On breeding: Sharing early to the party
Sharing. Photo by Maryland Jockey Club.
Among the winners in last month’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships was the fourth Maryland-bred in the series’ history, as Sharing took the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf to join Cigar and Concern (both winners of the Breeders’ Cup Classic-G1), plus Safely Kept (who triumphed in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint).
Though foaled at Sagamore Farm in Glyndon, Sharing is not campaigned by Kevin Plank’s Maryland-based operation, but was instead consigned as a yearling to the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Sale by Upson Downs Farm on behalf of Sagamore, where she brought $350,000 from Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, who race her with Gainesway Stable. The owners turned Sharing over to trainer Graham Motion, for whom she debuted this past July at Saratoga with a close third in a turf maiden special weight going just 5-1/2 furlongs on turf. A month later, for her second start, Sharing romped home 6-1/4 lengths to the good in a 7-furlong maiden special weight that was rained off the turf at the Spa.
Motion then formulated a plan to get Sharing to the Breeders’ Cup, which included Laurel’s September 21 Selima Stakes, lengthened this year to 1 1/16 miles, back on the turf. Sharing duly obliged, stalking an early speed duel before rallying to win going away by 2-1/2 lengths, closing her final sixteenth in :05.91.
That effort set her up perfectly for a score in the November 1 Breeders’ Cup race, where she belied 14-1 odds to come home 1 1/4 lengths clear of the European-trained race favorite Daahyeh[GB] and twelve other rivals, despite shortening back up to a mile.
Although she became the fourth Breeders’ Cup winner born in the Old Line State, Sharing did achieve a historic first with her victory at Santa Anita: she is the only winner in Breeders’ Cup history who is the product of two Breeders’ Cup-winning parents, as her sire, Speightstown, took the 2004 Sprint and her dam, Shared Account, scored in the 2010 Filly & Mare Turf for Sagamore and Motion at 46-1 (for good measure, Shared Account’s sire, Pleasantly Perfect, was victorious in the 2003 Classic, as well).
Sharing’s victory was also noteworthy because it came during her 2-year-old season.
Although Shared Account won her only start as a juvenile (a one-mile maiden special weight over the Laurel dirt in the fall), Speightstown was 13th in his only 2-year-old start, while Pleasantly Perfect did not make a start at 2 (and he was actually was eased in his only start as a 3-year-old, too). Shared Account would go on to achieve her Breeders’ Cup win as a 4-year-old, while Pleasantly Perfect picked up his Classic victory at 5, and Speightstown’s Sprint score came as a 6-year-old.
Nor have any of these three been known to produce particularly precocious horses during their breeding careers. Pleasantly Perfect (who now stands at stud in Turkey, having fallen from an incoming stud fee of $40,000 to $5,000 prior to his export) has sired just five juvenile stakes winners from 534 foals. Two of Shared Account’s three foals preceding Sharing raced as 2-year-olds, RJ Bentley having been unplaced in his only start, while Riley’s Choice did win one of her three juvenile tries (she would go on to become a stakes winner at 4, after being stakes-placed once at 3). Shared Account’s other foal is I’m Pretty Strong, who didn’t race at 2 but won twice at three.
And the later-maturing tendencies of Sharing’s sire, Speightstown, have been well-documented (mostly by Sid Fernando in a pair of pieces referencing what he has termed “The Speightstown Effect”): although 28 of Speightstown’s 107 career stakes winners from his eleven previous crops of racing age achieved that status as 2-year-olds, none of his fifteen prior Grade 1 winners scored a top-level victory earlier than July 4th of their 3-year-old season — meaning that despite a pedigree pointing to the contrary, Sharing ended up proving eight months more precocious than Speightstown’s other most decorated runners.
Makes one wonder just what Sharing has in store for next year, once her pedigree catches up to the success that she has already accomplished.
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