June 27, 2012

Hollywood Wildcat winning 1993 BC Distaff
One of the lingering myths in horse racing is that great racemares make terrible broodmares—that they quite literally leave their talent on the track, having nothing left to pass on to their offspring. Winning Colors, Genuine Risk, Bayakoa, Lady’s Secret, and Ashado— these mares readily come to mind as disappointments in the breeding shed. Yet, there are also plenty of examples that dispel this myth, and none better than Hollywood Wildcat who died this past weekend (in foal to Kitten’s Joy) at age 22 of complications from cancer.

As a racemare, Hollywood Wildcat won 12 of 21 starts, finishing out of the money only three times while racing from age 2 to 5, from Florida to Kentucky, New Jersey to California. As a juvenile, she easily won the Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs—one race after breaking her maiden by 5 lengths. At 3, she failed horribly in the Grade 2 Fantasy at Oaklawn, but rebounded later that summer, winning five straight races beginning with the Grade 1 Hollywood Oaks and ending with a dramatic nose victory over the great Paseana in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff. She subsequently won the Grade 1 Gamely before just missing a victory on turf in the Grade 1 Beverly Hills Handicap; at 4, she repeated winning the Lady’s Secret Handicap before finishing out of the money as the defending BC Distaff champion.

After going out a winner in her sole 1995 start, Hollywood Wildcat began her career as a broodmare, producing a 1996 filly, Danzig Wildcat (Danzig) who won her maiden start, but suffered an injury that ended her career. Sticking with Danzig was obviously a wise move for her connections, as Hollywood Wildcat’s second offspring turned out to be War Chant who, though lightly-raced, captured the Grade 2 San Rafael and then just missed, finishing second in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. After a disappointing ninth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, he was switched to turf, winning the Grade 2 Oak Tree Breeders’ Cup Mile in October, and then the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile in his career finale. As a sire, War Chant has continued the family tradition, giving us Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint victor Chamberlain Bridge (looking just like his daddy closing late), not to mention Santa Anita Derby victor Midnight Interlude.

War Chant wouldn’t be her only son to make it to stud. As a juvenile, Ivan Denisovich was a Group 1 runner-up on turf (Prix Morny) when Aidan O’Brien made yet another of his ill-advised attempts at trying his turf horses on dirt in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and he finished 12th of 14. Ivan Denisovich spent his 3-year-old campaign bouncing back and forth between Europe and the U.S., finishing second in the Grade 1 Secretariat and then ended his career with a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby.

In all, Hollywood Wildcat produced eight winners from 11 foals to race, including a Breeders’ Cup winner. She’ll definitely be missed.

1993 Breeders’ Cup Distaff

2000 Breeders’ Cup Mile (War Chant)

2010 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (Chamberlain Bridge)

2011 Santa Anita Derby (Midnight Interlude)

2007 Coolmore video for Ivan Denisovich



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