By Sid Fernando
Three Chimneys is now under the influence of Doug Cauthen—long an architect of WinStar’s rise to prominence—so is it surprising that one of the two new sires at the Midway nursery is a son of WinStar stalwart Tiznow, a leading sire in North America?
The horse in question is Strong Mandate, his sire’s only G1-winning colt at two. Bred by prominent horseman G. Watts Humphrey Jr. of Shawnee Farm in Kentucky, Strong Mandate’s family traces back many generations in tail-female to matrons cultivated by Humphrey’s grandfather, G.M. Humphrey, Secretary of the Treasury under President Dwight Eisenhower.
Strong Mandate’s fifth dam, the Heliopolis mare Most Likely, was bred by G.M. Humphrey in 1953; and the fourth dam, Likely Swap, by Swaps, was bred by G.M. Humphrey in 1962. Strong Mandate’s third dam, G1 winner Likely Exchange, by Terrible Tiger, was bred in 1974 by the Secretary’s widow Pamela S. Humphrey, after his death in 1970.
Pamela S. Humphrey’s daughter Pamela H. Firman and G.Watts Humphrey Jr., Firman’s nephew, were up next. In partnership, they bred G1 winners Dream Deal, by Sharpen Up, in 1986; and Clear Mandate, by Deputy Minister, in 1992. They are the second dam and dam, respectively, of Strong Mandate.
Because of the G1 lineage of this family spanning four generations and its prominence in Kentucky breeding circles, there’s cachet associated with Strong Mandate though both equine and human conections. Clear Mandate’s auction history as a young dam of well-bred yearlings was fairly spectacular and evidence of this: her first foal by A.P. Indy, stakes winner Full Mandate, made $3.2 million as a yearling; her second, Newfoundland, a G3 winner and G1-placed son of Storm Cat, was sold for $3.3 million; and her third foal, the Storm Cat G2-placed The Mighty Tiger, brought $2.5 million.
By the time Strong Mandate was foaled in 2011, however, Clear Mandate was 19 and aged, and she hadn’t produced another stakes horse through the years. Still, D. Wayne Lukas wasn’t deterred in paying $200,000 for the big yearling Tiznow colt at auction. He was from a storied family Lukas knew well, dating all the way back to the 1985 Belmont Stakes when rival Woody Stephens won the classic with third dam Likely Exchange’s gelded son Creme Fraiche, also bred by Pamela H. Firman and G. Watts Humphrey Jr., while Lukas ran last with Preakness winner Tank’s Prospect.
As a half-brother to staying colt Newfoundland and from the family of staying females and classic winner Creme Fraiche, Strong Mandate appeared to have plenty of stamina for the classics, which is a requisite for a Lukas purchase. Plus, his sire had won the Breeders’ Cup Classic twice, and his broodmare sire’s daughters had produced Belmont Stakes winners Jazil and Rags to Riches, Preakness winner Curlin, and Travers winner Golden Ticket by speed influence Speightstown, among others.
Strong Mandate’s story, of course, is known. He didn’t stay, but he teased Lukas mercilessly right through the spring of his three-year-old season after success at two, when he was precocious enough to win the 7-furlong Hopeful-G1 at Saratoga by almost 10 lengths in a manner that suggested he was a legitimate classics contender. He’d run third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-G1 at a mile and a sixteenth to keep those hopes alive, too, but after a second-place finish in the Southwest-G3 at three, followed by a fourth in the Rebel-G2 and an eighth in the Arkansas Derby-G1, a knee chip was discovered and the jig was up; he was promptly retired, in May.
There aren’t many horses that can withstand the Lukas training regimen without blemishes—Will Take Charge, the iron horse also beginnig his career at Three Chimneys, is one—and if Strong Mandate buckled under the pressure, there’s no shame in it. He won two races and placed twice from eight starts, won a G1 race at two, and earned $529,566. He’s a legitimate sire prospect, and Doug Cauthen has put his stamp of approval on him. He stands for $10,000, which is value.
He’s a big horse, too—just over 16.2 hands at the moment—that projects power and early maturity, and with his race record and pedigree he could fill the void left by the successful young Tiznow sire Tiz Wonderful, who was sold to Korea this year despite siring a G1-winning two-year-old of 2014.
Mating suggestions are fairly straightforward. Tiznow crosses well with the sires of Strong Mandate’s siblings, A.P. Indy and Storm Cat, and mares by these lines are strongly recommended for Strong Mandate. For Tiznow, Storm Cat-line mares are A+++ Werk Nick Ratings with five Graded SWs; A.P. Indy mares for Tiznow are also A+++, also with five Graded SWs.