Coming up roses

Kentucky Derby day holds pride of place for many a racing enthusiast, but it was not until that first Saturday in May when Street Sense claimed this G1 event that history was rewritten

As we witness one of the biggest races days on the American turf calendar, we are reminded of the immense class Street Sense possessed not only throughout his two-year-old season, but during his classic year as well.

Street Sense won the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile during his two-year-old season, producing a devastating turn of foot which saw the Calvin Borel-ridden colt come from near last with a rail-hugging ride to take the jewel in the crown of American juvenile racing by a record ten-length margin. Subsequently crowned Eclipse Champion two-year-old of his year, Street Sense’s juvenile season indicated that the best could still be yet to come from the son of world-class sire sensation Street Cry.

Resuming in the G3 Tampa Bay Derby in mid-March, Street Sense had a fight on his hands when future stud mate Any Given Saturday poured on the pressure. The pair of top-notch colts produced a thrilling home stretch battle that resulted in a track record-breaking time. Street Sense eventually prevailed, with a narrow half-nose margin separating the pair as they crossed the line.

Two starts later, the multiple Stakes winner headed to Churchill Downs for the first Saturday in May and took his place in the time-honoured G1 Kentucky Derby. Settling in second-last position, many lengths behind early leader Hard Spun, Street Sense produced a tremendous effort to not only take the race, but to complete the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile/Kentucky Derby double, a feat never achieved before. Not since 1979 had the Champion two-year-old gone on to win the Run for the Roses, but Street Sense defied this jinx with his must-watch 19th to first dash.

Heading to the second leg of the US Triple Crown - the G1 Preakness Stakes - at his next start, Street Sense went down by a nose to eventual Horse of the Year Curlin. Skipping the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, Street Sense instead dropped back in distance to race at Saratoga in the G2 Jim Dandy Stakes. Won in previous years by fellow Darley shuttlers Bernardini and Medaglia d’Oro, Street Sense’s length-and-half length victory put him on track for his next assignment, the G1 Travers Stakes.

In a performance reminiscent of his Tampa Bay Derby tussle, Street Sense pulled out all stops to get up by a half-length, emulating both Bernardini and Medaglia d’Oro once again.

Retiring to Darley America, Street Sense shuttled to Australia to stand in the Hunter Valley for the first time in 2008. With his first crop set to sell at the upcoming weanling sales in late May, Street Sense’s first book of mares further highlights the highregard breeders have for the stallion.

With fillies on the ground by G1 winners Calaway Gal, Fine Society, Jezabeel and  Old Money, as well as colts out of sprint sensation Spinning Hill and the New Zealand Bloodstock Breeders’ Stakes winner Surprize Surprize, buyers will have a plethora of opportunity to purchase an outstandingly-bred weanling.

Tennessee Blaze, the dam of Champion sprinter Apache Cat foaled an impressive bay colt last season, while Saskarla and Sharise; sisters to G1 winners Takeover Target and Shame respectively, both have weanling colts likely to head through the sales ring.

With breeders extremely upbeat about Street Sense’s first crop of weanlings, it came as no surprise to see many book their mares back into the son of Street Cry during his second season. Scheduled to cover his third book this year, Street Sense will stand at Darley Kelvinside for a fee of $38,500 including GST.