War Like Goddess was bred by Calumet Farm, which stood her late sire, English Channel. Like his daughter, the son of Smart Strike and the Theatrical mare Belva was not much to look at, but beneath an unimpressive exterior lay a first-class racing machine. The winner of six Grade 1 races during his career. English Channel took his final bow in the 2007 John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf (USA-G1), earning an Eclipse Award as American champion turf male. He went on from there to become a top sire of staying turf runners and was America’s champion turf sire in 2020 according to The Blood-Horse.
True to her sire’s type, War Like Goddess has proved her prowess at distances up to 12 furlongs and has gotten better with every year she has raced. She took the biggest victory of her career last year when she whipped males in the Joe Hirsch Invitational Turf Stakes (USA-G1) at the Belmont-at-Aqueduct meeting and finished out the season by running third against a strong international field in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (USA-G1).
Generally, being by English Channel would be enough said on the subject of stamina, but War Like Goddess is as stoutly bred as one could ask on the distaff side as well. She is out of the winner Misty North, whose sire North Light won the 2004 Vodafone Derby Stakes (ENG-G1) over Epsom Downs’ testing course. A half sister to German listed stakes winner Romanowa (by Topsider) and to English listed stakes winner Blush Rambler (by Blushing Groom), whose three Group 1 placings include a third in the 1994 Coronation Cup over the same course and distance as the Derby Stakes, Misty North, in turn, is out of Misty Gallop, by 1998 Belmont Stakes (USA-G1) winner Victory Gallop out of 1985 Jersey Oaks winner Romanette. Also runner-up in the 1986 Queen Charlotte Handicap (USA-G2) at 10 furlongs, Romanette was sired by two-time Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (FR-G1) winner Alleged, a notable stamina influence.
So far as her overall produce record goes, Misty North might well have done better had she been bred to speedier sires, given the stamina load in her pedigree; of the five foals she has by long-winded types, she has only one other winner, the Red Rocks gelding The Kid Rocks. Her most recent foal, North of Bali, is a 2020 colt by Brazilian-bred Bal a Bali, who proved a first-rate miler in the United States after sweeping the Brazilian Triple Crown, but North of Bali has yet to race. After going without issue in 2021 and 2022, Misty North, who sold to Charles Yochum for US$1,000 at the 2019 Keeneland November mixed sale, was bred to Curlin for 2023.
War Like Goddess’s next target has yet to be announced, but given her previously demonstrated prowess and her clear liking for distances longer than most turf races for fillies and mares are carded at, it would not be surprising at all to see her pointed to some of the top races normally contested by staying turf males later this season. Barring injury, she should be a serious contender in the filly and mare turf division, and it would be a magical ending to her rags-to-riches story to see her finally capture an Eclipse Award. Not all racing stories end so well; here’s hoping that this one does.