Hard Spun

published: 10 Apr 2014 in Stallion profiles

Hard Spun is a young sire making a name in both hemispheres after a career on the track that saw him win seven races (1100m-1800m) up to Gr.1 level and be hailed as one of the leading classic contenders in the US. From the second last crop of Danzig, he’s proved popular at Darley in Victoria and has already left seven stakes winners in Australia with his oldest runners just four.

‚ÄčALTHOUGH Hard Spun (USA), was in the money in all three legs of the Triple Crown his major win came in a much shorter event, the King’s Bishop Stakes-Gr.1 over 7f at Saratoga. It’s hardly surprising that he had the speed to take on the best sprinters in the US as he is a son of supersire Danzig, a line Australian breeders are more than familiar with thanks to that horse’s son Danehill (USA) and a supporting cast including former shuttlers Anabaa (USA), Belong to Me (USA) and Langfuhr (CAN).

Now covering in Japan for Darley and based at Darley’s Northwood Park in the southern hemisphere seasons (fee $16,500 in 2013 when he covered 115 mares), Hard Spun has already left two US Gr.1 winners including a filly rated the champion of her sex at three, has a stakes winner in Japan from just a handful of runners, and his seven southern stakes winners include the Sunline Stakes-Gr.2 (1600m) winner Text’n Hurley, Royal Haunt, Crystal Web, both also winners in Hong Kong, and talented WA performer Spin da Wheels.

To March 22 he had 220 winners (59.3% of starters) including 27 stakes winners (7%) for earnings of $19.5m worldwide since retiring to stud in the US and Australia in 2008. So far this season in Australia he’s had 31 winners (47 wins, 3SW) of $1.4m, with his oldest runners just four.

From the penultimate crop of Danzig (Northern Dancer-Pas de Nom by Admiral’s Voyage), Hard Spun is from Turkish Tryst, a stakes winning daughter of Eclipse Champion Older Male Turkoman (Alydar-Taba by Table Play), winner of eight of his 24 starts and more than $2m including the Marlboro Cup Invitational-Gr.1 and Widener Handicap-Gr.1 (both 10f), Oaklawn Handicap-Gr.1 (9f) and, Like Hard Spun, runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Classic-Gr.1 (10f, to Skywalker). 

Turkoman’s sire Alydar (Raise a Native) won the Champagne-Gr.1 and Sapling-Gr.1 at two and then four Gr.1 events at three (Florida Derby, Flamingo Stakes, Blue Grass Stakes, Travers Stakes) when he was also runner-up in all three legs of the Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont) to great rival Affirmed (a grandson of Raise a Native), becoming the only horse with this feat on his resume. Alydar was Champion Sire in North America in 1990, the year he died, and left winners of more than $60m. It’s of interest that Affirmed’s dam happens to be by Crafty Admiral, a horse who also appears in Danzig’s pedigree as the sire of Admiral’s Voyage.

This cross has been used to advantage with Hard Spun as his talented UK Performer Red Duke, winner of the Superlative Stakes-Gr.2 at Newmarket, is out of Saudia (by Mr. Prospector son Gone West and from Bint Pasha by Affirmed) and he had Crafty Admiral 5mx5f and Raise a Native 5mx4m,5m.

Australian breeders would also do well to remember that Turkoman is also broodmare sire of US Horse of the Year and 2001 Eclipse Champion Three Year-Old Colt Point Given, winner of four $1m Gr.1 events in succession, including the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. He is son of former shuttle sire Thunder Gulch (Gulch-Line of Thunder by Storm Bird), while Point Given’s third dam is by Australian champion Tobin Bronze (Arctic Explorer).

Hard Spun’s best runner Questing is from Chercheuse (Seeking the Gold-Sassy Bird by Storm Bird) and is another to combine Raise a Native sons Alydar and Mr. Prospector. Bred by Darley and raced by Sheikh Mohammed’s wife Princess Haya of Jordan, Questing won the CCA Oaks-Gr.1 and Alabama Stakes-Gr.1 in the US at three, when she was named Eclipse Champion 3YO Filly, after racing well in stakes company at two in the UK. His other US Gr.1 winner Zo Impressive is from Zoftig, a daughter of Cozzene (Caro) and Mrs Marcos (Private Account) and with a second dam by Nijinsky. She won the Mother Goose Stakes-Gr.1 and was runner-up in the Acorn-Gr.1 and CCA Oaks-Gr.1. Private Account is a son of Damascus and Numbered Account (Buckpasser). This is the family of Champion US Juvenile Colt Rhythm (USA) (Mr. Prospector) who ended his stud career in Australia and whose daughters could be a good pedigree fit for Hard Spun.

Moviesta, winner of the Goodwood King George Stakes-Gr.2 is from a mare by A.P. Indy, while Gr.3 winners Easter Gift (Allen’s Prospect, Whiskey Road) and Reload (Mr. Prospector) are others bred on the winning Alydar/Mr. Prospector cross. Group winner Hard Not To Like’s female line features Storm Cat (Storm Bird), Caro, Mr. Prospector and Nijinsky, while Hierro’s second dam is by Conquistador Cielo (Mr. Prospector). Japanese stakes winner Someries is out of a mare by Mr. Prospector, while the US Listed winner Vegas No Show is out of a mare by Lord Carson (grandson of Mr. Prospector) and with a second dam by Turkoman! (3fx3f).

Hard Spun’s Australian stakes winners are a more eclectic lot, the recent MVRC Sunline Stakes-Gr.2 winner Text’n Hurley is out of Angels (Quest For Fame-Excited Angel by Don’t Say Halo), Spin da Wheels, winner of the WATC Challenge Stakes-LR, is out of a mare by Speed Week (Rory’s Jester), Strutt Stakes-LR winner Spinning Jenny is from a mare by Brief Truce (by Irish River, sire also of Hierro’s damsire) and doubles Northern Dancer and My Babu, the unbeaten Manfred Stakes-LR winner Royal Haunt, who won in HK recently carrying 60.5kg as Mirage, is out of a mare by King’s Best (grandson of Mr. Prospector) and doubles Northern Dancer and Raise a Native, VRC MSS Security Stakes-LR winner Crystal Web, who now races in HK as Sichuan Vigour, is out of a daughter of Snippets, with the next two dams by Century and Vain, and also doubles Northern Dancer and My Babu in his five generation pedigree, while WATC Raconteur Stakes-LR winner Western Blaze is out of a mare by Marooned (same Never Bend male line as Irish River) and has a second dam by Serheed, who is bred on the Nijinsky/Raise a Native cross. 

Western Blaze’s third dam is by Balkan Knight (Graustark-Bramalea by Nashua), a half-brother to Roberto, whose daughter Darbyvail is Hard Spun’s second dam. This gives Western Blaze a 5mx5m cross of Bramalea (a Nashua daughter as is Mr. Prospector’s dam Gold Digger) and he also has Northern Dancer 3mx5m and Raise a Native 5mx5f. Hard Spun also has black type runners in Australia from daughters of Diesis (second dam of this runner is by Roberto) and Octagonal as well as winners from daughters of Secret Savings, Tabkir, Keltrice, Success Express, Squill and Noble Bijou.

Breeders, perhaps feeling that the inbreeding to Danzig will be too close, have tended to avoid sending Danehill-line mares to Hard Spun, but there could be some interesting possibilities down the track, say by using daughters of Stryker and Rothesay (by Fastnet Rock from Woodman mares), Flying Spur (out of a mare by Mr. Prospector) or his son Magnus, mares by sons of Redoute’s Choice, daughters of Duke of Marmalade (dam by Kingmambo, second dam by Alydar), or perhaps using mares by young sires who have Danehill in their female line such as Sebring, whose sire More Than Ready (Southern Halo) is out of a Woodman mare and whose dam is by Flying Spur.

Mares by stallions from the Red Ransom (Roberto) line such as Red Dazzler (dam by Danehill) and All American (dam by Strawberry Road, second dam by Mr. Prospector) are others worth considering. Darley’s Street Cry, whose pedigree combines Mr. Prospector, Halo (whose name features in a couple of Hard Spun’s leading runners) and Riverman and who has crossed well with Danzig-line mares, is another possibility. Daughters of Lonhro (whose damsire is bred on the Mr. Prospector-Never Bend cross) also look suitable and Darley will have to wait a while, but daughters of young sire Sepoy (bred on the Mr. Prospector-Danehill cross) should also do well with Hard Spun.

Hard Spun, who was bred by Michael Moran and the Brushwood Stable, won his first four races for trainer Larry Jones, starting in a Maiden Special at Delaware Park on October 22, 2006 and winning the 5.5f scamper by almost nine lengths. The two year-old lined up in the Listed Fort Penn Stakes (6f) at Delaware next time out (November 14) and made every post a winner, scoring by five lengths. Back for his final run as a juvenile for owner Fox Hill Farms (Rick Porter) in the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Nursery-LR (7f) on December 18, he won this race, which was restricted to state-breds, by eight lengths.

He made his first start at three on January 13, 2007 in the $100,000 Lecomte Stakes-Gr.3 (8f) at Fair Grounds and although he was hardly asked for an effort by regular jockey Mario Pino, the bay colt controlled the event to win by 6.5 lengths in 1:37.80 from Izzie’s Halo, who had won his maiden by 8.5 lengths at his previous start, and Teuflesberg, a last start stakes winner and successful in three of his past four starts.

The third placed horse in the Lecomte broke Hard Spun’s unbeaten record next time out when the Danzig colt was fourth in the Southwest Stakes-LR at Oaklawn on February 19, but he redeemed himself in stellar fashion at Turfway Park on March 24 when he was always in control in the $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes-Gr.2 (9f), winning by 3.25 lengths in 1:49.40 and setting himself up for a start against the Kentucky Derby contenders in the Blue Grass Stakes. “The plan for this race went perfect,” Porter said. 

“We found that he loves this track and the race set up nice for him. We were getting a lot of hype early on and stumbled last start, but picked ourselves back up today.” “This horse will do anything you want him to do,” Jones said. “I could tell he was wanting to run but he listened for Mario to ask him. He makes more money than Mario and I, but he’ll still listen to us. He’s very coachable. My only concern with the Blue Grass is that it could be suicide with so many good horses going in the race. You know me. I worry about everything. 

I wouldn’t be overly confident going into that race, but it’s a good feeling to know our horse could compete with those horses.” In the event, Hard Spun bypassed the Blue Grass and headed straight to the Kentucky Derby-Gr.1 (10f in 2:02.17) at Churchill Downs on May 5. He ran a superb race to be second, beaten 2.25 lengths by the late-charging Street Sense and with previously unbeaten Curlin (who won the 9.5f Preakness next time out from Street Sense and Hard Spun) in third, 5.75 lengths back. Following his third in the Preakness-Gr.1, Hard Spun was fourth in the final leg of the Triple Crown, the 12f Belmont Stakes on June 9 behind Rags to Riches, Curlin and Tiago. 

Darley purchased the breeding rights to Street Sense and Hard Spun after the Derby. “Street Sense and Hard Spun are the two most thrilling horses of their generation, each blessed with remarkable, exceptional gifts. They’ve achieved so much, and impressed so much, both in victory and also in defeat. It will be an enormous privilege to take charge of their stud careers. They are both so deeply talented that it’s easy to see how they could each leave a lasting impression on the breed,” Dan Pride, chief operating officer of Darley said at the time.

Taken to Monmouth Park for the Haskell Invitational-Gr.1 (9f) on August 5, Hard Spun lined up against some old Triple Crown foes including Curlin (favourite) and Any Given Saturday (eighth in the Derby but a last start easy winner of the Dwyer Stakes). Curlin got well back and while Hard Spun and Any Given Saturday sparred briefly in the straight, the latter drew away for a 4.5 length win. Hard Spun held Curlin (a head) to be second.

Dropped back in distance for the $250,000 King’s Bishop Stakes-Gr.1 (7f) at Saratoga on August 25, Hard Spun started favourite and held off a determined challenge by First Defence to win by 1.5 lengths after being briefly headed in the straight, running 1:22.20.

“It’s very important for his stallion career to have the Grade One under him,” Jones said. “This is a very important race for making stallions, and that was one reason we looked at it. He’s handled whatever we’ve thrown at him and he keeps his undefeated record going around one turn.

“This race came up very tough. I was worried about the pace, but he was keeping up with it very easy. I’ve seen him run these fractions before, when he was a younger horse and not nearly as strong as he is now, so I felt pretty good about that. He was bound and determined. We’re still looking for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. We decided to go into it gaining distance. We know he can get a mile and a quarter. We’ll look for a mile or a mile and an eighth race between now and the Classic.”

The race Jones picked was the $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic-Gr.2 (9f) on September 29 at Turfway Park (Polytrack) and although there were only four runners, one was the Derby victor Street Sense. Hard Spun led into the straight with Street Sense on his heels and although the Derby winner got to Hard Spun’s girth in the straight, the son of Danzig dug deep to win by 1.25 lengths in 1:48.48. 

“I thought it was going to work like that,” said Pino who nursed Hard Spun wire-to-wire. “Two good horses like that, you have to be close together. I got him to relax and felt him crawling along early. At the three-eighths pole he dropped his head down, going faster and faster to the wire. Hard Spun is a powerful fighter, he dug in all the way to the end.”

The $5m Breeders’ Cup Classic-Gr.1 (10f) at Monmouth on October 27 was Hard Spun’s final race and the three year-old was not disgraced when running second after setting a blistering pace (23:11, 45:67, 1.10:67) and being chased into the straight by Curlin and Street Sense. In the end it was the Preakness winner (later named Horse of the Year for 2007 and again in 2008 when his wins included the Dubai World Cup) who prevailed. Curlin (Smart Strike) scored by 4.5 lengths and ran a fast 2.00:59 (0:19 outside Carry Back’s track record) on a rain-sodden surface to beat Hard Spun, Awesome Gem and Street Sense. Hard Spun retired from the track as the winner of seven of his 13 starts, he had three seconds, one third and two fourths and earnings of $US2,673,470.

Hard Spun continues the wonderful legacy of his sire Danzig (1977-2006), who cost $310,000 as a yearling and won his only three starts before knee problems prompted owner Henryk de Kwiatkowski to retire the son of Northern Dancer to Claiborne Farm in Kentucky. Here the powerfully built little bay proceeded to rewrite the record books, becoming Champion Sire in the US in 1991, 1992 and 1993 and leaving the likes of Chief’s Crown, Lure, Anabaa, Langfuhr, War Chant, Dayjur,

Pine Bluff and of course nine times Champion Australian Sire Danehill among winners of more than $100m. Danzig’s sire Northern Dancer won a Kentucky Derby before becoming the dominant force in world pedigrees in the second half of the 20th century, while his dam Pas de Nom won nine races up to Gr.3 level and is a daughter of the Wood Memorial Stakes-Gr.1 winner Admiral’s Voyage. Pas de Nom left just four winners from 11 foals including Gr.3 winner and sire Lord of the Night (Lord Avie) and is from Petitioner, a daughter Middle Park Stakes and Sussex Stakes winner Petition and the 1946 English Oaks winner and Champion Three Year-Old Filly Steady Aim (Felstead), also fifth dam of sire Pure Theatre (Nureyev).

Hard Spun’s dam Turkish Tryst was a Listed winner (four wins 1800m-2400m) and her five winners also include Our Right of Spring (Stravinsky), who won at Listed level and has left several winners. Second dam Darbyvail won twice (1600m-1800m) and is by English Derby winner Roberto (Hail to Reason). She is a half-sister to seven winners including the Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner and sire Little Current (Sea-Bird) and to another Gr.1 winner and stakes producer in Prayers ‘n’ Promises (Foolish Pleasure). Stakes winners from this family in Australia include Almazyoon (Danehill), El Maze (El Moxie), Secret Flyer (Secret Savings) and Luvuleo (Galileo).

Hard Spun’s third dam Luiana (My Babu) did not race but she is a half-sister to Chateaugay (Swaps), winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and to Primonetta (Swaps) winner of the Alabama Stakes and Delaware Oaks and dam of Gr.1 winners Prince Thou Art and Cum Laud Laurie (both by Hail to Reason). Hard Spun’s fourth dam Banquet Bell is by Polynesian, whose son Native Dancer sired both Raise a Native (sire of Alydar and Mr. Prospector) and Natalma (dam of Northern Dancer) and who are important links in this pedigree. It is family 16h tracing to Splendid (Sheen), a half-sister to champion mare Sceptre (Persimmon), fourth dam of Petition.

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Six x Six Enhanced Pedigree Grid for

HARD SPUN (USA) 2004 Bay colt
by Danzig - Turkish Tryst, by Turkoman


B. 1977
Wnr 3 wins
f:1075 r:837 w:658 SW:198
  Northern Dancer
B. 1961
GW 14 wins
f:636 r:488 w:382 SW:147
Br. 1954
GW 21 wins
f:335 r:288 w:242 SW:49
  Nearco 2 Pharos   Phalaris 1
  Scapa Flow 13
  Nogara   Havresac 8
  Catnip 4
  Lady Angela   Hyperion   Gainsborough 2
  Selene 6
  Sister Sarah   Abbots Trace 4
  Sarita 14
B. 1957
SP 3 wins
f:14 r:12 w:11 SW:4
  Native Dancer   Polynesian   Unbreakable 4
  Black Polly 14
  Geisha   Discovery 23
  Miyako 5
  Almahmoud   Mahmoud   Blenheim 1
3 Mah Mahal 9
  Arbitrator   Peace Chance 10
  Mother Goose 2
  Pas de Nom
Br. 1968
GW 9 wins
f:11 r:8 w:4
  Admiral's Voyage
B. or Br. 1959
GW 12 wins
f:244 r:61 w:55 SW:3
  Crafty Admiral   Fighting Fox   Sir Gallahad 16
  Marguerite 4
  Admiral's Lady   War Admiral 11
  Boola Brook 8
  Olympia Lou   Olympia   Heliopolis 8
  Miss Dolphin 4
  Louisiana Lou   Halcyon 21
  Creole Maid 4
B. 1952
Wnr 1 win
f:11 r:10 w:10 SW:1
  Petition   Fair Trial 2 Fairway 13
  Lady Juror 9
  Art Paper   Artist's Proof 14
  Quire 16
  Steady Aim   Felstead   Spion Kop 19
  Felkington 3
  Quick Arrow   Casterari 4
  Quick Change 7
Ch. 1991
SW 4 wins
f:7 r:5 w:5 SW:2
B or Br. 1982
GW 8 wins
f:680 r:523 w:371 SW:25
Ch. 1975
GW 14 wins
f:690 r:521 w:367 SW:77
  Raise A Native   Native Dancer   Polynesian 14
  Geisha 5
  Raise You   Case Ace 1
  Lady Glory 8
  Sweet Tooth   On-And-On   Nasrullah 9
  Two Lea 23
  Plum Cake   Ponder 23
  Real Delight 9
B. 1973
GW 3 wins
f:15 r:13 w:11 SW:2
  Table Play   Round Table   Princequillo 1
  Knight's Daughter 2
  Leallah   Nasrullah 9
  Lea Lark 16
  Filipina   Fomento   Guatan 20
  Fantine 23
  Rosa Roja   Rustom Pasha 2
  Reseda 1
Ch. 1984
Wnr 2 wins
f:4 r:4 w:3 SW:1
B. 1969
GW 7 wins
f:500 r:441 w:318 SW:84
  Hail To Reason   Turn-To   Royal Charger 9
1 Source Sucree 1
  Nothirdchance   Blue Swords 7
  Galla Colors 4
  Bramalea   Nashua   Nasrullah 9
  Segula 3
  Rarelea   Bull Lea 9
  Bleebok 10
Ch. 1963
f:16 r:14 w:7 SW:3
  My Babu   Djebel   Tourbillon 13
  Loika 5
1 Perfume 3 Badruddin 9
  Lavendula 1
  Banquet Bell   Polynesian   Unbreakable 4
  Black Polly 14
  Dinner Horn   Pot Au Feu 14
  Tophorn 16

Native Dancer (USA) 1950 : 4f x 5m
Polynesian (USA) 1942 : 5m x 6m 5f

Nasrullah (GB) 1940 : x 6m 6f 6m