Another branch for Forty Niner family tree

Travelin Man and R Heat Lightning highlight belated success for Forty Niner’s grandson Trippi

Although he resembled his broodmare sire, Tom Rolfe, far more closely than his sire, Forty Niner was the obvious choice to succeed his sire, Mr. Prospector, at Claiborne Farm. Bred and raced by Claiborne, he earned champion two-year-old male honors in 1987, finished second in the 1988 Kentucky Derby (G1), and won that year’s Travers Stakes (G1) and Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1).

Forty Niner was successful, leading the freshman sire list in 1992, but was sold to Japan in 1995 during a difficult period for Claiborne. The following year, Forty Niner ranked second on the general sire list by North American earnings, and within a few years the success of Forty Niner’s sons End Sweep and Distorted Humor at stud made his export even more regrettable.

End Sweep was exported to Australia in 1999 before moving to Japan, but one of his three Grade 1- or Group 1- winning sons, Trippi, enjoyed his best weekend as a stallion on April 2 and 3, with his daughter R Heat Lightning winning the Gulfstream Oaks (G2) and son Travelin Man capturing the Swale Stakes (G2).

From the second crop of End Sweep, Trippi was bred in Florida by End Sweep’s owner, Harry T. Mangurian Jr., and purchased for only $65,000 at the 1999 Keeneland April two-year-olds in training sale by Cot Campbell’s Dogwood Stable. Named for Campbell’s old friend, pro football Hall of Famer Charley Trippi, the End Sweep colt did not race at two but won his first four starts at three, a six-furlong maiden special weight race, a seven-furlong allowance race, the seven-furlong Swale Stakes (G3), and the 11⁄8-mile Flamingo Stakes (G3), all at Gulfstream Park.

Trippi took his chance as part of a three-horse Todd Pletcher-trained entry in the 2000 Kentucky Derby (G1). But after pressing the very fast pace set by Hal’s Hope, he faded quickly to finish 11th, beaten by 183⁄4 lengths. If 11⁄4 miles was too far for Trippi, seven furlongs hit him right in the sweet spot, and he duly won the Riva Ridge Stakes (G2) and Tom Fool Handicap (G2) at that distance very impressively. Six furlongs against top competition, however, was a bit short, and he finished third behind Personal First and Disco Rico in the Amsterdam Stakes (G3) at that distance. In the seven-furlong Vosburgh Stakes (G1), things fell Trippi’s way. After blazing a half in :44.60 and six furlongs in 1:08.65, he held off the closing charge of More Than Ready to win by a halflength in 1:21.66.

That was effectively the end of Trippi as a top-class racehorse. There were too many other speed horses to run with in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), and he ran well only once in four starts as a four-year-old, finishing second to Hook and Ladder in the Gulfstream Breeders’ Cup Sprint Handicap (G2).

Trippi was a natural for Ocala Stud Farm, and he stood at Florida’s oldest stud farm from 2002 through 2008, when he was exported to South Africa’s Drakenstein Stud.

Travelin Man is Trippi’s 30th stakes winner from 495 foals age three and older, a highly respectable 6.1% strike rate. R Heat Lightning (out of Yellow Heat, by Gold Fever), winner of the 2010 Spinaway Stakes (G1), is his only Grade 1 winner to date, but Travelin Man is one of Trippi’s eight graded stakes winners.

R Heat Lightning is inbred 3×3 to Forty Niner, but Travelin Man has a more conventional pedigree. He is inbred 4×3 to Mr. Prospector, with the ubiquitous Northern Dancer duplicated 5×4 for an inbreeding coefficient of 2.88% through the first six generations. R Heat Lightning’s coefficient is 3.74%, and Trippi also is the sire of another good inbred three-year-old, 2010 Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (G3) winner Gourmet Dinner (Potluck Dinner, by Pentelicus), who is inbred 4×4 to both Mr. Prospector and In Reality for a coefficient of 2.28%.

Travelin Man is a sixth-generation descendant of one of the best families in the stud book, descending from Foundation Mare Missy Baba, by *My Babu. Dam of leading sire Raja Baba, by Bold Ruler, and four other U.S. stakes winners, including good sires Sauce Boat, by Key to the Mint, and Master Bold, by Bold Ruler, Missy Baba is tail-female ancestress of innumerable top racehorses and sires, including A.P. Indy, Summer Squall, Lemon Drop Kid, Duke of Marmalade (Ire), Court Vision, Plugged Nickle, and Havre de Grace.

Travelin Man’s branch of the family has not been as successful in recent generations. He is the first foal out of his dam, maiden winner West Side Dancer, by Gone West, a half sister to stakes-placed Lieutenant Danz, by Gold Fever. Bering Cruise, by Danzig, his second dam, won two minor races but is a half sister to stakes winners Bite the Bullet, by Spectacular Bid, and Shuailaan, by Roberto, and to the dam of Duke of Marmalade.

With three of the better three-year-olds of 2011—R Heat Lightning, Travelin Man, and Gourmet Dinner—in his penultimate American crop, it is too bad that Trippi will not be around to reap the benefit of his rather belated success.

John P. Sparkman is bloodstock editor of THOROUGHBRED TIMES and authorof Foundation Mares. His e-mail address is [email protected].More of his work can be viewed at http://pedigreecurmudgeon.blogspot.com.

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