When the voters nominated their 2016 Eclipse Award Champions, Classic Empire took the 2YO male title with a landslide 248 votes out of a possible 248. He dominated his generation virtually from the moment he made a winning debut three days before the Kentucky Derby. From then on it was Graded stakes only and his wins included both the Gr.1 Breeders’ Futurity and the Gr.1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Classic Empire trained on well, notably taking the Gr.1 Arkansas Derby and going down by only a head in the Gr.1 Preakness.
He has the pedigree of a potentially high-class stallion. He is bred along similar lines to Triple Crown hero American Pharoah, as both were sired by Pioneerof The Nile from grand-daughters of Storm Cat.
Like American Pharoah, Classic Empire enjoys the significant benefit of having a pedigree free of such as A.P. INDY, SEATTLE SLEW, DANZIG, SADLER’S WELLS, DEPUTY MINISTER, ROBERTO and HALO.
It was hardly surprising that one of Classic Empire’s first black-type winners, Classy Edition, is out of a SEATTLE SLEW line mare, by BERNARDINI. Classic Empire’s grandsire Empire Maker sired Gr.1 winners from mares by three different sons of SEATTLE SLEW, including Champion Royal Delta from an A.P. INDY mare. Empire Maker’s son Bodemeister sired the fast Gr.2 winner American Anthem from another A.P. INDY mare and the Gr.3 winner Once On Whiskey from a MINESHAFT mare. Classic Empire must be a prime candidate for daughters of A.P INDY and his sons, especially those which combine A.P. INDY with MR PROSPECTOR, such as PULPIT, FLATTER, MALIBU MOON and MINESHAFT. The similarly-bred American Pharoah already has a Gr.1 winner from a daughter of TAPIT (which create 4x4 to the powerful classic influence UNBRIDLED).
Classic Empire has numerous options with mares from the MR PROSPECTOR male line, including those by KINGMAMBO, CARSON CITY, CITY ZIP, SMART STRIKE, CURLIN, DISTORTED HUMOR, SPEIGHTSTOWN (4x4 to Storm Cat) and STREET CRY.
American Pharoah has made a bright start with the SADLER’S WELLS line, with SADLER’S WELLS siring the dam of the Gr.1 2YO winner Van Gogh. American Pharoah’s first 11 starters out of GALILEO mares included four Group performers, headed by Gr.2 winner Pista and Gr.1-placed Monarch of Egypt. Classic Empire is therefore well worth trying with mares by GALILEO, EL PRADO, MEDAGLIA D’ORO and KITTEN’S JOY.
Pioneerof The Nile sired a Gr.3 winner from a MORE THAN READY mare and American Pharoah has mirrored this success, siring the Gr.2 winner Four Wheel Drive and the Japanese Gr.1 dirt winner Café Pharoah from daughters of MORE THAN READY. This line is well worth trying with Classic Empire.
Mares by GIANT’S CAUSEWAY and other sons of Storm Cat, such as FOREST WILDCAT, BLUEGRASS CAT, STORMY ATLANTIC and YANKEE GENTLEMAN, create only 4x3 to STORM CAT. This is a likeable option, as Empire Maker sired Bodemeister and In Lingerie from daughters of STORM CAT and the Gr.1 winner Eight Rings from a grand-daughter. Cairo Prince, another of Pioneerof The Nile’s stallion sons, has Gr.2 and Gr.3 winners out of daughters of GIANT’S CAUSEWAY, HARLAN’S HOLIDAY and TALE OF THE CAT. American Pharoah already has several Graded/Group winners inbred to STORM CAT, including Pista (4x3), Sweet Melania (4x4) and Turned Aside (4x4). American Pharoah’s first starter out of a SCAT DADDY mare is the 2YO Stakes winner Mackinnon.
Empire Maker did well with mares by DANZIG and his sons. American Pharoah’s first Graded winner was from a WAR FRONT mare, suggesting Classic Empire will thrive with mares by other dirt performers by DANZIG, such as HARD SPUN and EXCHANGE RATE.
The DEPUTY MINISTER line is another option, as American Pharoah’s Gr.2-winning daughter As Time Goes By has a dam by DEHERE and his Listed winner Fi Fi Pharoah is out of a GHOSTZAPPER mare. Mares by TOUCH GOLD and AWESOME AGAIN are other options.
HOLY BULL is the broodmare sire of Cairo Prince, another of Pioneerof The Nile’s best sons. Significantly, Classic Empire’s first black-type winner, First Empire, is out of a grand-daughter of HOLY BULL, by MACHO UNO.
Classic Empire’s first runner out of an UNCLE MO mare is Interstatedaydream, runner-up in the Gr.2 Adirondack Stakes. A daughter of IN EXCESS produced the Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming to Bodemeister.