Kris S – Sunshine State Wonder
The Hail To Reason tail male line has been a consistent line for three to four generations. This line is noted for tough, intelligent and sound horses. Kris S is a grandson of Hail To Reason through Epsom Derby winner Roberto. He was a dark brown, much like many in this line and was quite large and had a very powerful build. He was bred in 1977 in Florida by Red Oak farm, and raced under the ownership of Kris S Robillard.
Kris S, the horse, competed in five races winning three and finishing second once. He won the listed Bradbury Stakes as a three year old for his only stakes victory. He would suffer from an assortment of nagging injuries which limited him to only five starts. Retired to stand stud in 1982 at Meadowbrook Farm in Florida, Kris S embarked on a very successful career as a sire. He was later transferred to Prestonwood Farm, soon to become WinStar, in Versailles Kentucky in 1993. This was brought about due to his early successes at stud and hence the “promotion” to a top level stud farm in the bluegrass state.
The horse that attracted the big breeding barons was his son Prized. Bred in 1986, Prized was bred by Meadowbrook and took the thoroughbred world by storm when he won the Breeder’s Cup Turf in 1989. This was his first start on a grass course. He had previously won the grade one Molson Export Million at Woodbine, the grade two Swaps Stakes, defeating Sunday Silence at Santa Anita and the Bradbury Stakes, the race that his sire had won in his day. Prized would come back as four year old and win the grade one San Luis Rey Stakes and the grade two Arcadia Handicap.
Prized had an up and down career as a sire standing at four different stud farms in his career. He got thirty-eight stakes winners including grade one stakes winners Brass Hat, Prized Gem and Prize Lady. He is the dam sire of Paddy O’ Prado and champion Untapable. Prized was retired from breeding in 2010. He spent his last remaining years at Old Friends Retirement Farm in Kentucky where he was one of the most popular and well loved residents at that marvellous facility. He died in 2014 at the age of twenty-eight due to old age.
Hollywood Wildcat became the next Breeder’s Cup winner sired by Kris S. This wonderful filly captured the 1993 edition of the Breeder’s Cup Distaff, defeating champion Paseana. She also won the Hollywood Oaks, Del Mar Oaks, Lady’s Secret Handicap, and San Clemente Handicap. Hollywood Wildcat earned the Eclipse Award as champion three year old filly. Hollywood Wildcat had won three stakes races as a two year old and added two more stakes races as a four year old. The Lady’s Secret Handicap for a second time and the Gamely Handicap were added to her racing resume.
Kris S sired three other Breeder’s Cup winners. Soaring Softly won the inaugural Filly and Mares Turf in 1999, as well as the Flower Bowl Invitational Handicap. She also earned an Eclipse Award as champion female turf horse.
Brocco by Kris S won the 1993 Breeder’s Cup Juvenile and then added the Santa Anita Derby the following year. Action This Day would also win the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile, the 2003 edition. He became another Eclipse Award recipient sired by Kris S this time as champion two year old.
Kris S sired many other grade/group one stakes winners during his stud career. Symboli Kris S raced in Japan and became a two time Japanese horse of the year. His list of stakes wins include the back to back victories in the group one Arima Kinen (Grand Prix) and the Tenno Sho (Autumn), as well as the grade two Kobe Shimbun Hai and the Tokyo Hai Aoba Sho. His pair of back to back third place finishes in the Japan Cup was also very popular with his Japanese fans.
Symboli Kris S was retired to the Shadai Stallion Station in Hokkaido where he has been a strong sire getting such good horses as Success Broken (Japan Dirt Derby, February Stakes), Epiphaneia (Japanese St. Leger, Japan Cup), Alfredo (Asahi Hai Futurity), and Strong Return (Yasuda Kinen).
Kris Kin was bred in 2000 and became a classic winner for his sire when he won the 2003 Epsom Derby. Kissin Kris became a grade one stakes winner when he won the Haskell Invitational Handicap. He would also add the Palm Beach Stakes and place second in the Travers Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Arkansas Derby and Suburban Handicap. Kudos won the Oaklawn Handicap and the Californian Stakes.
Other major stakes winners sired by Kris S are Adonis (Wood Memorial, Discovery Handicap), Evening Kris (Jerome Handicap, Riva Ridge Stakes), Cheval Volant (Hollywood Starlet Stakes, Las Virgenes Stakes), Stocks Up (Hollywood Starlet Stakes), Class Kris (Black Helen Stakes), You And I (Metropolitan Handicap, Brooklyn Handicap), Arch (Super Derby) and Rock Hard Ten (Malibu Stakes, Santa Anita Handicap, Swaps Stakes)
Rock Hard Ten had sired multi stakes winners Capital Plan, Doubles Partner and Tonito M, before he was relocated from Lane’s End Farm to South Korea. The deal includes a stipulation that when he is retired from breeding, he is to return to the U.S.
Arch has done quite well at stud since his racing days. A resident of the fabled Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky, Arch has sired fifty-one stakes winners as of the end of 2014. His best has been the very talented Blame, the only horse to beat super mare Zenyatta. This came in the 2010 Breeder’s Cup Classic, the final race for both champions. Blame also won the Whitney Handicap and the Stephen Foster Handicap during his championship season. He now stands at Claiborne with his sire.
Another champion sired by Arch is Arravale, Sovereign Award Horse of the Year in Canada as well as the champion turf female. Arravale won the E.P.Taylor Stakes, Del Mar Oaks and Natalma Stakes during her brilliant career. More major stakes winners sired by Arch are Hymn Book (Donn Handicap), Archarcharch (Arkansas Derby), Les Arcs (July Cup, Golden Jubilee Stakes), Pine Island (Alabama Stakes, Gazelle Stakes), Grand Arch (King Edward Stakes), London Bridge (Breeder’s Cup Marathon), Lattice (American Derby) So Long George (Nijinsky Stakes), Love Theway Youare (Vanity Handicap), and Pomology (Lancashire Oaks).
Philanthropist by Kris S was a minor stakes winner, the grade three Queen’s County Stakes, before he was retired to stud at Gardiner Farms in Ontario. He entered stud in 2007 and stayed at Gardiner Farms until the 2012 breeding season when he was transferred to Drakenstein Stud in South Africa. While in Ontario he sired Canadian champions Pender Harbour (Prince of Wales Stakes, Breeder’s Stakes, Bunty Lawless Stakes twice, Steady Growth Stakes twice, and Elgin Stakes twice), and Phil’s Dream (grade one Nearctic Stakes, Overskate Stakes, New Providence Stakes and the Ontario Jockey Club Stakes twice). Philanthropist has also sired stakes winners Grace Phil, Bear its Time, and Medabuck.
As well as the sons have done to continue the name of Kris S in future pedigrees, his daughters have done even more so. It was said by many bloodstock analysts in the past that Kris S will make a more influential sire of broodmares than of sires. This seems to be the case. His body type, and his ability to pass on the type, is indicative to the traditional top broodmares sires in history. There have been many undeniable conclusions to this theory.
Let us start with the most obvious. Zenyatta. Sensational, charismatic, consistent, fast, incredible, brilliant, amazing, machine-like, supernatural. Pick your superlative, or choose them all. She was simply the best mare I have ever seen. Zenyatta won the first nineteen races of her illustrious career in the same manner. She would break slowly from the gate, lag behind the entire field around the first bend, wind up her long legs down the backstretch and begin to pass the trailers, and then unleash her devastating speed down the stretch to the finish line to take command and win. Her only loss was to Blame in the 2010 Breeder’s Cup Classic, by a rapidly diminishing nose.
Zenyatta is a big girl. A 17.2 hands bay, with two white socks and a star and stripe down her beautiful head. Her long stride would devour ground so rapidly that at times it did not seem that she was travelling so quickly, until she came upon a rival and blew right past. She is intelligent, powerful and one of the most popular horses of any breed or sex in history. She has a fan club that would rival any rock star for membership. Her dam is Vertigineux by Kris S. Her sire is Street Cry by Mr. Prospector. Her legend is exulted by all.
Hollywood Wildcat would produce four stakes winners after her stellar racing career finished. Minister’s Wildcat by Deputy Minister won the Golden Gate Stakes and the Jacques Cartier Stakes, Ivan Denisovich by Danehill won the July Stakes and the Solonaway Stakes, Double Cat by Storm Cat won the Queen of the Green Stakes, and War Chant by Danzig won the Breeder’s Cup Mile, Oak Tree Mile and San Rafael Stakes.
Some more stakes winners produced by daughters of Kris S are, Western Aristocrat (Jamaica Handicap), Student Council (Pacific Classic, Pimlico Special, Hawthorne Gold Cup), Secret Charm (Radley Stakes), Life Is Sweet (Breeder’s Cup Ladies Classic, Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap), champion two year old Sweet Catomine (Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies, Del Mar Debutante, Oak Leaf Stakes, Santa Anita Oaks), and Marketing Mix (Rodeo Drive Stakes, Wonder Where Stakes, Nassau Stakes, Dance Smartly Stakes, Gamely Stakes, Sunset Handicap).
Kris S was not an easy horse get to know. He did not like to be fussed over much, a very businesslike demeanour. He had his moments of affection, when it suited him, but generally preferred to keep to himself. The Hail To Reason tail male line has produced some very ornery stallions and mares in the past, such as Dynaformer, Glorious Song, Devil’s Bag, Brain’s Time, Sunday Silence and the legendary evil tempered Halo. Kris S was not nasty, though there are reports of a few of his get that did behave roguishly, and many who were absolute sweethearts. It depended on how the handlers took care of them.
When all was said and done on the stud career of Kris S, he had sired eight hundred and thirty-nine named foals, of which ninety-three are stakes winners. He sired five winners of Breeder’s Cup events, five national champions including Vertigineux as broodmare of the year, and is the dam sire of one of the greatest horses in the long history of the turf. This is quite a stud career!!
During the latter part of his life, Kris S had had trouble with his neck. The discomfort became obvious when during a cover of a mare he was seen flinching from the sharpness of the pain. He would tough it out though and perform his duty like a true warrior. He also developed navicular trouble in his hooves. He had a racing career with nagging ailments and so he had developed a high tolerance to pain and could get through his day and duties without too much fuss.
However, by May of 2002 the pain and suffering in his neck was becoming unbearable. He had been pensioned from stud duty in late February because of this. On May 7, 2002 the decision was made to end his suffering and go out with the dignity he deserved. Kris S was twenty-five when he died and is buried at WinStar in a place of honour, which he has truly earned and deserves.
(Photo courtesy of WinStar Farm)