Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Stellar Wind: Produced from Generations of Stellar Matings

Gr. 1 Santa Anita Oaks winner and Gr. 1 Breeder's Cup Distaff runner-up Stellar Wind comes from a family of mostly hard-knockers who earned every penny, but generations of successive, thoughtful linebreeding by the Keswick Stables dynasty in Virginia has infused this family with improved speed each generation.

The pedigree starts out with no less than 6 crosses of La Troienne, but brings along many lines of her best friend Domino, as well as Roman in Hasty Road. Hasty Road, like Bold Ruler, Native Dancer, and Intentionally, is out of a Discovery mare. Discovery brings more of Domino's family (Family 23) than Domino himself. Super-sire Curlin has only one line of La Troienne, but he is overloaded with Domino and Discovery through multiples of Native Dancer but also a rarely seen double of Domino-line sire Double Jay, who brings with his damsire Whisk Broom a double of speed influence Maggie B. B., a true taproot source of sire-producing mares who rivals La Troienne in her influence in the Thoroughbred gene pool. Domino also appears through known speed influence Olympia. Bunty Lawless, present twice in Deputy Minister, is also carrying more of Domino's family (Family 23-b).

La Troienne herself is inbred to Family 16 through full siblings Ormonde and Ornament, and Roman brings more of both Ormonde and Ornament. Stellar Wind's dam, Evening Star, brings with her at least five (5) more La Troienne and more Domino, as well as more of family 16. Double Jay is by Balladier, who also carries St. Angelo, a Family 16 member. St. Angelo and Domino are also both present every time you see Blue Larkspur, which clearly explains his potency and prevalence throughout American pedigrees. Herbager is also a direct descendant of Family 16, as are full brothers Bull Dog and Sir Gallahad, both present many times. Add two more Family 16 members, Martagon and Desmond, for every Blenheim II, present in every Mahmoud, Nasrullah, and Royal Charger. Add a another member of the family for every Papyrus, present mostly through Princequillo. To emphasize the point, Secretariat was the result of crossing a sire with Martagon and Desmond on a mare with both Papyrus and Martagon.

To put some icing on the cake, Iron Reward is present in the sire through Track Medal and in the dam through Swaps. Very few things are more potent than crossing brother and sister in pedigrees.

Once she retires to the breeding shed, I am predicting that stallions carrying multiples of Prince John, Olympia, and Tourbillon will be ideally suited for her. La Troienne, Olympia, Prince John, and Tourbillon, especially through his grandson, Djeddah, have proven to be a very potent mix that consistently produces top-class horses.

Same band, different song.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Food for Thought...

In a recent e-mail exchange I had with Bret Jones of Airdrie Stud, I mentioned to him I started this blog because I am fascinated to no end with the genius of those pedigrees designed long before nicking systems but also because I have breeder friends out here who think it is best to solely "play the numbers" and the letter scores with free nicking systems that ignore more than half of the pedigrees of both the sire and the dam, and usually the most important half, the female lines of the sire and dam. I expressed to him that I just don't feel that these nicking systems are in the overall best interests of our breed and future production if we only breed for a runner for today (based on some over-simplified algorithm) but not a pre-potent producer for tomorrow. Validating my premise, Bret responded:

"Few things are more frustrating than a client that relies solely on the Nicks and closes their ears to anything that’s not an 'A-Plus.'  I’ve always been very proud of the fact that some of the best horses we’ve bred have been D or F Nicks."

Let this one steep for awhile. You are probably overlooking the best stallion for your mare because of an over-simplified score or letter grade that ignores the most important part of the pedigree of every mare and stallion.

If you want true pedigree analysis that covers the ENTIRE pedigree, you can either:

a) Contact me for mating recommendations and analysis for your mare based on time-tested linebreeding principles, taking into account geographical proximity, and more importantly, whether you plan to bree to race or breed to sell... all for a modest fee, or

b) Get the TrueNicks Key Ancestors report on stallions that you have to come up with, and pay an expensive $300 to download the report.

Or, you can keep doing things the usual free way and have a foal that becomes neither a runner nor a future producer.

You decide.

Thanks again to Bret Jones and Airdrie Stud for their encouragement and social media support of this outlet.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Contact the WV Racing Commission Today!

As it stands right now, the WV purse fund does not have enough money in it to stay in the black if the purse for the Gr. 2 Charles Town Classic remains at $1.25 Million, like Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races wants it to be. However, the WV Racing Commission has final say and approves the purse for this race.

Please contact the WV Racing Commission and let them know that the Charles Town Classic purse should be $750,000 in the best interest of WV racing. Help keep purse money in WV as breeders and owners make investments in WV horses, property, and associated businesses.

You can submit your request directly to the WVRC here: http://www.racing.wv.gov/Pages/contact.aspx 

Thank you for your attention in this matter.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Lucy N Ethel: Not the Usual Suspects, But a Lot of Vandals

When a juvenile filly wins by 13 lengths and earns a 104 Equibase E-figure, people start paying attention. Such is the case with Parx maiden special weight and allowance-winning juvenile filly, Lucy N Ethel, presumably named in honor of a TV show I grew up watching re-runs of, I Love Lucy.

Her sire, During (Cherokee Run - Blading Saddle, by Blade) was a first-class runner free of Northern Dancer (and any Native Dancer), A.P. Indy, Seattle Slew, and Mr. Prospector. He is, however, loaded with Nasrullah / Princequillo lash-ups as well as Discovery through Bold Ruler and Tentam. Also present are some lines of Royal Charger, a genetic equivalent to Nasrullah, and also lashed up with Princequillo through Sir Gaylord, half-brother to the immortal Secretariat.

In addition to hailing from the family of Barbaro, During also has our beloved La Troienne present, only twice, but this is more than enough when her accomplices show up to magnify the wake of her carnage. So... who are La Troienne's main accomplices? Domino, present just about everywhere now, Tourbillon, and anyone from or containing family 16, the family of Agnes. La Troienne is herself inbred to full siblings, Ormonde and Ornament (both from same family 16), and any of their close relatives are considered willing and able accomplices.

What does Lucy N Ethel's dam, Kid Silver, bring to the table? First glance reveals a double of Native Dancer, another source of Discovery and John P Grier, twice. She also adds to the overload of Bleinheim II. Blenheim II also comes into play, mainly through more Nasrullah and Royal Charger but through other sources as well, like Mahmoud. Bleinheim II brings more of Agnes to the table through Martagon, close kin to the aforementioned Ormonde and Ornament, dam of the legendary racemare and producer, Sceptre. During himself is also a direct female-line descendant of Agnes, adding to the damage.

All of this is enough to give us a great runner and future producer, but we haven't reached the culprit responsible for the future super-star filly Lucy N Ethel. Glencoe is found everywhere in pedigrees, but overwhelmingly comes in female strains, mostly through his daughter, 1837 Pocahontas, long thought to be a source of the large heart gene, but also through his daughters Florine and Reel. The key to Lucy N Ethel lies in her countless strains of Vandal, a rare, male strain of Glencoe that sex-balances all of the Pocahontas, Reel, and Florine found throughout the gene pool.

During and Kid Silver are both packing Djeddah and Johns Joy, both of whom are packing more Vandal than what I can count in a reasonable amount of time with the tools available (at least 8 from each line of Djeddah, maybe more, and at least 5 from Johns Joy). Whisk Broom also accounts for another line of Vandal each time he is present (at least three lines through During, and at least five lines through Kid Silver). This distant though very heavy presence of Vandal explains the explosiveness of the cross that comes from only a single line of Raise A Native via Mr. Prospector, no Seattle Slew or A.P. Indy, no Northern Dancer, Buckpasser, and no Secretariat.

Fast horses can be produced from modest stock if solid linebreeding principles are applied, and rising star Lucy N Ethel is a perfect example of how to upgrade modest breeding stock.

During stands at O'Sullivan Farms in Charles Town, WV.

As an added bonus, During has had a very good strike rate with mares returning Tamerett to him. Gone West, Shackleford and any Round Table are very nice targets to send to During.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Too Bald: Mating Decisions Made (almost) Too Easy

There is a trend emerging among successful runners that started with the birth of Domino-line scion Include (Broad Brush), who was lightning fast and inbred 4 X 5 to the dam of Too Bald, Hidden Talent. Broad Brush is a direct female-line descendant of Hidden Talent. Another stakes winner has recently emerged in Charitable Annuity, who features a 6 x 5 cross of Too Bald herself.

When you hit pay-dirt, keep digging.

Just think what could happen if Charitable Man actually got some mares by Include... J J's Lucky Train in Virginia or Understatement in Oregon are also prime to take advantage of this Rasmussen Factor opportunity!

Too Bald was well-known for her small stature but even better known for her big speed, a gift she passed on to her sons Capote, Exceller, and several others who became stakes winners, but also on to her daughters, many of whom were not runners but turned out to be excellent producers. The influence of doubling up on Hidden Talent and her daughter Too Bald, even from several generations out, should never be underestimated.

Include currently stands at Airdrie Stud in Kentucky http://www.airdriestud.com

Charitable Man stands at Taylor Mountain Farm in Charles Town, WV. http://www.taylormountainfarm.com

J J's Lucky Train can be found here: http://www.jjsluckytrain.com

Understatement can be found here: http://www.oakhurstequine.com/stallions.asp?stallion_name=UNDERSTATEMENT





Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Pedigrees of Our Best Runners are Never a Mistake

I do not need to say anything here other than the fact that the breeder of Lucy's Bob Boy, Mr. Furr, was very deliberate in his pedigree design of this very fast runner. The meat of this pedigree is right in front of our eyes. (click to enlarge)

Lucy's Bob Boy
Flatter - Love for Lucy, by Not for Love
Bred in WV by Mr. Robert "Tuffy" Furr, Sr.

Behrnik's Bank: Out to a Fast Start

According to an October 2010 report compiled by Werk Thoroughbred Consultants on the Top 40 dam lines by stakes winners (for the 15-year time period of 1995 - 2010), #1 La Troienne was responsible for more tail-female stakes winners more than any mare in this time frame, outranking her 2nd place rival (Escutcheon) by over 65%. La Troienne's dam, Helene De Troie, was #6 on this list. Between them were Big Hurry (ranked #4), a daughter of La Troienne, and Stolen Hour (#5), by Mr. Busher, out of Baby League, yet another daughter of La Troienne who also ranked 14th on her own merit on the report. La Troienne (by Teddy), had a three-quarter sister named Adargatis (by Asterus, a son of Teddy). Combining any number of sons and daughters of La Troienne has proved remarkable, and combining La Troienne with her French Oaks winning three-quarter sister Adargatis has produced the likes of Spend A Buck, Empire Maker, and Ice Box, all Gr. 1 winners and good producers.
And again the pattern is a hit once again in Behrnik's Bank, winner of the 6-furlong, $75,000 Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies Stakes run at Penn National Race Course. 
Adargatis is present through Cornish Prince, sire of Behrnik's Bank's 3rd dam, Lightning Bug. Cornish Prince's 2nd dam is Donatella (by Tourbillon, out of Adargatis). Coming Forward, 2nd dam Lady Mondegreen adds two lines of La Troienne through power-producer Numbered Account, who herself is deserving of an entire pedigree feature (California Chrome's dam Love the Chase is closely inbred to Numbered Account).
1st dam Behrnik introduces yet another line of La Troienne through her sire, Chimes Band, who is tail-female to blue hen mare Foggy Note, by The Axe, who is out of Blackball, out of La Troienne daughter Big Event. Foggy Note's 2nd dam Beadah is a daughter of Djeddah, who is tail-male to Tourbillon himself but also traces tail-female to a full-sister to Tourbillon's dam, Banshee. When accounting for the influence of Tourbillon in pedigrees, I count Djeddah as a multiplier of Tourbillon because the influences that created Tourbillon are present twice in the pedigree of Djeddah. Behrnik's line of Damascus also adds another line of Tourbillon through My Babu.
Finally, sire Bank Heist adds two more La Troienne through Buckpasser and Deputy Minister, along with another line of Damascus (read "Tourbillon") and Olden Times (more Tourbillon!). For extra credit, Bank Heist also introduces Caro, Secretariat, and Blue Prince, who all check in with a gaggle of various family 16 members who all help La Troienne. 
Lashing all of this together is a variety of lines of Discovery, who also travels well with La Troienne. Discovery is present through Bold Ruler, Traffic Judge, and Native Dancer. When it is time for Behrnik's Bank to go to the breeding shed, sources of In Reality will add more variety to the sources of Discovery. She is also set up well to receive sources of Prince John and Olympia.
Oddly enough, the cross that produced Behrnik's Bank has been tried before, but Behrnik's Bank is the result of crossing the sons of the sire (Maria's Mon) and broodmare sire (Dixieland Band) that were tried before. Who was the result of the first cross? The only horse to tie Secretariat's Kentucky Derby winning time, Monarchos. The pedigrees of the best horses are never left to chance.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

I'm A Chatterbox: a Gr. 1 Pedigree for a Gr. 1 Runner

Here is an analysis on Gr. 1 winner I'm a Chatterbox that I wrote for Mid-Atlantic racing news publication TheRacingBiz.com
Pedigree Insights: I'm a Chatterbox: http://www.theracingbiz.com/2015/12/09/pedigree-insights-im-a-chatterbox/

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Mohaymen: The REAL Pedigree Insight

Thoroughbred Daily News recently ran a "Pedigree Insights" piece on the pedigree of multiple Gr. 2 winning juvenile, Mohaymen (Tapit - Justwhistledixie, by Dixie Union) that was a nicely written piece on the history of the progeny of Tapit but did almost nothing to explain the secret sauce behind the pedigree of this beautifully-bred, high-class runner, as many "pedigree analysts" often do nowadays when they publish their work. Let's delve into the recipe for classic speed that created this profitable masterpiece. I will try to stay focused and stay within six generations for the sake of brevity. Choosing a starting place for breaking down this pedigree is not very easy because there is so much goodness present.

Olin Gentry's two most important maxims as passed on to me from my pedigree mentor Les Brinsfield (to anyone who has bothered to read his priceless works) are:

1. Return to the sire the best blood of his dam, and
2. It is very, very, very, very, very, very, very important to get the target ancestor in the same generation in both the sire and the dam.

Olin Gentry left Kentucky Derby winners at every farm he ever worked at in Kentucky and his observations deserve examination.

The rock star stallion Tapit is no mistake from a pedigree perspective and his pedigree is a blueprint to follow for future generations. Gentry maxim #1 is followed in the pedigree of Tapit and sets up both maxim #1 and maxim #2 very nicely for Justwhistledixie, dam of Mohaymen. Inbreeding and linebreeding are of no use if you do not know which ancestors are the true influences that you need to inbreed to. Tapit's dam is inbred to the potent In Reality and Aspidistra. Tapit himself is inbred to Nijinsky II, Buckpasser (and more La Troienne through Seattle Slew, Unbridled, and The Axe), and Mr. Prospector.

Justwhistledixie returns the usual suspects of Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer, but also returns the best blood of Tapit's dam, Tap Your Heels. The best blood includes In Reality, Seattle Slew, Turn-To (compounded by Seattle Slew, who also has Turn-To) as far as the male strains are concerned.

Following Gentry maxim #2, Mohaymen also features inbreeding to potent distaffers including Foggy Note (5 x 5), Grand Splendor (6 x 6, also giving more Aspidistra), and many, many more lines of La Troienne by extension.

Also present is the cross of full siblings Relaunch and Moon Glitter, 3rd dam of Tapit. Very few crosses are more potent than full brother/sister crosses. These should be sought out in as many matings as possible. Full sisters-in-blood Busanda and Blue Eyed Momo are also present in this pedigree, a combination that has yielded many a good runner in our present day.

A double of Seattle Slew (think La Troienne / Domino / Turn-To / Nasrullah / Princequillo) will never hurt, regardless of where it exists in the pedigree. In this case, Seattle Slew does not fit neatly into the Gentry maxims, but his doubled influence is still important to Mohaymen's pedigree.

The final kicker in this pedigree is 8 x 8 x 6 of Djeddah (think Tourbillon times two for each Djeddah, times three). Tourbillon is critical for sex-balancing all of the Pocahontas (female strain of Glencoe) present in American pedigrees, primarily in Domino - with Vandal, a rare male line of Glencoe.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Stallion Profile: Fiber Sonde - Unraced But Genetically Talented

Very few stallions are pre-potent enough to make their mark as a breeding stallion. Many Grade 1 winning stallions go to Kentucky and languish into obscurity after their progeny fail to live up to expectations or just don't get the mares they need to be successful. Some stallions do get the mares they need but still don't deliver. Then there are stallions that come from almost nowhere and stamp their progeny with genetic gifts that could not have been predicted by any breeder of average knowledge... stallions like Alibhai, who, while unraced, still managed to be a top 10 stallion in 11 different years at stud.

Beau Ridge Farm stallion Fiber Sonde is just such a stallion. Purchased for just $8,000 as a 2 year old stallion prospect at the 2007 Keeneland November sale, Fiber Sonde has made a mark as a stallion that few can deny.

Fiber Sonde is a half-brother to influential sprint sire Speightstown through the female line of Hildene, a mare that wasn't much of a runner herself, but proved to be a taproot mare of the highest order for Chris Chenery and Meadow Stud. Getting a 5-generation view of the pedigree, Fiber Sonde's dam, Silken Cat, shows inbreeding only to Bold Ruler, which is to say, 2 X Discovery, damsire of Bold Ruler. Discovery is not only damsire of Bold Ruler, but also Native Dancer, Intentionally, Hasty Road, and Traffic Judge (by the aforementioned unraced Alibhai, out of the Discovery mare Traffic Court).

Backing up to a 6-generation view quickly reveals the secret sauce behind the pedigree of Fiber Sonde, which reveals 3 X stamina influence Princequillo, 2 X Bold Ruler, 2 X Native Dancer, 2 X Flushing (found in the tail-female lines of both the sire, Unbridled's Song, and the dam, Silken Cat), and a line of In Reality (by Intentionally, adding another Discovery for a total of 5 X Discovery).

Two critical families are at play in this pedigree. family 16, the female-line descendants of Agnes, and family 23-b, the family of the immortal Domino. La Troienne is also present 4 times and was never bred to a stallion free of Domino once she was imported into the U.S. Discovery does not have any Domino, but has more of Domino's own family 23-b than Domino himself, which makes Discovery a critical element in linebreeding to Domino and La Troienne. La Troienne was inbred to the full siblings Ormonde and Ornament who hail from family 16. Support from other sources of family 16 is important, and Fiber Sonde receives this support in the form of the double of Flushing, as well as from Roman, who also carries full siblings Ormonde and Ornament with him. Flushing carries Buchan and Martagon, also brought in through close kin Nasrullah and Royal Charger. Martagon is a close relative to Ormonde and Ornament. Caro is also present in the pedigree of Fiber Sonde and brings to the party 4 lines of Kendal, also a close relative to Ormonde, Ornament, and Martagon. Genetic heavyweights Bull Dog, Sir Gallahad III, and Admiral Drake, all out of Plucky Liege, also hail from family 16.

The flawless Buckpasser is present twice within 6 generations as well and sets up invites of A.P. Indy very nicely, especially with A.P. Indy's dual classic-placed and Jockey Club Gold Cup-winning son, Aptitude, adds yet another line of Buckpasser and also gives a 7 X 7 tail-female cross of Hildene via full siblings Hill Prince and First Flush.  Daughters of Sea of Secrets will also set up similar returns of Hildene and La Troienne. Mares from the lines of Pulpit - Tapit, Ice Box, and Corinthian are also set up to return Nijinsky II to the two lines of Buckpasser present in Fiber Sonde. Malibu Moon will also provide this vital cross as well. Mares from the Nijinsky II sire line have also produced top-quality results when bred to Fiber Sonde. It should be noted that Nijinsky II has a close relative in The Minstrel, who should be considered as well. The Minstrel is out of Nijinsky II's half-sister, Fleur.

Any stallions with Caro - including the Caro sire line - are also in-play, and has already had great success with Fiber Sonde. Mares carrying Roberto will also be able to take advantage of a superior cross between Buckpasser and Roberto. Fiber Sonde is already carrying at least 4 lines of La Troienne but is beautifully set up for more La Troienne invites, as well as two horses who have proven to be willing partners in her success, like Forty Niner, whose dam File carries 4 lines of Ornament. Danzig is also a known accomplice to La Troienne who also carries a line of Olympia, also found in Fiber Sonde through his sire Unbridled's Song. Danzig also carries Petition, yet another member of the family 16 clan.

Other angles to consider are any sources of Blue Eyed Momo. Blue Eyed Momo is a full sister-in-blood to Busanda, dam of Buckpasser, who is present twice in Fiber Sonde. Crossing Blue Eyed Momo and Busanda has consistently produced some top horses over the last several years. Sources of Blue Eyed Momo include Johannesburg, Catienus (both of these get you 2 x Storm Cat when crossed with Fiber Sonde), Cherokee Run, and Honour and Glory. Holy Bull is also a potent source of La Troienne and Maggie B.B. and should do very well with Fiber Sonde.

For the results he has produced, Fiber Sonde is worth much, much more than his $1,000 fee. Though currently ranked #5 among active stallions on the West Virginia sire list, his percentage of stakes winners is far and away above any other stallion in West Virginia, even those with a fee 3.5 times greater than his.  His potency with a wide variety of broodmare sires has made him extremely value to his owners, as well as any breeders that send mares to him. He will undoubtedly be a productive source for years to come and should always be a consideration for breeders across the Mid-Atlantic region, not just West Virginia. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Stallion Profile: Ice Box - Throwing Red Hot Runners

2010 Gr. 1 Florida Derby winner and Gr. 1 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands runner-up Ice Box is off to an exciting start at stud with several two year old winners already making their mark. He has been well-supported in his first several years at stud and should be able to make a big statement. So, let's dive in to his pedigree, shall we?

Ice Box starts off with a very prevalent A.P. Indy / Mr. Prospector cross in his sire, Pulpit, crossed on a mare from the Storm Cat line. A.P. Indy, Mr. Prospector, and Storm Cat have all historically shown affinities for each other, but there is much, much more to his pedigree than this.

Ice Box descends from the classic distance male line of Seattle Slew (doubled to La Troienne) via A.P. Indy (add another La Troienne) followed by Pulpit on the top side of the pedigree and hails from a female family that gave us the 4th fastest Kentucky Derby winner in history, Spend A Buck. Spend A Buck is a son of Buckaroo also (doubled to La Troienne) out of Belle De Jour, who descends from Adargatis, the three-quarters sister to La Troienne. La Troienne is by Teddy, out of Helene De Troie, while Adargatis is by Teddy's son, Asterus, and also out of Helene De Troie. Coming forward from Adargatis, Belle De Jour is laden with Tourbillon, who provides much-needed male strains of Glencoe (Vandal) to balance all of the female Glencoe (mostly through Pocahontas) present in Domino and, with him, most prominant American pedigrees.

Being from the tail-female line of Spend A Buck naturally invites Spend A Buck in the pedigree of any of Ice Box's mates. Mares with Riverman should also be considered prime candidates as a sex-balanced double of Prince John did not hurt Gr. 1 winners Big Blue Kitten and Songbird as well as New York stakes winners Friend Or Foe and Our Entourage in the least.

So, which broodmare sire is set up to be the ultimate Nick with Ice Box? Mares by Kitten's Joy should be an easy slam-dunk with Ice Box, providing him with more La Troienne and doubling Prince John, Buckpasser, and Northern Dancer, and adding Roberto - a known genetic equivalent to Buckpasser - into the already-potent mix. Last but not least is a same-generation cross of full sisters Bel Sheba and Wac, better known as the dams of Alysheba and Lear Fan, respectively. Also from the El Prado line we have Medaglia D'Oro, who also offers additional Prince John and La Troienne. 

Empire Maker or his Triple Crown-siring son Pioneerof the Nile will also provide a double of Ice Box's own female line in Adargatis via Cornish Prince. Pioneerof the Nile also features a tail-female line of Olympia, which always tracks well with La Troienne. Empire Maker's inbreeding to In Reality also makes a nice splash with Pulpit. But don't take my word for it... Just ask Tapit.

Another angle to try is the cross of full sisters in blood Busanda (dam of Buckpasser) and Blue Eyed Momo, the mother of Francis S. Blue Eyed Momo can be found through sources like Cherokee Run, Catienus, Honour and Glory, and Johannesburg. The Busanda / Blue Eyed Momo cross has been rock-solid and will continue to be so into the future. Crossing close kin Nijinsky II and The Minstrel should also be powerful.

If anyone has daughters of Even The Score, who also stands alongside Ice Box at Millennium Farms, crossing daughters of Even The Score with Ice Box gives nice doubles of Speak John and Barbizon, both speed influences. It should be noted that Barbizon was at the top of the Experimental Handicap over Bold Ruler, Federal Hill, Round Table, and other top horses and should be considered a prime target for inbreeding.

Ice Box has the support of stallions costing ten times his fee and is an excellent value at any price.


This post is in loving memory of our mare Espana, half-sister to Spice Island, dam of Ice Box. Espana was a very kind, loving mare despite her battles with laminitis that eventually took her life.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Stallion Profile: Our Entourage - Inviting You To His Crew

It is very rare that you see a stallion with only the best blood to offer, all in an undiluted package of speed, stamina, and soundness, and so it is with second-year stallion, Our Entourage (Street Cry - Sand Springs, by Dyanaformer). At first glance, he is the result of the same cross that produced a more famous daughter of Street Cry, the legendary Zenyatta. The cross is Street Cry with mares from the Roberto sire line, with added Hoist The Flag on the bottom of the pedigree. Unlike the imposing Zenyatta, Our Entourage is a moderately sized stallion with handsome looks that isn't too big, but isn't small either, standing around 16 hands high. The cross of Machiavellian and Northern Dancer sets up a very nice triple of Almahmoud (twice through Natalma). Our Entourage also flaunts doubles of Hail To Reason, Hoist The Flag, Prince John, and Nashua, with some standard-fare triples of Nasrullah and Native Dancer.

Add a Discovery for every Native Dancer plus a line of Hasty Road through Dynaformer, Discovery becomes a critical play when linebreeding for Domino, as Discovery has more of Domino's own family than Domino himself.  Other sources of Discovery that are absent from Our Entourage's pedigree are Bold Ruler and Intentionally. They should be considered power-plays in any mare brought to Our Entourage.

Further back in Our Entourage's pedigree are three lines of Tourbillon, two of them courtesy of Hoist The Flag. The multiple male lines of Glencoe via Vandal present in Tourbillon always amplify the many lines of Glencoe's legendary daughter, Pocahontas, she of the large heart gene and present throughout the Thoroughbred gene pool, but most prevalent in Domino.

While only a single line of Olympia is present in the pedigree of Our Entourage, one is enough, and any more Olympia that can be brought by his mates is pure gold. If you need proof of this, just ask Triple Crown winner American Pharoah how important the multiple lines of Olympia are to his success.

So, where is all this ultimately leading? La Troienne and her legion of ancestors are set up perfectly to return to the pedigree of this Temperence Hill Stakes winner. La Troienne is only present in Street Cry once. La Troienne is the result of the cross of full siblings, Ormonde and Ornament. Roman is present and also has the same Ormonde / Ornament cross. Ornament's legendary daughter Sceptre is present twice and will invite many returns, especially through File, dam of Kentucky Derby runner-up Forty Niner. File is laced with four lines of Ornament and will make a big impact with Our Entourage. Ormonde, Ornament, and any other crosses of Family 16, the descendants of Agnes add to the potency of the crosses. La Troienne can be found in any Seattle Slew, Numbered Account, and especially A.P. Indy. A.P. Indy has three lines of La Troienne, the most important of which is her maternal great-grandson, Buckpasser, who is a known genetic equivalent to Roberto.

Dynaformer has a couple genetic equivalents as well, one in the speedy but often fragile Dixieland Band. The other, Always Run Lucky, is not as well known but is bred on the same Traffic Judge / Warfare cross as Dixieland Band. If A is just like B, and B is just like C, then it stands to reason that there is a good chance that A is close enough to C to work well. Here is what the cross of Dixieland Band and Dynaformer looks like.

Our Entourage's 2nd dam Lovely Martha is by Storm Bird, who also has some genetic equivalents. The most prominent of these is Nijinsky II and his close kin The Minstrel. Nijinsky II can be found fairly easily. Mares with Nijinsky II and Buckpasser are prime for breeding to Our Entourage, particularly mares by Malibu Moon. If you are lucky to have them, Tapit and Corinthian mares would also work well, both of which are exemplary of the potency of doubling Nijinsky II and Buckpasser. A.P. Indy and his son Pulpit are prime targets.

To top it all off, Our Entourage provides a line of Alleged, who offers a nice double of War Admiral to go with all the War Admiral in Seattle Slew and A.P. Indy, should they be present in any of his mates. Another good pedigree play involves crossing His Majesty with his full brother Graustark, and any other members of the Boudoir II line, like Floral Park, Your Host, and Your Hostess.

So, who do I think is going to be the hottest cross with Our Entourage in the coming years? It's a tie between three sires, one whose first runners are just starting to run on the track, one of which has already managed to be exported, and, finally, a soon-to-be-retired future sire who just keeps on running. So, what do these three have in common? Who's the key? The answer is Belle De Jour. Who on earth is Belle De Jour? She is the dam of the 4th fastest Kentucky Derby winner in the history of the race, Spend A Buck.

The three prime damsires are Gr. 1 Florida Derby winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up, Ice Box, Gr. 1 winner Friends Lake (exported to Saudi Arabia), and future sire, Gr. 1 turf superstar Big Blue Kitten. All of these have Belle De Jour in their pedigrees and in the right places. Ice Box has the distinct advantage of being the only one of these three that is actively covering mares in the U.S. and is by Pulpit (La Troienne, Nijinsky II, Buckpasser) out of a mare from the direct female line of La Troienne's three-quarters sister, Adargatis, with 3rd dam being Belle De Jour herself. Belle De Jour is loaded with both male and female strains of Tourbillon, and her son Spend A Buck produced Gr. 1 winner and Gr. 1 producer Antespend (dam of Friends Lake) from a mare free of La Troienne, free of Domino, but TRIPLED to Tourbillon. The importance of Tourbillon cannot be overemphasized when supporting linebreeding to La Troienne and Domino. Virginia stallion Friend Or Foe also has loads of Tourbillon, Domino, Prince John, and La Troienne and should also be an excellent match for Our Entourage, once Friend Or Foe's daughters are of breeding age.

Hopefully, Our Entourage's progeny will make a huge impact and reward his co-owners, James Anderson and John Lewis, for selecting a wonderful stallion prospect and for supporting him with a nice handful of their own mares, putting their money where their mouth is. He certainly has a pedigree replete with speed, stamina, and soundness, and has enough pre-potency to pass all of this on to his get.

Our Entourage's Bloodhorse Stallion Register pedigree page can be found here.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Preston Burch Did WHAT with Flower Bowl?!?!

Hall Of Fame trainer Preston Burch was known for doing things a little bit unconventionally, and this excerpt from an Associated Press article dated June 27, 1957 (excerpt from Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph) gives a prime example. He was preparing Flower Bowl's full sister Floral Park for that year's Delaware Handicap when he recounted his efforts for the Delaware Handicap the prior year with Flower Bowl. He did something with famed mare Flower Bowl that most trainers would deem to be impossible, let alone crazy in preparing her for her run in the Delaware Handicap:

Original article text can be found here.

"I did something perhaps unheard of, you might even say crazy, in preparing Flower Bowl for the race,"... "I had the horse at Belmont Park, and she was to get her final serious workout there before being shipped to Delaware. I planned to work her a mile on the training track to keep her sharpened for speed, and told the exercise boy to do the mile in about 1:40."

"Maybe he got his instructions wrong, but whatever the reason he worked Flower Bowl in a slow 1:43."

"After that slow trial which didn't serve my purpose as a speed sharpener I was dubious about the filly's chances, figuring she wouldn't be thoroughly tightened up for the mile and one quarter Delaware."

And now for the "crazy."

"We were going to van her down the Delaware track, but I still wanted to get in that speed workout without delaying the trip.  So I did something any horse trainer would call crazy. Thirty minutes after that 1:43 mile on the training track, I sent her through five furlongs on the main track in one minute flat."

"Well, you know what happened, Flower Bowl went to Delaware Park and won the richest of all filly and mare races, coming up from 13th in a field of 15 to win by two lengths."

Do we have any true horsemen like Preston Burch left in today's generation of trainers?

I always hear that horses aren't made like they used to be.

The horses are still made like they always were and can still handle this type of interval training. They're just not trained like they used to be. This article was penned before the advent of furosemide in horse racing, started by Dr. Alex Harthill with Northern Dancer's run in the Kentucky Derby. Harthill admitted to this before his death, and the vets have been "training" our racehorses ever since.

My question to the trainers: are you willing to go the extra mile to make your horses all that they can be?  Preston Burch was and he is in the Thoroughbred Racing Hall Of Fame because of his willingness to do what others were not willing to try. Sometimes he set orthodox training methods back 50 years, but his success as a conditioner can't be disputed.

Flower Bowl is the dam of super-sires His Majesty and Graustark, and second dam of influential sire Whiskey Road. Floral Park is the tail-female ancestress of the likes of Groupie Doll, Ivanavinalot, and undefeated champion juvenile filly, Songbird.

Imagine the possibilities for linebreeding and crossing two very accomplished runners and progenitors in Flower Bowl and Floral Park! Groupie Doll exemplifies what happens when the two are crossed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Stallion Profile: Talent Search - Search No More

From the family that gave us no less than the likes of Nasrullah and Royal Charger, breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey struck gold again when they bred the talented Talent Search. Not only is the direct female line duplicated from Nasrullah and several lines of Mahmoud, but family 16 (Agnes) is also well represented in La Troienne, from Francis S. - from the female line of Catienus - and from every instance of Blenheim II, every Bull Dog and Sir Gallahad III, Sardanapale, Papyrus, and many other representatives of the Agnes clan.

What's noticeably missing is Royal Charger, who is the genetic equivalent to Nasrullah. Any royal Vharger in Talent Search's mates should be explosive, particularly if they're carrying more La Troienne or her main accomplices Roman, Prince John, Olympia, or Tourbillon (any Djeddah is worth two Tourbillon). The dam of Francis S., Blue Eyed Momo is a known full sister in blood to Busanda, dam of the peerless Buckpasser and tail-female ancestress of juvenile Grade 1 winner Officer. A.P. Indy brings in plenty of La Troienne, including Busanda, and Tourbillon, along with the much-needed strain of Royal Charger.

One of the most important invites for Talent Search's mates are mares out of daughters of Dynaformer. If you need any evidence of the importance of this cross, look no further than one of only two horses to finish the run for the roses in under two minutes, Monarchos. Monarchos 2nd dam is a full sister in blood to Dynaformer. Mares by Monarchos would be ideal here. Pairing Monarchos or Dynaformer with the dam of Talent Search would also give a double of Flower Bowl through full brothers His Majesty and Graustark, a double of influential mare Bleebok, and multiples of the important Bull Dog (or Sir Gallahad III) / Nogara cross. Dynaformer is also a representative Royal Charger sire line, giving much-needed diversity of the female line of the "Flying Filly" Mumtaz Mahal.

Here is the result of the Dixieland Band / Dynaformer cross:

Another critical cross for Dixieland Band is a lesser-known stallion named Always Run Lucky. The dams of both Dixieland Band and Always Run Lucky are both by Delta Judge and out of mares by Warfare. Always Run Lucky was not only a stakes winner as a racehorse, but was also deemed to be enough of a physical specimen and of quality enough demeanor that he was heavily used in the recent development of the Trakehner warmblood horse breed. Mares with Always Run Lucky are hard to find, but they're definitely out there.

Other lines that should be considered in-play are Seeking The Gold, Miswaki, and Kitten's Joy.

I will add other favorable matches for Talent Search at a later time, but this is enough to chew on for now. Talent Search is already off to a great start and deserves to be supported by Mid-Atlantic region breeders and buyers, both large and small.

Talent Search currently stands at Diamond B Farm in Mohrsville, PA.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Stallion Profile: Friend Or Foe

Stallion Profile for Friend Or Foe (Friends Lake - Unbridled Star, by Unbridled) 
Standing at Smallwood Farm in Crozet, VA 

If you take a look at Friend Or Foe's race charts, you will see for yourself that, even in his own defeat in Graded stakes company, he still out-ran a Who's Who of commercial sires / Graded stakes winners at the height of his career. 

He defeated top runners and emerging sires like Ice Box (Gr. 1 Florida Derby winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up), Super Saver (Kentucky Derby winner), Mission Impazible (multiple Gr. 2 winner and multiple Gr. 1 runner-up), Morning Line (Gr. 1 winner), Musket Man (Gr. 2 winner, Gr. 1 runner-up), Rail Trip (Gr. 1 winner), and Trappe Shot (Gr. 2 winner, Gr. 1 runner-up), just to name a several. In addition to missing the Belmont track record for 1 1/16 miles by only 1.5 seconds, he also tied Eskendereya's Beyer Speed Figure of 109, the co-fastest for all 3 year old routers of the deep 2010 3-year old crop. 

Friend Or Foe is also replete with 10 lines of distaff force La Troienne (9) and her 3/4 sister Adargatis (1). That's more than Tapit (7 La Troienne), Wilburn (8 La Troienne), Wilburn's sire Bernardini (7 La Troienne) and Super Saver (7 La Troienne). When studying the pedigree of the great matron and French Oaks-winning sister, you will notice there is a full-sibling cross of Ormonde and Ornament. Re-crossing the plentiful Ormonde on himself does very little to affect a pedigree, but combining the two full siblings, and their close kin Kendal, Martagon, and closely-related St. Angelo, (all from family 16, Miss Agnes via Little Agnes) has produced the highest class race horses for close to a century. Friend Or Foe is a direct descendant of this very same 16-c female family and traces straight back to Little Agnes, tail-female.  Other known sources of Ornament include Forty Niner via his dam, File. Mares with Forty Niner should also do well with Friend Or Foe. Flushing (by Mahmoud), should also be potent as he brings Ornament, Kendal, and Martagon back to La Troienne. Need an example? See Unbridled's Song. Daughters of Unbridled's Song will be an excellent cross.  
A key ingredient that Friend Or Foe is in need of is some Nijinsky II blood as the dam of Nijinsky II, Flaming Page, is a known "genetic equivalent" to Buckpasser, whom Friend Or Foe has 3 lines. If you need proof of the effectiveness of the Nijinsky II / Buckpasser cross, look no further than the pedigrees of Tapit and Corinthian (links below). Mares with Carson City and Officer are prime to meet this need. Both are from non-A.P. Indy sire lines and pack Nijinsky II. If you don't have any Nijinsky II blood, mares with the genetically equivalent Storm Bird is close enough to a right answer. Storm Cat adds Storm Bird plus a female strain of Menow to complement the tail-male line from Buckpasser.  

While we're on the subject of genetic equivalents, rockstar sire Medaglia D'Oro is also close enough for Friend Or Foe's dam, Unbridled Star. Medaglia D'Oro's daughters are worth a ton of consideration here. 
Mares with Cornish Prince should also do well, giving a double of Adargatis. Alysheba also offers a deep, potent linebreeding opportunity with Buckpasser. 
One of the best-kept secrets in breeding is linebreeding to Olympia. More Olympia to go with the Olympia he already has in tail-female will be potent enough. Doubling Olympia is potent enough on its own without any of the other elements of Friend Or Foe's pedigree. If you need proof, just look at the pedigrees of Wicked Strong and Immortal Eyes, who also pack La Troienne in multiples. It is apparent that La Troienne and Olympia travel well together. You can exploit Olympia through commonly-found Danzig, Dynaformer, and if you want to get a really talented runner, bring him some Copelan, who not only adds two lines of Olympia, but adds more La Troienne through Cohoes. When in doubt, add more La Troienne, and give your thanks to Fred Hooper for the great gifts he left the Thoroughbred breed in Olympia and, subsequently, Copelan. Smarten, most notably via Smart Strike, is another viable source of Olympia. Need another example?  Look at the pedigree of blazingly-fast, Eclipse Champion 2 Year Old Male, American Pharoah, whose third dam Zetta Jet carries 3 lines of Olympia (3X4X4) to go with Pioneerof the Nile's tail-female line of Olympia.  
And as my pedigree mentor Les Brinsfield would say, "***LOCK THE DOORS AND HIDE THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN IF YOU SEND A ROCKPORT HARBOR MARE TO FRIEND OR FOE!***" Also make sure you get a wheel barrow to haul all of the winnings to take to the bank. See previous paragraph on Olympia and Copelan. 

Be careful with Danzig as he ran unsound and tends to pass on his fragile bone to his offspring, so make sure any Danzig mares are sound individuals with good bone. 
NOTE: Mares with Dynaformer will also give you the ever-increasing Roberto / Buckpasser cross, in addition to the Olympia cross. 5 out of 6 Gr. 1 winners by Kitten's Joy in 2013 contained doubles of Roberto and Buckpasser. 

A strong broodmare sire to consider is Distorted Humor - by the aforementioned Forty Niner out of a mare by the also-aforementioned Danzig - who had a strike rate of 35% (7 out of 20) stakes winners from his first crop when bred to mares with La Troienne. Even crazier is the fact that it took 8 years at stud for Distorted Humor to produce a stakes winner void of La Troienne. The inverse should work as well, given the number of lines of La Troienne and Adargatis that Friend Or Foe is packing. Distorted Humor mares are in plentiful supply and should be fairly easy to obtain. A good number of them should have La Troienne. 
Mares by Cherokee Run or his sons should also do well. Not only is Cherokee Run doubled to La Troienne, but he is also of similar running style to Friend Or Foe, favoring 7 to 9 furlongs. 
Other sires packing Buckpasser in multiples include Ready's Image and his sire More Than Ready (via Woodman), and Aptitude. However, it should be noted that mares from the sire line of A.P. Indy will probably be avoided, unless the strike rate improves. As of the writing of this profile, there are no black-type winning or placed horses from nearly 70 tries of the A.P. Indy / A.P. Indy sire-broodmare sire line cross. 
Mares with Not For Love, Polish Numbers, and Maria's Mon (via Kentucky Derby winners Monarchos and Super Saver) will also be potent here. Any stallions with the great mare Numbered Account, such as Not For Love and Polish Numbers should be considered prime targets. Polish Numbers gives both Buckpasser and Danzig, giving more of La Troienne and Olympia.  

The 2014 Horse of the Year and dual classic winner California Chrome gave us a glimpse at what happens when all of these genetic tools are combined. Yes, my friends, the lesser-spoken partner of Team Chrome, Perry Martin, knew exactly what he was doing when he planned this mating of an $8,000 claiming mare and a $2,500 stallion. Even Nijinsky II is present via Pulpit's 3rd dam, State, as well as a double of Olympia via Lucky Mel and Danzig (sex-balanced even), and anchored with an overwhelming number of La Troienne. 
BOTTOM LINE: Any of La Troienne or Adargatis and their known accomplices like Roman, Nasrullah, Royal Charger, Mahmoud, plus Olympia will work. Domino, through sources like Hildene, should also be considered in-play via daughters of War Pass and Speightstown. Speightstown has plenty of offspring and is an excellent known source of Hildene and packs the multiple world record-setting Bolero via Storm Cat. Speightstown also packs Buckpasser and a double of Secretariat, who, by the way, carries two lines of Martagon, a known accomplice to La Troienne, through Nasrullah and Caruso. For Mid-Atlantic Region folks, Speightstown has a successful unraced half-brother sire standing in WV named Fiber Sonde, by Unbridled's Song, also packing Olympia via Lucky Mel. Mares by Fiber Sonde will also fit the bill as Fiber Sonde is double to aforementioned Flushing and doubled to Buckpasser. Friend Or Foe should also thrive on returns of Seattle Slew and his siblings Lomond and Seattle Dancer, all of which add two La Troienne via their dam, My Charmer. Seattle Dancer is by Nijinsky II as an added bonus. Try to get My Charmer as much on the distaff portion of the mare's pedigree as possible. 

Don't let Friend Or Foe's excellent jumping ability, low introductory fee, or his racing stat summary fool you as far as a breed-to-race prospect. He has the goods. If you're breeding to get a racehorse, he is as qualified as any sire in the Mid-Atlantic region as a sire and could potentially turn commercial after his first runners hit the track. 

As for conformation, artist Richard Stone Reeves, whose talented paintbrush has captured many of our greatest racehorses, considered Buckpasser the perfect physical specimen, of whom Friend Or Foe carries three lines.  NYRA veterinarian Manuel Gilman agreed, saying, "It is said that every horse has 100 faults of conformation, but I would defy anybody to pick a flaw in Buckpasser." Friend Or Foe will always appreciate more Buckpasser through his mares and will aid in maintaining a good conformation and top-notch classic speed in his offspring.