Air Force Blue was one of the most brilliant two-year-olds this century, a Timeform 128p-rated star who swept the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes, Group 1 National Stakes and Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes by an aggregate margin of eight and a quarter lengths. His only defeat at two came on his second start, when chasing home Buratino in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Sadly, the Aidan O'Brien-trained bay showed little in four starts at three, finishing well-beaten in two classics, in the Group 1 July Cup and, on his final start, trailing home last of seven in a Group 3 at the Curragh. He was retired to Coolmore's US division – Ashford Stud – but will probably have quite a few runners here from 2020.
He was bred by Stone Farm, cost $490,000 as a yearling, and is the best of several winners out of the stakes-placed Chatham (by Maria's Mon). Two of that mare's siblings have produced a stakes winning daughter at stud, and their dam, Circle Of Gold (by Seeking The Gold), is an unraced full-sister to Flanders.
That's the US-born Flanders – and not the well-known Irish-born broodmare of the same name – and she was the two-year-old filly champion there in 1994 when winning the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Stakes, Grade 1 Frizette Stakes, and Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes. She then became the dam of two horses of note: Surfside (by Seattle Slew) and Battle Plan (by Empire Maker).
The latter won the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap and was runner-up in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap, both over nine furlongs, and is a minor blacktype sire in Japan, whereas Surfside was a Breeders' Cup-placed multiple Grade 1 star who was crowned US champion three-year-old filly in 2000.
Surfside is the dam of Grade 3 scorer Irish Surf (by Giant's Causeway) and grandam of Group 3 Prix d'Arenberg winner and Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes third High Celebrity (by Invincible Spirit), and other descendants of Flanders include Grade 2 winner and Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks third Open Water (by Include).
There are other talented horses to be found within the branches of these first three generations of the family, but nothing among them to guide us as to how Air Force Blue might fare as a sire. There are 114 registered foals in his first crop and he looks likely to get his best winners in the broad five to 10-furlong range. Given the immense talent he showed at two, it is reasonable to expect that some of his offspring will also do well at that age.
AIR FORCE BLUE (USA) - b.2013 - War Front - Chatham, 4 wins inc Dewhurst Stakes (Gr1), National Stakes (Gr1), Phoenix Stakes (Gr1), 2nd Coventry Stakes (Gr2). Sire in USA. First foals in 2018.
Bf - Satin Box (by Manduro) Tattersalls November 11,500gns
Sires of Stallions