Who was the first racehorse to be buried at Santa Anita Park after the modern track was opened in 1933?
Shifty She's first graded stakes win in the Noble Damsel Stakes (USA-G3) on October 23 at Belmont padded her profit potential twice over. First, the 5-year-old mare, who had to miss the 2020 season due to physical issues, served notice that she is rounding into the best form of her career, speeding the mile on turf in 1:33.24 while flying the target all the way. The win, worth US$110,000 to the winner, added over 50 percent to the mare's lifetime bankroll, and plans now are to send her to the lucrative Pegasus Filly and Mare Turf (USA-G3), a race that carries a purse of US$500,000. Thanks to the graded win, Shifty She has also added substantially to her value as a potential broodmare.
A daughter of 2009 Ohio Derby winner Gone Astray (by multiple Grade 1 winner Dixie Union x Illicit), Shifty She boasts a cleverly constructed pedigree that doubles up on one of the best families in the Phipps family breeding program, that of the great matriarch Grey Flight. The linchpin is Grey Flight's granddaughter Pure Profit, who is the third dam of both Gone Astray and his mate, Perilous Hope, via the closely related mares Illicit (Mr. Prospector x Inside Information, by Private Account x Pure Profit) and Educated Risk (Mr. Prospector x Pure Profit.)
Sired by 1972 American champion 3-year-old male Key to the Mint from Clear Ceiling (Bold Ruler x Grey Flight), a full or half sister to nine stakes winners including two-time American champion and Kentucky Broodmare of the Year Misty Morn, Pure Profit is herself a half sister to 1980 One Thousand Guineas (ENG-G1) winner Quick as Lightning (by Buckpasser), to 1981 Waterford Candelabra Stakes (ENG-G3) winner Stratospheric (by Majestic Light), and to stakes winner Infinite (by Majestic Light). The last-named mare is the dam of stakes winner Polish Treaty (by Danzig) and is the third dam of 2009 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (USA-G1) winner Hot Cha Cha and of 2021 Longines Test Stakes (USA-G1) winner Bella Sofia. Pure Profit is also a half sister to How High the Moon (by Majestic Light), second dam of 2000 American champion sprinter Kona Gold.
Pure Profit was not a very sound mare, and while she won four of her five starts on the highly competitive New York circuit, her wins were all in allowance or maiden company. The Phipps family has gotten a lot of mileage out of beautifully bred mares who were New York allowance winners, however, and Pure Profit proved no exception to that rule. Her best runner was 1995 American champion older female Inside Information (by Private Account), dam in turn of 2005 American champion 3-year-old filly Smuggler (by Unbridled) as well as Illicit, dam of Gone Astray.
A year older than her half sister Inside Information, Educated Risk was not far behind her in ability, winning the 1992 Frizette Stakes (USA-G1) at 2 and the 1994 Top Flight Handicap (USA-G1) at 4. The dam of Grade 2-placed listed stakes winner Consequence (by El Prado) and stakes winner Strategy (by A.P. Indy), Educated Risk is also the dam of the talented but unsound Perilous (by Danzig), whose daughter Perilous Hope (by multiple Grade 1-placed Grade 2 winner Strong Hope, a son of Gone West's Grade 1-winning son Grand Slam) produced Shifty She as her third foal.
Aside from being attractive on paper in itself, the mating that produced Shifty She followed a pattern of combining inbreeding to Pure Profit with inbreeding to Mr, Prospector that has already gained top-level success in Argentina. Sent to Argentina as a 3-year-old in 2007, Perilous Hope's half sister React (by 2001 Kentucky Derby, USA-G1, winner Monarchos) has produced six foals by Manipulator, a full brother to Smuggler and a male-line great-grandson of Mr. Prospector. Four of those foals are winners, including 2012 Gran Premio Estrellas Mile (ARG-G1) winner Evilasio and 2012 Premio Pedro E. y Manuel A. Crespo (ARG-G3) winner Black Coyote.
Shifty She is lightly raced, with her record now standing at six wins and a third from 10 starts, and it can be hoped that her owners will consider leaving her in training after the Pegasus in 2022.She will be one to watch, both on the race course and, when the time comes, in the paddocks.
Frankie Dettori has had a long and storied career as a top jockey in Europe and at the Breeders' Cup, but even he had to start somewhere. What was the name of the first horse to win a recognized Classic (a Triple Crown race or filly equivalent in a major racing country) with Dettori in the saddle?
On October 16, triple Oaks winner Snowfall was supposed to be the story in the Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes (ENG-G1), contested over about 10 furlongs at Ascot. Instead she was upstaged by Eshaada (from the second crop of the excellent sprinter Muhaarar, by Oasis Dream), who gutted it out over the similarly sired Ablaflora to claim her first victory in Group company and the first Group 1 win for her sire's progeny.
The mystery of where the daughter of a sprinter would get bottom enough to complete in top company over 10 furlongs is easily solved with a look at the distaff side of Eshaada's pedigree. Eshaada traces back to the excellent broodmare Allegretta in her tail-female line, but not through Allegretta's most famous daughter, Urban Sea. Instead, she descends through Allez Les Trois, a fine race mare and producer in her own right.
Sired by the French Classic winner and fine sire Riverman and foaled in Kentucky, Allez Les Trois did not win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (FR-G1), or any other Grade/Group 1 event for that matter, but her own record was still quite respectable, though she took more after the German stoutness of her dam's pedigree than the miler speed of her sire. As a 3-year-old, she won the 1994 Prix de Flore (FR-G3) and Prix Charles Laffitte (FR-L) and placed in another listed race. At 4, she raced in the United States and ran third in the Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap (USA-G3) before retiring to the broodmare ranks.
It would have been a rare thing indeed if Allez Les Trois had matched Urban Sea in the paddocks, but her own record can stand without apology. She struck gold with her second foal, Anabaa Blue (by Anabaa), winner of the 2001 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby, FR-G1), and later produced two listed winners, Reunite (by Kingmambo) and Measured Tempo (by Sadler's Wells). She also produced Anja (by Indian Ridge), dam of 2015 Prix Miesque (FR-G3) winner Aboulie (by Exceed and Excel) and 2021 Newcastle Gold Cup Stakes (AUS-G3) winner Great House (by Galileo); Northern Melody (by Singspiel), dam of 2020 Hamburger Stutenmeile (GER-G3) winner Half Light (by Shamardal); and Violante (by Kingmambo), dam of 2019 Prix Messidor (FR-G3) winner Impulsif (by New Approach).
Allez Les Trois's best broodmare daughter is her first, Al Ishq (by Nureyev), whose son Tamayuz (by Nayef) won the 2008 Prix Jean Prat (FR-G1) and Prix Jacques Le Marois (FR-G1). Al Ishq also produced stakes-placed Thamarat (by Anabaa), dam of listed stakes winner Motamarris (by Le Havre) and second dam of 2020 Irish Derby (IRE-G1) winner Santiago and multiple Group 3 winner Tantheem (by Teofilo). In addition, Al Ishq is the dam of the winner Muhalawah (by Nayef), who produced Eshaada as her third foal. Muhalawah has since produced the unraced 2019 colt Moonis, a full brother to Eshaada, and a 2021 filly by Kingman.
It is a mark of Urban Sea's excellence that next to her, Allez Les Trois seems ordinary as a broodmare and producer, for as a review of her record has shown, she was nothing of the sort. It will be interesting to see if in future years the descendants of these two sisters meet up for a family reunion in the pedigrees of some of the world's finest racehorses.
This Kentucky Oaks winner and American champion was named in honor of her owner's favorite beer. Who was she?
On October 10, Tiz the Bomb stamped himself as a contender for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (USA-G1) in the Castle & Key Bourbon Stakes (USA-G2) at Keeneland. After breaking through the starting gate and continuing about a furlong down the course before being gotten back in hand, the colt had no trouble with breaking for the second time---this time with his field---and got his job done while starting to gear down in the last few strides. While he looked a trifle green when produced coming off the turn and needed a couple of slaps from Brian Hernandez's whip as a reminder to get it in gear, once in stride he was able to run down the leaders easily, and the closing run of Stolen Base was no real threat even though the final margin was only three-quarters of a length.
Tiz the Bomb is the seventh stakes winner and fifth graded or group stakes winner for second-crop sire Hit It a Bomb (War Front), who had his first top-level winner last month when his daughter Hit Emerit captured the Gran Premio Selección de Potrancas (ARG-G1) at La Plata on September 19. Hit it a Bomb won the 2015 Juvenile Turf, so Tiz the Bomb certainly has appropriate credentials for the race on the sire's side.
On the distaff side, the colt traces back to one of the best families in the American Stud Book, that of Missy Baba through her Sir Gaylord daughter Gay Missile, but through a lesser branch than than of Lassie Dear. A daughter of Buckpasser and the winner of the 1976 Villager Stakes (USA-G3), Lassie Dear is the dam of Kentucky Broodmare of the Year Weekend Surprise and Group 1 winner Wolfhound and is the ancestress of A.P. Indy, Summer Squall, Lemon Drop Kid, Duke of Marmalade, Ruler of the World, and other stars of either the race course or the breeding shed.
Gallanta, Gay Missile's 1982 daughter by Nureyev, was probably in the same ballpark as Lassie Dear in terms of racing merit, winning the listed Prix de Cabourg and running second against males in the Prix Morny (FR-G1) in 1985. She had a good broodmare record in her own right, producing 1994 Shadwell Stud Cheveley Park Stakes (USA-G1) winner Gay Gallanta (by Woodman) and Irish Group 2 winner Sportsworld (by Alleged), who proved a successful sire in South Africa. Her daughters did not breed on as well as Lassie Dear's, however, although they did well enough as a group to make Gallanta the second dam of five stakes winners including English Group 2 winners Al Jadeed and Byron.
Mayville's Magic (by Gone West) was among those daughters, and she produced the listed stakes winner Mystic (by Unbridled's Song) as well as three stakes-placed runners, all fillies. The first of those fillies, Cabbage Key (by A.P. Indy), is inbred 4x3 to Gay Missile as well as 3x4 to Secretariat. While no great runner, she earned placings in two minor stakes on the Mid-Atlantic circuit and was a useful runner on turf. She has yet to produce a stakes winner from 11 foals of racing age, but she does have six winners to her credit, among them Tiz the Key. A daughter of Tiznow, Tiz the Key was a winner on both dirt and turf and produced Tiz the Bomb as her third foal. She has since produced a 2020 filly by Free Drop Billy and a 2021 colt by Mor Spirit and was bred to Gormley for 2022.
On the surface, Tiz the Bomb is the outcrossed progeny of two fairly inbred parents as Hit it a Bomb is 3x3 to Northern Dancer while Tiz the Key is 3x4 to Seattle Slew. Looking further back, though, Northern Dancer is everywhere. Hit It a Bomb, who is 2x5 to Danzig, also carries a cross of another great Northern Dancer sire son, Nijinsky II, at his fifth remove. As for Tiz the Key, she is 5x5x5 to Northern Dancer through Lyphard, Nice Dancer, and Nureyev.
Tiz the Bomb still has the look of a colt who is learning his business, but he certainly has promise and should improve as he continues to mature both mentally and physically. A win in the Juvenile Turf for him would raise the stock of his young sire that much further, as well as rewarding the perseverance of those who persisted in providing good opportunities to Gay Missile's lesser descendants. Patience does not always pay off in Thoroughbred breeding, but in this case, it seems that it has.
What horse was the first Breeders' Cup Turf winner to take the race without having previously raced on turf?
On October 3, Private Mission took another step up the class ladder in the Zenyatta Stakes (USA-G2). A last-out winner of the Torrey Pines Stakes (USA-G3) at the Del Mar meeting, the 3-year-old daughter of Into Mischief had no difficulty dusting off seven rivals in the Santa Anita test for fillies and mares aged 3 and up---and, frankly, probably had a much easier time of it against moderate competition from the Southern California older females than if she had gone east to contest the Cotillion Stakes (USA-G1) against the best of her own division last weekend. Still, the filly is now 4-for-5 lifetime and has earned a "Win and You're In" berth to the Breeder's Cup Distaff (USA-G1), which is being contested at Del Mar this year.
Private Mission is the latest rising star for the family of her great-granddam Miss Eva, an Argentine import who was a successful broodmare in both Chile and the United States. The daughter of the good Ribot horse Con Brio II was a winner in Chile but was a much better producer than racer, helping cement her sire's reputation as a good sire of broodmares in South America.
Miss Eva kicked off her produce record in fine fashion with her 1984 daughter Miss Brio, whose sire Semenenko (by Vaguely Noble) was a champion sire and broodmare sire in Chile. The winner of two Group 1 events in Chile in 1987, Miss Brio was transferred to the United States and won three graded stakes in 1989, including the Maskette Stakes (USA-G1). Unfortunately, she was a disappointing producer in spite of excellent opportunities.
Miss Brio was a tough act to follow, but her 1985 half sister Maria Candela (by the Argentine import Balconaje, a multiple champion sire and broodmare sire in Chile) was even better. She won three Chilean Group 1 races, including two Classics in Las Oaks (CHI-G1) in 1988 and El Derby (CHI-G1) in 1989. Sent to the United States, she also failed to live up to the hopes placed on her as a producer, but her daughter Look Smart (by Smart Strike) was sent to Argentina and there produced Look Strike (by Jump Start), a Group 3 winner in Peru. Through another daughter, Special Friend (by Belong to Me), Maria Candela is the third dam of multiple Argentine Group 2 winner Star Austral (by Comic).
After being imported to the United States in 1990, Miss Eva justified her importation with the first of her three American-bred foals. This was Private Status (by Alydar), who won the listed Bourbonette Stakes as a 3-year-old of 1994 and was Grade 1-placed. She equaled her dam's production of three stakes winners and like, her, became a Classic producer. In her case, it was her first foal, Secret Status (by A.P. Indy), who turned out to be the best runner, winning the 2000 Kentucky Oaks (USA-G1) and Mother Goose Stakes (USA-G1). Secret Status failed to produce any stakes winners, but her son Dunkirk (by Unbridled's Song) ran second in the 2009 Florida Derby (USA-G1) and Belmont Stakes (USA-G1) and has had some success at stud in Chile. Secret Status is also the dam of Code Book (by Giant's Causeway), second dam of 2020 La Brea Stakes (USA-G1) winner Fair Maiden (by Street Boss).
Private Status's 1999 full brother to Secret Status, Alumni Hall, won two Grade 3 stakes before going on to an undistinguished stud career in Canada. Another mating to A.P. Indy produced Royal Box, whose son Picahielo (by After Market) was a multiple listed stakes winner in Panama.
The third of Private Status's stakes winners is Private Gift (by Unbridled), who won the listed Truly Bound Handicap as a 3-year-old, and the increasing prestige of her family is reflected in her sale for US$2.3 million, in foal to A.P. Indy, at the 2008 Fasig-Tipton November mixed sale. Prior to her sale, she had produced the Bernardini filly Gift List, whose third foal turned out to be 2019 Alabama Stakes (USA-G1) winner Dunbar Road (by Quality Road). Private Gift's next two foals, both fillies by A.P. Indy, have not accomplished much so far, but the mare's third foal by the two-time American champion sire is Grade 3-placed listed stakes winner Secret Someone. Private Mission is Private Gift's tenth foal, and the mare's most recent foals are unraced Batik, a 2019 daughter of Honor Code, and a 2021 colt by Candy Ride.
Private Mission's immediate destiny is uncertain, for while she now has an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders' Cup Distaff, she may not be able to take advantage of it. As a member of Bob Baffert's stable, she, like her stablemate Medina Spirit (who has a "Win and You're In" slot for the Breeders' Cup Classic thanks to his win in the Awesome Again Stakes, USA-G1), may be on the outside looking in if the Breeders' Cup decides to ban horses trained by Baffert because of Medina Spirit's earlier positive for the corticosteroid betamethasone. In the wake of a series of drug positives that have turned up on other horses in the Baffert barn over the past several years, such action would be understandable, but one can hope that Private Mission will have future opportunities to demonstrate that she ranks with the best of her crop, whether in the Distaff or in top races at 4. Regardless, she already done enough to be a highly desirable broodmare prospect, and with the opportunities she is likely to get, she may take Miss Eva still further along the road to being considered a modern matriarch.
I'm Avalyn Hunter, an author, pedigree researcher and longtime racing fan with a particular interest in Thoroughbred mares and their contributions to the history of the breed.