HOY + HOY = SW? Maybe, Maybe Not

Rachel Alexandra's newborn foal by Curlin is a prime
example of breeding the best to the best. The colt's dam was the 2009 Horse of
the Year and his sire was the 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year.

Male Horses of the Year are much more common than
female winners of the honor -- at least until the last three years -- so the
opportunities to pair them up in the breeding shed are limited. When they do
get together, the results can be quite good in some cases and have no
significant impact in others, based on modern era records.

The 1944 Horse of the Year, Twilight Tear (by Bull
Lea), produced two offspring by 1941 and 1942 Horse of the Year Whirlaway (by
Blenheim II) and one by 1943 Horse of the Year Count Fleet (by Reigh Count).
Both stallions were Triple Crown winners.

 Coiner (by Whirlaway) captured the Speers Handicap
in 1952, the Polo Park Handicap in 1955, and the Harvest Handicap in 1957.
Foremost (by Whirlaway) won two of his 32 career races. Diamond Tear (by Count
Fleet) didn't race.

 Twilight Tear's most accomplished foals were A Gleam
(by Whirlaway's sire Blenheim II) and Bardstown (by Alibhai). A Gleam finished
first eight times in added-money events, including the Hollywood Oaks, and
earned $251,395. Bardstown earned $628,752 while winning the Widener Handicap
twice (in 1959 and 1957) and finishing first 11 other times in stakes.

 Moccasin  (by Nantallah), the Horse of the Year in 1965 along with Roman Brother in the polls,
produced three foals by 1958 Horse of the Year Round Table and two by 1967
Horse of the Year Damascus. All three of her Round Table offspring -- Apalachee,
Brahms, and Indian -- were added-money winners.

Apalachee was a champion in England and Ireland. He
won the Observer Gold Cup (Eng-I) and the Gladness Stakes in Ireland in 1973.
He finished third in the Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) in 1974. Brahms captured
the 1976 Railway Stakes (Ire-III) and Indian scored in the 1975 Eden Park
Handicap at River Downs.

 When paired with Damascus, Moccasin produced Belted
Earl, a champion sprinter and champion older horse in Ireland in 1982. He won
the Desmond Stakes (Ire-III) in 1981 and the Greenlands Stakes (Ire-III) in
1982. Moccasin's other Damascus offspring, Sandal, didn't race.

 When bred to 1966 Argentine Horse of the Year and
Triple Crown winner Forli (by Aristophanes), Moccasin produced Scuff, who won
the Kilijaro Stakes at Hollywood Park along with divisions of the Ocean City
Stakes and Bally-Park Place Stakes at Atlantic City in 1983.

Moccasin also produced added-money winners by Tom
Rolfe and Coastal.

 All Along, 1983's Horse of the Year, was also a
champion in France. When bred to Europe's 1971 Horse of the Year Mill Reef (by
Never Bend), the daughter of Targowice produced Along All, who triumphed in the
1989 Prix Greffulhe (Fr-II) and 1988 Prix des Chenes (Fr-III). Along All also
finished second in the Grand Criterium (Fr-I). All Along also produce a stakes
winner by Miswaki.

 Lady's Secret (by Secretariat), the 1986 Horse of
the Year, produced three foals by 1977 Horse of the Year and Triple Crown winner
Seattle Slew (by Bold Reasoning) and two by 1998 Horse of the Year Skip Away
(by Skip Trial). Agnes Liner (by Seattle Slew) won one of her five career
races. Vigor (by Seattle Slew) finished third once in three career races. And
Sleepinginseattle (by Seattle Slew) didn't race.

 Secret Stranger (by Skip Away) won one of his 12
career races. Bear Witness (by Skip Away) ran 16 times without winning,
placing, or showing.

 Lady's Secret failed to produce a stakes winner by
any of the stallions that covered her. They included Alydar, Danzig, and Mr.
Prospector. There were five winners among her 12 named foals.

 Azeri (by Jade Hunter), the 2002 Horse of the Year,
has been bred once each to 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy (by Seattle Slew),
2000 European Horse of the Year Giant's Causeway (by Storm Cat), and 2004 Horse
of the Year Ghostzapper (by Awesome Again. Take Control (by A.P. Indy) won one
of his two career races. Arienza (by Giant's Causeway) won two of her five
races in 2011 and finished second in the Fantasy Stakes (gr. II). Wine Princess
(by Ghostzapper) is a 3-year-old and hasn't raced yet.

 Take Control topped the Keeneland sale of 2-year-olds in training in April 2009,
bringing $1.9 million.

 Busher, the 1945 Horse of the Year, wasn't bred to
any Horses of the Year. Her five reported foals included Jet Action (by Jet
Pilot), who wason the 1955 Washington Park Handicap, 1954 Withers Stakes, and
four other added-money events.

Tom Hall contributed to this story.



Leave a Comment:


Like I already said on Steve Haskin's Blog: "...if you widen your search beyond US HOY's, you come up with Fanfreluche, who was Cdn HOY in Canada in 1970 and when bred to Buckpasser, foaled L'Enjouler, who became HOY in Canada in 1975; also, when bred to Secretariat, foaled Medaille D'Or, who was Champion 2yo in Canada in 1978."  She had numerous other stakes winners and stakes placed horses when bred to non-HOY's too and she started a dynasty around the world.

You can also come up with Dance Smartly, who had a stakes winner when bred to A.P. Indy (Dance with Ravens) and two Queens Plate winners when bred to Mr. Prospector (Dancethruthedawn and Scatter the Gold).

24 Jan 2012 6:41 PM

Love hearing about the Calumet mares. Can't wait to see what the broodmare shed brings for RA, Zenyatte, and HdeG.

24 Jan 2012 8:57 PM

It's my understanding that Take Control broke his maiden and hasn't raced since. He scratched from his return attempt due to fever so he hasn't had a 2nd start to lose.

24 Jan 2012 9:54 PM

It's my understanding that Take Control broke his maiden, was injured, and then scratched from his return start due to fever. He's got a record of 1 win and no losses.

24 Jan 2012 9:59 PM

Like I said on Steve Haskin's blog, if you expand to (eg) Cdns HOY, you find Fanfreluche, who had L'Enjouler by Buckpasser and Medaille d'Or by Secretariat.  The former became a Cdns HOY himself and the latter, a Cdns 2yo champ.  She also started a dynasty all around the world.

Also, Dance Smartly, who had Dances with Ravens by A. P. Indy (SW) and two Queens Plate winners by Mr. Prospector: dancethruthedawn and Scatter the Gold.

24 Jan 2012 11:40 PM

I remember Take Control's debut, how green he ran, and how sensational he closed to win.  He was injured after that race, and we haven't seen him since....but that year, he was my leading choice for the TC.

Arienza has exhibited a definitive style, but was scratched from a race at Oaklawn last weekend.  She should be running on Thursday in a different race.

Wasn't Bull Lea also the sire to 1948 Triple Crown winner Citation?  

25 Jan 2012 9:19 AM

No, I do not have a memory issue.  It's just that the first time I tried to comment, I kept getting a response that you wouldn't accept my words.

See, JK had the same problem.

Only MRO is perfect (although let's wait and see if MRO gets "double commented" as well.)

25 Jan 2012 9:54 AM

Since Curlin is by Smart Strike and sons of Smart Strike have done NOTHING at stud, I am not holding my breath that Curlin will be a top sire, or that Rachel's foal by him will amount to anything.  Curlins female line is not top quality and neither is Rachel's for that matter.  Rachel will probably not return to Curlin until he shows he will be the redeemer of the Smart Strike line.  Good luck with that one!!

25 Jan 2012 12:40 PM

Haha..I am so glad you posted about the doubles was about to change my glasses..thought I was having double vision!!

25 Jan 2012 12:52 PM
Terry M.

This shows me that some of these HOY mares were top producers, and some were not. The good producers had good foals regardless of the sire, for the most part.

25 Jan 2012 2:52 PM

The concept of breeding the best racers to each other only makes sense if their pedigrees nick. Curlin and Rachel Alexandra has a pretty good chance of not only producing a stakes class runner but a Triple crown candidate as well because both are from sire lines that have dominated the Kentucky Derby etc. Rachel Alexandra carries inbreeding to foundation sire Nearco via Northern Dancer and Sir Gaylord which represent the best bloodlines of Curlin's dam Sherif's Deputy. Thats usually a formula for success in breeding.

25 Jan 2012 2:55 PM
Terry M.

A good producer will produce good foals, period. Some of these female HOYs were good producers regardless of what stallion they were bred to, and some were not.

Sometimes the quality skips a generation, too, so you need to look at a mare's grandchildren to see if her quality emerged there. We talk about broodmare sires, well, think of this as broodmare dams! That would be an interesting investigation.

25 Jan 2012 2:59 PM

Because the sons of Smart Strike are rather new to stud duties, I'm certain there will be more news of their progeny in the future.  Curlin simply can't be ruled out as a winning sire just because his progeny have not yet hit the track.

But somewhere in the back of my mind I'm wondering if there was at one time a question of Curlin and the use of steroids that have had breeders shy away from him as a sire.

25 Jan 2012 7:22 PM

Well let's hope it ends up more like Twilight Tear and less like Lady's Secret.  

Anybody know what happened to Take Control?  He seems to have disappeared completely after that one sensational start.

25 Jan 2012 9:18 PM


Curlin is like no other son of Smart Strike, a very special horse ...his performance at stud might just take your breath away. I think that you may be under-estimating his dam Sherrif's Deputy.  These daughters of Deputy Minister, like the daughters of Dixieland Band don't have to show anything on the track to become quality producers and major influences for class in the pedigree of their offsprings.

Do you recall how Sunday Silence was under-rated as a stallion in the US because it was felt that his female family was weak? Look what he has accomplished as an international sire of sires because the Japanese (who hardly ever fail in their due diligence) knew what they were investing in.

Rachel Alexandra carries inbreeding to Nearco via Northern Dancer and Sir Gaylord which represent the best in the bloodline of Curlin's dam, Sherrif's Deputy. This is a standard formula for breeding stakes quality horses, therefore Rachel's foal has as promising a future as any, not to mention that he's from the prolific Derby-winner-producing Mr Prospector branch of the illustrious Raise a Native sire line ...and he looks adorable.    

25 Jan 2012 10:49 PM

Ranagulzion, The only thing "very special" about Curlin was his role as the poster boy for performance-enhancing steroids.  Without them he was good but not exceptional.  Regardless, Smart Strike is 20 years old and has not sired a single son from nearly a thousand foals and close to a dozen champions that would qualify as a major success at stud with none among even the top 150 sires of 2011 on the general sire list.  Sure, Curlin has a shot, but probably 95% of stallions fail and plenty of those have better breeding pedigrees and were just as fast.

26 Jan 2012 12:55 PM

Ranagulzion.... you might be right about Curlin.  My opinion is based on other sons of Smart Strike.....BETTER bred sons of Smart Strike that have done NOTHING at stud.  As for your reference to Sunday Silence... I was a huge Sunday Silence fan.  I predicted he would be a top sire when he went to stud and he was...just ask my college advisor as she was an Easy Goer fan.  CURLIN is NO Sunday Silence either on the race track or in the breeding shed.  Halo had other sons who were very nice sires before S.S. came along.  Smart Strike is probably going to be a excellent broodmare sire.  As for the foal being a Triple Crown candidate..I doubt it.  Rachel could not get  1 1/4 miles and Curlin was suspect past 1 1/4 miles.  Yes he ran 2nd in the Belmont, but even there he got beat by a Filly.  His phenotype is not condusive to throwing distance horses.  He is more muscular than most stayers and chances are he will throw that feature. The foal looks like Rachel, and that does not bode well for him either as he inherited his mothers phenotype (physical features) and we all know she did not want any part of 1 1/4 miles.  We all have big hopes for the first foal out of our Lady Champions....but this first foal will probably not live up to the hype.  Rachels foal by Bernardini in 2013 will probably be a better race horse.  Just My Opinion.

26 Jan 2012 2:29 PM

Mine That  Bird is out of a Smart Strike mare, for what it's worth. I believe Rachel broke two stakes records at a mile and an eighth. Let's say she comes home in 14 or even 15 seconds, 2:01 , or 2:02 still beats most 3yr olds, male or female.

26 Jan 2012 5:26 PM

Was it the Mother Goose she won in 1:46 1/5 (stakes record) or the Haskell at 1:47 1/5 that led you to believe she didn't want 1 1/4 miles? What is your glitch with Rachel, because your assessment is way off! Mine That Bird is out of a Smart Strike mare, for what it's worth.

26 Jan 2012 7:23 PM

Take Control made a sizzling debut but was subsequently injured.  Out for over a year, he was starting to train again last summer with Baffert in 2 recorded workouts....and I've heard nothing further about him since.  Apparently he is still having shin issues, and the owners are willing to take their time with him.

But as far as I am concerned, he was a "golden child" a possible champion from 2 HOY's. But we do still have Arienza racing.

26 Jan 2012 7:25 PM
Pedigree Ann

Calling Indian a SW in the same sentence with Apalachee and Brahms is a travesty. He was a distant third in a couple of Derby preps at 3 in California, but thereafter he ran last in an embarrassing number of stakes races in the Golden State. But because of his pedigree, his owners were determined to get a stakes win. Finally they shipped him to River Downs and found a 5-horse field he could beat in a $7,500-added race. He was immediately retired to stud. Mercifully for the breed, the racing gods gathered him home before he could sire a single foal.

28 Jan 2012 11:07 AM

With both parents being hoy I sure hope they could pass their greatness onto this little colt. Best of luck to all. :).

28 Jan 2012 11:22 PM
Pedigree Ann

Comments were made about Tiznow's prospects at stud, such as "who the heck is Cee's Tizzy?" and "He'll be about as good a sire as Swing Til Dawn or Lively One [two distinguished runners from his female family]."

Top-class runners like Tiznow with 'odd' pedigrees are what will save the TB breed from the excesses of commercial breeders, who would keep breeding back to three or four types forever if they could.

29 Jan 2012 10:31 AM
Phar Lap

Interesting article!  I have never been a fan of Curlin so was disappointed but not surprised to see they sent Rachel to him.  I had the opportunity to see him in 2010 when in town for WEG and he looked like a he was full of steroids or that someone had made a mistake and he was actually a Quarter Horse...  Anyway, I hope they send her to someone with more to offer next year:)

01 Feb 2012 5:41 PM

Phar Lap: Rachel A. will be bred to Bernardini this year.  Apparently they plan to keep her busy in the.  

03 Feb 2012 11:35 AM

Breeding and running both TB's & QH's, I find it interesting that while a lot of great running TB mares do not produce well in the breeding shed, many, many great running QH mares do.  I don't have an answer but I would love to hear others thoughts on this.

05 Feb 2012 1:30 PM

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