Claiborne Farm's Danzig (by Northern Dancer) was one of the world's greatest sires, a horse who gave us a long list of Group/Grade 1 winners, whose daughters included many notable broodmares, and whose sons featured many that got at least one top-level winner of their own.
Two of those sons – the classic-placed Group 1 sprint stars Danehill and Green Desert – went on to forge their own dynasties, and until quite recently it was beginning to look as though that pair and their descendants would remain the enduring source of his lineage.
When the triple US champion sire was 24 years old, and still commanding a fee far in excess of what most stallions today cost, his book included the Grade 1-placed multiple stakes winner Starry Dreamer (by Rubiano). The resulting colt did not succeed at the highest level on the track, but he is among his sire's 198 stakes winning offspring, and there is a chance that he could join Danehill and Green Desert as one of Danzig's most important sons.
Right now it is just a chance, and it is far too early to do more than speculate as to how history might judge him, but we could have an answer within the next 10 to 15 years. And he is not the only young Danzig stallion with such potential, because Darley's 12-year-old Hard Spun, who was a classic-placed Grade 1 winner, is already the sire of nine Group/Grade 1 winners, and counting.
A half-brother to the graded winners Ecclesiastic (by Pulpit) and Teammate (by A.P. Indy), War Front holds court at Claiborne and his $200,000 fee, still short of his sire's price at the end of his career, makes him one of the most expensive stallions in the world.
He was a Grade 2 winner over six furlongs, Grade 1-placed over six and seven, and that excellent form was all as a four-year-old. He was unplaced in his only start as a juvenile, had an eight and a half furlong listed contest among three wins from five starts at three, and despite this racing profile he has become an outstanding source of two-year-olds, in addition to those who are top-class at three and four years of age.
From seven crops of racing age, he has been represented by 47 stakes winners and the 10 of those who have won at the highest level include the European-trained colts Air Force Blue, Hit It A Bomb, Declaration Of War, and War Command. The latter pair are young Coolmore stallions, his US Grade 1 winners Data Link and The Factor are also in early stages of their stud careers, and it will be how the grandsons of all these horses fare on the track, and at stud, that will give us the best clues as whether War Front will forge a dynasty or be remembered merely as another of the good Danzig stallions.
War Front's seventh-crop progeny are only two years old but already they include the Group 2 winners Roly Poly and War Decree, Group 3 scorer Brave Anna, and dual Group 2-placed Intelligence Cross, each of whom is trained in Ireland by Aidan O'Brien. Two of those are fillies and the better of the colts is a horse whose pedigree would make him a very interesting addition to the stallion ranks whenever his racing career comes to an end.
War Decree, who was bred by Ar Enterprises Llc, made a winning debut over seven furlongs at Leopardstown in early June, chased home Boynton in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket a month later, and then impressed with a one and three-quarter length defeat of Thunder Snow in the Group 2 Qatar Vintage Stakes at Goodwood last week. Timeform have him on a rating of 113p.
He is the second foal out of Royal Decree (by Street Cry). She failed to trouble the judge in two starts, was covered as a three-year-old, and then sold for $385,000 in Keeneland that November, in foal to US champion sire Elusive Quality (by Gone West). The resultant colt was sold for $260,000 at the same venue 12 months later, made just $210,000 as a yearling, and is now known as Noble Quality, a dual stakes-placed miler from his first seven starts.
Ticker Tape (by Royal Applause), the grandam of War Decree, began her career with the Jamie Osborne stable in England, winning at Warwick and Doncaster and earning her first piece of blacktype when finishing third in the Listed Radley Stakes. She then crossed the Atlantic, was runner-up in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes and continued racing in the USA to the age of five, retiring to stud as a millionaire and dual Grade 1 star.
In addition to the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland and the Grade 1 American Oaks Invitational at Hollywood Park, she won a Grade 3 contest at Arlington and several listed races, and her string of notable placings included second in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks and third in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes.
Royal Decree is her first foal, eight and a half furlong listed scorer Empress Maker (by Empire Maker) is her third, and her fourth, a daughter of Giant's Causeway (by Storm Cat) was born in Japan after the mare's sale for $950,000 at Keeneland the previous November.
Ticker Tape is one of seven winners out of Argent Du Bois (by Silver Hawk) and her siblings include Sant Elena (by Efisio), the stakes-placed dam of Reckless Abandon (by Exchange Rate). That grandson of Danzig was one of the best juveniles in Europe in 2012, when he won the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes, Group 2 Prix Robert Papin, Group 1 Prix Morny and Group 1 Middle Park Stakes, but unfortunately he proved infertile, was withdrawn from stud and gelded.
The best of Argent Du Bois's siblings was the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy winner Crowded House (by Rainbow Quest), and although neither she nor her dam, Wiener Wald (by Woodman), managed to win, her grandam was the Grade 1-placed dual Grade 2 scorer Chapel Of Dreams (by Northern Dancer). That mare's descendants include the Grade 2 winners Juniper Pass (by Lemon Drop Kid), Tale Of A Champion (by Tale Of The Cat), and Postponed (by Summer Squall), the latter a New Zealand-based stallion whose blacktype progeny include the mile Group 1 scorer Pasta Post.
Of course, as many know, Chapel Of Dreams was out of the multiple Grade 2 winner Terlingua (by Secretariat) and, in addition to being a half-sister to Group 1 star and leading sire Royal Academy (by Nijinsky), that mare is the one who gave us the Grade 1 winner and multiple US champion sire Storm Cat (by Storm Bird).
Royal Academy's 168 stakes winners include European Group 1 stars Sleepytime, Ali-Royal, Carmine Lake, Oscar Schindler, Lavery and Zalaiyka, his international Group/Grade 1 winners include Bullish Luck, Kenwood Melody and Black Caviar's sire Bel Esprit, and the many major winners produced from his daughters include Group 1 star and Australian champion sire Fastnet Rock (by Danehill), European juvenile champion and popular young stallion Dabirsim (by Hat Trick), and dual classic heroine Finsceal Beo (by Mr Greeley), to name just three.
Storm Cat sired 181 stakes winners and founded a dynasty. In addition to being an outstanding broodmare sire - Group/Grade 1 winners include A Shin Hikari, Ballydoyle, Bodemeister, Close Hatches, Folklore, Gleneagles, Kizuna, Lord Kanaloa, Marvellous, Misty For Me, Shared Belief, Speightstown, etc - his many sons who have sired Group/Grade 1 winners of their own include Bernstein, Forest Wildcat, Hennessy, Forestry, Tale Of The Cat, Stormin Fever, Harlan, Stormy Atlantic, Freud and, of course, multiple US champion sire Giant's Causeway.
His many notable male-line descendants include the late Harlan's Holiday (by Harlan) and Scat Daddy (by Johannesburg), both of whom are currently in the top 25 in the 2016 US sires' championship title race. The latter stood at Ashford Stud in Kentucky, was only 11 when he died earlier this year, and this prolific US Grade 1- and South American classic sire has been represented in Europe by No Nay Never, Daddy Long Legs, Acapulco, and current juvenile stars Caravaggio and Lady Aurelia.
Royal Academy and Storm Cat are remotely related to War Decree, but their presence in the family will not be missed whenever the recent Group 2 scorer gets his chance at stud, a prospect that looks likely given the precocity and talent he has shown so far.
He holds entries in the Group 2 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes, Group 2 Galileo European Breeders Fund Futurity Stakes, Group 2 At The Races Champagne Stakes and Group 1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes, and he is available at between 10-1 to 16-1 for next year's Group 1 Qipco 2000 Guineas, generally third in the betting behind his Ballydoyle team mates Caravaggio and Churchill.
It is a long time until then, of course, and he still has to improve to be up to winning a classic, but War Decree is bred to achieve anything and, given his pedigree and current race record, there is no reason to doubt his ability to stay a mile.