2007 was a boom year for Darley America stallions, with the outstanding campaign enjoyed by Street Cry's first crop Kentucky Derby hero Street Sense merely being the icing on the cake. Prospects for 2008 are now similarly rosy following the impressive winning resumption by Cherokee Run’s Eclipse Award-winning son War Pass at Gulfstream Park on 24 February.
Street Sense, of course, preceded his explosive success in the Run For The Roses with an impressive win in the previous year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile; many good judges now believe that this previously unattained double can be repeated this year. With his emphatic 4.75-length success in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Monmouth Park last October, War Pass doubled his tally of Grade One successes, having already landed the Champagne Stakes at Belmont. These two great wins made his Eclipse Award a formality.
War Pass’ superb juvenile campaign was merely one of several success stories for Cherokee Run during 2007. As befits a stallion who was himself a racehorse of the highest order – witness his own Eclipse Award in 1994 which followed his Breeders’ Cup Sprint success – Cherokee Run was represented throughout last season by two high-class three-year-old colts, Chelokee and Zanjero. The former proved to be the star of the Preakness Stakes undercard at Pimlico: on the same afternoon that Street Sense went down by a nose to Curlin in one of the most exciting Triple Crown races in living memory, Chelokee justified odds-on favouritism in the Barbaro (formerly Sir Barton) Stakes by 4.75 lengths. The following month Chelokee and Zanjero fought a thrilling battle for the Northern Dancer Breeders’ Cup Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs, the former emerging victorious by a neck. The merit of this form became plain later in the summer when Zanjero landed both the Indiana Derby (G2) and the West Virginia Derby (G3).
It wasn’t only his colts, however, who made 2007 a year to remember for Cherokee Run, because his ultra-consistent daughter Indian Flare also scored at Grade Two level, landing the Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont Park. A multiple Stakes performer for Juddmonte, Indian Flare had ended 2006 in fine form by taking the Kalookan Queen Handicap at Santa Anita, and she continued in similar form throughout last year, including when victorious in the Flower Girl Handicap at the same track last March.
In addition to his four Graded Stakes winners in 2007, Cherokee Run was also represented by a further three Listed scorers, Cherokee Triangle, Cherokee Jewel and Cherokee Prince. These provided excellent back-up to War Pass in ensuring that the year was a thoroughly satisfactory one for this very consistent stallion - and a further reason for satisfaction was provided by the great results achieved by his son Kafwain, who stands alongside his father at Darley America and whose first crop of juveniles last year posted extremely promising results.
A high-class two-year-old who finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to frank the form of his successes in the Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita and the Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar, Kafwain trained on to land the San Vincente Stakes at Santa Anita as a three-year-old, so it is no surprise that he is producing fast, precocious horses. Star of his excellent first crop of juveniles was Hollywood Prevue Stakes (G3) hero Massive Drama. This dark brown colt subsequently confirmed his merit by running third in the Hollywood Futurity (G1) and he looks set to enjoy another lucrative campaign as a three-year-old, having begun 2008 with placings in the San Rafael Stakes (G3) and the San Vincente Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita.
The most successful filly so far from Kafwain’s first crop is Kadira, who already has the distinction of being a Stakes winner both as a two-year-old and at three. Successful last year in the Gowell Stakes at Turfway Park, in which she routed the opposition to record a superb eight-and-a-half-length victory, Kadira opened her account for 2008 by Dixie Belle Stakes at Oaklawn Park. That day proved a good one for her sire, because another of his three-year-old fillies, Validain, provided her connections with a big pay-day by running third in the Sunshine Millions Oaks at Santa Anita, while seven days later yet another of his daughters made the frame in a Californian Stakes race, Twelve Twenty Two finishing third in the California Oaks.
Among the colts, Yonegwa, a dual Listed place-getter, has so far proved a good back-up to Massive Drama in assisting their sire to post excellent results in Stakes races with his first crop, which altogether made him fourth leading freshman in the US by individual Stakes winners.
With the progeny of his son Kafwain going so well, and with War Pass as the star of his excellent squad of current racecourse representatives, it is no wonder that Cherokee Run is regarded as a stallion whose stock is currently on the rise.