Akasha is being bred in 2017 to Hit It A Bomb (War Front x Liscanna, by Sadler’s Wells; $7,000 LFSN at Spendthrift)
As we mentioned last year, we believe that Akasha’s best chance for success as a broodmare is going to come by crossing her with stallions from the Danzig sire-line, the best current representative of which is War Front. So when the explosive 2-year-old Grade 1 winner Hit It A Bomb was retired to Spendthrift Farm, we jumped at the chance to participate in the Share the Upside program with him, and he will be Akasha’s mate in 2017.
Hit It A Bomb was undefeated in three juvenile starts for trainer Aidan O’Brien and owner Evie Stockwell (the mother of Coolmore Stud’s John Magnier). Hit It A Bomb took a 7-furlong maiden race at the Curragh in Ireland in his first start, coming from the back of the pack to triumph over twenty-one rivals as the favorite, despite a poor outside post position draw. Running back less than two weeks later in the Star Appeal Stakes at the same distance over the all-weather surface at Dundalk, Hit It A Bomb again showed a brilliant turn of foot when set down to run off by four lengths from his rivals, despite being eased up at the finish. From there, Hit It A Bomb shipped to the U.S. for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
Sent off as the third choice at Keeneland when he drew the widest post in the field of fourteen, Hit It A Bomb trailed the field early, and at the top of the stretch he still had twelve rivals in front of him. But jockey Ryan Moore threaded his way through the field, and when Hit It A Bomb got into the clear in the final furlong, he showed an incredible turn of foot to make up a seven-length deficit and just get up in time for the win. Hit It A Bomb didn’t make it back to the races until August of his 3-year-old season when he finished third, beaten just a length against older rivals, in the Group 3 Desmond Stakes, then was third again in the Group 2 Boomerang Stakes (he was favored both times) before finishing off the board in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile to close out his career. He retired to Spendthrift with three wins and a pair of thirds in seven starts, and Akasha will be a member of his first book of mares.
Hit It A Bomb is a son of War Front, a leading juvenile sire in North America in 2016 (second on the Blood-Horse’s earnings list as of 11/24/16, despite having literally half as many foals as Into Mischief, who tops the list) with top-class performers in both the United States and Europe. In fact, Hit It A Bomb is a full-brother to the Group 1-winning 2-year-old filly of this last season, Brave Anna. War Front is one of the most commercially appealing stallions in the world because of his progeny’s accomplishments on both sides of the Atlantic, and there is every reason to expect that he will make it as a sire-of-sires, as well, given that his son The Factor sired a Grade 1-winning 2-year-old in his first crop in 2016. Foals and yearlings by War Front’s sons Declaration of War and Data Link have sold very well and will reach the races in 2017.
TrueNicks rates the match of Hit It A Bomb and Akasha a “B+” based on the cross of Danzig-line stallions with Pleasant Tap mares. As we noted last year, included among the stakes winners on this cross is Group 3 winner Gamble Me, who is quite closely related to the eventual Akasha foal by Hit It A Bomb. Delving a bit deeper, at least three of War Front’s Grade/Group-winning offspring feature Pleasant Colony or his sire His Majesty in their bottom lines, specifically Lines of Battle, War Command and Summer Front, and War Front’s 2015 European Champion 2-year-old Air Force Blue has a second dam by Seeking the Gold, while Akasha’s second dam is Seeking the Gold’s full-sister.
Akasha’s female family has consistently produced its best runners when mated with Northern Dancer-line stallions, and more specifically with Danzig and his descendants. Miner’s Game, the second dam of Akasha, produced Grade 3 winner and Grade 1-placed Survivalist by Danzig himself, as well as Survivalist’s multiple Grade 2-placed full-brother Polish Miner and another winning full-brother in Polish Gift. Miner’s Game also produced the stakes winner Power Game by Dixie Union (a Northern Dancer grandson), and her A.P. Indy daughter Trading (a half-sister to Akasha’s dam) produced Grade 3 winner Awesome Chic by Awesome Again (a son of Northern Dancer’s grandson Deputy Minister). In addition to Seeking the Gold, Miner’s Game is also a full-sister to Looking for Gold, whose daughter Good Gamble (by Pleasant Tap, and thus closely related to Akasha) is the dam of the multiple Group 3-winning Gamble Me by Danzig’s grandson Rock of Gibraltar. Akasha herself is a half-sister to the unraced Take It, dam of Group 3 winner and Group 1-placed Take It All by another Danzig grandson, Catcher in the Rye.
Although this mating will create no inbreeding through five generations, Hit It A Bomb himself is inbred 3×3 to Northern Dancer, with three more crosses of that stallion appearing in his 6th generation. Given the numerous successes achieved by Northern Dancer- and Danzig-line runners out of members of Akasha’s female family, these five appearances of Northern Dancer present in Hit It A Bomb’s pedigree, as well as his two crosses of Danzig, make him a very appealing mate for Akasha.
While Akasha is a long-bodied, lengthy mare, Hit It A Bomb is a more muscular, somewhat close-coupled horse in the mold of many Danzig-line horses, with a fantastic hip and hindquarter from which he derived his incredible turn-of-foot. And although Akasha did not reach the races until she was a 4-year-old, her late start was not due to any physical issues or immaturity on her part, but rather to the circumstances of her owner at the time. Therefore, she could be fully expected to throw to the 2- and 3-year-old successes of many of those in her female family when paired with a top class juvenile like Hit It A Bomb.