Claiborne Farm’s prominent stallion War Front made headlines on Saturday when his son War Of Will landed the Gr1 Preakness Stakes, becoming War Front’s first US classic winner in the process.
The well related War Of Will, a half-brother to the Cape based Gr1 National Stakes winner Pathfork, is one of more than 20 Gr1 winners sired by War Front, whose progeny’s ongoing success both on the track and in the sales ring has ensured his status as one of the world’s elite stallions.
Sarah Whitelaw writes that War Of Will is one of two Gr1 winning three-year-olds representing his sire in 2019, with sidelined Arkansas Derby hero Omaha Beach being the other. War Of Will was not his sire’s only stakes winner this weekend, with the War Front filly Dogtag capturing the Hilltop Stakes at Pimlico on Friday.
War Front sports statistics which make on a par with some of the world’s best stallions- he is sire of 83 stakes winners from 749 foals of racing age (11% of his registered foals are black type winners). In comparison, Galileo is siring 11.4% stakes winners to foals, Dubawi 12.4%, and Tapit 10% stakes winners to foals.
At the time of writing, War Front is currently North America’s second Leading active Sire by Average Earnings Index, with his AEI of 2.29 higher than those of Tapit, Quality Road, Candy Ride, Distorted Humor and Medaglia D’Oro.
Himself a four time winner whose biggest victory came in the Gr2 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap of 2006, War Front is one of a select number of recent top sires – his legendary sire Danzig falls into this category as does Mr Prospector – not to have won at least one Gr1 race. Other top sires this century to fall into this category include Distorted Humor, Elusive Quality, Tale Of The Cat, Pulpit, and Dansili. Australia’s Not A Single Doubt, sire of Saturday’s Gr1 Doomben Cup winner Kenedna, is another high class current sire who failed to win a Gr1 race.
Beginning his stud career at a fee of $12 500 – he now stands for $250 000 – War Front has consistently churned out stakes winners since retiring to stud in 2007. He made a spectacular start with his first foals born in 2008- 75 registered foals, War Front’s first crop produced 55 winners, and a staggering 11 black type winners. When taking into account he did not cover the best mares around, this achievement is even more impressive. Stars of War Front’s first crop included the Gr1 winners Data Link, Summer Soiree, and The Factor as well as Hong Kong star Sweet Orange.
He has since gone on to firmly prove a consistently high class stallion, with War Front’s subsequent eight crops (including his current crop of 3yos) averaging eight stakes winners and producing such standout G1 winners as Air Force Blue, Brave Anna, Declaration Of War, Hit It A Bomb, War Command, Avenge, Jack Milton, and U S Navy Flag –to name a few.
War Front’s progeny have proved particularly successful in Europe and the UK, with the likes of Declaration Of War, Brave Anna, Roly Poly, U S Navy Flag, War Command, and Lancaster Bomber having all won at Gr1 level in this region.
The son of Danzig is also now making his mark as a sire of sires, and War Front’s Gr1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes second son Due Diligence made his presence felt on Friday when his first-crop daughter, 2yo Good Vibes, won the Listed Langleys Solicitors British EBF Marygate Stakes at York. One of two first crop winners for her sire thus far, Good Vibes is the first stakes winner for her sire Due Diligence. The latter, who won the Listed (now Gr3) Lacken Stakes, was produced by the Pulpit mare Bema, and is bred on the same War Front/Pulpit cross as millionaire Departing, Gr3 winner Native Bombshell, and Gr1 Secretariat Stakes runner up Long Island Sound.
War Front has an increasingly large number of sons at stud, with this number including Gr1 winners Declaration Of War and The Factor, both of whom have sired Gr1 winners themselves.
The dual Gr1 winner Declaration Of War was War Front’s first son responsible for a European classic winner, with his son Olmedo capturing the 2018 Gr1 Poule d’Essai Des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas). To date, Declaration Of War (who is from the same female line as former SA Oaks winner Idle Fancy) has been responsible for more than 20 black type performers, with his offspring also including Gr1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf runner up Uncle Benny.War Front’s legacy looks set to continue with his potential sire sons including both Omaha Beach and War Of Will, while his champion son Air Force Blue set to be represented by his first runners next year.
This impressive sire also looks set to make his mark locally, with War Front having two new sons at stud in South Africa in the form of Fire Away and Lancaster Bomber respectively.
The Gr3 Dixie Stakes winning Fire Away is a half-brother to Gr1 Belmont Derby winner and promising sire Mr Speaker, and the well performed Lancaster Bomber, a half-brother to outstanding miler Excelebration, having finished first or second in no fewer than six Gr1 races – his wins include the Gr1 Tattersalls Gold Cup. Both Fire Away and Lancaster Bomber stand their first seasons in South Africa this year.