Posted: 10:20 a.m. Monday, Aug. 5, 2013
In today's racing world, Cross Traffic is an anomaly. No starts as a 2yo, no starts as a 3yo, and then an eruption as a 4yo is certainly an atypical race pattern. According to trainer Todd Pletcher, the colt came to his barn as a 3yo with a "little shin issue" that kept him from progressing.
I would certainly not be surprised to know that Cross Traffic had other issues as well, after all, Unbridled's Songs are notoriously unsound. In fact, and I highly recommend reading the entire article here, you can clearly see issues with his foals from the outset.
The article is admittedly slightly dated.
"The hardest thing about judging Unbridled's Song is that he's a horse who expresses all the worst of a pedigree that has some really good things to offer. For example, instead of keeping to the best of Fappiano (the inbred *Bull Dog/Marguerite de Valois speed) and Caro (dense bone) as well as the toughness (69) starts of Lucky Spell and her *Princequillo blood, he seems to get only the Raise a Native/Mr. Prospector/Unbridled troubles along with whatever woes his dam possessed that held her to just one start."
"Make no mistake. This is a very good sire. But he is also a horse who does not hit on all cylinders. If you send him a soft mare and expect that $150,000 stud fee to help her catalogue page, you might just be bitterly disappointed. Better to inbreed to Caro - like with the Dr. Carter blood that got Octave (two-thirds of the filly Triple Crown); or Marguerite de Valois (Unbridels King - 33 starts - via Lord Avie or Habiboo - 17 starts via Ogygian), and get them to the track where they can do some good. (And no, that's not a misprint, his name really is spelled Unbridels)."
Now I'm not trying to focus solely on Unbridled's Song's downfalls as a sire. It is just an UBS that has soundness issues isn't remarkable, it's expected.
Cross Traffic, by Unbridled's Song out of Stop Traffic (Cure the Blues)
UNBRIDLEDS SONG (USA)
MR. PROSPECTOR (USA)
b. 1970 [BC]
GANA FACIL (USA)
LE FABULEUX (FR)
ch. 1961 [P]
TROLLEY SONG (USA)
LUCKY SPELL (USA)
LUCKY MEL (USA)
STOP TRAFFIC (USA)
CURE THE BLUES (USA)
STOP THE MUSIC (USA)
HAIL TO REASON (USA)
br. 1958 [C]
b. 1962 *
QUICK CURE (USA)
DR. FAGER (USA)
b. 1964 [I]
SAVE MY SOUL (USA)
IMA HELL RAISER (USA)
RAISE A NATIVE (USA)
ch. 1961 [B]
IM FOR MAMA (USA)
SHECKY GREENE (USA)
QUEEN OF DAKOTA (USA)
All of the negativity concerning Unbridled's Song aside, he has gotten some really remarkable runners: Unrivaled Belle, Unbridled Elaine, Midshipman, Mission Impazible, Graydar, and Eight Belles, to name a few. He also is a desirable sire of sire (or at least of stallion prospects) with First Defence, Zensational, Old Fashioned, Dunkirk, Songandaprayer, Rockport Harbor, Buddha, and others all being retired to stud. Now not all of them are or were successful in Lexington, however the fact that so many are taken to the breeding shed really is an endorsement of the commercial popularity of the bloodline. Despite being a BC Juvenile Winner himself and showing his speed early, his Average Winning Distance of his progeny is just a bit over 7 furlongs.
His dam, Stop Traffic, ran through her 6 year old campaign, compiling earning of over $864,000 with two G1 wins in the Santa Monica at Santa Anita and the Ballerina at the Spa. She also placed in the G1-Ruffian and G1-Acorn. She was at her absolute best around a single turn on the dirt at the distance of 7 furlongs. As a broodmare, she has seen modest success, mostly via her all of her foals selling for 6 digits, including Cross Traffic's full sister, who sold 2 years ago as a yearling for $500,000; to date, she has only made 3 starts.
Now do not be fooled by the little known name of Cure the Blues who shows up in the pedigree as Cross Traffic's broodmare sire. He was a fantastic regional stallion; in fact, he was leading sire in New York for 6 consecutive years. So while not a stalwart of Kentucky, he is still a potent name in the pedigree. In fact, you get very highly rated Nicks when crossing Cure the Blues with Kitten's Joy/El Prado/Sadler's Wells line, with Storm Cat lines, and many others as well. While Nicks are not necessarily proof of anything, it shows that Cure the Blues has a solid track record.
Several other interesting family members include Gouldings Green, colt by Charismatic, a four time G3 winner of $680,000; Bionic Soul, filly by Bionic light, who won the listed Pippin Stakes; and the best runner out there currently working for the female family is a 4 year old filly by Latent Heat named Jamaican Smoke. She finished 3rd in the 2013 edition of the G1-Madison at Keeneland. Save My Soul, Jamaican Smoke's 3rd dam is Cross Traffic's granddam.
Overall, Cross Traffic answered a ton of questions on Saturday. The biggest issue any handicapper was whether he could carry his speed at a distance over a mile. I think the answer to that question is a resounding yes. But can he stretch out to the BC Classic distance of 10f? Can he survive an all out battle on the front end between Fort Larned (who hopefully decides to show up at Santa Anita in November), Game on Dude, Palace Malice, Paynter (hopefully), Verrazano (probably), Oxbow (fingers crossed he's ok by that time), and anyone else that wants to try to run on the front end? Who knows? But we can certainly say that Cross Traffic has arrived. And provided his soundness issues don't flare up again, we've got ourselves another challenger to throw into the mix come fall.