Gotham Stakes (G3) winner Haikal is a real enigma to try to analyze. Usually Shadwell Farm homebreds have deep and rich pedigrees. Haikal fits that bill except for one glaring fact: his sire, Daaher, only has sired two graded winners from nine crops to race, Haikal being one of them.

Daaher is a son of Awesome Again who won the 2007 Jerome Handicap (G2) in fast time at four. He then came back in his next start to win the Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) in even faster time before doing little in two starts at the age of five. However, despite being a fast miler by Awesome Again, he has done little at stud.

What makes Haikal’s pedigree even stranger is that his unraced dam by Distorted Humor, Sablah, was bred to top sire Bernardini right away and produced Takaful, winner of the 2017 Vosburgh Stakes (G1) going seven furlongs. She was then bred to Medaglia d’Oro; both of those first two sires stood for around $100,000. However, she then visited Daaher, which produced Haikal. Without knowing how good Haikal or Takaful would be, she was bred to Hard Spun and then after Takaful won the Vosburgh, she went back to Bernardini. Only 10 years old, Sablah, with two graded winners from her first three foals to race, has a chance to be a top broodmare while staying within the Shadwell/Godolphin sire universe. But not with Daaher, who now stands for $3,000 in Louisiana.

Haikal’s second dam, Teeba, was stakes-placed on turf at three in England and is by notable dirt sire, Seeking the Gold. She produced a stakes winner in Dubai but little else despite being bred to top sires. She is a daughter of English champion juvenile filly Shadayid, who came back to win the 1,000 Guineas (G1) after a Group 1 score at two, and this is where the female family took off.

Haikal has no in-breeding in his first four generations but his dam is inbred to Mr. Prospector 3 X 3. Distorted Humor and Seeking the Gold are terrific broodmare sires and that is where most of his pedigree quality comes from. Daaher, like Ghostzapper, Oxbow and Paynter, is a Grade 1-winning son of Awesome Again and is a full brother to two-time Grade 1 hero Spun Sugar. Unfortunately, he has been victimized by small crops with little success despite Shadwell supplying him with quality mares.

What Haikal has going for him is a well-bred, but underachieving, sire and a female family that is showing, finally, graded winners on the dirt after some prior success on the dirt. If they continue to breed Sablah to their top dirt stallions, I think more stakes winners are on the way.

PHOTO: Haikal and jockey Rajiv Maragh win the Gotham Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct on March 9, 2019 (c) Adam Coglianese Photography