Classic Causeway can go the distance

Photo: Evers/Eclipse Sportswire

On Saturday, Classic Causeway outclassed a dozen hopesfuls in the Sam F. Davis (G3) and earned 10 qualifying points for the 2022 Kentucky Derby.

Despite being pressed early by Little Vic, the Brian Lynch trainee relaxed, ears flickering, until Irad Ortiz Jr. pressed the “go” button. Classic Causeway responded by lengthening stride and opening up to win the 1 1/16-mile race by 3 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:42.80. Shipsational
closed for second, a length in front of Volcanic.

Competing for his breeders, Kentucky West Racing and Clarke M. Cooper Family Living Trust, Classic Causeway expanded his record to 4: 2-2-2 with earnings of $301,100. Previously, the chestnut colt finished third in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and second in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2). Lecomte (G3) winner Call Me Midnight and Holy Bull (G3) winner White Abarrio
also exited the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

Classic Causeway (Giant’s Causeway – Private World, by Thunder Gulch) is a member of his sire’s last crop of only three foals. The others are Monaadah, who is in the UAE, and Giant Gamewho was third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and more recently faded to eighth in the Holy Bull (G3) after contesting the pace.

Giant’s Causeway’s legacy lacks a Kentucky Derby, Preakness or Belmont Stakes winner despite his prolific number of high-level stakes winners.

A three-time leading sire, Giant’s Causeway earned designation as a classic chef-de-race for bestowing stamina on his offspring. His many stakes-winning offspring include 2019 horse of the year and champion turf male Bricks and Mortar, and champion 2-year-olds Shamardal and Take Charge Brandi.

Classic Causeway is bred on the same Giant’s Causeway/Thunder Gulch cross as five other stakes winners, including Virginia Oaks (G3) winner Excited, who excelled at 1 1/8 miles on turf and dirt.

Classic Causeway Pedigree

Classic Causeway is the first black-type earner out of Private World (Thunder Gulch – Rita Rucker, by Dmitri), a winner of three of six starts, including the Moccasin and Anoakia Stakes as a juvenile. She also placed in the California Breeders’ Cup Oaks at three.

Classic Causeway’s second dam Rita Rucker was a hardy sprinter/miler who earned $249,767 the hard way. She entered the starting gate 72 times and was in the money 40 times, including victories in four overnight stakes at Mountaineer.

Classic Causeway’s damsire Thunder Gulch (Gulch – Line of Thunder, by Storm Bird) is the damsire of 119 stakes winners, including Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Bayern, Kentucky Oaks heroine Lovely Maria, and multiple Grade 1-winning handicap horse Mshawish.

Kentucky Derby contender or pretender?

In the last 16 years, eight Sam F. Davis winners made it to the Kentucky Derby, and one, Bluegrass Cat (2006), finished second. He also placed in the Belmont Stakes, as did Destin (2016).

Classic Causeway is bred to excel at middle to classic distances.

In the first five generations of his pedigree, the aptly named Classic Causeway carries the bloodlines of a Triple Crown legend (Secretariat) plus Kentucky Derby (Northern Dancer and Thunder Gulch), Preakness (Northern Dancer and Bold Ruler) and Belmont winner (Thunder Gulch and Temperance Hill).

Classic Causeway has a long, beautiful stride with no wasted motion. Although he played the role of the pacesetter in three of four starts, he pressed the pace in the Kentucky Jockey Club and showed the ability to rate and pass other horses.

Brian Lynch expects to bring Classic Causeway back for the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on March 12.

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