First-crop Sires: Surface no issue for recent Classic Empire winners
Since our first installment last month highlighting the early successes of offspring by freshman sire Classic Empire, the 2016 juvenile champion has been represented by two additional winners. In addition, two winners mentioned in that first installment have subsequently earned black type.
One positive attribute offspring of Classic Empire have shown at this early date is that they've been impervious to the type of surface they can handle. That's been made plain by his two most recent maiden winners.
Classic Empire's recent winners
A well-beaten fifth to stablemate Twenty Four Mamba in his July 4 debut on Woodbine's Tapeta main track, First Empire reappeared on Aug. 1 in a six-furlong maiden on the turf. Dueling for the lead after breaking on top, First Empire drew off in upper stretch and held off a late charge from first-time starter Silent Farewell to win by three parts of a length as the 4.55-1 fourth choice.
Trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Patrick Husbands, First Empire covered the distance in a snappy 1:10.08 on firm ground. His Brisnet Speed rating was 84.
First Empire was produced by the Macho Uno mare Silsita, who won the Bourbonette Oaks (G3) on the Turfway Park Polytrack and was also stakes-placed on the turf.
First Empire and Twenty Four Mamba, who will be revisited below, are nominated to the $125,000 Soaring Free S. at Woodbine, a 6 1/2-furlong grass test on Aug. 21.
Owner-breeder Curtis Green's Queens Up rallied from midpack to win her Aug. 7 debut at Arlington by 2 1/2 lengths under E.T. Baird. Trained by Jim Divito, Queens Up paid $19.80 after covering 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:05.15 over the Polytrack. She earned an 81 Brisnet Speed rating.
Produced by the Strong Hope mare Text Queen, Queens Up is a half-sister to the Grade 3-placed Xoxo and the stakes-placed Everqueen. Text Queen is herself a half-sister to the Grade 3-winning sprinter Mountain General.
Black type earners
One day before First Empire's maiden win, Twenty Four Mamba was the first of Classic Empire's offspring to earn black type following a second-place finish in the 5 1/2-furlong Victoria S. at Woodbine.
Odds-on favorite One Timer was easily best by 3 3/4 lengths, but Twenty Four Mamba was clearly best of the rest, with a 4 1/2-length margin separating him and third-place finisher Concealed Carry. Twenty Four Mamba earned an 85 Brisnet Speed rating.
The first offspring of Classic Empire to earn graded black type was the filly Interstatedaydream, who rallied for a runner-up placing in the Aug. 8 Adirondack (G2) at Saratoga over 6 1/2 furlongs.
Sent off at 16-1, Interstatedaydream was bumped at the break and trailed the field of nine after a quarter-mile. Wide down the backside but then allowed to save more ground on the turn, Interstatedaydream advanced through the field and edged longshot Saucy Lady T for second by a half-length while no threat to 3 1/2-length winner Wicked Halo.
Interstatedaydream earned an 85 Brisnet Speed rating.
About the series
Freshman Orientation is a series highlighting five different sires with a first crop of 2-year-old Thoroughbreds. Could the juveniles show up at the Breeders' Cup or even the 2022 Kentucky Derby? Follow along and find out!