That Played Hard should have waited until age 5 before hitting the big time is right up her family line. A daughter of four-time American champion sire Into Mischief, Played Hard is the only winner from four foals of racing age produced from the Tiznow mare Well Lived, whose full brother Well Armed waited until age 5 to hit his stride but won the Goodwood Breeders’ Cup Stakes (USA-G1) and two Grade 2 races that year. At 6, he stormed off with the 2009 Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1) by 14 lengths, still a record for the race. At that, he was an early developer compared to his “nephew” Bombard (by War Front out of Well Armed’s Distorted Humor half sister Witty, winner of the 2009 Railbird Stakes, USA-G3), who nailed down his lone graded stakes win in the 2021 Daytona Stakes (USA-G3) as an 8-year-old.
Returning to Well Lived, she is also a full sister to Life Well Lived, dam of 2017 Maker’s Mark Mile (USA-G1) winner American Patriot (by War Front) and stakes winner Well Humored (by Distorted Humor). In addition, Well Lived is a half sister to Formalities Aside (by Awesome Again), dam of Grade 2-placed multiple listed stakes winner Awesome Flower (by Flower Alley) and, through her, second dam of multiple Grade 1 winner Cyberknife (by Gun Runner). Finally, Well Lived is a half sister to O’Toole (by Distorted Humor), dam of Grade 3-placed listed stakes winner Sister O’Toole (by Amira’s Prince) and restricted stakes winner Lady O’Toole (by Colonel John) and second dam of multiple Grade 3 winner Mr. Money (by Goldencents).
Well Lived is out of Well Dressed, who won the listed American Holly Stakes at Delaware as a 3-year-old in 2000. Sired by 1987 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (USA-G2) winner Notebook, Well Dressed is out of the Gold Meridian mare Trithenia, whose full sister Tee Kay won the 1994 Martha Washington Stakes (USA-G3) and produced two-time Japanese Horse of the Year Symboli Kris S (by Kris S.). Another full sister to Trithenia, Lady Argo, produced listed stakes winner Argos Appeal (by World Appeal) and restricted stakes winner Splendid Sound (by Trippi), while her half sister Tri Skipping (by Skip Trial) is the dam of 2003 Fifth Season Stakes (USA-G3) winner Patton’s Victory (by Patton) and stakes winner Santina Dond (by El Prado).
As a Grade 1-winning daughter of a top sire from a burgeoning female family, Played Hard will undoubtedly be a valuable commodity when she leaves racing to enter the broodmare ranks. In the meantime, she has just added interest to an older female division that was starting to shape up as a rivalry between Secret Oath and Clairiere, two fillies who have split decisions so far this year in the Apple Blossom Stakes (USA-G1) (won by Clairiere) and the Azeri Stakes (USA-G2) (won by Secret Oath). If she can carry her La Troienne form away from the friendly confines of Churchill Downs, she will be a major player in the division as the racing season progresses.