Almond Eye continues a run of successes for the family of Best in Show, which has been red hot in the early months of 2019. In her case, Almond Eye's connecting link to the modern matriarch is the latter's daughter Sex Appeal, who never raced but has achieved matriarchal status in her own right.
A daughter of four-time American champion broodmare sire Buckpasser, Sex Appeal inherited the back-at-the-knee conformation unfortunately common among that great sire's progeny. This flaw has cropped up repeatedly among her descendants, starting with her first foal, Try My Best. A son of Northern Dancer, Try My Best ran admirably anyway, earning championships in England and Ireland at age 2. Also the Irish champion miler of 1978 as a 3-year-old, Try My Best was handicapped at stud by his tendency to pass on his own imperfect knees but was nonetheless a two-time champion sire in Italy. He also managed to pass on his male line via 1986 English and French champion sprinter Last Tycoon, who became a champion sire in Australia.
Sex Appeal next produced the Halo filly Solar, a Group III winner who numbers 2004 Nunthorpe Stakes (ENG-I) winner Bahamian Pirate among her descendants, and Northern Guest, a full brother to Try My Best who never raced but became a champion sire in South Africa. After producing two more fillies of some significance as broodmares as well as Compliance (a poor racehorse but sire of 1991 Airlie Coolmore Irish Two Thousand Guineas, IRE-I, winner Fourstars Allstar and the popular Saratoga specialist Fourstarsdave), Sex Appeal went back to Northern Dancer and came up with a champion even better than her first. This was El Gran Senor, who emulated Try My Best by becoming the best English and Irish juvenile of 1983. Although he went under to the similarly sired Secreto in a spine-tingling edition of the Derby Stakes (ENG-I) the following year, he was nonetheless honored as 1984's champion English 3-year-old male and champion miler. He was a successful stallion in spite of subnormal fertility and made a lasting contribution to international bloodlines through his daughter Toussaud, a Grade I winner and the 2002 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year.
Sex Appeal produced three more stakes-producing fillies in the years 1983-1988, through whom she became the ancestress of 2013/14 Brazilian champion older female Estrelas Monarchos and 2002 Breeders' Cup Mile (USA-IT) winner Domedriver, among others. Her final foal of significance was Lotta Lace, a 1992 daughter of Nureyev who never raced and was exported to Japan. There, she produced nine foals including stakes winner and Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) runner-up Fusaichi Pandora (by Sunday Silence), dam of Almond Eye.
How much credit Sex Appeal should receive for Almond Eye's quality is, of course, debatable. Nonetheless, the Japanese champion is one more feather in the cap for a remarkable matron's family, and any further victories she can deliver will only add to the appeal of her bloodlines.