In your Belmont betting, don’t forget to carefully consider evidence of stamina in the dam line pedigree. Even more so than the Kentucky Derby, it’s important to mull over the possibility of an upset by a previous underachiever whose breeding indicates he’ll have no problem getting 12 furlongs.
From a historical point of view, consider this:
Dams of Belmont Winners Since 2000:
2009 Hong Kong Squall (Summer Squall-Hong Kong Jade, by Alysheba)
2008 Torchera (Pirate’s Bounty-Kaylem Ho, by Salem) Da’Tara
2007 Better Than Honour (Deputy Minister-Blush With Pride, by Blushing Groom)2006 Better Than Honour (Deputy Minister-Blush With Pride, by Blushing Groom)
2005 Maggy Hawk (Hawkster-Qualique, by Hawaii)
2004 Dear Birdie (Storm Bird-Hush Dear, by Silent Screen)
2003 Toussaud (El Gran Senor-Image of Reality, by In Reality)
2002 Rhythm of Life (Deputy Minister-Nalee’s Rhythm, by Nalees Man)
2001 Turko’s Turn (Turkoman-Turbo Launch, by Relaunch)
2000 Bought Twice (In Reality-Killaloe, by Dr. Fager)
Well-Bred and/or High-Achieving Dams:
The fact that breeding does matter is evident when looking at this group. Whether by their own achievements on the track, or by their dams, siblings or progeny, this group of mares on the whole exude class. Consider, just at the highest G1 level:
Of the nine who raced, two were G1 winners (Golden Ballet and Toussaud) and one was G1-placed (Better Than Honour), not to mention out of a G1 Kentucky Oaks winner Blush With Pride. Two were siblings of G1 winners; Torchera’s full sister Private Persuasion won the Vanity, while Rhythm of Life’s half sister Wilderness Song won the Spinster (in addition to finishing second behind Canadian Triple Crown winner Dance Smartly in both the Canadian Oaks and Queen’s Plate). Maggy Hawk’s dam Qualique won the G1 Demoiselle, while Dear Birdie also produced G1 Kentucky Oaks winner Bird Town.
Looking over this group, it’s interesting how often the same names appear in their pedigrees:
- In Reality—Bought Twice (damsire), Turko’s Turn (his son Relaunch, damsire), Toussaud (second damsire), Hong Kong Squall (third damsire)
- Storm Bird—Dear Birdie (damsire), Golden Ballet (second damsire)
- Deputy Minister—Rhythm of Life and Better Than Honour (damsire)
Of course, Better Than Honour produced two Belmont winners, half siblings Jazil and Rags to Riches, but how about the fact that the sire of Empire Maker’s dam Toussaud, El Gran Senor is out of a half sister to Better Than Honour’s dam Blush with Pride? Or how about Bought Twice being a half sister to Met Mile champ Fappiano, while his son Rubiano is a half brother to Hong Kong Squall’s dam Hong Kong Jade?
Those close connections continue on the sire side, with Summer Bird repeating the achievement of his sire Birdstone. Thus, purely on breeding indicators, history seemingly most favors the chances of Stay Thirsty whose second dam Make Change and third dam Equal Change were both G1-placed, plus his Storm Bird dam Marozia has already produced G1 Belmont runner-up Andromeda’s Hero. I’ve outlined in more detail his damside pedigree and stamina breeding in this post, so be forewarned when the little underrated Stay Thirsty hits the board on Saturday.
Edited to add follow-up:
2011 Belmont winner Ruler On Ice certainly surprised at 24-1, but his dam fits beautifully with other dams of Belmont winners. Champagne Glow (Saratoga Six-Champagne Ginny, by L’Enjoleur) not only was a Grade 1 runner-up (Frizette) herself, but she’s also already produced a dual Grade 1 winner (Acorn, Test) in Champagne d’Oro. Champagne Glow is also a half-sister to multiple juvenile Grade 1 winner Grand Canyon, runner-up in the 1989 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Oh, and Stay Thirsty paid $19.40 finishing second, by just less than one length.