I didn't see Danza doing what he did in the Arkansas Derby, but then again, no one did. But what we did see though was a colt that could control his pace through the middle of a race, be close enough to the lead, and explode home. That sure sounds like a winning formula to me. In fact, a whole bunch of people are on this horse now, and some of the rating services have him at or near the top of their projections. I smell a wise guy horse.
Danza, by Street Boss out of Champagne Royale (French Deputy)
Street Boss is one of my favorite bred sires. Please notice I didn't say sires en total, just in his breeding. He has some of my favorite influences in his pedigree in Street Cry (IRE), Ogygian, and the indomitable Blushing Groom. He's bred to go all day, but yet only was at his best at 6-7 furlongs. He also showed his best form on the synthetic, which is a surface which has a dubious future at best in the States. His best runner thus far (out of only two crops to race) is the Grade 1 winning Capo Bastone, who ran away with last year's King's Bishop. He currently has 6 stakes winners from a total of 94 winners between 2013 and 2014. For me, it's difficult to look any further and extrapolate Street Cry's success to the capabilities of Street Boss, due to Street Cry's proven excellence. I can't exactly draw a legitimate conclusion about Street Boss' abilities as a sire from Zenyatta's successes at Santa Anita. But en total, Street Boss can certainly get a really good Graded Stakes level horse.
Danza's dam was just a nice dam until this year. Champagne Royale, as a daughter of French Deputy and being listed stakes placed at Hastings Park, has solid credentials to be a broodmare. But as of the dawn of 2014 she had produced nice runners, but nothing of serious stakes quality. Yes, Danza was G2 placed in the Saratoga Special (a race I was at and NOW I remember how impressed I was with how he ran that day), but nothing else was on her page of any true signficance. But this year, it's completely different. Not only did Danza go off and win a Grade 1 race, but her other son, Majestic Harbor, won the G3 Tokyo City Cup at Santa Anita and was placed in the G2 San Pasqual. But perhaps his best effort was a 4th in the San Antonio, where Game on Dude was defeated and whose form as a race looks legitimate with Blingo winning and the CT Classic winner Imperative finishing 2nd. While Majestic Harbor was a borderline stakes horse for all of his career up until this year, it looks like he, as a six year old, has really hit his stride and likes a route of ground. Methinks a move to the barn of Sean McCarthy has done him wonders.
French Deputy is considered one of the up and coming broodmare sires. Sons of Deputy Minister all seem to be really solid broodmare sires in fact, with Silver Deputy, Touch Gold, Dehere, Awesome Again, and French Deputy all in the top 50 on Bloodhorse's Broodmare Sire Rankings in 2014. Additionally, Salt Lake also appears in the top 100. While never a dominant sire (in fact, he stands in Japan now for 800,000 yen, which is a mere 8,000). French Deputy is a fantastic influence as a broodmare sire.
Both Danza's second (All Tanked Up) and third (All Week End) are black-type stakes producers, with All Week End producing G2 California Derby winner All Thee Power. A very nice pedigree backs this colt up. In fact, you can trace his female family back to the Reine-De-Course Brighton View. Through her Maryland-bred daughter Light Verse, she is the matriarch of a family that includes Grade 1 winners Olympio, Pyro, Paddy O'Prado, Tapizar, and On Fire Baby, She is also the 4th dam of sire Cuvee. While a distinctly different branch of the family than Danza's, for me it is always encouraging to see the depth of Stakes quality of a really good female family get behind a colt.
But then again, that depth is why I kinda like Verrazano in the Derby last year, so...
As always, h/t to Reines De Course.com, Pedigree Query.com, Equineline Mare Produce Records, Bloodhorse.com's various products, and my own brain.