Like all other Argentine juveniles, Madonna Benois turned 3 on July 1, and she has gone straight on into her 3-year-old campaign. She hasn’t missed a beat. On July 11, Madonna Benois ran her streak of Group races to four, easily dominating her peers in La Plata’s 1600-meter Premio Miguel Luis Morales (ARG-G2), and seems to be taking on the look of a filly who might be developing into a Classic contender.
Sired by 2011 Gran Premio Santiago Luro (ARG-G1) winner Angiolo (whose sire Grand Reward is a Grade 2-winning son of Storm Cat and 1995 American champion 3-year-old filly Serena’s Song), Madonna Benois belongs to a branch of Bruce Lowe family 1-o that came to Argentina via Tryffan. An English-bred daughter of one of England’s greatest sprinters, Abernant, Tryffan showed none of her sire’s ability and was exported to Argentina as a 4-year-old in 1970 becoming a member of the broodmare band at Haras San Francisco de Pilar. She produced eight foals in her adopted country, among them Argentine listed stakes winner Acrilic (by Angriff). She also produced Great Try (by French Group 3 winner General, best known in the United States as the sire of Argentine champion, American Grade 1 winner, and successful American sire Lord At War), dam of Argentine listed stakes winner Great War (by Bold Second) and, through Great War, second dam of multiple Argentine Group 2 winner Great Bordeaux (By Bordeaux Bob).
Tryffan’s 1976 foal, So Tempting (by multiple Argentine Group winner So Bold, a paternal grandson of Bold Ruler) was no race mare and produced no stakes winners, but her 1980 daughter by General, Souris Grise, hinted at real ability, winning all three of her starts. The star among Souris Grise’s 10 named foals was Irina (by the successful Caro stallion Ringaro), who popped up to win the 1991 Carrera de las Estrellas de Potrancas (ARG-G1; the Argentine equivalent of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, USA-G1) for Caballeriza Tres Jotas. Irina, in turn, produced multiple juvenile Group 1 winner Sebastiano and multiple juvenile Group winner Irenarca, both by 10-time Argentine champion sire Southern Halo, and, through her Southern Halo daughter Wait, is the second dam of Angiolo and of multiple Argentine listed stakes winner Breda (by 2000 Cigar Mile Handicap, USA-G1, winner El Corredor).
Irina’s elder half sister Souriante (by the winning Lyphard horse Lyphmas) was not as talented but still had enough quality to win four Argentine listed stakes races and run second in the 1989 Premio Venezuela (ARG-G2), all in the silks of Tres Jotas. That was good enough to put her in the broodmare band of Haras La Quebrada, for which she produced 1998 Gran Premio Hipodromo de La Plata (ARG-G2) winner Soyer (by 1989 Futurity Stakes, USA-G1), winner Senor Pete). She also produced Soutine (by Luhuk), dam of 2016 Premio Chile (ARG-G3) winner Salonika (by Roman Ruler), and the winner Souri Halo (by 2003 Gran Premio Suipacha, ARG-G1, winner Sebi Halo, by Southern Halo), dam of 2009 Premio Circulo de Proprietários de Caballerizas Sangre (ARG-G3) winner Sonrisar (by Salt Lake; dam of Argentine listed stakes winner Sonrisada, by El Corredor).
Sonrisar’s half sister Sommite (by the stakes-placed Mr. Prospector horse Dance Brightly, whose dam Dance Smartly was the 1991 Canadian Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year) never raced but continued Haras La Quebrada’s development of this family through her daughter Marlotte (by El Corredor). Unraced, Marlotte took her bloodlines to Haras El Paraiso, for which she produced Madonna Benois as her third foal after producing 2021 Premio Raul Aristegui winner Mery Laurent (also by Angiolo) as her second. Both of these fillies are inbred 4x5 to Souris Grise, the direct ancestress of both sire and dam; they are also inbred 3x4 to Southern Halo.
Although Madonna Benois appears to be progressing very nicely indeed, her pedigree strongly suggests that the 1600 meters of the Premio Miguel Luis Morales will be about as far as she cares to go. Tryffan’s family has had a strong bent toward speed and precocity throughout its history in Argentina, and Southern Halo made the bulk of his reputation as a sire of sprinter-milers; further, Angiolo scored his signature win over 1200 meters and never won beyond that distance. Thus, while La Plata’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies, the Gran Premio Seleccion de Potrancas (ARG-G1), might seem a logical next step up the class ladder when it runs in 2½ months, its 2000-meter distance may well be beyond Madonna Benois’s tether. The other likely alternative is that the filly may finally leave the friendly confines of La Plata for Palermo, where the Gran Premio Polla de Potrancas (Argentine One Thousand Guineas, ARG-G1) will be contested over the same 1600-meter distance as the Miguel Luis Morales in early September. A win there would not be easy, but it would confirm the filly’s place among Argentina’s elite runners and add another accomplishment to the history of a classy, speedy family.