By late 2002, Vindication (by Seattle Slew) looked to have the world at his feet. The $2.15m Fasig-Tipton purchase swept through four juvenile starts unbeaten, culminating in a two and three-quarter-length victory the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, which earned him the Eclipse Award as champion two-year-old.
But he never ran again, he took up stallion duties at Hill 'N Dale Farms in Kentucky, and died due to complications from colic after just five seasons. Those he left behind included Grade 2 scorer and Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint second Dust And Diamonds, Grade 3 winner and Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks runner-up Broadway's Alibi, Grade 3 winner and Grade 1 Ashland Stakes second Wyomia, and a couple of colts who did well in Ireland.
Free Judgement won the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes at two, added the Group 3 Tetrarch Stakes at three, and chased home Canford Cliffs in the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas. That €50,000 Goffs Million graduate was trained by Jim Bolger, as was $560,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase Vocalised.
He finished fourth in the maiden won by Sea The Stars at Leopardstown on his debut, won a similar contest over the same course and distance on his only other start that year, and started off his three-year-old campaign in style, winning the Listed Loughbrown Stakes, Group 3 Greenham Stakes and Group 3 Tetrarch Stakes.
He was out of the frame in five subsequent starts, including the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas), and he took up stallion duties at Redmondstown Stud the following spring.
Vocalised's fee has been listed as private every year except 2015, when it was said to be €12,500, and his first crop featured the talented filly Steip Amach, who was bred by Jim Bolger and trained by him to win the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes and Group 3 Amethyst Stakes.
She joined the David Smaga team shortly after the latter success and picked up third place in both the Group 1 Prix Rothschild and Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet.
His third crop includes the Bolger-bred and trained Vociferous Marina, who won the Listed Salsabil Stakes over 10 furlongs at Navan in April, and his fourth crop, which contained 55 foals, is headed by Verbal Dexterity.
He too is trained by Bolger, who bred him in partnership with John Corcoran, and he gave his sire a first winner at the highest level when beating Beckford by three and a half lengths in the Group 1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes over seven furlongs at the Curragh on Sunday.
The ground was on the heavy side of soft, there was another two and three-quarter lengths back to third-placed Rostropovich, and an additional four and a half-length gap back to Coat Of Arms in fourth.
Just over two months previously the first two had met in the Group 2 GAIN Railway Stakes over a furlong shorter at the same venue – on ground that was the easy side of good – and that day Beckford came out on top by a length. Timeform rated the pair 113p and 109p respectively.
This came three weeks after Verbal Dexterity made his debut, putting up one of the most visually impressive performances by any Irish juvenile in 2017 when storming home by nine and a half lengths over seven furlongs, on soft ground, also at the Curragh.
Verbal Dexterity is the second foal out of Lonrach (by Holy Roman Emperor), who was placed several times, and his grandam is Luminous One (by Galileo), who won once as a three-year-old and earned her blacktype when third in the Listed Eyrefield Stakes over nine furlongs at two.
This might not sound especially promising as a source of a Group 1 star and potential classic contender, but the sires of those mares give a clue that this is a branch of a prolific blacktype family.
The third dam of this rising star is the pattern-placed dual middle-distance stakes winner Smaoineamh (by Tap On Wood), a half-sister to Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp and Group 1 King's Stand Stakes star Double Form (by Habitat). The pair were out of Fanghorn (by Crocket), a mare from whom many notable performers descend.
Smaoineamh is the dam of the Listed Silver Flash Stakes winner Luminata (by Indian Ridge), who was placed in both the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac, and that half-sister to Luminous One is also a half-sister to Dathuil (by Royal Academy) and Scribonia (by Danehill).
The former is the Grade 3-placed grandam of Group 3 Brownstown Stakes heroine Tobann (by Teofilo), while the latter is the unraced dam of the pattern-winning fillies Cuis Ghaire and Scintillula and of their Group 1 Coronation Stakes-placed full-sister Gile Na Greine (by Galileo).
Scribonia is also the dam of the pattern-placed stakes winner The Major General (by Galileo), and her unraced full-sister Luminaria has chipped in with dual Listed Carlingford Stakes winner Paene Magnus (by Teofilo).
One of most notable branches of the Fanghorn family is that descended from her triple-winning daughter Gradiva (by Lorenzaccio), the grandam of speedy pattern-placed stakes winner and influential broodmare La Meilleure (by Lord Gayle), who is the dam of classic-placed Group 1 scorer and successful sire Sholokhov (by Sadler's Wells), and of stakes winners Affianced (by Erins Isle), Napper Tandy (by Spectrum), and Zavaleta (by Kahyasi).
La Meilleure's descendants, therefore, include runaway Group 1 Irish Derby hero Soldier Of Fortune (by Galileo) – who, like his pattern-winning full-brother Heliostatic, has sired winners at the highest level – juvenile Group 1 scorer and blacktype sire Intense Focus (by Giant's Causeway), and this season's Group 3 Ballycorus Stakes winner Flight Risk (by Teofilo), among others of note.
Other notable descendants of Fanghorn include juvenile Group 1 stars Eva Luna (by Double Schwartz) and Loch Garman (by Teofilo), Group 3 scorer and blacktype sire Captain Gerrard (by Oasis Dream), classic-placed pattern winner Rehn's Nest (by Authorized), and US Grade 1 heroine Kitten's Dumplings (by Kitten's Joy).
Those horses are remotely connected to Verbal Dexterity, but the ones who appear within the first three generations of his pedigree, combined with what we know about his sire, suggest that he could be a high-class miler in 2017, with the possibility of getting 10 furlongs.