As the 2016 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year, Leslie's Lady is far too recent for her long-range influence to be assessed; in fact, she just produced another foal this past spring. Nonetheless, the Kentucky Derby victory of her grandson Authentic (sired by her son Into Mischief) on September 5 seems to suggest that this is a good time to take a closer look at this excellent producer and her prospects for the future.
Foaled in 1996, Leslie's Lady was not the sort of mare who would normally be expected to achieve lasting significance. She was sired by Tricky Creek, a multiple Grade 2 winner but an indifferent sire who ended up in New Mexico after originally standing in Kentucky and then California. Sired by the speedy Clever Trick, a useful sire son of the fine stallion Icecapade, he was one of six stakes winners produced from the excellent broodmare Battle Creek Girl, a granddaughter of Darby Dan foundation mare Soaring.
Leslie's Lady was produced from Crystal Lady, a winning daughter of the good racer and sire Stop the Music out of One Last Bird. The last-named mare was sired by 1971 Canadian champion grass horse One for All, a son of Northern Dancer. Perhaps more importantly, she was a granddaughter of Patelin, the ancestress of a fine family, and was related to a fair number of good broodmares. In fact, this is a recurrent theme in the pedigree of Leslie's Lady, for along with Tricky Creek and Crystal Lady, Stop the Music and One for All also came from strong female families.
On the track, Leslie's Lady proved a useful juvenile, winning four of nine starts and capturing the listed Hoosier Debutante Stakes. That was the best form she was to show. At 3, she won one of 12 starts, placed in three more races, and was second in the listed Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park. At four, she failed to win from seven starts and retired with a record of 5-3-2 from 28 starts. Strictly a sprinter, she earned a lifetime best Equineline speed figure of 100 as a 2-year-old but showed no form worth pursuing further the one time she was tried beyond sprint distances; she was also winless in eight starts on turf.
Leslie's Lady's pedigree and race record did not warrant sending her to top sires, and so her first two matings were with Marquetry and Orientate---both high-class racehorses but inconsistent as stallions. She produced winners by both before being mated to multiple Grade 1 winner Harlan's Holiday (by Harlan, by Storm Cat), then in his first year at stud, The result was Into Mischief, who won the 2007 CashCall Futurity (USA-G1) over what in retrospect was a very good field indeed, as two future Grade 1 winners and three future Grade 2 winners were among his beaten rivals.
Into Mischief didn't last long on the track, but he added another stakes win and a second in the Malibu Stakes (USA-G1) before retiring with three wins and three seconds from six starts. Multiple Grade 1 winner Goldencents, multiple Canadian champion Miss Mischief, and multiple Grade 2 winner Vyjack headed the seven stakes winners from 42 foals in his first crop, and from there he has climbed up the stallion ranks to become the American champion sire of 2019. Barring some major reverses, it looks likely that he will head the 2020 list as well, as Authentic just extended his lead over second-place Uncle Mo to nearly US$4.7 million.
Leslie's Lady then produced four fairly unmemorable foals, with the last of the group being a full brother to Into Mischief who couldn't get out of his own way on the track. Her unraced Orientate daughter Daisy Mason fared better when bred to Harlan's Holiday and produced Grade 3-placed stakes winner Harry's Holiday, making her the first daughter of Leslie's Lady to produce a stakes winner. Daisy Mason is also the dam of multiple Grade 3-placed Remedy (by the Grade 1-winning Giant's Causeway horse Creative Cause) and has an unraced juvenile Nyquist colt named Walker's Quist. Her most recent foal is a 2019 filly by Cairo Prince.
Five foals after producing Into Mischief, Leslie's Lady went to another Storm Cat-line stallion, Henny Hughes, and came up with a runner that made Into Mischief look like small potatoes. This was Beholder, the champion of her division at 2, 3, 5, and 6. Her streak of Eclipse Awards was broken at 4 due to an injury-shortened season, but not before she took the Zenyatta Stakes (USA-G1), which ended up helping make her the first horse since two-time American Horse of the Year John Henry to win a Grade 1 race in five consecutive seasons. Her swan song was a scintillating nose decision in the 2016 Breeders' Cup Distaff (USA-G1) over two-time American champion filly Songbird. Since her retirement, she has produced the unraced juvenile colt Q B One (by Uncle Mo), the 2019 Curlin filly Karin With an I, and the 2020 War Front filly Teena Ella, and with continued visits to the top stallions in the country, it will be a sad thing indeed if Beholder cannot come up with some good runners.
During the next four years, Leslie's Lady produced two named foals, neither of which ever won a race. She then visited the top stallion Scat Daddy, who comes from the same branch of the Storm Cat line as does Henny Hughes. The resulting colt was Mendelssohn, who in spite of quixotic handling of his racing career won the 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (USA-G1) on grass and the 2018 UAE Derby (UAE-G2) on dirt as well as placing in three Grade 1 races. A US$3 million purchase for Coolmore as a yearling, Mendelssohn entered stud at Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Kentucky in 2019 and served 252 mares that season at an introductory fee of US$35,000.
Since being awarded Broodmare of the Year laurels, Leslie's Lady has given birth to a 2017 colt by Medaglia d'Oro that was never named, the unraced 2018 American Pharoah filly America's Joy (a record-breaking US$8.2 million Keeneland September yearling), the 2019 Not This Time filly Marr Time, and an unnamed 2020 filly by Kantharos. Any one of these three fillies could add a sparking coda to Leslie's Lady's produce record, and well after she herself is gone, her daughters will continue to receive every opportunity to expand her legacy. Whether she becomes one of the great matriarchs of the breed is still to be determined, but a top stallion, a great champion, and another Grade 1 winner have already combined to make her one of the more memorable members of a most elite club,