Just so you know
Due to holidays and family, there will be no "Mares on Monday" post on December 26. See you in the new year!
On December 17, the Argentine colt Satu etched his name into the record books by setting a world record of 1:30.90 for 1600 meters (the “metric mile”) in the Gran Premio Joaquín S. de Anchorena (ARG-G1). The race was the undefeated colt’s stakes debut, and the son of Catcher in the Rye led 17 rivals a merry chase from gate to wire, gamely holding off the closing run of Santo Dios and the good Brazilian-bred filly Manuca. In fairness, the San Isidro course was beyond firm (one could see puffs of dust kicked up by the horses’ hooves as they ran), but Satu’s feat was still something rarely seen from so inexperienced a runner.
Like Manuca (see “Mares on Monday: La Troienne Finds a Brazilian Beat,” November 21, 2022), Satu is a descendant of the Glamour branch of the great La Troienne tribe but descends from Bonnie Blink, a Buckpasser half sister to Manuca’s tail-female ancestress Intriguing. The last daughter of Glamour, Bonnie Blink never raced and produced nothing of any significant merit until she gave birth to her last daughter, the 1988 Time for a Change filly Quick Glance.
Quick Glance won three of her 23 starts but never showed talent remotely close to stakes ability and was exported to Argentina in 1992. There, she joined the broodmare band of Haras Don Arcangel and produced two stakes-winning fillies by the great Argentine-based sire Southern Halo. The better of the two was Sa Torreta, whose five stakes wins included the 1999 Premio Libertad (ARG-G2), the 2000 Premio Miguel Angel y Tomas Juarez Celman (ARG-G2), and the 2001 Premio República de Panama (ARG-G3). Like most of the progeny of Southern Halo, she was a sprinter-miler, winning stakes from 1000 meters to 1600 meters.
Sa Torreta produced 12 foals during her broodmare career but was most successful while at Haras Abolengo. There, she bred the fillies Satarain (by Salt Lake) and Sambullida (by 2001 Cowdin Stakes, USA-G3, winner Sunray Spirit, by Hennessy). Satarain, twice Group 3-placed, is the dam of listed stakes winner Solamente Vos (by the Japanese-bred stallion Peer Gynt, a multiple-stakes-winning son of Sunday Silence) and, through her daughter Save the Date (by Hurricane Cat, a Group 3-winning son of Storm Cat and Sky Beauty), is the second dam of 2022 Gran Premio Montevideo (ARG-G1) and Gran Premio Estrellas Juvenile (ARG-G1) winner Subsanador (by the Grade 1-placed Distorted Humor horse Fortify). Sambullida, a winner twice over 1000 meters at Palermo, is the dam of Group 1-placed Sa Talaia (by Equal Stripes), who in turn produced Satu as her first foal. She has since produced the 2021 Fortify filly Safe With Me and the 2022 Cosmic Trigger filly Sachi.
Bred on Southern Hemisphere time, Satu will not turn 4 until July 1, meaning that he still has some growing and maturing to do. His light racing schedule thus far also raises some questions as to his soundness and durability. Still, there is an interesting parallel here with Candy Ride, also a winner of the Gran Premio Joaquín S. de Anchorena in world record time. Candy Ride was undefeated in three sanctioned races in Argentina (though with a better record than Satu’s as he also won the 2002 Gran Premio San Isidro, ARG-G1) before being imported to the United States, where his three wins from three starts included a trouncing of multiple Grade 1 winner Medaglia d’Oro in track record time in the 2003 Pacific Classic (USA-G1). He has since become a successful sire, and his sons Twirling Candy (in the United States) and Señor Candy and Sidney’s Candy (in Argentina) are drawing attention to him as a sire of sires. Whether Satu can follow a similar path remains to be seen, but he has certainly added his own touch of glamour to an already-storied family.
Mares on Monday: A Starlet Is Born
It’s not every day that a US$10,000 investment pays off at an 1800 percent return rate within five days, but that is exactly what happened after impressive maiden winner Faiza was supplemented to the Starlet Stakes (USA-G1) at Los Alamitos on December 5. It cost US$10,000 to make Faiza eligible to the race, but on December 10, the filly withstood a stern stretch battle against Pride of the Nile and a stewards’ inquiry to capture the US$180,000 first prize as well as a Grade 1 win for her resume.
Faiza is the first top-level winner for freshman sire Girvin, who is moving to Airdrie Stud, Kentucky, for 2023 after starting his stud career at Ocala Stud, Florida. The winner of three graded stakes including the 2017 betfair.com Haskell Invitational Stakes (USA-G1), the son of multiple Grade 1 winner Tale of Ekati is currently fifth on the American freshman sire list with 20 winners to his credit. Five of those winners are stakes winners, including Faiza and Saratoga Special (USA-G2) winner Damon’s Mound.
On the distaff side, Faiza is the third foal of the Smart Strike mare Sweet Pistol, whose most recent foals are the yearling Cairo Prince filly Her Best Friend and an unnamed 2022 filly by Complexity. Unplaced in both her starts, Sweet Pistol is a half sister to 2019 Los Alamitos Futurity (USA-G2) winner Thousand Words (by Pioneerof the Nile).
Sweet Pistol was produced from Pomeroys Pistol, a good sprint mare who won three graded stakes winners as a 3-year-old (two of them at Grade 2 level) and was twice Grade 1-placed. The sire of Pomeroys Pistol, the Boundary horse Pomeroy, was a still better sprinter, winning the 2004 King’s Bishop Stakes (USA-G1) and 2006 Forego Handicap (USA-G1). Pomeroys Pistol is out of the unraced Point Given mare Prettyatthetable, whose half sister Im Classic Quality (by Elusive Quality) is the dam of 2015 Daytona Stakes (USA-G3) winner Toowindytohaulrox (by Harlan’s Holiday). The next dam in the tail-female line, Swearingen (by Deposit Ticket) won four listed stakes and was Grade 2-placed.
Faiza’s pedigree shows a nice balance between speed and stamina, and ordinarily she would be considered a promising candidate for the 2023 Longines Kentucky Oaks (USA-G1). If owner Michael Lund Petersen wants her pointed there, however, he will have to move her to another barn as current trainer Bob Baffert is serving a suspension from racing at tracks owned by Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI), a status that cost Faiza the 10 points toward an Oaks starting berth that she would have otherwise earned for her Starlet victory. Still, she looks like a nice filly that should have a lot of options open to her, and will be interesting to keep an eye on.
On November 20, Caballeriza Junot Stud’s improving filly Doña Green took another step up the class ladder in the Premio Carlos Tomkinson (ARG-G2) at Palermo. Making just her fifth lifetime start, the daughter of 2010 General George Stakes (USA-G2) winner Greenspring (by 2002 American champion sprinter Orientate) scored by a length in the 1600-meter contest after taking her field gate to wire.
Doña Green is a fourth-generation descendant of 1987 American Broodmare of the Year Banja Luka, whose title came primarily from the exploits of her son Ferdinand. A son of Nijinsky II, Ferdinand won the 1986 Kentucky Derby (USA-G1) under a masterful ride by Bill Shoemaker. He lost divisional honors that year to Snow Chief, but in 1987 he sealed titles as American champion older male and Horse of the Year in one of the most exciting Breeders’ Cup Classic (USA-G1) editions of all time, defeating 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (USA-G1) winner Alysheba by a nose. Unfortunately, he proved a poor stallion in both the United States and Japan and ended his days in a slaughterhouse in the latter country.
Banja Luka produced five other stakes winners, but all of them were of modest stature, and her daughters as a group were not exceptional producers. The best of them was Castel Cheline (by Avatar), the dam of multiple Australian Group 1 winner Zacheline (by Zabeel). Castel Cheline’s female line has not bred on, but another daughter of Banja Luka, Donna Inez, has established a branch of the family that may have some promise for the future.
A daughter of Herbager, Donna Inez won the 1978 California Jockey Club Handicap at Bay Meadows and the 1978 Torrey Pines Handicap at Del Mar and was third in the 1978 Del Mar Oaks (USA-G3). She produced 13 named foals, of which seven were winners, but none were stakes winners. She has fared better as a dam of broodmares, with two of her daughters producing graded or Group stakes winners. The elder, Imprudent Love (by Foolish Pleasure), produced 2001 Native Diver Handicap (USA-G3) winner Momentum (by Nureyev) and Puerto Rican listed stakes winner El Delegado (by Lac Ouimet). The younger, Nemea (by The Minstrel), produced Lovers Knot (by Groom Dancer), winner of the 1999 Amcor Falmouth Stakes (ENG-G2) and the 1999 De La Rose Handicap (USA-G3), and is the third dam of 2019 Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes (USA-G1) winner Concrete Rose (by Twirling Candy).
Donna Demisse (by Lac Ouimet), the last of Donna Inez’s daughters, never raced prior to export to Argentina but won one of her eight starts in her new country, a 1200-meter allowance race at San Isidro. A broodmare at Haras Carampangue until 2009, when she became the property of Horacio Manuel Stoll and Roberto Javier Stoll, she produced eight winners, the most accomplished of which was Grade 3-placed Donna Orpen (by Orpen). Donna Dina, the dam of Doña Green, is a full sister to Donna Orpen and is also the dam of 2018 Premio Luis Maria Doyhenard (ARG-G3) winner Dargreen (by Greenspring). Donna Dina died in 2020, but aside from Doña Green, she has another daughter, the 2016 Horse Greeley mare Dondina, who has won two of her 10 starts and may help perpetuate the line.
As Kentucky Broodmares of the Year go, Banja Luka was not precisely a one-runner selection, but had it not been for Ferdinand, she would not be particularly memorable. Unlike some other Broodmares of the Year with a reputation resting on one outstanding runner, however, she has managed to found a persisting female line that continues to turn up a sprinkling of good runners from generation to generation. There are worse legacies to have.
I'm Avalyn Hunter, an author, pedigree researcher and longtime racing fan.