Bloodlines: Win The War Primed For Battle

Now unbeaten in two starts, Win the War (by War Front) drew off to a thunderous 11 ¼-length victory in the Glorious Song Stakes at Woodbine on Nov. 19 for owners Gary Barber and John Oxley.

The powerful bay filly was bred in Kentucky by Tada Nobutaka and sold at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga auction of selected yearlings for $700,000. By a leading international sire in War Front and out of a graded stakes-placed daughter of the highly regarded broodmare sire Carson City (Mr. Prospector), the yearling filly had been an obvious standout at Saratoga’s premier sale.

Furthermore, the filly’s dam, City Sister, had already produced Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes winner Dixie City (Dixie Union) and her full sister, stakes-placed Union City, who is the dam of G2 Peter Pan Stakes winner Unified (Candy Ride), who will enter stud in 2018 at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky.

With these pedigree credentials, Win the War was a top prospect, and then she fulfilled the physical expectations of a potentially top-quality athlete. Win the War had good length through the body, allied with the rounded muscle and generous hindquarter leverage so typical of the best members of the Northern Dancer stock through Danzig and his sons.

Not only was this filly good-looking and athletic, but she had handled herself well under the high pressure of frequent showing and interaction with people at the sale’s preview days. Consigned by Eaton Sales as agent, Win the War came to the sales grounds carrying good condition and maintained herself well amid the August heat and the repeated walking and posing that is such an active part of the process with top-tier sales yearlings.

The combination of those assets made Win the War bring the eighth-highest price at the 2016 Saratoga sale, and the striking bay filly has evidently prospered since.

Win the War won her debut on Oct. 20 at Woodbine going 6 ½ furlongs on turf, and like a lot of maidens, she learned a good deal from the effort. The filly went as much as five paths wide around the single turn, lugged in somewhat through the stretch, and still got up to win by a neck in 1:16.49 for the extended sprint.

The first five fillies finished in a three-length grouping, which didn’t make the effort look that special, but the race chart noted that Win the War “finished in hand.” The bay filly’s second start was a much more professional exercise. Win the War allowed the odds-on favorite, Grace and Dignity (Animal Kingdom), to race headlong through a quarter in :21.90, while Win the War was six lengths back in fourth, but the winner was only a length and a half behind after a half-mile in :44.38.

The favorite led to the stretch call, but Win the War used her power and exceptional cardio to stretch out to great effect through the final furlongs and finish far ahead of her competition.

Win the War thus became the third stakes horse for her dam. Additionally, two of City Sister’s daughters are already stakes producers, the good race filly Union City mentioned above and the unraced Saintly Sister (Saint Liam), who foaled the stakes-placed Abbot (Langfuhr).

The latter’s sire is a son of Danzig like War Front, and Northern Dancer is present in the pedigree of Win the War through four lines: Danzig, Storm Bird, and twice through Nijinsky.

Northern Dancer and his sons have long worked wonders with this family, and Win the War’s second dam Demi Soeur (Storm Bird) is a half-sister to champion 2-year-old colt Dehere, a son of leading sire Deputy Minister, who is by the Northern Dancer stallion Vice Regent.

A champion juvenile in the U.S. and Horse of the Year in Canada, Deputy Minister was a thrashing big horse himself but loaded with quality. A winner in 8 of 9 starts at 2, including the 1981 Laurel Futurity and Young America Stakes, Deputy Minister did not make the classics at 3, but he returned to race successfully at 4, winning the Donn and other stakes. At stud, Deputy Minister became an unqualified success with champions Go for Wand and Open Mind, plus Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Awesome Again, Kentucky Oaks winner Keeper Hill, and Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold.

Although his best season was at 2 and he repeatedly had trouble with his feet, Deputy Minister sired horses that were tough and stayed well. Dehere was one of his stars, winning 5 of 7 starts at 2 and the Eclipse as top juvenile, despite a bizarre unplaced finish in the 1993 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Dehere’s dam, the Secretariat mare Sister Dot, did not produce another stakes winner, although she did have a half-dozen other winners, including the stakes-placed Defrere and Danesis. Sister Dot’s daughter Demi Soeur was unraced but produced G3 Withers Stakes winner Fast Decision (Gulch), as well as the good broodmare City Sister, the dam of Win the War.

City Sister has a yearling colt by Declaration of War (War Front) that sold for $57,000 at the Fasig-Tipton October yearling auction, a weanling filly by Uncle Mo, and was bred back to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is chief of biomechanics for DataTrack International and is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in Central Kentucky. Check out Frank’s lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.

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