Bloodlines: Nadal Poised To Extend His Branch Of Arch Sire Line

Is Arch (by Kris S.) trying to construct his own male line, bridging time and space and fashion?

The effort of Grade 1 Arkansas Derby winner Nadal (by the Arch stallion Blame) suggests that this is not out of the realm of possibility, although Arch, one of the supremely solid sires of the breed, left it a little late in getting a champion colt, with Blame showing up in the stallion’s seventh crop.

A top-priced yearling at the Keeneland July select yearling sale in 1996, Arch sold for $710,000 after then-Claiborne Farm president Seth Hancock picked the striking near-black colt out of the Middlebrook Farm consignment. Winner of his debut at Keeneland in October at two, Arch won five of seven starts, including the G1 Super Derby and G2 Fayette Handicap, beating the previous year’s Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold (Deputy Minister) in the latter.

Hancock’s declared goal at the time of purchasing the first colt out of the very fast Danzig filly Aurora was to buy a top-tier prospect with top-tier stallion prospects. All Arch had to do was deliver the goods. Once the grand-looking horse had done so, he went to stud at Claiborne in 1999.

From the stallion’s first crop came the multiple G1 winner and highweight sprinter Les Arcs, who was a gelding, and subsequent stars included champion fillies Pine Island and Arravale, but Blame leveled the balance of quality with a trio of Grade 1 victories, including the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic, when the smooth-looking bay was also champion older horse.

Retired to stud for 2011, Blame did not get a superstar from his first crop, although half of the six stakes winners in that initial group were graded winners, including March, winner of the G2 Woody Stephens Stakes at Belmont. Since then, Blame has sired four Grade 1 winners: Abscond (Natalma), Fault (Santa Margarita), Marley’s Freedom (Ballerina), and Senga (Prix de Diane). All those are fillies, and that fact did not help Blame climb the heights of supersire stardom. The biggest buyers want colts so they can shoot for (or dream of) the first Saturday in May.

Blame’s versatility in siring horses who race well on turf, as well as dirt, have speed, and mature well have played against his becoming a more recognized sire of classic prospects. The biggest buyers (and the most commercially conscious breeders) look to the sires of prominent colts who show their form on the Triple Crown trek. Siring something else leaves a horse under the radar.

With the way that Nadal rated and finished at Oaklawn Park, however, the powerful bay may be too big a smash for his sire to stay under the radar much longer.

“Blame has the exact same number of Grade 1 winners as Into Mischief. Each has five,” Claiborne’s Bernie Sams said. “Some of this is a matter of perception.”

There is also the Kris S. – Arch – Blame sire profile, which tilts toward improvement with age. This may not be the preference of the sales community, but improvement with maturity doesn’t work against quality or excellence.

Among active North American sires of graded stakes winners, based on their percentage of graded winners to foals, War Front (Danzig) and Tapit (Pulpit) are nearly inseparable at one-two with 6.1 and six percent, and Speightstown (Gone West) – the sire of the 2020 Arkansas Derby, Division 1, winner Charlatan – is third at 4.6 percent. Quality Road and Ghostzapper tie for fourth at 4.2 percent.

It may come as a surprise that Blame is 11th at 3.4 percent, and the bay son of Arch holds the same position by percentage of Grade 1 winners to foals, with 1.1 percent.

“This horse is a lot better than some people may think,” Sams said. “We don’t breed the biggest books of mares here at Claiborne. We never have, and until we get a significant representation for the stallion with several crops on the ground, it’s tough. Arch was that way; Flatter was that way,” in the development of their stallion careers, and yet both became leading sires.

First Samurai is another Claiborne stallion who has been an under-recognized success at stud, and Blame is following in those hoofprints.

Is he about to make tracks of his own?

The post Bloodlines: Nadal Poised To Extend His Branch Of Arch Sire Line appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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