Ro Parra’s Millennium Farms in Lexington has an unusual stallion entering the ranks in 2016. He’s Chilean-bred and-raced Hakassan, initially a Green Hills Farm acquisition for racing. Hakassan came to the US after having last raced in Chile in December of 2012 and was held in high esteem as a winner of five of seven starts, including the prestigious G1 St. Leger. He’d won Hipodromo Chile’s Triple Crown — a G1 dirt series of races from 1600m to 2200m, commonly referred to as Chile’s “Dirt Triple Crown” — and seemed particularly suited for racing here in Graded races from 8F to 10F on the main track. And apparently the horse had shown promise in training with Todd Pletcher as he prepared stateside, but niggling issues here and there prevented him from making it to the races through 2014 and he was laid up at Millennium last spring while his future was pondered.
The team at Millennium liked the horse enough on physique, race record, and pedigree to take a shot with him and is standing the horse for Green Hills at a private fee — which is quite affordable, by the way.
“He’s an attractive horse with plenty of bone and substance,” said pedigree authority Frank Mitchell, who inspected and measured Hakassan in January. “And he’s got plenty of size, too. He’s approximately 16.1 hands.”
Hakassan (pictured above; photo by Matt Goins courtesy of Millennium Farms) is by the exported Storm Cat stallion Sir Cat — a Bill Mott-trained Graded winner on turf and dirt — from Fusiachi’s Angel, by Fusaichi Pegasus. The immediate pedigree is recognizable right away, which is common enough for South American horses who are often sired by US or Euro exports. Frequently, however, the interior parts of the pedigrees of South Americans aren’t as easily decipherable as the front end, but this isn’t the case with Hakassan. His second dam is by Sadler’s Wells, and his third dam is by Secretariat and is a half-sister to Seattle Slew. That, of course, means the fourth dam is My Charmer — and this is the extended family of Mr. Prospector, too.
With Storm Cat, Mr. Prospector, Sadler’s Wells, Danzig, and Secretariat in his pedigree — all the influential powerhouses of recent years — Hakassan would seem to be particularly suited for Seattle Slew-line mares, particularly through A.P. Indy. Not only would this create inbreeding to the influential My Charmer — the Rasmussen Factor — but it would add the other major sires missing from Hakassan’s pedigree, and it’s notable that Tapit’s champion Hansen — bred on the reverse cross — is out of a Sir Cat mare, too.
But what of South American form and influence, particularly from Chile? As far as South America goes, Argentine-bred and -raced horses, particularly Forli, Lord at War, and Candy Ride, have been significantly successful sires here, while Dorine is the second dam of Personal Ensign, Gold Sun is the second dam of Cigar, and Taba was the dam of Turkoman, etc. But Chile is internationally recognized as a “Part I” country like the US, Europe and Argentina in the “International Cataloguing Standards Book,” too, and Chilean imports have capably demonstrated that Chilean form translates at the highest levels here.
Tizna, for example, came from Hipodromo Chile and became a multiple G1 winner in the US, and she’s had profound influence here in pedigrees as well. The “Tiz” from her name is readily apparent in the pedigree of top racehorse and leading sire Tiznow, whose sire, the stakes-placed Cee’s Tizzy, was produced by a daughter of Tizna.
The Kentucky Derby winner Gato del Sol was sired by perhaps one of the most famous Chilean horses to race here, Cougar II, the “Big Cat.” The champion turf horse of 1972, Cougar II was a popular runner in Southern California who won such races as the G1 San Juan Capistrano on turf and the G1 Santa Anita Handicap on dirt for Charlie Whittingham.
More recently, Lido Palace, who like Hakassan won the “Dirt Triple Crown” at Hipodromo Chile — the Clasico Dos Mil Guineas (1600m), the Clasico Gran Criterium (1900m), and the Clasico St. Leger (2200m) — came to the US and won the G1 Whitney and G1 Woodward among other races. And at stud he got the multiple 2-year-old G1 winner Vineyard Haven.
Here’s a partial listing of some other Chilean-bred Graded winners in the US, in no particular order: India Divina (G1), Total Impact (G1), Puerto Madero (G1), Malek (G1), Host (G1), Infinidad (G1), Miss Brio (G1), Marimbula (G1), etc.
Chile has three main tracks. They are Hipodromo Chile, Club Hipico, and Valparaiso. The “National Triple Crown” of Chile consists of the G1 Premio El Ensayo over 2400m on turf at Club Hipico, the G1 El Derby over 2400m turf at Valparaiso, and the St. Leger over 2200m on dirt at Hipodromo Chile. To confuse matters, Club Hipico has its own Triple and Quadruple crowns, too. The last horse to win the National Triple Crown was the jet black Wolf during the 1990-91 season. He, by general consensus, is considered to be the best Chilean-bred horse, and he was imported to the US to race for a partnership that included Will Farish.
Unfortunately, Wolf, like Hakassan, wasn’t quite the same here. A bout of colic derailed him, and though he won a few races, notably defeating G1 Arlington Million winner Golden Pheasant in an allowance, he didn’t recreate his Chilean form. He later entered stud at Farish’s Lane’s End.
Below is Hakassan’s Triple: