Yarradale Stud has secured the lifetime southern breeding rights to Kentucky based stallion War Chant.
Yarradale Stud proprietor Ron Sayers will syndicate the Three Chimneys sire with other leading Sunspeed breeders and stand him for $22,000 (inc gst).
War Chant is a son of Danzig from Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Hollywood Wildcat. “It is a real coup for the WA breeding industry,” Sayers said. “War Chant has proven to be a prolific sire of turf horses in both the USA and Europe. He has 27 stakes winners and his winners-to-runner strike-rate is over 70%.”
News of the War Chant deal is timely considering his colt Midnight Interlude will be one of the favourites for the Kentucky Derby on May 7. The Bob Baffert trained colt, who is out of a NZ bred mare, is a last-start winner of the Santa Anita Derby.
War Chant won a Hollywood Park maiden at his only appearance at two and returned the following year to win four times from just six starts. He started off with a five length victory in a Santa Anita allowance and then stepped up to the plate for a G2 victory in the San Rafael Stakes.
In his final lead-up to the 2000 Kentucky Derby, War Front was beaten a length by Captain Steve in the G1 Santa Anita Derby and headed to Churchill Downs as one of the favourites in the Run for the Roses.
Trainer Neil Drysdale also had Fusaichi Pegasus engaged and his stablemate received all the accolades while War Chant pulled up with a hairline fracture of the shoulder.
“My own belief is that it happened in the Santa Anita Derby,” Drysdale recalled. “We had Jerry Bailey on him in the Kentucky Derby and when he just went to the rail and stayed there I knew something was wrong.”
War Chant was off from the first Saturday in May until the second Saturday of October. He scored a first-up victory in the G2 Oak Tree Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita to punch his ticket back to Churchill Downs for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Gary Stevens settled War Chant at the tail-end of the capacity field and then let him loose in the straight. He charged home to win by a neck after giving the leaders a five length start at the furlong.
War Chant remained unbeaten on turf after clocking 1:34.67s to win the Mile from North East Bound and Dansili.
The Breeders’ Cup was a triumph for owner-breeder Irving Cowan. Only one other mare, besides Hollywood Wildcat, had ever won a Breeders’ Cup and then foaled a Breeders’ Cup winner.
War Chant stands at Three Chimneys Farm alongside Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown who shuttles to Vinery. Yes It’s True, a son of former Sunspeed shuttler Is It True, is also based at the famous nursery.
“War Chant’s physical characteristics and progeny results will easily make him one of the premier options for Australian breeders this year,” Three Chimneys Farm owner Robert Clay predicted. “Besides Midnight Interlude, he has a number of other high calibre stakes performers about to start their spring and summer campaigns.”