West Will Power is a fifth-generation descendant of Who’s to Know, whose family’s career has somewhat paralleled her great-great-great-grandson’s—never quite the height of equine fashion or accomplishment, but more than respectable. A daughter of Fleet Nasrullah and the stakes-winning Spy Song mare Masked Lady, she traces back in tail-female to the champion race mare and twentieth-century foundation mare Myrtlewood, who through other branches of her family is the ancestress of champions and Classic winners such as Seattle Slew, Vagrancy, Black Tarquin, and Durazna as well as the great sire Mr. Prospector.
Who’s to Know became a minor stakes winner at age 4 before heading to the broodmare ranks. The best of her nine foals on the track was 1978 Alcibiades Stakes (USA-G2) and Golden Rod Stakes (USA-G3) winner Angel Island (by Cougar II), who in turn produced multiple Grade 2 winner Sharrood (by Caro) and stakes winners Our Reverie (by J. O. Tobin) and Island Escape (by Slew o’ Gold) and is the second dam of 2005 Texas Mile Stakes (USA-G3) winner High Strike Zone (by Smart Strike). Among Who’s to Know’s other daughters, multiple stakes-placed Confirmed Affair (by Affirmed) produced stakes winner This One’s for Us (by Cox’s Ridge) and is the second dam of Brazilian Group 2 winner Ojos Claros (by American Gipsy), while unraced All Too True (by Caro) produced 1988 Ascot Handicap (USA-G3) winner Truly Met (by Mehmet).
Jolie Jolie (Sir Ivor x Who’s to Know) was also unraced, but she proved to be the jewel among her siblings as a producer, coming up with four stakes winners. The best of the group was Jolie’s Halo (by Halo), a confirmed front runner who overcame physical issues to be a three-time Grade 1 winner at ages 4 and 5. A muscular, top-heavy horse with sharp natural speed, Jolie’s Halo stood three seasons in Florida at Bridlewood Farm before being exported to Japan, where he died in 2005 as the result of a paddock accident. He sired 21 stakes winners from 737 named foals, the best of which was 2000 Florida Derby (USA-G1) and 2002 Gulfstream Park Handicap (USA-G1) winner Hal’s Hope.
Jolie Jolie also produced 1987 Nashua Stakes (USA-G2) winner Cougarized (by Cougar II), Grade 2-placed listed stakes winner Mister Jolie (by Valid Appeal), and multiple stakes winner Pleasant Jolie (by Pleasant Colony). The last-named mare is the dam of listed stakes winner Jolie the Cat (by Tale of the Cat) and is the second dam of the bad-footed and not overly correct but talented Southern Image (by Halo’s Image), whose six wins from eight starts included the 2003 Malibu Stakes (USA-G1), the 2004 Santa Anita Handicap (USA-G1), and the 2004 Pimlico Special Handicap (USA-G1). In addition, Pleasant Jolie is the second dam of Peruvian champion Elita Bonita and Japanese Group 3 winner Black Bar Spin (by Put It Back) and is the third dam of 2012 United Nations Handicap (USA-G1) winner Turbo Compressor (by Halo’s Image).
Jolie’s Valentine (Storm Cat x Jolie Jolie) failed to win but is the second dam of multiple Chilean Group 1 winner La Buena Vida (by Gemologist), while another Jolie Jolie daughter, Sweet and Dandee (by Pass the Line), is the third dam of 2009 American Derby (USA-G2) winner Reb (by Stormy Atlantic). West Will Power is descended from yet another daughter, Has Promise (by Skip Trial), whose daughter Frosty Promise (by the world record setting His Majesty horse Frosty the Snowman) produced 2007 Arcadia Handicap (USA-G2) winner Icy Atlantic (by Stormy Atlantic) and 2008 My Charmer Handicap (USA-G3) winner Wild Promises (by Grade 1 winner and five-time Brazilian champion sire Wild Event); Wild Promises, in turn, produced West Will Power as her sixth foal. Her only subsequent foal is Cross Your Heart, an unraced 4-year-old filly by Curlin.
By the standards of other branches of Myrtlewood’s family, the record of Who’s to Know and her descendants has not been particularly spectacular. By almost any other yardstick, however, this is a family almost any breeder would be happy to tie into. It has not tended to produce the prettiest of specimens, limiting its commercial appeal, and its three Grade 1-winning males, all from the Halo male line, have not exactly set the world on fire as sires. For these reasons, West Will Power seems likelier to end up in a regional market or abroad than in Kentucky when his time comes to go to stud. Nonetheless, this is a family worth studying, not least for its tendency to throw clusters of stakes winners by the same or closely related sires. For the prudent breeder who believes in digging for gold where it has been previously found, who’s to know what further success lies waiting to be mined?