Some previous recipients of the Broodmare of the Year award have proven themselves to be among the great matriarchs of the Thoroughbred, giving rise to families that have bred on at a high level for generations. Some have been fine producers in their own day, but their daughters and granddaughters have not carried on at the same level. And some---usually young mares who gained their honors early after one of their first two or three foals rocketed to the top at the races---failed to produce anything else worthy of their lofty titles.
This week, we'll be taking a look at the first ten mares to gain this honor in the 21st century. These are matrons who have for the most part completed their own breeding careers and whose daughters should be giving some indication as to how well they are breeding on.
2000: Primal Force
A 1987 daughter of Blushing Groom, Primal Force produced 1998 Breeders' Cup Classic (USA-G1) winner Awesome Again (by Deputy Minister) as her second foal and 2000 American champion 2-year-old male Macho Uno (by Holy Bull) as her fourth. The former, a good stallion, is now pensioned but has a fine successor at stud in 2004 American Horse of the Year Ghostzapper; the latter has been less consistent at stud but has had his moments, topped by 2013 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man. Primal Force has six producing daughters, but none have distinguished themselves in the paddocks.
2001: Turko's Turn
Foaled in 1992, the stakes-winning daughter of Turkoman earned her title by producing 2001 American Horse of the Year Point Given (by Thunder Gulch) as her second foal. Her other seven winners from 15 named foals include three stakes-placed runners including Grade 2-placed Live for Now (by Tiznow). Her daughter Perfect Story (by Tale of the Cat) is the dam of 2015 Honorable Miss Handicap (USA-G2) winner Street Story (by Street Boss) and Grade 1-placed stakes winner Paige (by Sky Mesa), and Turko's Turn has four other daughters currently in production. Her champion son proved a very inconsistent stallion.
A Grade 1 winner by multiple champion El Gran Senor, Toussaud compiled an outstanding record, producing Grade 1 winners Chester House (by Mr. Prospector), Honest Lady (by Seattle Slew), Chiseliing (by Woodman), and Empire Maker (by Unbridled). The last-named horse, the winner of the 2003 Belmont Stakes, became a very good stallion whose male line is now represented in the stud by his Triple Crown-winning grandson American Pharoah. Toussaud also produced Grade 2 winner Decarchy (by Distant View), and Honest Lady has bred on with four stakes winners of her own, headed by 2008 Forego Handicap (USA-G1) winner First Defence. Toussaud is also the dam of Mesmeric (by A.P. Indy), dam of 2017 New Orleans Handicap (USA-G2) winner Honorable Duty (by Distorted Humor).
2003: Prospectors Delite
The winner of two Grade 1 races in her own right, this daughter of the great broodmare sire Mr. Prospector from the family of the immortal matriarch La Troienne did her heritage proud in the paddocks. She produced only five foals, but all five became stakes winners, headed by 2003 American Horse of the Year Mineshaft (by A.P. Indy). Mineshaft has been a good stallion, and his full sister Tomisue's Delight won the 1997 Ruffian Handicap (USA-G1) before going on to produce 2009 Maker's Mark Mile Stakes (USA-G1) Mr. Sidney. Tomisue's Delight is also the second dam of Grade 3 winner Term of Art, but at this time, the family of Prospectors Delite has gone quiet.
2004: Dear Birdie
Sired by Storm Bird, Dear Birdie produced 13 winners from 15 foals, but only two have so far proved worthy of mention. The first, 2003 American champion 3-year-old filly Bird Town (by Cape Town) is the dam of 2017 Alysheba Stakes (USA-G2) winner Bird Song (by Unbridled's Song), now serving stud duty in Saudi Arabia. Bird Town was followed by 2004 Belmont Stakes (USA-G1) winner Birdstone (by Grindstone), a multiple Grade 1 winner but inconsistent sire whose champion son Summer Bird died young in Japan.
2005: Baby Zip
A quick filly by Relaunch, Baby Zip is the dam of Grade 1 winner and successful sire City Zip (by Carson City) and 2004 American Horse of the Year Ghostzapper (by Awesome Again), also a successful sire. Baby Zip is also the dam of Canadian Grade 3 winner City Wolf (by Giant's Causeway), who has not shared in his brothers' stud success. Baby Zip's best daughter in the paddocks is Getaway Girl (by Silver Deputy), dam of Grade 3 winner Northern Causeway (by Giant's Causeway) and second dam of recent Grade 2 winner Du Jour, and Baby Zip is also the dam of stakes producer Catch the Ghost (by Silver Ghost).
2006: Cara Rafaela
The winner of the 1995 Hollywood Starlet Stakes (USA-G1), this daughter of Quiet American staked her claim to Broodmare of the Year honors on her champion son Bernardini (by A.P. Indy), the winner of the 2006 Preakness Stakes (USA-G1) and the best American sophomore male of that year. She produced no other stakes winners, but her Grade 1-placed daughter Ile de France (by Storm Cat) is the dam of multiple Grade 1 winner and stakes producer Love and Pride (by A.P. Indy). Cara Rafaela is also the dam of Lovely Regina (by Deputy Minister), dam of multiple Grade 3 winner Thisskyhasnolimit, and of stakes producer Burgundy Ice (by Storm Cat). A fourth daughter of Cara Rafaela, Kind Words (by A.P. Indy), produced a champion in Saudi Arabia.
2007: Better Than Honour
Sired by Deputy Minister, Better Than Honour was a Grade 2-winning representative of the outstanding female family of Best in Show and lived up to that heritage by producing four stakes winners of her own. She gained fame with back-to-back Belmont Stakes (USA-G1) winners Jazil (by Seeking the Gold) and Rags to Riches (by A.P. Indy); the latter was the American champion 3-year-old filly of 2007 and is the dam of Hungarian Horse of the Year Rhett Butler. Better Than Honour also produced 2008 Peter Pan Stakes (USA-G2) winner Casino Drive (by Mineshaft) and 2009 Breeders' Cup Marathon (USA-L) winner Man of Iron (by Giant's Causeway). Better Than Honour's daughter Teeming (by Storm Cat) is the dam of three stakes winners including 2013 Hollywood Starlet Stakes (USA-G1) winner Streaming (by Smart Strike). Another daughter of Better Than Honour, Tiffany's Honor (by Street Cry), is the dam of Grade 3 winner Greatest Honour (byTapit).
Sired by Kris S., Vertigineux had talent but was not very sound. She produced one for the ages in the great Zenyatta (by Street Cry), whose four Eclipse Awards include the trophy as the 2010 American Horse of the Year. Unfortunately, Zenyatta has been luckless as a broodmare and has yet to come up with a winner, and her multiple Grade 1-winning half sister Balance (by Thunder Gulch) has so far managed just two winners from eight named foals. Another stakes-winning daughter of Vertigineux, Where's Bailey (by Aljabr) has fared better, producing Grade 2 winner She's Not Here (by Street Cry). Vertigineux is also the dam of Treasure Trail (by Pulpit), dam of Irish Group 3 winner Long Island Sound (by War Front).
2009: Sweet Life
Rounding out the first decade of the century is Sweet Life, a 1996 daughter of Kris S. who produced 2004 American champion 2-year-old filly Sweet Catomine (by Storm Cat; second dam of stakes winners Naughty Thoughts and Inthewinnerscircle) as her first foal. Her other standout is Life Is Sweet (by Storm Cat), winner of the 2009 Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (USA-G1). Sweet Life is also the dam of Grade 2-placed stakes winner Calmonico (by Storm Cat) and of Symbolic Gesture (by Bernardini), dam of 2020 Risen Star Stakes (USA-G2) winner Modernist (by Uncle Mo).