Bred and owned by Canada's legendary Sam-Son Farm, Desert Ride incorporates plenty of Canadian racing history in her pedigree. Her family's roots go back to Oleana, a daughter of 1966 American champion turf male Assagai who was a US$8,000 purchase at the 1971 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Oleana wasn't much of a race mare, but her first foal for Sam-Son was better. A daughter of 1969 Garden State Stakes winner Forum, Forleana won six of her 28 starts and ran second in the 1978 Tattling Handicap. Her 1982 daughter by perennial Canadian sire champion Vice Regent, Queen of Egypt, continued the improvement, winning the listed Tattling Handicap and the restricted Jammed Lovely Stakes as a 3-year-old.
Queen of Egypt got her broodmare career off smartly by producing the No Louder filly Quiet Cleo as her first foal. A multiple stakes winner, Quiet Cleo ended up amassing a bankroll of US$517,467 before retiring to the paddocks, where she produced 2000 Canadian Horse of the Year Quiet Resolve (by Affirmed).
It took until 2001 before Queen of Egypt came up with another important foal, but the results were well worth the wait. A daughter of three-time American champion sire Smart Strike (a Sam-Son product who hailed from the family of the farm's great foundation mare, No Class), Eye of the Sphynx earned a Sovereign Award as Canada's champion 3-year-old filly after winning the 2004 Lablatt Woodbine Oaks, the Selene Stakes (CAN-II) and the Fury Stakes.
Retired to the paddocks. Eye of the Sphynx has been a first-rate broodmare for Sam-Son. Her first foal, the A.P. Indy colt Eye of the Leopard, won Canada's oldest and most prestigious Classic, the Queen's Plate, en route to honors as the Canadian champion 3-year-old male of 2009. His full brother Hotep won two Canadian stakes and was runner-up in the 2010 Queen's Plate, and his full sister Deceptive Vision won the 2014 Canadian Stakes (CAN-IIT).
Fun in the Desert, Eye of the Sphynx's 2011 foal by Distorted Humor, lasted only two starts before being retired to the paddocks (she won one), but after producing Desert Ride as her first foal, she has certainly done her duty in continuing the family. Her most recent foals are the unraced juvenile filly Saturday Sun (by Sky Mesa) and a yearling colt by Candy Ride, and there is every chance that her half sister Deceptive Ride will get in on the act; her first foal is the unraced juvenile filly Goldeye (by Medaglia d'Oro), and she has a yearling Medaglia d'Oro filly waiting in the wings.
Sam-Son and trainer Neil Howard now have the happy dilemma of deciding whether to point Desert Ride toward a collision with colts in the Queen's Plate (which Sam-Son has won five times, most recently with Eye of the Leopard) or reserve her for races within her own division. Either way, Desert Ride has already done her part to keep up the family tradition at one of Canada's most storied breeding operations.