While Jolie Olimpica is new to North America, her bloodlines are not. She is a daughter of 2010 Belmont Stakes (USA-G1) and 2011 Breeders' Cup Classic (USA-G1) winner Drosselmeyer, a talented if lazy son of Distorted Humor. As for her dam line, she traces back to a US$6,500 purchase from the 1965 Timonium yearling sales.
National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame trainer Warren "Jimmy" Croll was the purchaser of the bargain filly by Pied d'Or (an inferior half brother to 1958 American champion 3-year-old male Tim Tam). Named Like a Charm, the filly ran in the colors of Croll's wife Bobbi and won all three of her starts, including the 1966 New Jersey Futurity and Sorority Stakes. She earned $79,914, not a bad return on her purchase price.
Like a Charm produced four stakes winners, and Jimmy Croll bred the best of them using a stallion that he had trained for Rachel Carpenter, owner of Pelican Stable. That was Al Hattab, a good colt in a crop overshadowed by Arts and Letters and Majestic Prince, and the resulting filly picked up a fair share of her parents' talent. Under the name of Herecomesthebride, she showed commendable eagerness to get to the altar, winning six stakes races including the 1978 Columbiana Handicap (USA-G3).
Herecomesthebride was a disappointment as a broodmare considering her own ability and the quality of most of her mates, and her 1986 Slew o' Gold filly Autumn Rythym managed only one win from eight starts. Considering that neither of Autumn Rythym's previous foals had won by the time her third foal, the Wavering Monarch filly China Empress, came up for sale at the 1993 Keeneland November mixed sale, the winning bid of US$21,500 seems fairly generous, especially since Wavering Monarch weanlings averaged only $9,571 that year.
Following her sale, China Empress was exported to Brazil and proved worth the price, winning a listed stakes at 2 and becoming a Group 3 winner the following year. Her one foal to earn black type, Jolie Celina (by 1987 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, FR-G1, winner Trempolino), placed four times in Group stakes, capped off by a runner-up finish in the 2003 Grande Prêmio Henrique Possolo (BRZ-G1), before producing Brazilian Group 2 winner Domenica (by Redattore) in addition to Jolie Olimpica.
Jolie Olimpica is in the barn of Richard Mandella, and there are none better than he at the fine art of getting South American runners to transfer their best form to the Northern Hemisphere. With her acclimation successfully completed, the question now is how far she will go, both up the American class ladder and in distance. She has been campaigned as a sprinter-miler thus far, but with a sire and broodmare sire that were both top-level winners at 12 furlongs and a half sister who is a Group 2 winner at about 10 furlongs, she may have far more potential than she has yet revealed--potential that may owe just a little to a bargain-basement filly and a horse-wise trainer with a charmed knack for spotting talent.