May 21, 2012

For a 12-furlong race like the G1 Belmont Stakes, everyone’s first instinct is consider a horse’s sire as the sole gauge to whether or not they can get the distance. However, with a little less than three weeks remaining to ponder your options on who to bet on Belmont Stakes 2012, don’t forget to take into account the importance that dams have played in producing Belmont winners. In this post last year, we looked at the dams of Belmont winners since 2000, and found some striking similarities in terms of their racing and/or breeding performance, as well as their stamina-rich bloodlines. How does the dam of potential Triple Crown winner I’ll Have Another stack up to history? Considering that his sire Flower Alley never attempted 12-furlongs, it’s a particularly significant question.

Arch’s Gal Edith (Arch-Force Five Gal, out of Pleasant Tap)
Her sire Arch won the 10-furlong G1 Super Derby, while her damsire Pleasant Tap captured both the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and G1 Suburban Handicap going 10-furlongs—both good signs. Even better: her second damsire Caucasus won the 14-furlong G1 Irish St. Leger, as well as a number of other top races between 10- and 16-furlongs. Her third damsire Sea-Bird won both the Epsom Derby and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as a 3-year-old. However, Arch’s Gal Edith herself only raced once, breaking her maiden going 6-furlongs at Belmont Park; I’ll Have Another is her only stakes-winner. Her dam Force Five Gal finally broke her maiden in her 14th start, and in her final (27th) start, at age 5, finished a well-beaten second in a minor stakes event going 1 1/16 miles on turf at Fort Erie. None of Force Five Gal’s progeny have raced in stakes company. You have to go back to Arch’s Gal Edith’s second dam (I’ll Have Another’s third dam) Last Cause to find quality performers; as a juvenile, she once placed third in the G3 Miss Grillo Stakes. In addition to Force Five Gal, Last Cause also produced the G3 Bewitch runner-up Noble Cause and the stakes-placed Ultimate Strike. Still, on the performance side, that’s kind of light, and doesn’t really compare favorably to the latest Belmont winners.

If you are looking for those with dams more in line with recent history, you might want to consider:

Pocho’s Dream Girl (Fortunate Prospect-True to Romeo, by Gallant Romeo)
The dam of Mark Valeski was G1-placed, having finished third in the 9-furlong Beldame; her second dam, Spinaway victress Silver True was not only a half sister to G1 Santa Anita Derby-winning filly Silver Spoon, but also produced a half brother to unraced True to Romeo named Silver Buck, winner of the 10-furlong G1 Suburban and sire of the great Silver Charm. Now that’s a Belmont Stakes-winner’s damline.

Tempo (Gone West-Terpsichorist, by Nijinsky)
The dam of Union Rags, Tempo only raced three times, but her dam Terpsichorist was a terrific router, a G2 winner at 10-furlongs and a G3 winner at 12-furlongs. A half sister to Tempo, Dancing Devlette produced G1-placed Satans Quick Chick.

Indy Pick (A.P. Indy-Fantastic Find, by Mr. Prospector)
The dam of Optimizer, Indy Pick is a daughter of G1 winner Fantastic Find, and a half sister to multiple G1 winner Finder’s Fee.

Mining My Own (Smart Strike-Aspenelle, by Vice Regent)
Mining My Own has already produced a G1-winning half brother to Dullahan, Kentucky Derby victor Mine That Bird.

Dream of Summer (Siberian Summer-Mary’s Dream, by Skywalker)
The dam of Creative Cause, Dream of Summer won 10 of 20 starts, including the G1 Apple Blossom. Her sire Siberian Summer, her damsire Skywalker and her second damsire Properantes were all G1 winners of 10- to 12-furlongs. If Creative Cause goes in the Belmont (and his chances are currently 50-50 according to his trainer), he’s well-bred for it.

Untouched Talent (Storm Cat-Parade Queen, by A.P. Indy)
Apparently Bodemeister will skip the Belmont, more the pity as his damside is beautifully-bred for the race. His dam Untouched Talent finished second in the G1 Del Mar Debutante, while her G2-placed dam Parade Queen has also produced a half brother to Untouched Talent, 12-furlong G1 runner-up Obay. Instead of Bodemeister, Bob Baffert has indicated that he may send Paynter, who is equally impressive:

Tizso (Cees Tizzy-Cee’s Song, by Seattle Song)
While Paynter’s dam Tizso wasn’t much of a racehorse, she’s regally bred—a full sister to two-time G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic victor Tiznow, as well as G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Budroyale. Enough said.


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