By Frances J. Karon
It was a blow to the industry when the “Iron Horse” Giant’s Causeway passed away at Ashford Stud in April of 2018, and I was reminded of that when scrolling through the black-type stakes results from the past week, when Giant’s Causeway’s sire- and broodmare sire-lines were represented by stakes horses in Argentina, Canada, Chile, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Norway, and the U.S.
Giant’s Causeway’s Eskendereya provided the headliner, with his son Mitole winning the G1 Forego S. at Saratoga. Mitole pushed his earnings over the $2 million mark. Eskendereya, a G1 winner at three in the Wood Memorial, stood at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky before his sale to Japan.
On the same card as Mitole, Significant Form won the G2 Ballston Spa on the turf. Her sire, Airdrie Stud’s Creative Cause, was a G1SW at two for Giant’s Causeway.
Cowboy Cal, a G2-winning, millionaire son of Giant’s Causeway, had a SW, Cali Dream, at Thistledown in addition to Special Relativity, who was third in a G1 at Saratoga. Their sire is now standing in Korea.
Front Run the Fed, by Fed Biz (at WinStar), was also a SW at Saratoga, in the Better Talk Now S.
Even Giant’s Causeway got in on the action, with stakes winner Giant Payday at Thistledown.
Meanwhile in the UK, a pair of Richard Hannon-trained Footstepsinthesand 2yos, Threat and Mums Tipple, were very impressive: Threat won the G2 Gimcrack at York a day after Mums Tipple produced a scintillating effort, winning a valuable sales race — not black type, but a stakes race is said to be next on his agenda — by 11 lengths. Their sire Footstepsinthesand was a British Classic winner from Giant’s Causeway’s first crop.
Also in Europe, Lope de Vega, a French Classic winner whose sire is Giant’s Causeway’s first-crop French Classic winner Shamardal — best known these days as the sire of Blue Point, who pulled off a G1 Royal Ascot double this summer — had a double himself, with a G2 win for Duke of Hazzard at Goodwood and a Listed win for Platinum Star at Ripon.
In Chile, Happy Bunny, by G1SW/millionaire Aragorn, earned his first career black-type win.
Other Giant’s Causeway sire line influences: Giant Expectations (by Frost Giant), 2nd in the G2 Pat O’Brien at Del Mar; and stakes-placers Cape Byron-G2 (by Shamardal), Larchmont Lad (Footstepsinthesand), and Manuela de Vega (Lope de Vega) in the UK; Waldpfad-G2 (Shamardal) in Germany; and Kid is Frosty (Frost Giant) at Saratoga in the U.S.
On the broodmare sire side of things, either Giant’s Causeway or one of his sons was damsire of SWs Woman’s Heart-G3 (in Japan), Homeland Security, and Two Thirty Five, and of stakes-placers Buddy Bob-G3 (in Norway), Royal Youmzain-G3 (in Germany), Pretty Pollyanna and Vivionn in the UK, Rail Hugger in Canada, and Royal Top Sea in Argentina.
Giant’s Causeway may be gone but, clearly, he is far from forgotten, and there is more to look forward to as we continue to follow the first crops of his multiple G1-winning son Carpe Diem (at WinStar), G1-winning grandson Lea (at Claiborne, standing beside his sire First Samurai), first yearlings by G1SW Brody’s Cause (at Spendthrift) and G3SW Not This Time (at Taylor Made), and look ahead to the arrival of the first crop of foals by Mor Spirit-G1 (a son Eskendereya standing at Spendthrift) and, even farther ahead, Mitole, who is slated to retire to Spendthrift in 2020, when the exciting Blue Point will be standing his first season, at his owner’s Kildangan Stud in Ireland.