Bloodstock

Scat Daddy: Sons on the Rise

Aside from the insurance company, no one ever plans for their stallion to die prematurely. Whether by dominating their opponents on the track or surviving their health taking a turn for the worst, we start to forget that they are indeed mortal beings. It’s not intentional but it is hard to not get swept up in the romantic idea that time or bad luck will never catch up to our favorite…until it does.

Such was the case with many stallions: Street Cry’s passing left many in shock and disbelief. There was no dry eye when the announcement came that the sire of America’s darling, Zenyatta and Australia’s wonder woman, Winx, had died. The more we heard about his offspring’s good constitutions and great health, the more we began to vicariously apply it to him. Street Sense, Street Boss, Carlton House, Desert Party; the hits kept coming and the purse money kept flowing. That air of immortality continued until one day, we were brought back to Earth.

Sadly, the 2018 Triple Crown season brought back another painful wave of this phenomenon when Justify swept through and became the 13th winner only three years after American Pharoah brought us to our knees from relief at the Belmont. Unlike Pharoah -whose sire is still alive- those wanting to capture similar magic with Scat Daddy are out of luck. The top sire died in December of 2015 from a suspected sudden cardiac event; the farm manager of Coolmore even said:

Scat Daddy was in the best of health but totally unexpectedly he dropped dead when walking out of his paddock…

Justify @ Coolmore America

With his passing, we now look to the sons that are emerging from the crops that he had on the ground, and the hope is that there is an “Heir Apparent” among them. To many, the most likely candidate for obvious reasons is Justify. Why not? On one hand, he’s everything his sire was: a talented runner, a good looker, and even retired early for similar reasons (injury). On the other, Justify is entering his second career in a market that is drooling over early, precocious talent with flashy good looks to match. Scat Daddy did not have that luxury and never even saw the stud fee that his son will enjoy as a freshman sire. Now that there are two Triple Crown winners at Coolmore, the competition and quality mares are assured. It will be extremely unlikely (*read: next to impossible) that Coolmore will need to take the same path to ensure a good book. Meaning, no trips to Chile for him. The planes will be going in only one direction for this stallion’s career.

When it comes to breeding, one cannot forget the impact a good mare can have on the stallion she’s sent to for a mating. The dam makes a pedigree for me, so we’ll sink into the female family, too. Stage Magic was no slouch when it came to racing and earned a comfortable bankroll just south of $134,000 in her career. Her picture was taken three times and she finished on the board in eight of her twelve lifetime starts. These were stakes performances, too. She was only eight when she foaled Justify, and it coincidentally was the year that Scat Daddy died.

To unnecessarily pad Justify’s chances at success, he’s not a one hit wonder for her. A half brother named The Lieutenant just recently retired to New York for breeding duties, adding to her already enormous claim to fame as the dam of a Triple Crown winner. To date, only the Blue Hen Littleprincessemma can claim a similar record: American Pharoah and his Grade I winning full-sister Chasing Yesterday (still racing and on the Oaks trail). Stage Magic breathes rarified air and is part of an elite group; one so few ever get to be in. She’s since had a 2017 colt by Will Take Charge named One More City and a 2016 filly by Pioneerof The Nile named Egyptian Storm.

A fun side note, if you continue back through his dam’s family (the tail end on the female side), you’ll find a string of “sunny” mares: Sundown, Sunshine, Sunbeam, Sunflower, and even a few dedicated to later in the day; Noontide and Noonday. They liked continuation back then.

Daddy Long Legs @ Taylor Made

Justify isn’t the sole chestnut to keep an eye on as the next in line to the vacant throne in America. Daddy Long Legs was foaled in 2009 -only a year after Scat Daddy entered stud- and raced in Europe before trying his luck in the states. He was eased in the Kentucky Derby after laying fourth, and eventually retired a millionaire before traveling to Chile for his stallion career. He’s since been bought back and returned to America. The glorious chestnut will stand at Taylor Made in Lexington, KY for $10k.

Interestingly enough, many prominent sons of Scat Daddy based outside of the US are having fantastic success as sires on the turf, a trend that DLL only continues with winners on both surfaces. In fact, if you took away Justify, the most impressive performances are that of horses whose campaigns were oriented primarily on the grass or a synthetic of some kind. Runners like:

  • Mendelssohn -Affinity for Both Surfaces-
  • El Kabier -Dirt-
  • Daddy Nose Best -Dirt-
  • Flameaway -Dirt-
  • Caravaggio -Turf-
  • No Nay Never -Turf-

This list would take the entire page if everyone was included, but this is a wide selection of horses to choose from if your mare doesn’t work with Justify’s family or your wallet doesn’t work with the princely $150k stud fee. Mendelssohn comes with a gold mine of a female family and is a fifth of the price of Justify, but he’s going to be his own post. So, look out for that in the future.

In Europe, it has been conceded that the race for Scat Daddy’s heir has come down to No Nay Never and whether or not Caravaggio will be able to replicate the success. NNN has been experiencing tremendous support and success at the races; it’s a match race until someone else comes along or the competition does not pan out.

Daughters of Scat Daddy are also showing their best turn of foot on both surfaces: Daddys Lil’ Darling, Lady of Shamrock, Lady Aurelia (remember her wicked acceleration during Ascot?), Harmonize, Dacita, and Acapulco. It is not entirely out of the question that mares by Scat Daddy could produce foals with talent for both surfaces. They are certainly sought-after in the sales ring and the elite are paying big money for them.

Lady Aurelia in a rare start @ Keeneland. The mare cmapaigned largely in Europe before retiring to Stonestreet after being bought out by Mrs. Banke.

It would be remiss of me to not take a step away from the prodigal sons and discuss the daughters that are displaying as much -if not more- talent on the track. One such mare is one that likely everyone already knows: Lady Aurelia.

As one of the most famous members of the “Girls in Gold” and a homebred for the Stonestreet program, she was destined to be something great from the very first day. Lady Aurelia went through the sales ring in September 2014 at Keeneland and brought a pretty tag of $350,000 for what would later turn into the partnership of Stonestreet, George Bolton, and Peter Leidel. Stonestreet and Bolton had partnered up before with great success, most notably with Hall of Fame runner and star stallion Curlin.

When they get together on a horse, it is safe to assume that something great is coming.

Now, Lady Aurelia stepped out in the afternoon and threw all her aces on the table right there and then: she not only won the 4.5f race by 7.5 lengths, but she set a new track record at Keeneland by going 0:50.85 for the trip. If you weren’t picking your jaw up off the floor then, you were after her campaign in Europe where she dominated in the Prix Morny (FR-Gr.I) at 6f on the grass and then sparkled in front of the Queen at Royal Ascot. The American turf circuit has a bit of catching up to do when it comes to competing against the best in Europe, so when a filly like this comes along, she is a national treasure.

The final drive of the race is below. You don’t even need to see the beginning since it would not have mattered in the end anyway.

When it came time for her to retire, the good folks at Stonestreet understandably did not want to let her go and they went to a hefty $7.5 million to buy out the partners and get her back. If her racing talent translates to her breeding career, it was money well spent even outside of the sentimental scale.

Scat Daddy’s passing was a shame not just because he was a young horse that was gone too soon. His offspring are finally getting going and it will likely be a case similar to Saint Liam’s legacy after his death. We are fortunate to have a few good sons to choose from for now, but what will the future hold as the crops start to retire and join the genetic pool? Only time will tell. It’s a shame we lost him, but Scat Daddy has plenty of representation going into the future.