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Dixie Union

Dixie Union (left): sire of Homebound, was an early two-year-old and picked up a victory in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational over 1m1f



Homebound: a filly
on the glory trail

(Dixie Union - Black Speck (Arch))

WHEN Golden Trail was incorporated into the fold of John Galbreath's Darby Dan Farm in 1962, few could have estimated the impact she would have on the operation's growth and the industry in general.

Although out of a half-sister to the Acorn Stakes heroine Big Effort, Golden Trail possessed a fraction of that filly's ability, taking two races at a minor level. In addition, she was by Hasty Road, a Preakness winner who in time would become a sire of little significance.

A Golden Trail of talented descendants
Over 45 years on, Golden Trail has become a major influence with those such as Dynaformer, Monarchos, Brian's Time, Sunshine Forever and Ryafan each falling under her umbrella.

Galbreath acquired Golden Trail in foal to Native Dancer upon the death of Isabel Dodge Sloane of Brookmeade Farm, for whom Darby Dan stood the 1959 US Horse of the Year Sword Dancer. The package also included Flower Bowl, who would go on to breed Graustark and His Majesty for the farm.

By the time of her death in 1981, Golden Trail's record stood at 13 winners from 17 foals. Three of those winners, Gleaming Light, Sylan Place and Java Moon, scored at stakes level with the latter becoming one of seven daughters to produce stakes winners.

On The Trail: the daughter with impact
However, it is her 1964 Olympio filly, the unraced On The Trail, who has arguably had the most recent impact.
On The Trail went on to produce seven winners for Darby Dan led by the 1978 Belmont Stakes third Darby Creek Road, who was unlucky to be a contemporary of Affirmed and Alydar. That same year, the mare foaled a daughter of His Majesty later named Andover Way.

Andover Way did not remain in the ownership of the Galbreath family for very long, selling to Joseph Allen early in her racing career. She proved to be a shrewd acquisition however, as at four years she captured the Grade 1 Top Flight Handicap at Aqueduct.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Andover Way has since made an invaluable contribution at stud; her first foal was Allen's Grade 2 winner Dynaformer, whose current fee of $150,000 is far removed from the $5,000 he started at, while her daughters have between them produced the high-class performers Offlee Wild, U S Ranger and Silent Times.

Improving Homebound wins Prix de Sandringham
On The Trail's influence was apparent once again on Sunday when Allen's homebred filly, Homebound, maintained the marvellous run of Jean-Claude Rouget and Christophe Lemaire to land the Prix de Sandringham at Chantilly.

Although impressive, it is likely that Homebound falls below Elusive Wave and Tamazirte in the Rouget pecking order. But she is improving; Sunday's run marked the third win from only six starts for the filly who had registered her previous career high in last summer's Listed Prix du Haras de la Huderie at Deauville. The Falmouth Stakes, mooted as her next appearance, will reveal more.

Black Speck was nowhere near as gifted as her three-parts brotherDynaformer, getting off the mark at the fifth attempt for Rouget in a winter maiden at Pau. Just three months later, the daughter of Arch was back in the US and in foal to Tale Of The Cat.

Like mother, like daughter

Remarkably, Black Speck has already equalled her dam's stud record by producing three stakes performers from her first three foals. The mating to Tale Of The Cat yielded the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere runner-up Battle Paint, while a visit to Pulpit produced the ill-fated Blue Exit, a Listed winner in France who ran second in the Grade 2 Strub Stakes during his brief career in the US.

Homebound is Black Speck's third foal and from the fifth crop of the Kentucky-based Dixie Union, who initially sprang to prominence in Europe as the sire of Cherry Hinton Stakes winner Sander Camillo.

Recent King Charles II Stakes winner Alyarf is another high-class prospect to represent Dixie Union over here, but it is in his native US where he will be always better known.

Dixie Union: just short of the very top
The son of Dixieland Band was an early maturing two-year-old for Richard Mandella, reeling off three straight wins over sprint distances in California, including two Grade 3s at the expense of Exchange Rate.

A dip into Grade 2 company for the Del Mar Futurity was the next logical step, but in the event, he was firmly outrun by Forest Camp. Although he reversed the placings next time in the Grade 2 Norfolk Stakes, he fell short of the very top when nine and a half lengths adrift of Anees in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Several absences from competition the following year did not prevent him from fulfilling his initial potential. He was never out of the first four in six starts, and ended his career with victory in the 7f Malibu Stakes to complement an earlier Grade 1 success in the Haskell Invitational over 1m1f.

Stud services in demand
As well as two Grade 1 victories, Dixie Union could boast close connections to the outstanding broodmare Fall Aspen. Thatfact coupled with a physique worthy of a $425,000 yearling price tag has seen him remain extremely popular throughout his stud career at Lane's End Farm, where he has never covered less than 84 mares.

He went on to reward his earlysupporters by producing six first crop stakes winners including Grade 2 winner Nothing But Fun, and another six in his second, led by Grade 3 winner High Cotton, who is now at stud in Florida.

First Grade 1 winner emerges from fourth crop

In light of that early success, it is surprising that it took until his fourth crop for a Grade 1 winner to emerge. The horse in question, Dixie Chatter, emulated his sire by taking the 2007 Norfolk Stakes (upgraded that year to Grade 1 level).
A second Grade 1 winner has yet to materialise, although Grasshopper, who memorably ran Street Sense to a half a length in the Travers Stakes, has often promised more than he has delivered.

Encouragingly though, this year's crop of three-year-olds already contains six stakes winners. As well as Alyarf and Homebound, they include dual Grade 2 winner Justwhistledixie, whose Kentucky Oaks bid was scuppered by an eleventh hour injury.

Can he step into his father's shoes?
With a yearling average over the past three years of $126,838 - for no less than 137 sold - Dixie Union is commercially a sound proposition. He also gets his share of high-class runners on all surfaces and at all ages; 12 of his 26 stakes winners to date have been two-year-olds.

Even so, a second winner at the top level will need to come his way within the near future if his position as a legitimate heir to his recently retired sire is confirmed. Perhaps Golden Trail's latest celebrity is the one to give it to him.  

Bred by Joseph Allen in Kentucky

Pedigree Assessment

Sire: Dixie Union
Bred by Herman Sarkowsky in Kentucky. $425,000 Keeneland July yearling. Won 7 (5-9f) of 12 races, viz. 4 (inc. Hollywood Juvenile Championship S.-G3, Best Pal S.-G3, Norfolk S.-G2) out of 6 at 2 years, 3 (inc. Haskell Invitational H.-G1, Malibu S.-G1) out of 6 at 3 years. Also 2nd in Del Mar Futurity-G2 and Affirmed Handicap - G3. Earned $1,233,190.

Well made, strong sort, 16.0hh. Precocious and high-class performer at two years, also high-class at years, apparently best from 7-9f. Raced only on dirt. Raced on lasix and often blinkered.

Well bred. By a dual G2 winner, successful sire, and now a leading broodmare sire. Dam G2 stakes-winner, half-sister to G2-placed stakes-winner Early Colony, and to the grand-dam of dual G2 winner and sire Zavata. Third dam half-sister to Fall Aspen.

Stands at Lane's End Farm, Versailles, Kentucky, at a fee of $35,000. To stud at 4 years and sire of 6 crops of racing age, inc. notable winners: Dixie Chatter (Norfolk S. -G1), Nothing But Fun (G2), Most Distinguished (G2), Sensation (G2), Sander Camillo (Cherry Hinton S.-Gr2), Homebound (Prix de Sandringham - Gr2), Grasshopper (G3), Turf War (G3), Reunited (G3), High Cotton (G3), Unification (Can-Gr3), Garden District (G3), Alyarf (Listed) etc.

Dam: Black Spec
Bred by Joseph Allen in Kentucky. Won 1 (1m 1 ½ f) out of 6 races in France,viz. 0 out of 4 at 2 (placed three times) and 1 out 2 at 3. Earned €16,600.

Lightly-raced, unraced beyond January of three-year-old career. Effective from 7 ½ f to 1m2f.

Well-bred. By a Grade 1 winner and successful US-based sire out of a Grade 1-winning half-sister to Grade 2 winner and top-class sire Dynaformer (by Roberto), minor stakes winner White Bridle (by Seattle Slew) and to dams of Grade 1 winner and sire Offlee Wild, Group/Grade2 winners Silent Times and Supremo, Group 3 winner Rock Of Rochelle and Group 1-placed US Ranger.

Third dam Golden Trail. From an excellent family cultivated by Darby Dan Farm in Kentucky that has produced Monarchos (G1), Kela (G1), Brian's Time (G1), Sunshine Forever (G1), Memories Of Silver (G1), Ryafan (Gr1), New Deal (G1), Air Shakur (Jpn-Gr1), Darby Creek Road (G2), Tillerman (Gr1-placed), Rampart Road (G1-placed), Tuxedo Junction (G1-placed), Albert Hall (Gr1-placed) etc.

To stud at 3 years and dam of: Battle Paint (04 c Tale Of The Cat; Gr1-placed winner), Blue Exit (05 c Pulpit; Listed winner, G2-placed), Homebound (06 f Dixie Union; Gr2 winner in France), Photograph (07 f Unbridled's Song; in training). She also has a colt foal by Giant's Causeway.

Another reminder of the impact of Golden Trail. Has to improve to reach Group 1 level but remains progressive. 




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