops with 76 black-type winners already in the bank. Street Sense is now 17, an age when most successful horses have established a high floor and you know what you're going to get. But in his case, with the way the trajectory of his career has played out, he may yet have the type of high ceiling that's usually projected for promising horses like Nyquist at the beginning of their careers. Sid Fernando is president and CEO of Werk Thoroughbred Consultants, Inc., originator of the Werk Nick Rating and eNicks.  
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Street Sense ‘Rising Star’ Gets the ‘Bob’ as Baffert Completes San Vicente Exacta
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Street Sense 'Rising Star' Gets the 'Bob' as Baffert Completes San Vicente Exacta Home » Archive » Top News » Street Sense 'Rising Star' Gets the 'Bob' as Baffert Completes San Vicente Exacta Saturday, February 6, 2021 at 6:29 pm | Back to: Top News Updated: February 6, 2021 at 6:30 pm Concert Tour breaking his maiden | Benoit Photo 'TDN Rising Star' CONCERT TOUR (c, 3, Street Sense–Purse Strings, by Tapit) chased the pace and eventually wore down his game stablemate Freedom Fighter (Violence) to provide Bob Baffert with his record 11th GII San Vicente S. title and second in as many years. A 3 1/2-length debut winner Jan. 15, the 2-5 shot stopped the clock in 1:24.06. O/B-Gary & Mary West (Ky). T-Bob Baffert. Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts. This story was posted in Top News and tagged Bob Baffert, Concert Tour, Gary and Mary West, Kentucky Derby, San Vicente, Santa Anita, Street Sense. Your TDN download has begun.If the download does not complete, Click Here.
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David and Goliath Both Seeking That One Horse
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During this era of globalisation, our own walk of life has also become ever more adapted to scale. In the old days, trainers and stallions alike would draw the line at a similar number: up to three dozen, say. Now all big brands seem to require big volume. With stallion books, the traditional limits guaranteed undiluted quality. If you wanted to get a mare to Bold Ruler, boy, did she have to deserve the privilege. That's why I always look for those venerable influences, up-and-down, behind modern pedigrees: because you're getting the good stuff, whatever filters through. Nowadays, however, science and avarice routinely conspire to corral 200-plus mares for many unproven young stallions, and I suspect we'll be reaping a dismal harvest even after we introduce a ceiling of “only” 140. The advent of the “super trainer” has been viewed with equal concern by many of the old school. How, they ask, can even the most masterly horsemen monitor every nuance as fastidiously as did Charlie Whittingham, when they have 10 times as many animals on their books–and, moreover, have to commute between divisions by plane? Yet many of the biggest investors seem happy to forfeit that kind of intimate surveillance and it's hard to argue with the results. Granted assistants of adequate caliber, the system is demonstrably equal to pressures of scale; and it schools elite trainers who themselves, in turn, start delegating responsibility to emerging talents. The template for that process was Todd Pletcher, who learned his trade managing East Coast divisions for the mold-breaking Wayne Lukas. By prodigious focus, organization and dynamism, Pletcher has parlayed his talent into record-breaking yields since 1996. Only last weekend he became the first trainer to bank $400 million; he has seven Eclipse Awards as Outstanding Trainer (only the late Bobby Frankel even has five); and the many stallions he has made include Uncle Mo, Speightstown, More Than Ready, Quality Road, Munnings, English Channel and now Constitution. This is the year Pletcher becomes eligible to take a place long reserved in the Hall of Fame. As such, you would imagine that he will be eager, through 2021, to reiterate his historic standing in the story of our sport. Because what we must always remember, looking at these industrial stables, is that they remain driven and defined by the human strengths and foibles of one individual. And, having just endured his slowest year since 2002 (obviously the COVID-squeezed program/prizemoney had an awful lot to do with that), Pletcher will definitely be looking to roll back strong this time 'round. You don't have the success he has made routine without harnessing phenomenal talent to equal ambition. And if his own career has itself been game-changing, Pletcher will know that one neglected paradox of the “super trainer” culture is that competition has been rendered tougher at the elite level, too. With no real limit on numbers, then the best material won't be shared too far even at the very top. In terms of how long they have been on the scene, Pletcher has to be bracketed closer with Bob Baffert than Chad Brown or Brad Cox. In age, however, he is actually closer to those young guns. At 53, Pletcher remains in his prime–and yet he has seen it all. Few conditioners of his years can ever have compiled a more comprehensive playbook of familiar challenges. Little wonder if Shadwell, on the retirement of Kiaran McLaughlin, named Pletcher as their man. Remember that even last year–when the dust had barely settled, after all, on his first win in the GI Breeders' Cup Classic–his 22% strike-rate was as metronomic as ever. And while Mutasaabeq (Into Mischief) is sadly off the GI Kentucky Derby trail with a minor shin issue, his 45 Triple Crown nominees match the second- and third-highest entries (Baffert 23, Steve Asmussen 22) combined. And you need only consider the fields assembling for both the races carrying Derby points Saturday to heighten a sense that here is a trainer ready to regroup and reassert. Known Agenda (Curlin) contests the GIII Sam F. Davis S. with his reputation freshly gilded by the performance at Gulfstream last week of Greatest Honor (Tapit). Even in opening up by 21 lengths on the third, that colt hadn't been able to get past him in a stretch duel at Aqueduct in November. The St Elias Stable homebred has already demonstrated plenty of stamina, then, albeit his damsire Byron (GB) (Green Desert) was a brisk horse with a brisk page. (Plenty of fuel, you guess, coming through from Darshaan (GB) (Shirley Heights GB) behind his second dam.) We'll cheerfully put a line through Known Agenda's subsequent effort in the GII Remsen S., where so unhappy on the slop that his rider resorted to the whip a couple of times on the backstretch. His maiden success, after all, has meanwhile been boosted by the distant third, barnmate Overtook (Curlin), who now graduates to stakes company in the GIII Withers S. Actually St Elias Stable, that reliable badge of class, also has a piece of this improver. His closing style will presumably contrast with Pletcher's other runner here, Donegal Bay (Uncle Mo), who shook off his pursuers nicely breaking his maiden. All these horses are bred for the job, too. Known Agenda is out of a Grade I winner; likewise Overtook, a $1 million yearling tracing to Numbered Account; and though Donegal Bay was picked up for $90,000, he belongs to a Juddmonte family of Classic accomplishment. Let's be under no illusions, then. Even if Goliath nowadays finds himself in an armlock with opponents of equal brawn, it's still an awful lot harder being David. And there's no mistaking who fills that role here. Capo Kane (Street Sense) was a $26,000 2-year-old purchase–his pinhooker no doubt caught in the COVID backdraft, after giving $75,000 the previous September–and gave trainer Harold Wyner the first stakes success of his life in the Jerome S. Wyner is the ultimate journeyman. He first came over from Britain with Michael Dickinson, drifted around for a few years as an exercise rider, saddled six winners in two years when trying his luck as a trainer, and then spent four years installing satellite televisions. But he couldn't keep away, and this time last year must have thought that his perseverance was finally going to pay off. He had assisted in the purchase of a Cross Traffic colt, who had failed to make his reserve as a 2-year-old at $27,000. Wyner trained Ny Traffic through his first four starts, but the horse was then transferred to Saffie Joseph, Jr. and became a Grade I regular. No need to dwell on that now. Capo Kane is another Timonium graduate and Wyner knows him inside out, as the most literally hands-on of trainers: he gallops as many of his charges as he can every day. So he knows there's more to come from Capo Kane, who drifted out even as he went clear in the Jerome. There's turf royalty in his family–second dam by Kingmambo out of Tuzla (Fr) (Panoramic GB), who missed the GI Breeders' Cup Mile by a neck–and that shows in the ease and athleticism of his movement; while on the other hand his sire beat his damsire in the 2007 Derby. Third that day was Curlin, sire of Known Agenda and Overtook. Seems like that class still can't leave each other alone. Street Sense, of course, was saddled by a revered horseman in Carl Nafzger, who started a total of 17 animals that whole year. Context: Asmussen topped the 2020 prizemoney table with 630 starters, followed by Cox with “only” 328. But there's only ever one Derby winner out there–and there's no reason he can't be among Wyner's two dozen charges at Parx. Meanwhile we'll be keeping an eye on the two debut winners Baffert runs in the GII San Vicente S., having won the race last year with a horse of similar profile in Nadal (Blame). One of them, the Wests' homebred Concert Tour (Street Sense), shares his sire with Capo Kane; the other, Freedom Fighter, while he has a powerful ownership group, is a $120,000 son of Violence who was there to be found at Keeneland as Hip 1522. Don't forget we've just seen what this guy can do with a $1,000 short yearling/$35,000 2-year-old by Protonico. With 118 starters in 2020, Baffert ranked 41st in the nation by numbers. No “super trainer,” then–but I guess he's doing okay.
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