It’s always a good idea, during breeding season, to have a back-up plan in mind, and we’ve been forced to switch to our “Plan B” with Starr Gate this spring — she’ll now be part of the first book of the brilliant classic-placed Curlin son Irish War Cry.
Curlin is one of — if not *the* — best classic dirt sires in North America at the moment, and he has produced a pair of stakes winners so far (including Eclipse Champion Stellar Wind) from just 33 foals aged 3 & up out of mares by sons of A.P. Indy, good for 6.1%. Curlin has just three foals out of daughters of Mineshaft (as Starr Gate is), two of which are winners, and notably, the first winner by a son of Curlin is Palace Malice’s daughter Letsstaypositive, who is out of a daughter of Mineshaft. There are five foals aged 3 & up by other sons of Smart Strike (like Curlin is) and out of mares by Mineshaft, of which two — Lookin At Eight and Boxwood — are stakes winners. So this “nick” has been a good one. And going back another generation, Starr Gate’s own broodmare sire is Grand Slam, a son of Gone West, and Gone West-line mares have produced a handful of stakes winners by Smart Strike and his sons.
Despite being by Mineshaft, who himself crafted a Horse of the Year campaign at 4 with seven two-turn Graded victories, including two at the classic distance of 1-1/4 miles, and who was a son of the renowned classic influence A.P. Indy, Starr Gate was a very fast sprinter who takes after her female family, which is full of quite quick runners. For instance, her dam, Stellar, was a debut-winning 2-year-old sprinting who then placed in a Grade 2 sprint in her second start, and at 3 won a 6-furlong stakes race. Stellar’s half-brother, Gygistar, won the G1 King’s Bishop and the G2 Riva Ridge, both going 7 furlongs. Their dam won once from two starts at 2, and she is out of the Grade 2-placed 2-year-old Ellie Milove, a Dr. Fager half-sister to Champion Sprinter Eillo. On top of all that, Starr Gate looks like a sprinter — she is close-coupled and stocky with very muscular hindquarters, though she is a tall mare with plenty of leg, also.
This makes her a nice match for the well-balanced and scopey Irish War Cry, who — although he scored all three of his Graded stakes victories around two turns and was 2nd as the favorite in the G1 Belmont going a mile-and-a-half — was unbeaten sprinting at 2-years-old, and had loads of tactical speed. He’s standing his first season at stud this spring in Maryland after originally being slated for a spot in Kentucky, and we think he’s got every shot to make it in this market — including with a quick and early (chestnut) foal from Starr Gate!
Irish War Cry wins the G2 Wood Memorial
Irish War Cry wins the G2 Holy Bull
Irish War Cry wins the Marylander Stakes at 2
Irish War Cry wins first-time out at 2 going 6 furlongs