Monday, May 26, 2008
Apache Cat: Another Horse Americans Should Know
In her wonderfully-informative series called “Horses Americans Should Know” Superfecta has thus far covered Makybe Diva and Soviet Song. I don’t want to step on her toes, but after the race I saw on Friday night, I just had to add my own contribution: Apache Cat.
What makes The Cat such a fascinating horse? Well, there’s the blaze for one—it’s more a splash of white than a blaze, and it covers much of his face like an Indian pony, thus his name. The 5-year-old chestnut gelding also has four white stockings—and his rock star looks along with his dynamic racing style have gained him a massive following in Australia, including his own fan website.
There are American connections in his breeding: his sire was the ill-fated Mr. Prospector son Lion Cavern, out of the Secretariat mare Secrettame. Grade 1-placed at 2 and 3 in England, Lion Cavern came to the US at 4, winning the G2 True North and finishing second in the G3 Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial Dash and third in the G1 Vosburgh. He produced 11 crops of foals before, unfortunately, dying of colic shortly after being exported to stand stud in Greece in 2004. Ironically, his dam Secrettame also died of colic. Lion Cavern was a full-brother to sire of sires Gone West (Grand Slam, Mr. Greeley, Elusive Quality, Speightstown, Came Home, and Commendable)—Gone West is also the sire of my beloved Southwestern Heat.
Apache Cat’s dam Tennessee Blaze is a daughter of Whiskey Road, a son of English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky by the American champion filly and US Racing Hall of Fame member Bowl of Flowers (who never finished out of the money in 16 starts at 2 and 3). Whiskey Road produced, among others, champion Strawberry Road who won or placed in G1 races on three continents.
As a 3-year-old, Apache Cat won 4 graded events, including the G1 Cadbury Guineas. His 4-year-old campaign was less-than-stellar, with only 2 graded wins; however, as a 5-year-old, he has been impressive, with 7 graded stakes wins since last August, including 5 grade 1 starts in a row—here are videos of three of them:
G1 Lightning Stakes at Flemington on February 2
G1 Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley on February 16
G1 Doomben 10,000 on May 24
After his fifth consecutive grade 1 victory last Friday, the packed-crowd of race fans on hand gave him a standing ovation. Well-deserved accolades for one of the world’s best sprint horses!
30 starts: 16 wins, 2 places, 4 shows. $3.3 million.