With his front-running victory in the 1 1/8-mile Fukuryu Stakes at Nakayama Racecourse in Japan, Herrschaft has emerged as a new name on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby.
While it’s unclear whether the chestnut colt will make the trip to Churchill Downs—he isn’t currently nominated to the Triple Crown—shipping to the U.S. would be something of a homecoming for the Kentucky-bred colt. Indeed, Herrschaft brings a thoroughly American pedigree to the table, though it’s one that gives off mixed signals as far as distance proclivities are concerned.
Herrschaft hails from the second crop of Will Take Charge, the champion 3-year-old male of 2013. Winner of the 1 1/4-mile Travers (G1) and runner-up by a nose in the 1 1/4-mile Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), Will Take Charge was defined by late-maturing stamina, though it remains to be seen how much stamina he’ll pass to his foals. Will Take Charge has gotten off to a slow start at stud, with the modest stakes-winning sprinters Kim K and Cashcheckorcharge among his most noteworthy runners to date, though there’s a chance Will Take Charge’s foals will follow in his footsteps and improve with maturity.
After all, Will Take Charge comes from as classy a family as you’ll ever hope to find. A son of successful sire Unbridled’s Song, Will Take Charge was produced by the Dehere mare Take Charge Lady, winner of the Ashland (G1) and two renewals of the Spinster (G1) during her highly productive career. If anything, Take Charge Lady has proven even more successful as a broodmare; in addition to Will Take Charge, she is the dam of Florida Derby (G1) winner Take Charge Indy and also Charming, a debut winner at Keeneland who has in turn produced champion 2-year-old filly Take Charge Brandi and three-time Grade 1 winner Omaha Beach.
The dam of Herrschaft is Love Ava Love, a 0-for-3 maiden whose first foal, Saltarin, scored his most notable victory in a 1-mile maiden claiming race on turf at Santa Anita. A half-sister to the stakes winners Global Power and Pegasusbystorm (both at their best running a mile or farther), Love Ava Love is a daughter of Mr. Greeley, a talented sprinter who was beaten a neck in the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
At stud, Mr. Greeley primarily sired milers on both dirt and turf; Finsceal Beo won the English and Irish 1000 Guineas (both G1), Reel Buddy claimed the Sussex (G1), El Corredor nabbed the Cigar Mile (G1), and Whywhywhy won the Futurity (G1) to become four of Mr. Greeley’s most successful foals.
But as a broodmare sire, Mr. Greeley has taken on a slightly different profile, with his daughters producing a fair number of classy route runners. Hollywood Derby (G1) winner Raging Bull, Alabama (G1) heroine Eskimo Kisses, Oklahoma Derby (G3) victor Lone Sailor, and Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) winner Chicago Style have all won graded stakes races ranging in distance from 1 1/8 miles to 1 1/2 miles, while Grade 1 winners Ria Antonio and Zazu scored their signature victories running 1 1/16 miles.
Though it’s easy to interpret Herrschaft’s pedigree as that of a miler, if Will Take Charge and Mr. Greeley have both passed on a maximum dose of stamina, it’s possible 1 1/4 miles could be within Herrschaft’s distance capabilities. Certainly his decisive score in the 1 1/8-mile Fukuryu hints Herrschaft might be more long-winded than not.