Bravazo (Hodges Photography)
Risen Star Stakes Winner Bravazo
by Alastair Bull
Calumet Farm has been the most successful owner and breeder of Kentucky Derby winners, but it’s been a long time since it was last successful.
In 2018, the Calumet team will be hoping Bravazo can put them back on top again.
Calumet has owned the Derby winner eight times – twice as many as the next-best. However, its last success was 50 years ago, when Forward Pass was a controversially promoted winner following the disqualification of Dancer’s Image.
Calumet has also bred the Derby winner nine times. All eight of the winners it owned – Whirlaway, Pensive, Citation, Ponder, Hill Gail, Iron Liege, Tim Tam, and Forward Pass – were bred by Calumet, and it also bred the 1991 winner Strike the Gold.
Bravazo entered the Derby picture in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) in October when he earned four points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby table by finishing second to Free Drop Billy. However, a failure in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) caused him to be ignored by many leading into 2018.
The D. Wayne Lukas-trained colt scored a brave victory in his 3-year-old opener, an allowance at Oaklawn Park, but he still started at 21-1 in the Risen Star Stakes (G2) Feb. 17. However, he again showed his bravery in out-dueling Snapper Sinclair to win the race, earning 50 points and ensuring he will have a place in the starting gate on the First Saturday in May.
Bravazo is by the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Awesome Again. He has become a very good sire, and many of his best progeny – such as Game On Dude, Ghostzapper, Ginger Punch, and Awesome Gem – won Grade 1 races at the Kentucky Derby trip of 1 ¼ miles. Awesome Again has also sired one U.S. Classic winner, the 2013 Preakness Stakes winner Oxbow.
Like Oxbow, Bravazo is out of a mare by Californian-based sire Cee’s Tizzy. Best known as the sire of dual Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow – whose sister Tizamazing is Oxbow’s dam – Cee’s Tizzy sired 28 stakes winners in total. Bravazo’s dam Tiz o’ Gold, a winner of seven races up to 1 1/16 miles, is bred on a similar cross to Tiznow – by Cee’s Tizzy out of a mare by a grandson of Seattle Slew – which is encouraging. However, the female family is mainly sprint-biased: it includes the six-furlong stakes winners Broadway Pointe, Mz. Ann, and To B. Or Not.
Bravazo’s female family will throw some doubts onto his ability to stay 1 ¼ miles. However, as he is by Awesome Again and out of a Cee’s Tizzy mare, his chances of staying the Derby trip should not be dismissed. Keep an eye on his next Derby lead-up when assessing his stamina.
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