October 21, 2009

Just as much as a Breeders’ Cup victory in the Mile, Turf or Classic can make stallion prospects, the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (formerly known as the Distaff) winners are much prized as broodmare prospects following their racing careers—and some actually succeed at it.

For example, 1993 BC Distaff winner Hollywood Wildcat went on to produce Ivan Denisovich who was G1-placed in France, England and the U.S., and his three-quarter brother War Chant won the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Canadian Triple Crown victress and 1991 BC Distaff winner Dance Smartly produced two Queen’s Plate winners, Scatter the Gold and the filly Dancethruthedawn, as well as Plate Trial victor Dance With Ravens.

Then there is the quintessential overachiever: undefeated 1988 BC Distaff winner Personal Ensign who produced multiple-G1 placed Our Emblem (sire of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem), G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup victor Miners Mark, and G1 Oaklawn Handicap winner Traditionally—in addition to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly champion and multiple G1 winner My Flag, who herself produced Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly champion and Breeders’ Cup Distaff runner-up Storm Flag Flying.

Female sprinters are perhaps not held in as high esteem as their route-loving counterparts—both when racing and later in the breeding shed—but history bears out their legacy is just as strong:

• In 1936, the four-year-old Blue Larkspur mare Myrtlewood was named both champion U.S. sprinter and champion handicap female. As a broodmare, Myrtlewood produced 1942 Kentucky Oaks winner Miss Dogwood and 1943 champion two-year-old filly Durazna, and through her daughters and their progeny are found Mr. Prospector and Seattle Slew.

• A daughter of Kentucky Derby winner and handicap champion Swaps, out of the War Admiral mare Searching—a Racing Hall of Fame member herself—whose second dam was the influential La Troienne, five-year-old mare Affectionately was named champion sprinter in 1965. Her son Personality won the Wood Memorial, Preakness, Jim Dandy and Woodward en route to being named 1970 Horse of the Year.

• Being the half-sister to champion Dr. Fager didn’t guarantee success, but Ta Wee excelled, being named champion sprinter in 1969 and 1970. As a broodmare, she produced several stakes winners (Entropy, Tweak, and Tax Holiday), but her multiple-track record-setting son Great Above sired 1994 champion three-year-old and Horse of the Year Holy Bull.

My Juliet won the Vosburgh against males the year she was named champion sprinter (1976). Her multiple-G1 winner daughter Stella Madrid (Frizette, Spinaway, Matron, Acorn) produced the FR-G1 placed Isle de France and 2002 Japanese champion older mare Diamond Biko; another daughter Tis Juliet won the G1 Shuvee.

• 1977 champion sprinter What a Summer produced graded-turf stakes winner Gather The Clan, whose progeny include multiple-graded stakes winner Greater Good, multiple-G1 victress Pure Clan, and Swift Girl who produced G1-placed Quick Little Miss and G1 Frizette victress (and BC Juvenile Fillies third-place finisher) Sky Diva.

• 1982 champion sprinter Gold Beauty was another overachiever like Personal Ensign. Her champion son Dayjur lost the 1990 Breeders’ Cup Sprint to filly Safely Kept, but was still named champion three-year-old colt in England and France. Her daughter Maplejinsky won the G1 Alabama and G1 Monmouth Oaks—and subsequently produced multiple G1 victress and Triple Tiara winner Sky Beauty, and Silence Beauty, dam of multiple-G1 winner Tale of Ekati. Maplejinksy’s unraced daughter Our Country Place produced Breeders’ Cup Distaff victress Pleasant Home, as well as Matlacha Pass, dam of the tragic multiple-G1 winner Pine Island, and multiple-graded stakes winning daughter Country Hideaway who produced G1 Test runner-up Boca Grande.

This is by no means a comprehensive or even controlled scientific study, merely anecdotal observations. Maybe those with more insightful knowledge of breeding can chime in. However, at first glance, it appears that, while celebrating the achievements of fillies and mares like Zenyatta and others running in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (“Ladies’ Classic”) this fall, we should be looking to the female sprinters as the future broodmare producers—going short themselves, but producing those who go long.


Anonymous said...

All of the time I have posting on racing forums- about 2 years - I have never heard the name Ta Wee mentioned. Thanks for telling her story. What a fitting time for a blog just for the ladies of racing. I have a secret plan to breed the ultimate filly. Sire- Colt out of Rachel Alexandra - Alexander The Great x filly out of Zenyatta - Zenning Colors = Zenyatta Alexandra. And I still have hopes that Ocean Colors will win some more for her famous mom, or become a great broodmare. Edwin Meese wrote that he thought Ocean's sire, Orientate, was the first time they ever picked a good match for winning colors.

Anonymous said...

Every so often I search the internet for new comments, videos, etc. for Gold Beauty, Sky Beauty and Dayjur, bred by my great aunt - Georgia Hofmann. It is a pretty amazing story and I am happy to say I witnessed some exciting horse racing during those times. My aunt was a powerhouse in her own right. Thanks for your insight on the breeding -- she had a gift for understanding thoroughbred horse lines and she had a lot of intuition and luck as well.

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