Hall of Fame Bloodlines: A Study of Female Families

In 1895, pedigree researcher Bruce Lowe’s Breeding Horses by the Figure System was published posthumously by his friend and editor William Allison. Lowe had traced the pedigrees of the winners of the English classic races and grouped them by direct lines of tail-female descent. He then tallied the number of classic winners in each female family, and numbered them in declining order, with the family descending from Tregonwell’s Natural Barb Mare as family #1, the Burton Barb Mare as #2, and so on, for a total of forty-three numbered families. Herman Goos later expanded this to fifty families. While most disregard the theory that Lowe proposed as a result of his research, his family numbers are still used as a convenient method of denoting Thoroughbred female families.

It’s no surprise that some female families have proven to be exceptionally prolific – my personal favorite example is La Troienne’s family 1-x, – but I was curious to know to what extent the greatest horses of our sport descend from common female ancestors. So, I looked up the Lowe family numbers of all 206 equine members of the United States Racing Hall of Fame, and came upon some very interesting findings.

Continue reading “Hall of Fame Bloodlines: A Study of Female Families”

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2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic – The Influence of La Troienne

In 1931, a small, nondescript bay mare arrived at Colonel Edward Riley Bradley’s Idle Hour Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, one of two purchases from the Newmarket December Sale of the prior year. The filly had failed to win in her 7 starts in France and England, but had nonetheless been purchased, in foal to the mighty Gainsborough, by Dick Thompson on behalf of Bradley. The name of this mare was La Troienne, and she would become one of the most important broodmares of the 20th century as the foundation mare of Bruce Lowe’s family 1x – and her influence is still apparent today.
Of the ten horses entered in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, four of them have a direct tail-female descendant of La Troienne within the first 5 generations of their pedigree, and only two are without any trace of her in their lineage.
The overwhelming favorite in the race is California Chrome, whose modest breeding has often been highlighted by the media. Personally, however, I believe that his success could be due, in part, to the influence of La Troienne in his dam, Love The Chase. Though an unsuccessful racehorse, Love The Chase’s sire, Not For Love, and damsire, Polish Numbers, both hail from family 1-x – and both from 1971 Champion 2yo Filly Numbered Account, who is the dam of Polish Numbers and the second dam of Not For Love. Interestingly, Numbered Account herself is bred on the same pattern, being by Buckpasser (a great-grandson of La Troienne).
California Chrome is by the stallion Lucky Pulpit, grandson of 1991 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy. While A.P. Indy is not a direct descendant of La Troienne, she does appear three times in his bloodlines. His sire, Seattle Slew, whose dam My Charmer is inbred 6×6 to La Troienne – her sire, Poker, and damsire, Jet Action, both trace tail-female to the great matriarch (sound familiar?). A.P. Indy’s second dam is a daughter of Buckpasser.
Win The Space, by contrast, is a longshot in this year’s event. He is out of a mare by Mutakddim, a stakes winner in England and sire of multiple champions. Mutakddim is a fascinating example of linebreeding to La Troienne. He is by Seeking the Gold, whose damsire Buckpasser is one of La Troienne’s nine direct tail-female descendants in the North American Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame. Buckpasser is also the sire of Mutakddim’s third dam, the aforementioned Numbered Account, whose 5th dam is La Troienne. The dam of Mutakddim, Oscillate, is by Seattle Slew. Mutakddim, therefore, contains five crosses of La Troienne (6x8x8x6x8 ).
The ever-consistent Hoppertunity introduces another example of Numbered Account’s role in carrying on the legacy of her family. He is out of a mare by Unnacounted For, a G1-winning son of Numbered Account’s son Private Account. Additionally, Hoppertunity’s sire Any Given Saturday is out of an A.P. Indy mare, which gives Hoppertunity five total crosses of La Troienne.
Effinex is by Mineshaft, one of the exemplaries of family 1-x. Champion Older Male and Horse of the Year in 2003, and is inbred 8x8x8 to La Troienne. Perhaps also worth noting is that Effinex’s 5th dam, Stolen Hour, is by Mr. Busher, himself a grandson of La Troienne.
The horse that most proclaim to be California Chrome’s biggest threat is the three-year-old Arrogate, winner of the Travers in track and stakes record time. While most of his pedigree is free of La Troienne, he is a grandson of Unbridled, whose pedigree is intriguing on a few levels. Unbridled, as we all know, won both the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1990. A quick glance at his pedigree immediately shows a doubling-up of the great broodmare Aspidistra, who produced two Hall of Fame champions in Dr. Fager and Ta Wee. Aspidistra is a daughter of Better Self, winner of the Saratoga Special, Carter Handicap, and Discovery Handicap, among many others. Better Self is by La Troienne’s Hall of Fame son Bimelech, champion at both two and three and winner of the Preakness and Belmont Stakes of 1940. Aspidistra is the 4th dam of Unbridled, via her daughter Magic, who was by Buckpasser. Magic is a slightly different take on the prolific sire x damsire cross demonstrated by the likes of Numbered Account and Love The Chase demonstrate, as she is by a stallion from family 1-x, but her damsire is instead a paternal grandson of La Troienne.
Santa Anita Handicap winner Melatonin does not have an excessive influence of La Troienne, but he is inbred 6×4 to the great broodmare Ballade, whose broodmare sire Cohoes was a direct grandson of La Troienne. Similarly, War Story has distant influences of La Troienne via his damsire Pulpit (a son of A.P. Indy), and also via Quadrangle, who appears in the 5th generation of his pedigree and is a son of Cohoes.
Dominant Met Mile winner Frosted is by Tapit, a grandson of A.P. Indy who is out of a mare by Unbridled. Seattle Slew appears again in his pedigree via Avenue of Flags, the sire of Frosted’s 2nd dam. While the influence is distant, this does mean that La Troienne appears eight times in his pedigree.
With the Breeders’ Cup on the horizon, we are likely to see the legacy of La Troienne continue to grow. While there are no direct representatives of family 1-x in this year’s Classic, her presence will certainly be felt in the bloodlines of some of the breed’s greatest, as it has and inevitably will be for generations to come.

Roberta Grump: West Virginia’s Blue Hen

It is hard to pinpoint the qualities that make a great broodmare. Some claim that great race mares aren’t generally inclined to be great broodmares, though there are plenty of mares out there that may disagree with that assessment. It is generally accepted, however, that not all great broodmares showed exceptional ability on the track. The immortal matriarch La Troienne, for instance, was winless in three starts. Love the Chase was a claiming mare with one win to her name, but she later became the dam of California Chrome, North America’s richest racehorse of all time. It is in this same vein that you can find Roberta Grump, a mare whose offspring have dominated West Virginia-bred stakes races for over a decade. With the recent retirement of Russell Road, this year looks to be the first since 2000 that she will not have at least one foal running in the West Virginia Breeders’ Classics, where her offspring have racked up five victories (not to mention a sixth win, by a grandson, in 2015).

Roberta Grump was a daughter of Florida stakes winner Verification, and out of the mare Blue Spring, by Ambehaving. When Roberta Grump was foaled in 1991, Blue Spring had already produced two stakes horses. Ten years prior, Blue Spring foaled the Noholme II filly Spring Loose, who placed 3rd in the G1 Hollywood Starlet at age two. Her 1980 foal, Spring to Victory (by Inverness Drive), won Keystone Race Track’s New Hope Stakes in 1983. In 1988, Blue Spring sold at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December Mixed Sale for $2,300 in foal to Nepal. The result of that breeding was a filly named Royal Chitwan, Blue Spring’s first West Virginia bred foal. Royal Chitwan didn’t amount to much, earning just $2,628 in 8 starts. The mare didn’t foal in 1990, but she produced Roberta Grump the following year.

Roberta Grump was no factor in her first and only start, finishing 9th of 10 in a Maiden Special Weight at Charles Town on September 18, 1993. She produced her first foal two years later, a filly by Jeloso appropriately named Grumps First. That foal was 8-for-48 lifetime and earned $62,598 while racing exclusively at Charles Town, mostly in claiming races. She was then covered by stakes winner Oh Say for a 1997 foal. The filly, Sweet Annuity, was the beginning of Roberta Grump’s reign.

Sweet Annuity broke her maiden in her 4th career start, a victory she followed up with an allowance win and a stakes score in Charles Town’s Ruth C. Funkhouser Stakes. She was the first foal from Roberta Grump to compete in the West Virginia Breeders’ Classics, finishing 2nd as the odds-on choice in the West Virginia Division of Tourism Breeders’ Classic Stakes for three-year-old fillies. She won three of her first five races in 2001, including two stakes wins and two stakes placings, before finishing a disappointing 6th in the West Virginia Cavada Breeders’ Classic Stakes for older mares. She would make another attempt the following year, once again finishing off the board as the favorite.

Despite Sweet Annuity’s defeat, it was still a good 2002 Breeders’ Classics night for the family of Roberta Grump, Her three-year-old daughter Shesanothergrump (by Weshaam) had already taken the West Virginia Division of Tourism Breeders’ Classic Stakes as the favorite, after hitting the board in five other stakes that year without a win. In one of those races, the $35,000 Sadie Hawkins Handicap, Shesanothergrump finished ahead of Sweet Annuity, defeating her older sister by over 7 lengths.

The next year, 2003, would be the first – though not the last – time that two of Roberta Grump’s foals raced against one another in the Breeders Classics, as Sweet Annuity and Shesanothergrump raced again as a coupled entry for owner Kenneth Pitta and trainer Karen Duke in the West Virginia Cavada Breeders’ Classic Stakes. This time, Sweet Annuity refused to lose. Despite being headed by favored Fancy Buckles in the stretch, the 6-year-old veteran mare came again to finally take down a race on Breeders Classics night. Her entrymate finished up in third. Sweet Annuity was retired following four poor starts in 2004, but Shesanothergrump was still around to carry the torch, although she failed to win a race that year and was a lackluster 7th in the Cavada.

Come 2005, there was a new grump in town. Shesagrumptoo, by Luftikus, broke her maiden in her second start for Mark Russell and James Casey. She finished 4th in her first stakes attempt, and finished 4th once more in the West Virginia Triple Crown Nutrition Breeders Classics Stakes, for two-year-old fillies. After a third-place finish in the Tri-State Futurity, Shesagrumptoo won the West Virginia Futurity against males.

Meanwhile, Shesanothergrump had another winless year and finished 8th in the Cavada. On December 1st, 2005, she dropped in to a $6,000 claiming race at Charles Town, where she was claimed off a second-place effort by Tina Malgarini-Mawing for owner Garvis Williamson. She made seven starts for her new connections without success, and retired following a last-place finish in the West Virginia Distaff Stakes in May of 2006.

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Roberta Grump’s offspring in the West Virginia Breeders’ Classics

With that, Shesagrumptoo was left to carry on the family tradition of success at Charles Town. She won two allowance races in the summer of 2006 before running 2nd in the Ruth B. Funkhouser to odds-on favorite Julie B, and was beaten 3/4 of a length as the favorite in the West Virginia Division of Tourism Breeders’ Classic Stakes, just failing to catch Malibu Sue. She finished out the year with a 3rd-place effort in the Syvlia Bishop Memorial Stakes behind those two fillies.

She continued to chase Julie B in 2007, finishing 4th behind her in a June allowance race, and 2nd to her in the Roger Van Hoozer Memorial Stakes, and then running 3rd in the Cavada when Julie B was defeated by Carnival Chrome.

In 2007, a three-year-old daughter of Roberta Grump named Natures Annuity broke her maiden by over 7 lengths in her April debut. The following year, she won three straight Allowance races and then finished 4th in her final prep for the West Virginia Breeders’ Classics.

Shesagrumptoo was claimed for $32,000 on September 5th, 2008, and entered the Cavada for new connections – owner Scuderia Montese Stables and trainer Raimondo Schiano-Dicola. She finished 2nd to Julie B in the Cavada, with Natures Annuity closing to finish another 3 1/4 lengths back in 3rd.

It was also in 2008 that the most successful of Roberta Grump’s offspring hit the track and started making some serious noise on the local racing circuit. Russell Road was beaten half a length in his debut for Mark Russell and James Casey, but he rebounded to romp in a maiden race by over 12 lengths in his following start. He won the Dr Ernest Benner Stakes at the end of September, then added a 2 1/2-length allowance victory, won the Tri-State Futurity by 8 1/4 lengths under wraps, and the West Virginia Futurity by 8 1/2 in similar fashion.

Russell Road started off the new year by winning Laurel Park’s Dancing Count Stakes, and then ventured to Aqueduct to try G3 company in the Gotham, where he finished 5th behind I Want Revenge. He returned to Charles Town and won the April 18th Blue and Gold Stakes by a neck over Bunker Hill, who defeated him in the Red Legend Stakes. Both horses, however, were soundly defeated by eventual G1 winner Big Drama, who romped by 7 lengths. Russell Road won three straight stakes races going into the Breeders’ Classics, where he kept the winning streak in tact, taking the West Virginia Breeders’ Classic Stakes by 8 lengths.

In the 2009 Cavada Stakes, Nature’s Annuity turned the tables on her older sister, missing the victory by a nose but finishing 7 1/4 lengths in front of Shesagrumptoo in third. It was the fourth stakes placing that year for Shesagrumptoo, though she hadn’t won a since the race that Scuderia Montese Stables claimed her out of. She finished up the track in an allowance optional claiming race about a month after the Cavada, and was claimed for $20,000 by William Campbell and Jack Gordon.

Nature’s Annuity romped in an allowance race in her first start of 2010, then finished 2nd in the Fancy Buckles Stakes, with Shesagrumptoo, now under the care of trainer John Robb, back in 5th. They would meet two months later in the Sadie Hawkins Stakes, where the now 7-year-old Shesagrumptoo pulled off a 28-1 upset. Nature’s Annuity was 4th.

Russell Road began his 4-year-old season with a disappointing last-place effort in an allowance at Laurel Park. He showed an improved effort in his second start of the year, finishing 2nd although well defeated by 2-time Charles Town Classic winner Researcher. He won the Springtime Handicap and an allowance in his two subsequent starts, added another stakes-placing in the Wild and Wonderful Stakes, finished off the board in the Frank Gall Memorial, and won another allowance prior to an attempt to defend his Breeders’ Classics title. He finished fourth.

In the Cavada, Nature’s Annuity finished 2nd at 16-1. Shesagrumptoo couldn’t reproduce her Sadie Hawkins effort, and finished 9th that year. She raced six times in 2011, and even after another trainer switch to Michael Beck, she failed to hit the board that year, retiring after a claiming race in June. Natures Annuity had a solid 2011 campaign, failing to win but never finishing worse than 4th in 7 starts, with three more black-type placings on her resume, among them another 3rd in the Cavada. She retired after one more start in an allowance race, where she finished 4th.

Russell Road started off 2011 with two Charles Town stakes wins, then hit the board in three additional stakes prior to winning his second West Virginia Breeders’ Classic Stakes. He won the same two stakes to start off 2012, lost the Wild and Wonderful Stakes, then reprised his 2009 win in the Frank Gall Memorial. He was sent off as the favorite in the West Virginia Breeders’ Classic, but was defeated by the up-and-coming three-year-old Lucy’s Bob Boy, marking the beginning of a WV-bred rivalry for the ages. Their finishing positions were reversed in the A Huevo Stakes a month later.

Russell Road raced primarily at Mountaineer in 2013, winning an allowance and two stakes there prior to a September 21st return to Charles Town, where he was defeated by Fred High in a handicap. In the Breeders’ Classic, he grudgingly gave way to that same foe in the final strides.

Russell Road returned in May of 2014 after a 6-month layoff, winning an allowance race at Mountaineer. After that, however, the eight-year-old, while still competitive, appeared to be showing signs of slowing down. He finished 4th in another allowance at Mountaineer and proceeded to chase Lucy’s Bob Boy home in three consecutive starts, running third behind him in a Charles Town allowance, then finishing three lengths behind him in the Robert Gall Memorial and 7 1/4 lengths back in another allowance. Consequently, Lucy’s Bob Boy was 1-2 in the West Virginia Breeders Classic, but when the two hooked up at the 3/8ths pole, it was Russell Road who prevailed in a thrilling stretch duel. With that victory, he became only the second horse to win three West Virginia Breeders’ Classics (2009, 2011, 2014). In a race named for the only other horse to accomplish that feat, Russell Road defeated Lucy’s Bob Boy by 4 1/2 lengths in the 2015 Confucius Say Stakes.

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Russell Road in the 2015 Confucius Say

Owner Mark Russell and trainer James Casey had another budding superstar in the barn, though, and on February 26th, 2016, the 3-year-old gelding Charitable Annuity broke his maiden in his second start. The son of Charitable Man was the first foal of Early Annuity, a full sister to Shesagrumptoo who won only once in her five lifetime starts for Russell and Casey. Charitable Annuity won five of his first eight starts, including the Robert Leavitt Stakes, and was highly thought of enough to earn a chance in the West Virginia Breeders Classic.

Lucy’s Bob Boy and Russell Road were once more the 1-2 choices in the race, with the former being a slight favorite. Neither hit the board, and in fact Russell Road was eased in the race, but perhaps it was a symbolic passing of the torch, as Charitable Annuity won impressively by 2 3/4 lengths.

Russell Road was disappointing in his next two starts, now at the age of ten, but he won an allowance on June 18th, 2016, defeating favorite In The Fairway along with his longtime rival Lucy’s Bob Boy. In The Fairway rebounded in Mountaineer’s Northern Panhandle Stakes, defeating Russell Road by 6 1/2 lengths. The 10-year-old gelding came out of the race with a minor ankle injury, and his connections decided to retire him. His career earnings of $2,001,586 make him the second-richest West Virginia-bred in history behind Soul of the Matter.

Of 11 foals to race out of Roberta Grump, all were winners, 4 were stakes winners, and one additional foal was stakes placed. Her legacy as a broodmare will be carried on through her grandsons and granddaughters, headed at the moment by WV Breeders Classics winner Charitable Annuity.

 

 

2016 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds In Training Sale

The sales ring is a place where horsemen and -women try to predict the future of racing, trying to find the next great champion or champion producer. They look at pedigree, conformation, and any other information they can in order to divine which horses have the potential they’re looking for.

Some of the top competitors in our sport have sold at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds In Training Sale in the past, including recent graded stakes winners such as Dortmund, Materiality, Kaigun, and Tiz Shea D. On May 23rd and 24th, 337 two-year-old Thoroughbreds sold for a record total of $23,136,400 at Fasig-Tipton’s annual Timonium sale.

I have my eye on a few horses that went through the ring at the sale this year; some of them sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars, while others went unsold as RNAs. It will be interesting to see which, if any, of these young Thoroughbreds mature into top caliber racehorses.

I only attended the first day of the breeze sale, and as a result all of my selections will be from hip numbers 1-200.

Hip #196 – Bay Colt by Majesticperfection, out of Score Four (by Grand Slam)

I really liked the way this colt breezed, he reaches out well and almost leaps with every stride he takes. He breezed a furlong in 10.1 seconds, one of the quicker times of the day (the fastest time of 10 seconds was achieved by two horses on the day, while twelve of the first 200 hips breezed in 10.1 seconds). He has a very sprint-oriented pedigree, being a son of the brilliantly quick Majesticperfection and out of a Grand Slam mare. His second dam is a half-sister to multiple G1 winner Affirmed Success, whose 17 lifetime victories included the Vosburgh Stakes (G1) and Cigar Mile (G1). This colt sold for $175,000 to HND Bloodstock.

Hip #187 – Chestnut Filly by Drosselmeyer, out of Sandi’s Ready (by More Than Ready)

This rangy daughter of Drosselmeyer breezed in 10.2 seconds with very mild urging, and galloped out full of energy. As a daughter of Drosselmeyer, you wouldn’t expect her to be at her best breezing an eighth of a mile anyway, and despite that she breezed fairly quickly and I think it’s fair to assume she had more to give. She comes from a solid, if not spectacular, female family; her dam is stakes placed, and her granddam has produced an additional stakes placed runner as well as a multiple G3 placed runner. This filly was purchased by Dennis O’Neill for $45,000.

Hip #179 – Chestnut Filly by Caleb’s Posse, out of Royal Embassy (by Royal Anthem)

This filly sold privately for only $10,000, but I think she could have a bit of potential. She breezed in 11 seconds, but galloped out to a full mile with good energy before pulling up. She comes from a very interesting family – her second dam is Denmark-bred Swedish Horse of the Year Rossard. This makes the dam of this filly a half-sister to Unusual Heat. I’m very interested in Caleb’s Posse as a sire – he was a game miler and a good-looking stallion that has already had his first winner on April 28th at Gulfstream Park.

Hip #170 – Bay Colt by Ice Box, out of Rey Lake (by Meadowlake)

This powerful-looking colt breezed a quarter in 21.3, and was a handful to pull up afterwards. He cornered very well, even with a few hits left-handed, and switched leads beautifully. He is a half brother to three foals to race, all winners, including Tremont Stakes winner Bessie’s Boy. He sold for $200,000 to Hillwood Stables LLC.

Hip #84 – Primal; Bay Colt by Flatter, out of Molly (by Coronado’s Quest)

Despite going unsold with a reserve of $80,000, this colt was probably my top pick of the sale. He caught my eye coming onto the track, very much on his toes and looking excited to be out there. Interestingly, he was the only horse I saw at the sale that breezed without blinkers. Despite that and how excitable he seemed when coming onto the track, he was exceptionally focused when he was set down to breeze. He got a couple of taps on the shoulder, but aside from that his rider gave him very little urging, just letting him do things under his own power. He is a little on the small side, but was born in late May. His second dam is Canadian Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Primaly. In addition to that filly, his 3rd dam Primarily, a listed stakes winner at Woodbine, also produced Canadian Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Poetically, by Silver Deputy; G1 Gamely Stakes winner Citronnade, by Lemon Drop Kid; Fayette Stakes(G3) winner Whiskey Wisdom, by Wild Again; as well as the dams of New Zealand Trophy(G2) winner Sunrise Prince and multiple G3 winner Twilight Meteor.

Hip #58 – United Del Coco; Dk Bay/Brown colt by United States, out of Macho La Papa (by Macho Uno)

I have to give this colt a lot of credit for the amount of professionalism he showed in what could have been a very dangerous situation. His martingale strap broke before he began his breeze, leading to the entire thing ending up flapping around underneath of him a few strides from the wire. Despite that distraction, he kept to task very nicely, and has quite a smooth, long stride on him. His breeze time was relatively slow, covering a furlong in 11.1 seconds, but I think that could be forgiven considering the circumstances, and the fact that by a stallion that isn’t likely to draw any attention at the sales. That stallion, United States, sold for $2 million at the 2007 Keeneland September Yearling sale, which likely reflected not only his good looks but also his pedigree, being a son of A.P. Indy out of a half-sister to Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus. United States ended up disappointing on the racetrack, winning only once in nine lifetime starts (all at age four) before retiring to stud in Florida. The female family of this colt has some interesting connections if you go back far enough – his fourth dam is Lyphard’s Dancer, dam of 5 winners from 5 foals to race and half-sister to the immortal Storm Cat. United Del Coco ended up selling privately for $20,000, which I think is a very reasonable price for a colt that may be better than “son of a NW2L” might suggest.

Hip #35 – Dk Bay/Brown Filly by Aikenite, out of Lajitana (by Tiznow)

I think this filly could end up being another bargain missed out on from this sale. She was an RNA at $14,000, and I think that could be due at least in part to her slow breeze time of 11.1 seconds. Despite that, I think there are some positives here for the future. First off, her pedigree is very interesting. Her third dam is Sweet Damsel, the dam of 10 winners from 10 starters, including multiple G1 winner Colonel John and G1-placed/G1 steeplechaser Mr. Hot Stuff. Both of those foals were by Tiznow, the dam of Lajitana. In addition to that, I don’t think this filly’s breeze was as bad as it may have seemed at first glance. She had a very fluid, long stride until losing her action around the 16th pole, a few strides after changing leads. I’m not certain what caused the few goofy strides she took there, though I wonder if it may have been the whip, but I’m willing to chalk it up to greenness in a filly that otherwise looks to be fairly athletic.

Hip #32 – Bay Filly by Into Mischief, out of Lady in Ermine (by Honour and Glory)

I really liked the way this filly breezed, and apparently I wasn’t the only one, since she sold for $150,000. She’s a very nice mover, breezing a quarter in 21.4 and galloping out strongly. She had a lot of energy in her gallop and appears to cover a lot of ground with each stride. Her female family is solid, if not particularly flashy, with a stakes winner and producer under her second dam. Into Mischief has already proven to be a very good sire, with the likes of Goldencents, Vicar’s in Trouble, and Vyjack all graded stakes winners, and I think this filly has the potential to add on to her sire’s count of 13 black type winners.

Two-Year-Old Watch List

Every spring/summer, I begin looking through various records to see what two-year-olds I should be keeping an eye on. I’ll add a number of unraced two-year-olds to my Equibase stable based on pedigree and/or good workouts, and then occasionally add more after an impressive debut effort. After the success of last year’s “crop” – Kentucky Derby winner Orb, Belmont Stakes starter Incognito, multiple GSP Saint Vigeur, and multiple GSP Cue the Moon were all added to the stable before or immediately following their racing debuts – I’ve decided to make my watchlisted two-year-olds public.

I will make some posts under my Horse Racing Hipster tag and evaluate some of these horses individually at a later date.

Buneya was a $625,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September sale. The daughter of Indian Charlie is out of the Gone West mare Witness Post.

Chivalrous is a half-brother to Haskell winner Paynter. The son of Street Cry sold for $1,000,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale.

Fascinating is by Smart Strike and out of Untouched Talent, making her a half-sister to the brilliant Kentucky Derby and Preakness runner-up Bodemeister. She sold for $1,300,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale.

Indian Smoke is by Zensational and out of the champion sprinter Indian Blessing.

Lord Lochinvar is by A.P. Indy and out of the Lord at War mare Lady Lochinvar, making him a 3/4 sister to multiple G3 winner Aurora Lights (by A.P. Indy’s son Pulpit), and from the same female family as G1 winner Icon Project and multiple G2 winner Munnings.

Mei Ling is a filly by Empire Maker who hails from the same female family as Lord Lochinvar, being out of Lord Lochinvar’s half-sister Lochinvar’s Gold. It’s worth noting that Mei Ling’s sire, Empire Maker, is also the sire of Icon Project.

Mullins Bay is a full sister to top turf sprinter Bridgetown

Sabbatical is by Medaglia d’Oro and out of Daydreaming, a G2-winning full sister to graded stakes winner Girolamo, She’s a Winner (dam of G1-winner Bluegrass Cat), and Supercharger (dam of Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver).

Satirical is by Distorted Humor and out of the mare Rockcide. She is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Rule, and her dam is a half-sister to Funny Cide (by Distorted Humor).

Savvy Star is by Medaglia d’Oro and out of She’s a Winner, making this filly a half-sister to Bluegrass Cat.

Seagate is a colt by Distorted Humor and out of the multiple G1-winning mare Cocoa Beach.

Share the Music is a filly by Unbridled’s Song who is out of a half-sister to the dam of Kentucky Derby runner-up Eight Belles (also by Unbridled’s Song)

Wait No More was the sale-topper when she sold for $1,575,000 at the Fasig-Tipton September sale. She is by Medaglia d’Oro and out of the multiple G1-winning mare Wait a While.

Hipster: “One who strives to do anything that isn’t considered mainstream solely to look different and hip”

Truth is, the point of horse racing is to be a hipster – to like a horse that nobody else likes, though our purpose is usually to get higher odds on the horse we like. Admit it, there is also a certain satisfaction in being able to say “I knew that horse was going to be special as soon as he stepped onto the track for his debut.” As such, I would like to introduce you to a filly that I believe could satisfy that desire to know a good horse before it becomes a good horse.

Her name is Villanesca and she is a lightly raced 3-year-old filly for Darley Stable and Kiaran McLaughlin who I believe will only get better with age and experience. She debuted on August 30th in a Saratoga Maiden Special Weight. She trailed throughout while ridden along, but made up a little bit of ground late to finish 5th. It was an unexceptional performance but a decent debut effort.

Villanesca returned at Belmont Park on September 21st with a much improved effort. She lunged at the break but jockey Eddie Castro got her into a stalking position sitting third on the outside. Pacesetter It’s Saturday Nite shook free of the competition when coming into the stretch, and it looked like she was going to go gate-to-wire as Villanesca ran second but seemed unable to make up significant ground. However, favorite Greed and Fear came up on Villanesca’s outside, causing the Darley filly to re-engage and battle on to prevail by a head in a three-horse photo.

While usually a close photo finish does not indicate a field full of talent, I liked the tenacity that Villanesca showed in the race. Additionally, Greed and Fear returned to break her maiden at Belmont in her next start, and the only other filly to come back out of the race – 6th-place finisher Alexandra’s Grace – also returned to win in her subsequent effort.

What I really like about Villanesca, however, is her pedigree. She is a Darley homebred by Distorted Humor and out of a mare named Balletto. Balletto won over a million dollars in 12 starts, beginning her career with two consecutive wins and then finishing second to Sense of Style in the Matron Stakes (G1). She would then win the Frizette Stakes (G1) before finishing second to Sweet Catomine in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). Balletto did not race again until March of her 4-year-old season, when she was fourth to Take D’Tour in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park. That would be the only off-the-board finish in her career.

Balletto subsequently finished 2nd to Take D’Tour in the Shuvee Handicap (G2), and third to that rival in the Ogden Phipps Handicap (G1). At Saratoga in 2006, she just missed winning the Go For Wand Handicap (G1) when closing from last to be beaten a nose by Spun Sugar, and then finished second to Fleet Indian in the Personal Ensign Stakes (G1). She was only beaten a head by that mare when finishing second again in the Beldame Stakes (G1), and closed her career with a 3rd place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), following the disqualification of Asi Siempre for bothering Balletto in the stretch.

Balletto only has one other foal to race, a 2-year-old gelding named Puget Sound who finished 7th in his only start on September 1st at Saratoga. Her 2008 foal, an A.P. Indy filly named Eleganter, is unraced.

Villanesca will be making the third start of her career this Friday, October 26th, in the 8th race at Belmont Park.

The Blue-Blooded Tudor Minstrel

Was doing some casual pedigree research of historically great sires in the interest of seeing if I could find some similarities, and ended up through my browsing looking at the pedigree of Tudor Minstrel, the 1946 champion 2yo in England. I was fascinated by what I found, and had to share. Be warned: there’s a lot here, because there’s a lot of intriguing linebreeding and crossing going on in this stallion’s pedigree.

http://www.pedigreequery.com/tudor+minstrel

*Links to some pedigrees relevant to my analysis below*
Owen Tudor: http://www.pedigreequery.com/owen+tudor
Hyperion: http://www.pedigreequery.com/hyperion
Sansonnet: http://www.pedigreequery.com/sansonnet
Sansovino: http://www.pedigreequery.com/sansovino

Tudor Minstrel is a son of Owen Tudor, himself exceptionally well-bred even at first glance. Owen Tudor is by Hyperion (by English triple crown winner Gainsborough), a son of the great broodmare Selene, and out of a mare named Mary Tudor. Mary Tudor was by Pharos and out of a mare by the great damsire Teddy. Teddy’s damsire was Bay Ronald, the tail-male great-grandsire of Hyperion.

Bay Ronald was an example of the Hampton/Galopin nick – being by Hampton and out of a mare by Galopin’s son Galliard. His son Bayardo, the sire of Gainsborough, was also a product of this neck, being out of a Galopin mare.

Hyperion was by Gainsborough and out of Selene, one of the greatest broodmares of all time. One of the most interesting things to note about her pedigree was inbreeding to the mare Pilgrimage through half-siblings Canterbury Pilgrim and Loved One. Canterbury Pilgrim is the dam of Selene’s sire, Chaucer. Loved One is the sire of Selene’s 2nd dam, Gondolette (who will be key later).

Hyperion was bred to Mary Tudor for a 1938 colt named Owen Tudor. As mentioned, Mary Tudor was by Pharos, a son of Phalaris and out of a mare named Scapa Flow, who was by Chaucer. In essence, Owen Tudor was the product of crossing two influential stallions with Chaucer as their broodmare sire – Hyperion and Pharos.

But that’s just the sire of Tudor Minstrel. It gets even more interesting when you look at what happened when crossing Owen Tudor with the Sansovino mare Sansonnet, owned and bred by Lord Derby.

Sansonnet’s 2nd dam was Acorn and Coventry Stakes winner Lady Josephine, best known as the dam of “The Flying Filly” Mumtaz Mahal. Mumtaz Mahal’s daughters Mumtaz Begum and Mah Mahal were very influential broodmares. Mumtaz Begum was the dam of Nasrullah and the granddam of Royal Charger, and Mah Mahal was the dam of Mahmoud. Sansonnet was a half-sister to multiple stakes winner and leading sire Fair Trial, and he and Sansonnet were only two of the eight stakes winners produced by their dam, Lady Juror (a daughter of Son-In-Law, himself a grandson of Bay Ronald).

What makes Sansonnet so intriguing when mated to Owen Tudor, though, was not the fantastic female family, but rather her sire, Sansovino. Sansovino was a son of Swynford – a half brother to Chaucer, who of course featured prominently in the pedigree of Owen Tudor. Even more interesting was that he was out of a mare by Loved One – the half-brother to Chaucer and Swynford’s dam Canterbury Pilgrim.

But wait, there’s more! That mare by Loved One was Gondolette, the second dam of Selene. Gondolette had been specifically purchased by Lord Derby for the purpose of mating to Swynford and Chaucer, due to the presence of the mare Pilgrimage in their pedigrees. Also, Gondolette was inbred 3×3 to the full brothers Rosicrucian and The Palmer (sire of Pilgrimage). Prior to producing Sansovino in 1921, Gondolette had produced his two full sisters Ferry (who won the 1,000 Guineas) and Serenissima (dam of Selene).

Now, finally, let’s look at what this meant for Tudor Minstrel. In the first 5 generations of his pedigree, he had crosses to the full brothers Swynford and Chaucer and their dam’s brother Loved One 4x5x3x4. He also had Loved One’s daughter Gondolette, the granddam of Selene (dam of his grandsire), 3×5. And for good measure he also has Bay Ronald 5×5. But if you extend his pedigree a few more generations, you realize he has Pilgrimage (that key ancestress of Swynford, Chaucer, and Loved One) 6x7x7x5x5.

Just for fun, because I also realized there was a lot of St. Simon influence in Tudor Minstrel’s pedigree (though the inbreeding was not explicitly stated in the first 5 generations), I looked at how many times that stallion appeared in Tudor Minstrel’s pedigree. The answer is 5, though his sire Galopin appears a total of 13 times!

And if you’re still reading, I’m amazed, but maybe someone else found this as interesting as I did.