Among the notable results from last weekend’s graded stakes were Unbridled Mo’s victory in the Monmouth Oaks (gr. III) and Tourist’s success in the Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IT). Unbridled Mo’s tally was particularly notable, as it credited her sire Uncle Mo with his 19th stakes winner—11 graded—believed to be a record for a sire’s first crop. Tourist’s triumph delivered 19-year-old Tiznow—at the other end of the age scale—his 14th grade I winner and 37th graded winner.
The fast-rising star and the illustrious veteran have sire lines with California connections—Uncle Mo is by Indian Charlie, a son of California sire In Excess, and Tiznow is a son of California’s Cee’s Tizzy. The success of that pair is a promising precedent for the coming stud career of another of the weekend’s major stakes winners, California Chrome, who turned a highly competitive renewal of the $1 Million TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (gr. I) into a romp.
California Chrome’s fifth victory in five 2016 starts may, in retrospect, be viewed as the point at which the chestnut stepped into the pantheon of the greats. At minimum we can see that he’s compiled a rare body of work since he broke his maiden going 4 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park in May of 2013. His victory in the Graduation Stakes at 2, made him the first Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner to take a 2-year-old stakes at a distance as short as 5 1/2 furlongs since 1974 Derby winner Cannonade. After a five-race winning skein comprising the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at 3, California Chrome ended his sophomore year by taking the Hollywood Derby (gr. IT)—the first Kentucky Derby winner to subsequently capture a grade I on the turf since Secretariat took the Man o’ War Stakes (gr. IT) in 1973. This year’s four wins leading to the Pacific Classic were headlined by a track-record-breaking 3 3/4-length triumph in the Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-I).
California Chrome’s sire, Lucky Pulpit—like In Excess and Cee’s Tizzy—has spent his stud career in California. Initially a West Coast-trained Triple Crown hopeful, Lucky Pulpit eventually switched location and surfaces, winning the five-furlong Smile Stakes on turf at Arlington International Racecourse as a 4-year-old. A son of Pulpit, Lucky Pulpit is out of a three-quarter sister to the dam of Unbridled’s Song, and, coincidentally, his granddam is a half sister to Tiznow’s broodmare sire, Seattle Song.
California Chrome’s dam, Love the Chase, is by another stallion from a regional market, Maryland’s Not For Love. Not For Love is a grandson of champion Numbered Account, who also appears as the dam of Polish Numbers, Love the Chase’s broodmare sire.
Numbered Account is inbred 2×3 to the three-quarter sisters Busanda/Striking, both granddaughters of La Troienne. In that way California Chrome rather emulates his male-line ancestor Seattle Slew, whose dam is 3×3 to the sisters Striking/ Busher, both granddaughters of La Troienne.