By Alan Porter
The exceptionally speedy Union Jackson – described as “..brilliant..” by his Hall of Fame trainer, Steve Asmussen – is by two-time Horse of the Year and exceptional sire, Curlin, out of Hot Dixie Chick, who was not only the fastest two-year-old filly of her crop, but is also half-sister to Kentucky Derby (gr. I) victor, Always Dreaming.
Curlin is out of a mare by Deputy Minister, a broodmare sire who worked very well under Curlin’s sire, Smart Strike. Breeding Curlin back over Deputy Minister line mares has proved to work well providing Travers Stakes (gr. I) winner Keen Ice out of a mare by Awesome Again (sire of Ghostzapper, Awesome of Course and Daaher), multiple grade one winner Curalina out of a mare by Graeme Hall (by Dehere, a brother to Defrere), and a stakes winner out of a mare by Silver Deputy (sire of Posse, Spring At Last and Badge of Silver and grandsire of Kodiak Kowboy). Other sources of Deputy Minister include Touch Gold (sire of Mass Media and Medallist), Deputy Commander, Salt Lake, Forest Camp and French Deputy.
Another very strong cross for Smart Strike has been with Northern Dancer through Danzig, which for Curlin has supplied Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) victor Good Magic out of a mare by Hard Spun; two Curlin stakes winners, including grade two winner Irish War Cry, out of mares by Polish Numbers; and Curlin stakes winners out of daughters of Ascot Knight, Pine Bluff and Foxhound. This would also invite daughters of Belong to Me (broodmare sire of Smart Strike’s Champion Lookin At Lucky), Chief’s Crown (sire of Concerto; grandsire of Bellamy Road), Boundary (sire of Big Brown), Dayjur, Honor Grades, Exchange Rate, Langfuhr and War Front.
Curlin has already developed a strong affinity for Storm Cat line mares, including grade two scorer Diversy Harbor and classic placed Ride on Curlin and two other stakes winners out of mares by Storm Cat himself, graded stakes winner Ocean Knight out of a mare by Stormy Atlantic, and stakes winner Theogany from a mare by Tale of the Cat (sire of Lion Heart, who might work well, as might his son, Line of David). There are also Smart Strike stakes winners out of mares by Storm Cat sons Mountain Cat, Storm Creek and Giant’s Causeway (brother to Freud and sire of First Samurai, Giant Gizmo, Aragorn, Creative Cause, Eskendereya, Frost Giant, Giant Oak, Heatseeker, Noble Causeway and Stonesider), and this also suggests daughters of such as Tabasco Cat, Forest Wildcat (sire of Wildcat Heir), Bernstein, Cat Thief, Forestry, Hennessy (sire of Johannesburg, Henny Hughes and Cactus Ridge, grandsire of Scat Daddy), Stormin Fever, Sir Cat, Storm Boot and Tactical Cat.
Storm Cat is a son of Storm Bird, and that horse’s genetic relative Nijinsky II has also worked well under Smart Strike, including a grade one winner from a mare by Strawberry Road, and Canadian classic winner, Breaking Lucky, out of a mare by Sky Classic (giving inbreeding to the family of Smart Strike). Consider also daughters of Royal Academy (a close relative to Storm Cat), Shadeed, Alydeed, Seattle Dancer and Sword Dance.
From the Nureyev branch of Northern Dancer, Curlin is sire of classic winner Palace Malice out of a mare by Royal Anthem, and a stakes winner from a mare by that horse’s sire, Theatrical, and graded winner Texas Ryano out of a mare by Great Commotion. Smart Strike and sons have three stakes winners, two graded, out of mares by Stravinsky, and mares by Atticus, could also be tried. Nureyev is a three-quarters brother to Sadler’s Wells, and there are 11 stakes winners on a cross of Smart Strike and sons, including from daughters of El Prado (sire of Medaglia d’Oro, Kitten’s Joy and Artie Schiller) and Horse Chestnut.
Smart Strike crossed very well with mares by Wild Again (by Northern Dancer’s three-quarters relative, Icecapade), and Curlin has stakes winner Stopshoppingdebbie out of a mare by that horse. Other Wild Again sons, such as Wild Rush or Milwaukee Brew could also be considered.
Curlin has sired Champion Stellar Wind out of a mare by A.P. Indy son, Malibu Moon, and there are also two Smart Strike grade one winners out of mares by A.P. Indy himself, as well as from daughters of Bernardni (sire of Algorithms, Stay Thirsty and To Honor and Serve) and Pulpit (sire of Sky Mesa, Tapit, Sightseeing and Stroll; grandsire of Concord Point, Trappe Shot and Tapizar). This also suggests considering daughters of Congrats, Flatter, Mineshaft (sire of Discreetly Mine and Dialed In), Golden Missile, Old Trieste, Jump Start and Stephen Got Even. Curlin’s classic winner Exaggerator is out of a mare by Seattle Slew son Vindication; his grade two winner Moulin de Mougin is out of a daughter of Avenue of Flags; and two-year-old grade one scorer Off the Tracks is out of a mare by Boston Harbor, by Seattle Slew son, Capote (also sire of Matty G. and grandsire of Mayakovsky).
Curlin has graded winner Curlin’s Approval out of a mare by Caro son, With Approval. Union Jackson’s granddam is a graded stakes winning daughter of Caro line stallion In Excess, and duplicating that strain through Uncle Mo, looks particularly interesting, with In Excess also available through Uncle Mo’s sire, Indian Charlie (also sire of Adios Charlie, Bwana Charlie and Liaison), and his sire Siberian Express, also appearing as sire of Siberian Summer. There is also a graded stakes winner by a son of Smart Strike out of a mare by Cozzene (sire of Mizzen Mast and Alphabet Soup).
There is a grade one winner by Smart Strike out of a mare by Rahy from the Blushing Groom line, and Curlin has a stakes winner on the same cross. Smart Strike also has a stakes winner out of a mare by Blushing Groom son, Runaway Groom (sire of Cherokee Run; grandsire of Yonaguska and Kafwain).
Smart Strike and sons have done very well with mares from the Roberto line, with a grade one winner out of a mare by Lear Fan, a graded winner out of a mare by Red Ransom (and a stakes winner out of a mare by his son, Hold For Gold), and stakes winners out of mares by Blumin Affair (by Dynaformer), Silver Hawk and Kris S. (sire of Arch, Prized, You and I and Rock Hard Ten).
From the In Reality line Curlin has a stakes winner out of a mare by Valid Expectations (by Valid Appeal, also sire of Valid Expectations and Successful Appeal), and from the Relaunch branch stakes winners from daughters of Honour and Glory (sire of Put It Back) and Bertrando (sire of Officer). This also suggests daughters of Tiznow (sire of Tiz Wonderful).
The dam of Union Jackson is a half-sister to Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Always Dreaming, by Bodemeister, a son of Empire Maker (also sire of Pioneerof the Nile), from the Unbridled/Fappiano branch of Mr. Prospector. Smart Strike line stallions have outperformed opportunity with Unbridled line mares, particularly through Unbridled’s Song, the sire of Songandaprayer, First Defence, Half Ours, Old Fashioned, Rockport Harbor, Buddha, Dunkirk, Eurosilver, Even the Score, Mission Impazible, Noonmark, Value Plus (broodmare sire of a Smart Strike stakes winner) and Zensational. Other sources of Unbridled include Grindstone (whose son, BIrdstone, sired a Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner out of a Smart Strike mare) and Broken Vow. Another from the Fappiano line who would work well here is Midnight Lute, a parallel Mr. Prospector/Deputy Minister cross to Curlin.
Curlin also has grade one winner Connect out of a mare by Holy Bull (sire of Flashy Bull and Macho Uno) and a multiple graded stakes winner out of a mare by Yes It’s True.
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