One race after the Fountain of Youth Stakes last weekend at Gulfstream, first-time starter Affirmatif won a one-mile maiden special on the turf by 9 lengths in the excellent time of 1:34.27. A 3-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song from Wichitoz, by Affirmed, Affirmatif is a homebred for Wertheimer & Frere. The Wertheimer brothers are well known in Europe, and they’ve had their share of success here as well, which could continue with Affirmatif.
Affirmatif’s race is particularly noteworthy because one race before the Fountain of Youth the Smart Strike 5-year-old Twilight Meteor won the Grade 3 Canadian Turf Stakes over the same mile course in 1:34.31 — a fraction slower than Affirmatif’s maiden.
Affirmatif’s pedigree is interesting because on the face of it, according to the two nicking services, it is not constructed on a successful sire line cross. Werk Thoroughbred Consultants Inc.’s Werk nick rating is a C+; the Blood-Horse Publications and Pedigree Research LLC partnership’s True Nicks rating (click here to see it and the pedigree) is a D. The nick is calculated on the Unbridled’s Song/Exclusive Native cross, which has had one Grade 1 winner, Songandaprayer, the 2001 Fountain of Youth winner. (I suspect there wouldn’t be many high-class runners on this cross because Exclusive Native was a foal of 1965 and not a notable sire of sires. His best stallion son was Affirmed.)
In fairness to Jack and Alan Porter (partner in Pedigree Research LLC), neither recommends a mating on the nick alone. And in the case of Affirmatif, Alan may have actually had a say (I did not speak to him because I wrote this at 1:00 AM) in the mating, as he’s an adviser to the Wertheimers. But it wouldn’t have been too difficult to come up with this match, and it’s surprising that Affirmatif’s dam hadn’t been bred to an Unbridled-line stallion before him.
Here’s why: Affirmatif’s dam, Wichitoz, is a half-sister to three stakes horses: Grade 1 winner Rubiano (by Fappiano), stakes winner Tap Your Heels (by Unbridled), and Grade 3-placed High Cascade (by Woodman). All three are by Mr. Prospector-line stallions, and both stakes winners are by the Fappiano branch of Mr. Prospector that goes Fappiano/Unbridled/Unbridled’s Song.
Wichitoz’s first foals are: the unraced Caraoke (by Cozzene); the once-raced and unplaced Wildwood (by Forest Wildcat); the Grade 3-placed minor 2008 stakes winner Chitoz (by Forest Wildcat); and Affirmatif, her fourth and most promising foal.
Here’s another case of breeding a female line back to a sire line its had success with: Juddmonte’s Toussaud produced three Grade 1 winners and a Grade 2 winner by such sires as Mr. Prospector, Woodman, Distant View and Unbridled (Empire Maker), and the filly Grade 1 winner Honest Lady by Seattle Slew; Honest Lady’s best runner to date has been the Unbridled’s Song Grade 1 winner First Defence.
I mentioned Toussaud here (click here to see pedigree) because she’s by a Northern Dancer stallion out of an In Reality mare, and this construct is evident in the pedigree of Affirmatif as well, because his 2nd dam, Ruby Slippers, is bred the identical way (Nijinsky — Moon Glitter, by In Reality). In Reality has worked well with the Unbridled line (which creates inbreeding to In Reality because Unbridled also has In Reality in the pedigree), and In Reality’s daughter Moon Glitter — a full sister to Relaunch — also has had a say in the pedigree of Grade 1 winner Political Force (click here for pedigree). Also, Northern Dancer somewhere in the pedigree has been a notable feature of many Unbridled’s Song stakes winners, too.
Despite the nick, there’s a lot of affirmitives here.