Anne Peters



Anne Peters
P.O. Box 3926
Midway, KY 40347
(859) 846 - 9794


Karakontie (JPN): Did you say you wanted a good turf sire?
Copyright by Anne Peters 2022.

I've had my eye on Karakontie (JPN) ever since he went to stud at Gainesway Farm in 2016, so to see him rising in reputation as a good American-based turf sire makes me happy. With the recent losses of Kitten's Joy and English Channel, we certainly need one. A proven sire standing for just $10,000 looks like a bargain if you want to breed a good grass runner.

Early in his career, I tried to get several clients to use Karakontie (JPN) to no avail, because there were several factors that probably put breeders off him when he retired. First, he was a European-raced horse, which meant turf, and that tends to eliminate a lot of breeders right off the top. Second, he had that pesky (JPN) behind his name which Americans have a hard time taking very seriously. Third, he was a son of Bernstein, which didn't excite many even when that very good sire was still alive. Fourth and finally, he was not the gigantic, flashy, muscular beast of a stallion that the commercial market seems to demand.

On the other hand, Karakontie (JPN) had a lot of good qualities charging his resume. His race record alone should have drawn more attention. He was a top class runner at two in France, winning the Prix la Rochette-G3 FR and Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere-Grand Criterium-G1 FR. At three he won the Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French Two Thousand Guineas)-G1 FR, and when brought to Santa Anita in the fall, won the Breeders' Cup Mile-G1. So we have a Group 1 win at two, a classic mile win at three, and a Grade 1 win at Santa Anita in a Breeders' Cup race. You have my attention.

Karakontie (JPN) was bred by Flaxman Holdings, the establishment that brought you Kingmambo, East of the Moon and Miesque from this very same family. In fact, Miesque is his third dam. These people don't breed rubbish. His sire was Bernstein, an Irish Group 3-winning sprinter who went to stud in Kentucky in 2001 with a modest $10,000 fee and shuttled with great success to Argentina. His Kentucky reputation is fairly described as "underrated" while he became the Leading Sire in Argentina twice. He died in October of 2011, leaving a final crop on the ground that included Tepin (two-time Champion Turf Female) and Karakontie (JPN) (French 2,000 Guineas/Breeders' Cup Mile), too late to do him any good. Earlier crops included Grade 1 winning fillies Dream Empress and Miss World, and good colts Signature Red and Bern Identity to name a few. His Argentine crops produced no fewer than 14 Group 1 winners, including champions and classic winners. In all, Bernstein sired 85 black type stakes winners, and that's nothing to sniff at.

Karakontie (JPN)'s dam was Sun Is Up (JPN), who was unplaced in France. She was a daughter of Sunday Silence, the remarkably prepotent perenially Leading Sire in Japan and iconic stallion, Sunday Silence. She produced minor stakes winners Sunday Sunrise (by Lemon Drop Kid) and Bottega (by Mineshaft) before Karakontie (JPN) came along. Sun Is Up (JPN)'s dam was the French stakes winner/Group-placed Moon Is Up, a daughter of another influential sire, Woodman. Moon Is Up also produced the South African Group 1 winner Amanee (AUS) (by Pivotal (GB)). Moon Is Up's dam was another iconic horse, Miesque the great daughter of Nureyev, who won the Breeders' Cup Mile-G1 twice among her many G1 wins. This is a huge and ever-expanding family of international caliber, and Karakontie (JPN) is a perfect example of that.

Physically, Karakontie (JPN) is a good-sized horse, topping out at 16.1 hands. He's an attractive, racey-looking type, well-made, with a good shoulder, long forearm, short cannon, long barrel, and long hip. The worst you can say about him is that he might benefit from a mare who has some heft and bone.

Be that as it may, Karakontie (JPN) has already proven himself as a sire of top-class runners, with ten stakes winners listed in the table to the right, five of those being Grade/Group winners. His leading runner so far is the good filly Spendarella, winner of the Del Mar Oaks-G1T and two other Graded stakes. Spendarella's dam, Spanish Bunny, is by the good turf horse and sire Unusual Heat, whose sire Nureyev is also found in Karakontie's cross of Miesque. Spendarella is linebred 5x3 to Nureyev. Spanish Bunny is herself inbred 3x3 to Northern Dancer, sire of both Nureyev and her broodmare sire El Gran Senor were sons of Northern Dancer. Spanish Bunny has produced a second turf stakes winner by Karakontie (JPN) named Spanish Loveaffair.

Karakontie (JPN) seems to do well with mares carrying a lot of Northern Dancer, and in particular with Nureyev as we'll see. He's already linebred 4x5 to Northern Dancer through Bernstein's sire Storm Cat, and grandsire Storm Bird; on top of that cross of Nureyev. This is not particularly close but worth noting, especially since Northern Dancer tends to pass on a lot of turf ability. This is also backed up by a cross of Sunday's Silence's sire Halo, who was, like Northern Dancer, a grandson of the important mare Almahmoud. Halo and Northern Dancer have worked well together, and she might be part of the reason.

Karakontie (JPN)'s next best runner and leading earner is Princess Grace, a Grade 2 winner on both dirt and turf. She's out of a mare, Masquerade, by another Japanese-bred horse, Silent Name (JPN), by Sunday Silence. This gives Princess Grace 3x3 crosses of Sunday Silence, which you would think might be significant. Silent Name (JPN) is also out of a mare by Danehill, by Danzig, by Northern Dancer, so there's that Halo/Northern Dancer cross again.

Karakontie (JPN) is the sire of None Above The Law, a gelding and Grade 2 winner on turf and stakes winner on all-weather. His dam, Legally Blanca, is by Northern Afleet. Northern Afleet is notable since he was by Afleet (by Mr. Prospector) out of a mare by Nureyev, which is a similar cross to Karakontie (JPN)'s dam Moon Is Up, by Woodman (by Mr. Prospector) out of Miesque by Nureyev. Nureyev is 5x4 in this mating. Legally Blanca is 4x4 Northern Dancer since her dam is by Lyphard's Wish, by Lyphard.

Almost on cue, we come to Sole Volante, a Grade 3 winner on dirt by Karakontie (JPN) out of Light Blow by Kingmambo, by Mr. Prospector out of Miesque by Nureyev. Kingmambo is bred on the same Mr. Prospector/Nureyev cross as Moon Is Up, so the mating has Nureyev 5x4 and Miesque appears 4x3 in the mating. Sole Volante's dam Light Blow was also inbred (4x3) to Northern Dancer, since besides her cross of Nureyev, her second dam was Northern Trick, a champion daughter of Northern Dancer.

(continued in the left column under the table of stakes winners)

(through December 22, 2022)
HorseDam's sire 2nd dam's sire
Spendarella, 2019 f.G1TUnusual Heat
(by Nureyev)
El Gran Senor
Princess Grace, 2017 f.G2D/TSilent Name (JPN)
(by Sunday Silence)
None Above the Law, 2018 g.G2TNorthern Afleet
(dam by Nureyev)
Lyphard's Wish
Sole Volante, 2017 g.G3DKingmambo
(dam Miesque by Nureyev)
Shirley Heights
Kenzai Warrior, 2017 c.G3 ENG Lemon Drop Kid
(by Kingmambo)
Spanish Loveaffair, 2018 f.SWTUnusual Heat
(by Nureyev)
El Gran Senor
Karak, 2017 c.SWTMujadil
(by Storm Bird)
Tournesol, 2017 f.SWTGalileo (IRE)
(by Sadler's Wells)
Ocean of Wisdom
Cigamia, 2019 f.SW IRE Lemon Drop Kid
(by Kingmambo)
Tale of the Cat
Chambeau, 2017 f.SWNTNot For LoveEl Gran Senor
(continued from right column)

Next in consideration is Karakontie (JPN)'s colt Kenzai Warrior, who won a G3 stakes in England at two, and one of two juvenile stakes winners from Karakontie (JPN)'s first crop, along with Karak. Kenzai Warrior's dam, Lemon Sakhee, is by Lemon Drop Kid, a son of the aforementioned Kingmambo. We have the same Mr. Prospector/Nureyev cross and Miesque is 4x4 in the mating. Lemon Sakhee's dam was inbred to Northern Dancer through Nijinsky II and Sadler's Wells, so Lemon Sakhee actually had three crosses of Northern Dancer (5x5x4). Sadler's Wells was by Northern Dancer out of a half-sister to Nureyev, which might have made him a strong player in Kenzai Warrior's pedigree, too.

Kenzai Warrior is the Karakontie (JPN) runner who caught my attention back in 2019, because the spring previous, I had a client with a couple of Lemon Drop Kid mares. I suggested they might suit Karakontie (JPN), since Lemon Drop Kid mares had some success with Storm Cat-line sires and doubling up Miesque (and so Nureyev as well) might be a good idea. When I noticed Karakontie (JPN) was piling up with stakes winners out of mares carrying additional Nureyev, I felt pretty good about my selections for those Lemon Drop Kid mares, even though I knew the client was going to go another direction.

Karak became Karakontie (JPN)'s first stakes winner in North America when he won the Tyro Stakes at Monmouth as a two-year-old. He's out of a mare by Mujadil, who was by Storm Bird. That doubles up on Storm Bird 4x3, and of course, adds more Northern Dancer.

Karakontie (JPN)'s stakes winner Tournesol is out of a mare by Galileo, by Sadler's Wells, bred similarly to Nureyev being by Northern Dancer and out of a half-sister to Nureyev. Galileo's dam Urban Sea was the best runner by Woodman, bred on thes same Mr. Prospector/Buckpass cross as Woodman, sire of Moon Is Up. Tournesol's third dam was a half-sister to Miesque, being out of Pasodoble (5x4 in the mating).

Irish stakes winner Cigamia is another by Karakontie (JPN) out of a mare by Lemon Drop Kid, so 4x4 Miesque in the mating. Her second dam is by Tale of the Cat, adding another cross of Storm Cat (3x4) and Storm Bird (4x5). Cigamia's dam is inebred 5x5 to Northern Dancer, through Nureyev and Storm Bird.

Lastly is Karakontie (JPN)'s non-black type turf stakes winner Chambeau, out of a mare by Not For Love (Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer), with a second dam by El Gran Senor (by Northern Dancer), so 3x3 to Northern Dancer. El Gran Senor is also found in the second dam of the full sisters Spendarella and Spanish Loveaffair.

So to summarize, while only four of Karakontie's 10 stakes winners are out of Northern Dancer-line mares, mares by Unusual Heat Mujadil and Galileo, fully six of them have a second cross of Northern Dancer's son Nureyev. These come, through Unusual Heat (two), Kingmambo (three, with two via Lemon Drop Kid), and two have a cross of Nureyev's close relative Sadler's Wells. Seven are out of mares who are inbred to Northern Dancer himself.

Part of this might be because Karakontie (JPN) would appeal more to European breeders and North American breeders who like a good turf horse, and perhaps not so obviously, Northern Dancer is the predominate strain in Europe and most turf pedigrees. That said, only two of his stakes winners so far raced in Europe. On the other hand, I think the success of matings with duplications of Nureyev and Miesque through Kingmambo are not just the result of random breeding.

A horse like Karakontie (JPN) who has his pedigree and race record backed up by the production of multiple Group/Graded stakes winners is starting to work his way out of the "up and coming" category. He's the real deal. If you want a good turf runner, he's worth more than a second look.

Copyright by Anne Peters 2022.