This Kentucky Derby and Travers Stakes winner faced a grand total of three opponents in these two important races. Who was he?
In a tumultuous American racing year in which multiple Eclipse Award divisions lack a clear leader, the latest horse to step into the ring as a possible contender for year-end honors is Higher Power, who scored a visually impressive victory in the $1 Million TVG Pacific Classic (USA-I). The field he defeated was solid rather than stellar, but this may well be one of those seasons in which two or three marquee wins at the right time are enough to catch voters' attention.
Higher Power is the latest star for a family developed by Pin Oak Stud from its foundation mare, Take a Stand. A winning half sister by Amerigo to stakes winners Dun-Cee (by Dunce) and Controlled Landing (by First Landing), Take a Stand had a satisfactory production record in her own right, throwing French Group III winner French Friend (by Herbager) and multiple stakes winner Stage Luck (by Stage Door Johnny). Stage Luck, in turn produced two-time American champion filly Open Mind and two other stakes winners.
Pin Oak did not retain Stage Luck, but the stud did keep her older half sister, stakes-placed Strike a Pose (by Iron Ruler). In the tradition of her dam and granddam, Strike a Pose also came up with two stakes winners, the gelding Tonka Wakhan (by Big Spruce) and Wedding Picture, a daughter of Blushing Groom. In due time, Wedding Picture joined the Pin Oak broodmare band and produced four stakes winners, headed by Grade III winner Winged Victory (by Nijinsky II). She is also the second dam of seven stakes winners including Forever Together (by Belong to Me) and Broken Vow (by Unbridled). The former won the 2008 Eclipse Award as champion turf female for owner George Strawbridge, while the latter, a Pin Oak homebred, was a multiple Grade II winner before becoming a linchpin of Pin Oak's stallion roster. Still active at the age of 22, Broken Vow has sired well over 80 stakes winners including this year's Canadian star Tone Broke, winner of two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown.
Strike a Balance, Strike a Pose's 1983 daughter by Nijinsky II, did not last long enough to gain much racing glory, though she won two of her three starts. Nonetheless, she has made her own set of contributions to her family, beginning with 1995 Canadian Horse of the Year Peaks and Valleys (by Mt. Livermore). She also produced Alternate (by Seattle Slew), a multiple listed stakes winner who has come up with three stakes winners of her own. They are Alternation (by Distorted Humor), a multiple Grade II winner who is now a stallion at Pin Oak; Interrupted (by Broken Vow), a multiple listed stakes winner; and Higher Power. Aside from those three, Strike a Balance is the second dam of six other stakes winners, including Grade II winner Eleusis (by Diesis) and Grade III winners Equality (by Mt. Livermore) and Cryptograph (by Cryptoclearance).
Take a Stand's family is unusual in that it represents one of the few flourishing lines descended from old American lineages that cannot be connected to any of the Bruce Lowe families, in this case American Family 29. Descended from an unnamed daughter of Diomed, this line may or may not incorporate non-Thoroughbred elements in its early history, but it has long since proved its merit by the test of the racetrack.
There has not been any particular magic in how Take a Stand's family rose to its present heights, just a lot of well-applied common sense. Pin Oak has routinely made use of access to good stallions with a history of delivering racing results, regardless of the current bloodstock fashions, and has tried to produce well-made specimens with the potential for going two turns. Equally important, when a mating has turned out well, Pin Oak has not been shy about going back to the well by mating related mares to the same stallion. That formula for success may not be dramatic, but its results are beyond question.
Name the 20th-century American Horse of the Year and the Kentucky Broodmare of the Year who are full siblings to one another.
Fillies aren't supposed to tackle the boys. Horses aren't supposed to win a Grade I race off a week's rest. That's the conventional wisdom, but no one bothered to tell Got Stormy that she wasn't doing things according to the book. The first filly to win the Fourtstardave Stakes (USA-IT) at Saratoga, she didn't just win; she blistered the mile in a course-record 1:32.00 while earning a "Win and You're In" slot for the Breeders' Cup Mile (USA-IT).
A daughter of multiple Grade I winner Get Stormy, Got Stormy represents the family of Tiy, whose family hasn't quite gotten the acclaim of the branch of the Bold Irish tribe descended through Shenanigans but has gone about the business of producing good horses for some 40 years nonetheless.
Tiy herself, a granddaughter of Bold Irish through Shenanigans' stakes-placed half sister Leix, was not a stakes winner but was out of the money only once from six starts. Most of her mates were second-tier stallions, but she did well in the paddocks with three stakes winners to her credit. The best of the trio was Pok Ta Pok, a son of the good speed sire Full Pocket who captured the 1989 Bold Ruler Stakes (USA-II). Tiy's stakes-winning daughter Loa (by Hawaii) is the dam of multiple Grade III winner Eagleton (by Majestic Light), and three winning daughters of Tiy also got into the act as graded stakes producers. Golden Tiy (by Dixieland Band) produced 1999 Prioress Stakes (USA-II) winner Sapphire n' Silk (by Pleasant Tap) and 2010 Affirmed Handicap (USA-III) winner Golden Itiz (by Tiznow), and Popul Vuh (by Czaravich) produced 1993 Nashua Stakes (USA-III) winner Popol's Gold (by Strike Gold).
Ahpo Hel (Mr, Leader x Tiy) contributed to the family record with four stakes winners, headed by 1994 Prioress Stakes (USA-II) winner Penny's Reshoot (by Turkey Shoot). Unfortunately, Penny's Reshoot died without issue, but other daughters have carried on. General Jeanne (by Honour and Glory) is the dam of Grade II winners Chace City (by Carson City) and Justwhistledixie (by Dixie Union), and the last-named mare broke the Grade I barrier for the family by producing 2013 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (USA-I) winner New Year's Day (by Street Cry) as well as multiple Grade II winner Mohaymen (by Tapit) and recent Grade III winner Kingly (also by Tapit).
Twin Propeller, Ahpo Hel's stakes-winning daughter by Known Fact, managed to produce only three minor winners from five foals, but she provided the connection between Ahpo Hel and Got Stormy through her French Deputy daughter Air France. The dam of multiple Grade II winner Smooth Air (by Smooth Jazz) and 2011 Sanford Stakes (USA-II) winner Overdriven (by Tale of the Cat), Air France produced the winning Malabar Gold mare Super Phoebe, dam of Got Stormy, as her first foal. Also the dam of stakes-placed Sky Gold (by Successful Appeal), Super Phoebe's most recent foals are a 2018 colt by Super Saver and a 2019 colt by Mohaymen.
Tiy's branch of the Bold Irish female line has been notable primarily for sprinters and milers, and Got Stormy fits well into that profile. Prolific and versatile with regard to the sire lines it has worked with, it has also produced a good many horses that could be called overachievers considering their pedigrees. If it seldom produces the kind of horse that takes the racing world or the sale ring by storm, it has produced a steady rain of solid performers, and there are far worse credentials for a family to have than that.
A brilliant runner during his brief racing career, this Travers Stakes winner is one of four horses to have sired three Kentucky Derby winners. Name him and his Derby-winning sons.
There is cheap speed, and there is class speed. On August 3, Covfefe demonstrated that she possesses the latter quality in abundance. Asked to catch Longines Kentucky Oaks (USA-I) winner Serengeti Empress, who was setting a hot pace in the Longines Test Stakes (USA-I), Covfefe did so. The result was a stretch-long duel between the two fillies with neither asking quarter until Covfefe finally prevailed by a half-length. The victory marked Covfefe as being among the elite of her breed; only two in every thousand Thoroughbreds foaled in North America ever win a Grade I race.
Courtly Dee was at the opposite end of the spectrum. She was what horsemen call "cheap speed": a sprinter that flashes some speed but usually folds up under a challenge. She won only four of her 33 starts, and she had no pretensions of being anything but a modest claimer on the track. Yet somehow in the alchemy of genetics, the class embodied in her sire Never Bend and her broodmare sire War Admiral came through when she became a broodmare. She produced eight stakes winners, seven of them of graded class, and also produced the dam of the important European sire and sire of sires Green Desert.
Althea, Courtly Dee's 1981 daughter by Alydar, was the fourth of her stakes winners and the best of them on the track. She won four graded stakes as a juvenile, whipping males twice in Grade II events along the way, and was voted the Eclipse Award as American champion 2-year-old filly for 1983. Her brilliance earned Courtly Dee honors as the 1983 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year, and Althea reached an even higher peak with a track record-equaling victory against males in the 1984 Arkansas Derby (USA-I).
Unfortunately, Althea had probably peaked too soon, and after finishing next to last in the Kentucky Derby (USA-I) (in which she had been favored), she started only once more before retiring to the paddocks. Her ill-fortune dogged her in her broodmare career. as she collided with another mare in a 1995 paddock accident and did not survive her injuries. Her loss was a tremendous one, for of the five foals she left behind, four became stakes winners including 1994 Japanese champion 2-year-old filly Yamanin Paradise (by Danzig).
Of Althea's other daughters, the most important is Aurora, a 1988 full sister to Yaminin Paradise who was a listed stakes winner at 4. She produced four stakes winners, headed by 1998 Super Derby (USA-I) winner Arch (by Kris S.) and 2010 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (USA-IA) winner Acoma (by Empire Maker). Arch, in his turn, proved a very good stallion for Claiborne Farm and got a worthy successor in 2010 American champion older male Blame, who is continuing the line at Claiborne.
Aurora's best producing daughter thus far is Antics (by Unbridled), who is the dam of both Covfefe and Japanese Group II winner Albiano. The two are very similarly bred, as Albiano is a son of Harlan's Holiday while Covfefe is by that stallion's best son at stud, Into Mischief. Antics slipped in 2017 before producing a 2018 filly by Nyquist and a 2019 colt by Violence, and her 2014 daughter Airs (a full sister to Albiano) produced a 2018 Union Rags colt before being reported as barren for 2019.
The great gift of Courtly Dee's family has been speed, but it has been speed that has blended successfully with stamina bequeathed by more classically-oriented sires. Covfefe has already proved herself a worthy heiress to that legacy, and it can be hoped that in due time, she will do her part in transmitting the blend of speed and stamina that has brought her to the top echelon of Thoroughbred racing.
Who was the first winner of an American Triple Crown race to contest the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, and in what year did he compete in France's greatest horse race?
The Amsterdam Stakes (USA-II) on July 28 was supposed to have boasted a deep and competitive field. Instead, it was a showcase for Shancelot, who romped by 12-1/2 lengths as he ran his record to 3-for-3 in the same gate-to-wire fashion he has used throughout his brief career. After scorching the Saratoga oval with an opening quarter in :21.79 and a second quarter in :22.15, the son of Shanghai Bobby had six lengths on his field and simply cruised the rest of the way, finishing the 6.5 furlongs in 1:14.01.
Shancelot is the latest star for the family of Monique Rene, a mare who was the queen of Louisiana racing in the early 1980s. A 15-time stakes winner on the Louisiana circuit, Monique Rene outran a plebeian pedigree (Prince of Ascot x Party Date, by Speedy Frank) with enviable consistency, eventually retiring with 29 wins and eight placings from 45 starts and a bankroll of US$456,250.
Given her own humble origins and the fact that she spent nearly half her broodmare career being put to indifferent sires, Monique Rene did well as a broodmare, producing five winners including Grade III winner Prince of the Mt. (by Mt. Livermore) and stakes-placed Mt. Rene (also by Mt. Livermore). More importantly, Monique Rene produced four daughters that bred on in some degree.
The first, Ronique (by Raise a Native) bred just one horse of any significance, but he was a pretty good one. Kiss a Native, a 1997 son of Kissin Kris, ended up winning four graded stakes races including the 2000 Pegasus Handicap (USA-II) and earning US$1,109,022.
As a gelding, Kiss a Native had no chance to contribute to future generations, but the same was not true for Yes It's True, a son of 1988 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (USA-I) winner Is It True out of Monique Rene's Clever Trick daughter Clever Monique. The winner of the 1999 Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial Dash Stakes (USA-I) and seven other graded sprints, Yes It's True became a successful sire following his retirement from racing. His top runners include 2015 American champion female sprinter La Verdad and 2014 Ketel One King's Bishop Stakes (USA-I) winner The Big Beast, now a promising young sire at Ocala Stud in Florida. Clever Monique also produced Honest Deceiver, a listed stakes-winning full sister to Yes It's True.
Walk Away Rene, a 1993 daughter of Gold Alert, was the best of Monique Rene's daughters on the track, winning three of her 14 starts. She produced multiple stakes winner Catch My Fancy (by Yes It's True) and is the second dam of three stakes winners. She is also the third dam of 2017 betfair.com Haskell Invitational Stakes (USA-I) winner Girvin and Grade III winner Cocked and Loaded, whose breeding is discussed in greater detail in my 9/13/2015 post "Loaded in Louisiana."
Monique Rene's youngest daughter is Kissin Renee (by Kissin Kris), who has a broodmare record comparable to Clever Monique's. The dam of restricted stakes winner True Kiss (by Is It True) as her first foal, she hit the jackpot later on with Silver Max. A 2009 son of Badge of Silver, Silver Max won the 2013 Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (USA-IT) and six other graded races. He stands at Adena Springs North in Canada and is a freshman sire of 2019. As for True Kiss, she is doing her part to pass on the family heritage, having produced Shancelot and two stakes-placed runners. Her most recent foals are a 2018 colt by 2015 American champion male sprinter Runhappy and a 2019 filly by multiple Grade I winner Carpe Diem.
As a group, the descendants of Monique Rene have not been particularly fashionable of pedigree, but they have been tough and willing, and they have also shown the value of repeating crosses that have been successful whether they are fashionable or not. That is a lesson worth remembering as the stallion market continues to constrict toward having many foals sired by a few fashionable horses and relatively few by a shrinking pool of less-favored horses. It is also worth remembering that, as Monique Rene demonstrated, the test of the racetrack is still the most valuable method of selecting breeding stock capable of passing desirable qualities to the next generation.
Bandua has had his share of misfortunes and learning experiences, but on July 13, the 4-year-old colt put it all together for a record-breaking victory in the Arlington Handicap (USA-IIIT). Now on target for a shot at the Arlington Million (USA-IT), Bandua is the latest graded stakes winner tracing to one of Secretariat's most important daughters.
Foaled in 1976, Terlingua (who was named for a town in Texas) was from the second crop of Secretariat and was the first of four stakes winners produced from the remarkable broodmare Crimson Saint. More her dam's daughter than her sire's in proclivity, Terlingua was a speedy, precocious filly who was near the top of her class as a 2-year-old. She trained on to be a Grade I-placed graded stakes winner at 3 and retired having won seven of 17 starts and $423,896.
Terlingua's race record and pedigree qualified her for assignations to the best sires around, and she made good use of her opportunities. After producing the stakes-producing Lyphard mare Lyphard's Dancer as her first foal, she hit the jackpot with her next mating, which was to Storm Bird. The resulting colt, a good-bodied animal with offset knees who was given the name of Storm Cat, missed being the champion juvenile male of 1985 by a nose, the margin of his defeat by Tasso in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (USA-I). He failed to train on at 3 after being a Grade I winner at 2, but his subsequent stud career more than made up for any deficiencies on the track. A two-time champion sire, seven-time champion juvenile sire, and three-time champion broodmare sire in the United States, he has established a thriving branch of the Northern Dancer male line.
Terlingua produced a second successful sire when mated to Mr. Prospector in 1992. Their son Pioneering was not the racehorse Storm Cat had been but did well at stud in the United States and Brazil and is still active in the latter country. His best-known runner in North America is 2006 Santa Monica Handicap (USA-I) winner Behaving Badly.
In between Storm Cat and Pioneering, Terlingua produced Chapel of Dreams to a 1983 mating with Northern Dancer. Slower to mature than Storm Cat had been, Chapel of Dreams reached her peak at age 4, winning the Palomar Handicap (USA-IIT) and the Wilshire Handicap (USA-IIT) and placing in three Grade I races that year. She was a disappointment as a broodmare, failing to produce any stakes winners, but her daughters have been making up for that.
Bridal Tea (by Gulch) was the first to get going, producing 2000 Peter Pan Stakes (USA-II) winner Postponed (by Summer Squall) and restricted stakes winner Bridesmaid (by Valid Expectations). She was followed by the Woodman mare Wiener Wald, dam of 2008 Racing Post Trophy (ENG-I) winner Crowded House (by Rainbow Quest) and French stakes winner On Reflection (by Rainbow Quest); second dam of multiple Grade I winner Ticker Tape, 2017 Prix Maurice du Gheest (FR-I) winner Brando and Grade II winner Daring Dancer; and third dam of multiple Group I winner Reckless Abandon. A third daughter, Child Bride (by Coronado's Quest) is the dam of Grade II winner Juniper Pass (by Lemon Drop Kid)
Chapel of Dreams's 1994 daughter by Seattle Slew, If Angels Sang, won four of 20 starts before settling down to a more than respectable broodmare career of her own. After producing five foals with only modest accomplishments, she got rolling in 2007 by producing Ilusora (by Tale of the Cat), a multiple Group III winner in Argentina. A repeat mating to Tale of the Cat came up with Tale of a Champion, winner of the 2013 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (USA-IIT), and she produced 2017 Eddie D Stakes (USA-IIIT) winner to a cover by Scat Daddy.
Bandua, a son of The Factor, is If Angels Sang's fourth graded stakes winner and will probably be her last, as her 2016 foal Cowboys Dream has shown very little ability; the mare was barren in 2017 and produced a foal that died in 2018. If Bandua can come through to capture the Million or another Grade I stakes, he will provide a nice exclamation point to the producing career of a fine mare and, given the accomplishments of his family, will also become a good stallion prospect for owner Calumet Farm. Whether he does or not, however, he has proved himself a credit to the ever-expanding resume of Terlingua, who is bidding fair to rival Weekend Surprise as the most influential daughter of her immortal sire.
Most racing buffs know that John Henry was the oldest horse to win the Arlington Million (USA-IT); he was 9 when he won the race in 1984. Who was the second-oldest horse to win the Million and in what year did he show the youngsters their place?
I'm Avalyn Hunter, an author, pedigree researcher and longtime racing fan.