Pedigree notebook: Gulfstream turf sprint double for Uncaptured

February 14th, 2023

There’s a lot of pedigree coverage for contenders on the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail, but what about all the other divisions in Thoroughbred racing? This is a space to highlight a wider range of pedigree musings.

Yes I Am Free, Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint (G3)
One Identity, Ladies Turf Sprint

Gulfstream Park staged two stakes on Saturday, and progeny of Uncaptured won both. A couple of hours after the four-year-old filly One Identity earned her first stakes win in the Ladies Turf Sprint, the seven-year-old gelding Yes I Am Free scored a repeat victory in the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint (G3). Both Florida-bred chestnuts prevailed by a half-length. Yes I Am Free wired his five furlongs in :55.71, while One Identity stalked and pounced in :55.92.

The speedy duo contributed to a productive beginning of 2023 for Uncaptured. His top performer, Havnameltdown, recently added the San Vicente (G2) to extend his record to 4-for-5, and the Bob Baffert trainee will try to handle a metric mile in the Feb. 25 Saudi Derby (G3). Also, Uncaptured’s Grade 3-winning son Lightening Larry captured the Jan. 14 Sunshine Sprint.

Unfortunately, all of these updates are rolling in for a sire who was exported to South Korea by the 2020 breeding season. Uncaptured had just his first two crops on the racetrack at the time. Canada’s Horse of the Year at two, he landed the 2013 Prince of Wales S. at three, suggesting that he would get precocious types who could train on.

Uncaptured was following a trajectory reminiscent of his sire, Lion Heart, who was sold off to Turkey at the same fledgling stage in his stud career. Perhaps best remembered for his gallant second to Smarty Jones in the 2004 Kentucky Derby (G1), Lion Heart was a front-running hero of the Hollywood Futurity (G1) and Haskell (G1).

As Lion Heart was settling into his new Turkish home in 2010, some of his best runners were advertising him in absentia. Chief among them was the dazzling juvenile Kantharos, who romped in his three starts by a combined margin of more than 28 lengths. We’ll never know what he might have become, since he sustained a career-ending injury after the Saratoga Special (G2). Lion Heart also came up with horses as diverse as the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winner Dangerous Midge and Arkansas Derby (G1) victor Line of David (sire of Firing Line, runner-up to American Pharoah in the 2015 Kentucky Derby).

Kantharos, a successful sire at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms in the Bluegrass, also had a great Saturday. His most notable winners were fillies, the streaking Drifaros in the Minaret S. at Tampa Bay Downs and the impressive debutante Monroe at Aqueduct. Kantharos stands alongside his millionaire son World of Trouble, who has his first juveniles in 2023.

Interestingly, there’s a pedigree angle in common with Kantharos and Uncaptured: both are out of Hail to Reason-line mares, like Lion Heart himself. Lion Heart’s dam, stakes winner Satin Sunrise, is not only by the Hail to Reason stallion Mr. Leader; she’s inbred to Hail to Reason. Kantharos is out of a mare from the line of Halo, and Uncaptured’s dam is by Arch, a scion of the Roberto line. That pattern is echoed in Lion Heart’s grandson Firing Line, whose dam is likewise by a Roberto-line stallion.

Considering what Lion Heart left us from just a handful of crops before his export, it’s worth wondering how much more he might have advanced his sire Tale of the Cat’s branch of the Storm Cat male line. Tale of the Cat still has other avenues to exploit; he sired triple Eclipse Award winner Gio Ponti (whose champion son Drefong is off to a roaring start at stud in Japan) and Tale of Ekati (sire of freshman hit Girvin, who just moved from Florida to Airdrie Stud in Kentucky).

Might Uncaptured be able to add to the Lion Heart legacy? Right now, Havnameltdown is his leading hope to carry on the line. Ironically, he was conceived during Uncaptured’s last season in Florida, just as Uncaptured was himself from Lion Heart’s final stateside crop.