By Sid Fernando
Last year, Darby Dan’s Shackleford played second fiddle to the farm’s Dialed In, the champion first-crop sire of 2016, but it’s a new ball game this year. Shack was on the attack today when his first-time starter Malagacy romped in a maiden special at Gulfstream by 15 lengths. It was an impressive performance and he was promptly named a TDN Rising Star.
Darby Dan’s stallion director Ryan Norton, in a conversation from a few days ago, was prescient. “We’re expecting big things from Shack this year. He’s a big, rangy horse, and his 2-year-olds were gravy. They should be much better this year.”
Here’s Malagacy from today:
Todd Pletcher may have unveiled a VERY good horse in the seventh at Gulfstream! Malagacy ROMPED under Javier Castellano. pic.twitter.com/51iAWGMFIe
— TVG (@TVG) January 4, 2017
Shackleford, who started out at $20,000 but is $15,000 for 2017, actually had 20 2-year-old winners in 2016 — the highest of any first-crop sire. One of them, Wellabled, was a G3 winner, and he finished the year 10th on TDN’s first-crop sire list. This could, as Norton implied, set him up well for the year.
Shackleford won once from two starts at 2, but he heated up in the spring of his 3-year-old season and was second by a head to Dialed In in the G1 Florida Derby. After winning the G1 Preakness, he was placed in the G1 Haskell Invitational and the G1 BC Dirt Mile. At 4, he won the G1 Metropolitan Mile and the G1 Clark and was also placed in the G1 Carter. All told, he won six races and placed in another six and from 20 starts he earned $3,090,101. He won Graded races from seven furlongs to a mile and three-sixteenths.
Shackleford’s race record reflected the mix of the speed and stamina of his pedigree. His sire, the Storm Cat horse Forestry, was fast, while his accomplished dam, stakes-placed Oatsee, a daughter of Derby winner Unbridled, has produced five Graded winners, including G1 Alabama Stakes winner Lady Joanne. Oatsee was named Broodmare of the Year in 2011.
Malagacy was bred by John Trumbulovic in Kentucky from the Dehere mare Classiest Gem, who has ties to Darby Dan. Classiest Gem was bred by Darby Dan client Charles Fipke, who also bred her dam, the Pleasant Colony mare Classiest Carat, who was foaled in British Columbia in 1995. From Classiest Carat, Fipke had bred and raced the Canadian champion mare Impossible Time, who won nine races from 14 starts and earned $597,550.
Trumbulovic posted this foal picture of Malagacy today:
— John Trumbulovic (@jtrumbulovic) January 4, 2017
Malagacy sold for $45,000 as a Keeneland weanling, $130,000 as an OBS August yearling, and $190,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Maryland May 2-year-old.