Bwana Charlie Featured in TDN Pedigree Insights by Andrew Caulfield
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 Share on Facebook RSS Feeds
Now that Indian Charlie has firmly established himself among the upper echelon of American stallions, with his fee set at $70,000+ for the third consecutive year, it is easy to forget that he was available for as little as $10,000 and $12,500 in his early years at Airdrie.

One of the first to set his fee climbing was his son Bwana Charlie, who became Indian Charlie's first American graded stakes winner when he comfortably took the GIII Lafayette S. over seven furlongs at Keeneland in April 2004.

That was the third straight success in three second-season starts for the Heiligbrodts' color-bearer, who had failed to win, despite running creditably, in five juvenile starts.

"He's just like a big kid," Bill Heiligbrodt said afterwards. "He's growing up. When he became three, he became a different horse. He had little problems to get over, but it was always self-induced. Corinne Heiligbrodt added, "I think Bwana Charlie didn't know how to handle himself. He was as fast as the wind when we bought him [for $240,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Texas March sale of two-year-olds in training], but he had a hard time adjusting to his size and his speed."

Another graded victory came Bwana Charlie's way when he came from last to first to defeat Pomeroy (Boundary) in the GII Amsterdam S. at Saratoga. Unfortunately, his four-year-old season proved a bit of a disaster, with only $7,500 earned from four starts, and he retired to stud in Florida, first at Sequel Stallions before moving on to Journeyman Stud.

He covered 70 mares for 46 live foals in his first season and 66 mares for 40 live foals in his second. His figures fell to 15 mares earlier this year, but you can be sure he will bounce back in 2011, thanks to the emergence of his tough and talented son Comma To The Top. Now a winner of six of his 10 starts, including the GI CashCall Futurity, Comma To The Top has proven himself one of the best members of a crop dominated by Uncle Mo, a colt from Indian Charlie's $40,000 coverings in 2007.

Before anyone is tempted to dismiss Comma To The Top as a cheaply bought gelding who is unproven on dirt, it would be as well to remind them that it usually takes a very smart performer to take Hollywood's Futurity. The 2009 winner was none other than Lookin At Lucky (Smart Strike), future winner of the GI Preakness S. His predecessor, Pioneerof The Nile (Empire Maker), won the GI Santa Anita Derby, as did the 2005 winner Brother Derek (Benchmark). Pioneerof The Nile was also second in the GI Kentucky Derby, as was the 2003 winner Lion Heart (Tale of the Cat), who also took the GI Haskell Invitational. The runners-up in recent years include such as Giacomo (Holy Bull), Colonel John (Tiznow) and I Want Revenge (Stephen Got Even). Bwana Charlie's pedigree bears the Florida hallmark, through and through. His first three dams are all Florida-breds by Florida-based stallions.

His dam Maggies Storm, who managed only one second from four starts, is by Stormy Atlantic, the stallion responsible for the 2006 GI Hollywood Futurity winner Stormello.

Everyone nowadays thinks of Stormy Atlantic as a Hill n Dale stallion, where his fee has been as high as $45,000, but this very well-bred horse started out at $3,000 at Bridlewood Farm, where he spent four seasons.

The next dam, Maggies Pistol, was a tough veteran of 28 starts, including 15 as a three-year-old. That demanding second season didn't prevent Maggies Pistol from developing into a Grade III winner at four, when she took the Virginia H. over seven furlongs at Calder. Maggies Pistol's sire, Big Pistol, was good enough to win the Haskell Invitational in 1984, but his pedigree--he was by Romeo out of a Whitesburg mare--was hardly fashionable and Maggies Pistol was one of only 47 foals in his first four crops..

Comma To The Top's third dam, Miss Magistrate, was by Tanthem, whose finest moment came when he won the Forego H. over seven furlongs towards the end of a 55-race career. The next dam, the Maryland-bred Order In Court, was another who stood up well to a demanding career, racing 59 times in five years. A stakes winner at six, Order In Court was much tougher than her royally-bred sire Banderilla, who failed to win in four starts despite being a son of the champions Native Dancer and Quill.

Courtesy of Thoroughbred Daily News,Dec. 21, 2010 - Pedigree Insights is authored by Andrew Caulfield

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