Adena Springs Classic Breeding Prominent in Preakness 143 Finish

05.20.2018 -

It would be hard to paint a more a dramatic scene for Saturday's 143rd Preakness Stakes. A week-long mid-Atlantic deluge left historic Pimlico Racecourse wringing wet. When the skies briefly, mercifully relented an eerie fog moved in making most of the middle of the jewel of the Triple Crown invisible to the 134,487 brave and wild fans on the grounds. 

It wasn't until the 1/8th pole that the grand chestnut with the big white blaze materialized from the nebula. Justify was in front of Good Magic, their taxing pace duel unknown to most of the roaring crowd. Justify was going to win! But wait, here comes Tenfold! Here comes Bravazo!

At the wire Justify did hold off Bravazo by a 1/2 length with Tenfold another neck back in third. The finish line camera not only captured one of the more exciting finishes in Triple Crown lore, it captured another proud moment in the long and storied history of the Adena Springs breeding program.

Justify is out of a mare by the Adena Springs homebred Hall of Famer Ghostzapper. Bravazo is a son of Ghostzapper's sire, the Adena Springs homebred Hall of Famer Awesome Again. In fact, Bravazo's dam was purchased by Adena Springs specifically for the court of Awesome Again.

A Classic Story 

Awesome Again became the first Breeders' Cup Classic winner to sire a Breeders' Cup Classic winner when Ghostzapper captured the Classic (and Horse of the Year title) in 2004. He's hardly slowed down since. Awesome Again is now up to 14 Grade 1 winners and his 11th millionaire emerged just last month when another Adena Springs homebred, Something Awesome, scored in the Charles Town Classic (G2).

Bravazo fell just short of giving Awesome Again his second Preakness winner this decade after 2013 hero Oxbow, who won in the colors of Calumet Farm. Oxbow is out of a mare by the Relaunch stallion Cee's Tizzy, also the damsire of Awesome Again's Haskell Invitational (G1) winner and Belmont Stakes (G1) runner-up Paynter. This pattern made Bravazo's dam, the Cee's Tizzy daughter Tiz o' Gold, a coveted target for Awesome Again. The 7-time winner was acquired by Adena Springs, bred to Awesome Again and then sold at the 2014 Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale. Calumet Farm, no doubt influenced by their success with Oxbow, swooped in and made the purchase. 

Watch Director of Sales Dermot Carty Discuss the Adena Springs Breeding Program on TVG

Pedigree blogger Melissa Bauer-Herzog noted the full breadth of Awesome Again's impact on the Preakness weekend stakes in her March 20 post: "At 24 years old and still an active stallion, Awesome Again (Deputy Minister) is already impressive. But add in the fact that that he plays a major role in the pedigrees of the top two Preakness finishers, the Black Eye Susan second and the Chick Lang third and it was a great weekend for the Adena Spring stallion."
 
Black-Eyed Susan runner-up Coach Rocks is from Oxbow's first crop and previously captured the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2); Clouded Judgement is by Oxbow's Stakes-winning full brother Awesome Patriot.

The Flipside

Justify's dam, Stage Magic, is one of 14 blacktype horses from Ghostzapper's first crop. She was bred and raced by her owner John Gunther and joined his storied broodmare band after her 3rd-place finish to Eclipse Champion Groupie Doll in the 2011 Gardenia Stakes (G3). Justify, sold by Gunther for $500,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September auction, is her third foal. 

Ghostzapper first started to emerge as a broodmare sire in 2016 when Drefong rolled through the King's Bishop S. (G1) and Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) en route to Eclipse Award honors. From just 151 starters Ghostzapper daughters are responsible for 13 blacktype winners (8.6%) and four other Graded winners, including the multiple Grade 1 heroine American Gal.

Frank Stronach will be honored with the Dinny Phipps Award on June 7. In a recent interview he summed up his long and prodigious involvement in the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry - "I do what I do because I am heavily involved with horses and love horses." 

Click here for the full interview.

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