Caressing was sired by 1996 Metropolitan Handicap (USA-G1) winner Honour and Glory, who later became a sire of some influence in Argentina. from the family of Phaona, an English-bred daughter of Phalaris that arrived in the United States during the winter of 1932-1933. Prior to her importation, Phaona had produced Easton, a 1931 son of Dark Legend who won several stakes in Europe and was runner-up in the 1934 Two Thousand Guineas and Derby Stakes before being imported to the United States as a stallion in 1940.
Phaona's first American-bred foal was her 1933 filly Aphaona, who was conceived in France to a cover by 1927 Prix du Cadran winner Asteroide. Unraced but with a heritage of stamina through her sire and speed through her broodmare sire, Aphaona produced one stakes winner, Valdina Alpha (by Osculator) and two stakes producers.
The more important of Aphaona's stakes-producing daughters was Wilhemine (by Blenheim II),who produced the stakes winners Turbo (by Djeddah) and Clavo (by Nail). She also produced Donut Queen (by 1951 Derby Stakes winner Arctic Prince), who failed to win or place in three starts but continued the line by producing stakes winner Swift Years (by Never Bend) and stakes-placed Perfect Host and Queen Hostess, both by My Host (by Alibhai and a full brother to 1950 Santa Anita Derby winner Your Host and to the important broodmare Your Hostess).
Up to that point, the female line could be considered no more than modestly successful, and that pattern continued through the next two mares in Caressing's tail-female descent, as Queen Hostess and her daughter Forest Princess (by Fleet Nasrullah) each produced one stakes winner of moderate standing. Nonetheless, there were signs that things might be looking up for the family. The first was Forest Princess's half sister Native Hostess (by Raise a Native), who produced three stakes winners among her nine foals. That spark died out with the next generation but was eclipsed by Forest Princess's daughter Hattab Gal (by Al Hattab), who produced three stakes winners of much better quality headed by multiple Grade 1 winner Sea Cadet (by Bolger) and 1994 Del Mar Futurity (USA-G2) winner On Target (by Forty Niner). Forest Princess also produced Lohagogo (by Aloha Mood), dam of another three stakes winners including multiple Grade 3 winner Willowy Mood (by Will Win).
Lovin Touch (by 1969 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Majestic Prince) was the best of Forest Princess's foals on the race track, winning two stakes races (including a listed race) and placing in the 1983 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (USA-G2). After producing the listed stakes winner Platinum Blonde (by Silver Hawk) in 1993, she continued the family's upward arc by producing its first champion in Caressing, her next-to-last foal. Caressing made the wait worthwhile. After earning a 2-year-old championship with a longshot victory in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (USA-G1), she won two Grade 3 races at 3 and was Grade 3-placed at 4 before retiring to the paddocks.
Like most of her female line, Caressing was not a prolific source of stakes winners, but her eighth foal more than justified her broodmare career. He is West Coast, a 2014 son of Flatter who won the Eclipse Award as the American champion 3-year-old male of 2017 after defeating all three of that year's Triple Crown race winners in the Travers Stakes (USA-G1). He also won the Pennsylvania Derby (USA-G1) and two other stakes races of 2017 as well as running third in the Breeders' Cup Classic (USA-G1) behind American Horse of the Year Gun Runner and 2017 TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (USA-G1) winner Collected. Second in three Grade/Group 1 races at 4, West Coast is now standing at Lane's End Farm and will see his first foals come to the races next year.
Caressing's final foals are the unraced 2-year-old colt Touch Code (by Honor Code) and a yearling colt by Gun Runner, but even if these make no mark, Caressing's daughters are giving evidence that they will continue the line with honor. Foremost among them is My Goodness (by Storm Cat), who has produced three Japanese stakes winners. The best of them, Danon Kingly (by Deep Impact) won the 2021 Yasuda Kinen (JPN-G1).
Caressing was not a great one as champions go, nor is her broodmare record that of a great matriarch. Nonetheless, she was a noteworthy performer both on the track and in the breeding shed, and with a group of well-bred daughters and granddaughters receiving good opportunities, it should be only a matter of time before another fine runner turns up to bring her name back to remembrance. There are worse legacies to leave.