Thursday, July 5, 2012

Clear Attempt burnishes the legacy of A. P. Indy and the Wygods

Clear Attempt wins the Poker-G3 at Belmont on July 4, 2012
Photo: Adam Coglianese, Courtesy of NYRA
Clear Attempt, a lightly raced son of A. P. Indy out of Santa Anita Oaks-G1 winner Silent Sighs (by Benchmark) was a facile winner of the eight-furlong grassy Poker Stakes-G3 at Belmont yesterday, defeating seven other rivals to notch his first stakes victory and his third trip to the winner's circle in 11 starts.

The four-year-old dark bay or brown colt, racing in the colors of his breeders, Martin and Pam Wygod, became at least the 80th graded stakes winner for his venerable sire, whose last foals are two-year-olds of 2012.

Patiently handled by trainer Bill Mott, Clear Attempt was unraced at two.  His initial two starts, in maiden special weight company over conventional dirt at Gulfstream early last year, were undistinguished, but when the colt was switched to the grass, he became a different kind of runner, narrowly losing turf contests at Gulfstream, and over yielding ground at Keeneland, before eking out his maiden victory at a mile and a quarter over good turf at Belmont last June.  He went on to place at Saratoga before capturing his second race, over allowance foes, at nine furlongs on firm turf at Churchill Downs last November.

In two prior outings this year, Clear Attempt placed in grassy allowance/optional claiming events at Gulfstream and at Belmont, where he was nosed out in a head bob on May 18th, a race that perfectly primed him for his winning effort in the Poker.  Clear Attempt has now won or placed in eight of 11 starts, amassing earnings of $197,902, a bankroll that seems certain to grow.

Clear Attempt is a product of the Wygods' breeding program, through and through.  They raced and bred Clear Attempt's first three dams, who trace back to the Chilean mare, Viga (by Schleswig), a winner of the 1000 Guineas in her native country before being imported to the U.S.

Clear Attempt is the third winner and first stakes winner from his dam, Silent Sighs, one of the classiest performers sired by Benchmark, a grade II stakes winner by Alydar who the Wygods campaigned in the name of their River Edge Farm.  His best-known runner is Brother Derek, winner of the Hollywood Futurity-G1 and Santa Anita Derby-G1, who now stands at Airdrie.  His first foals race this year.

Clear Attempt is one of several graded stakes winners produced by crossing A. P. Indy or his sons with mares by Alydar or one of his sons.  The others include the full siblings (by A. P. Indy out of Private Status, by Alydar) Secret Status, winner of the Kentucky Oaks and Mother Goose, and Alumni Hall, who captured the grade III Ben Ali and Fayette Stakes; A P Valentine (by A. P. Indy out of Twenty Eight Carat, by Alydar), who won the Champagne-G1 and placed in both the Preakness and the Belmont; Corinthian (by Pulpit out of Multiply, by Easy Goer), a top dirt miler who won both the Metropolitan-G1 and the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile; and CCA Oaks-G1 winner Funny Moon (by Malibu Moon out of Fun Crowd, by Easy Goer).  Interestingly, none of these runners showed a prowess for the grass, and of the graded-stakes caliber horses produced by the A. P. Indy/Alydar cross, Clear Attempt is preceded only by Fisher Pond (by A. P. Indy out of Chipeta Springs, by Alydar), a grade III-winning half-brother to two-time turf champion Gio Ponti, in his ability to score on the turf at an elite level.

Though Clear Attempt's female family seems also to be lacking in grassy credentials, the family of his maternal grandsire, Benchmark, has them aplenty.  Benchmark is a half-brother to the Wygods' top turf mare, Tranquility Lake (by Rahy), dam of the full brothers After Market and Courageous Cat (by Storm Cat), both of whom were grade I winners on the sod.  Clear Attempt's victory in the Poker gives the Wygods their second consecutive trophy for that race; Courageous Cat captured it in their colors in 2011.