Higher Power is the latest star for a family developed by Pin Oak Stud from its foundation mare, Take a Stand. A winning half sister by Amerigo to stakes winners Dun-Cee (by Dunce) and Controlled Landing (by First Landing), Take a Stand had a satisfactory production record in her own right, throwing French Group III winner French Friend (by Herbager) and multiple stakes winner Stage Luck (by Stage Door Johnny). Stage Luck, in turn produced two-time American champion filly Open Mind and two other stakes winners.
Pin Oak did not retain Stage Luck, but the stud did keep her older half sister, stakes-placed Strike a Pose (by Iron Ruler). In the tradition of her dam and granddam, Strike a Pose also came up with two stakes winners, the gelding Tonka Wakhan (by Big Spruce) and Wedding Picture, a daughter of Blushing Groom. In due time, Wedding Picture joined the Pin Oak broodmare band and produced four stakes winners, headed by Grade III winner Winged Victory (by Nijinsky II). She is also the second dam of seven stakes winners including Forever Together (by Belong to Me) and Broken Vow (by Unbridled). The former won the 2008 Eclipse Award as champion turf female for owner George Strawbridge, while the latter, a Pin Oak homebred, was a multiple Grade II winner before becoming a linchpin of Pin Oak's stallion roster. Still active at the age of 22, Broken Vow has sired well over 80 stakes winners including this year's Canadian star Tone Broke, winner of two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown.
Strike a Balance, Strike a Pose's 1983 daughter by Nijinsky II, did not last long enough to gain much racing glory, though she won two of her three starts. Nonetheless, she has made her own set of contributions to her family, beginning with 1995 Canadian Horse of the Year Peaks and Valleys (by Mt. Livermore). She also produced Alternate (by Seattle Slew), a multiple listed stakes winner who has come up with three stakes winners of her own. They are Alternation (by Distorted Humor), a multiple Grade II winner who is now a stallion at Pin Oak; Interrupted (by Broken Vow), a multiple listed stakes winner; and Higher Power. Aside from those three, Strike a Balance is the second dam of six other stakes winners, including Grade II winner Eleusis (by Diesis) and Grade III winners Equality (by Mt. Livermore) and Cryptograph (by Cryptoclearance).
Take a Stand's family is unusual in that it represents one of the few flourishing lines descended from old American lineages that cannot be connected to any of the Bruce Lowe families, in this case American Family 29. Descended from an unnamed daughter of Diomed, this line may or may not incorporate non-Thoroughbred elements in its early history, but it has long since proved its merit by the test of the racetrack.
There has not been any particular magic in how Take a Stand's family rose to its present heights, just a lot of well-applied common sense. Pin Oak has routinely made use of access to good stallions with a history of delivering racing results, regardless of the current bloodstock fashions, and has tried to produce well-made specimens with the potential for going two turns. Equally important, when a mating has turned out well, Pin Oak has not been shy about going back to the well by mating related mares to the same stallion. That formula for success may not be dramatic, but its results are beyond question.