Girl Talk

Before we get to this past week’s races, there is a pedigree pattern developing this year that you don’t normally see to this degree. We can talk all we want about the A.P. Indys and Unbridled’s Songs and other top-class stallions, but as we’ve often seen in recent years it is the female family that is most influential in getting our speed-induced horses to stay a mile and a quarter on the first Saturday in May.


We’ve seen Derby hopefuls out of major stakes-winning producers, major stakes winners, and half- or full-sisters to outstanding runners. But this year, we have at least four horses whose second or third dams have produced classic winners.


Read the full column here.



Leave a Comment:


Chocolate Candy's pedigree gets me giddy...

19 Jan 2009 2:48 PM

I guess you can call me a Northern Dancer Nerd.  I still think he was the greatest Canadian of the 20th Century (friends made me sympathy calls in 1990 when he died and I dragged the nieces and their friends to Windfields to visit his grave when they were small - the most fun part of the day for them was lunch but they still remember that trip).  So when I read in reference to your comments on Captain Cherokee that Gyr finished second to Sea Bird in the Derby (Epsom), I feel honour bound to correct you.  Gyr finished second to the great Nijinsky (OK, Nijinsky II in the US).

And yay! for Natalma.

But since your topic is Girl Talk, how is Stardom Bound doing?  It's about time for another filly winner of the Derby (Kentucky), don't you think?

19 Jan 2009 6:11 PM
Abbie Knowles

Tremendous article as ever Mr Haskin but you got a little confused at the end.  GYR was BY Sea Bird 11 and finished second to the immortal NIJINSKY in the Epsom Derby in 1970!!!!  An unforgettable race for me as i adored Nijinsky!  i was only 9 when he won but already a big fan of horse racing.  Caught the bug aged 4.  Not sure why except i have always loved horses and started riding at a local riding school around the same time.  

My family have no horse racing background although my Aunt Betty Svendesen has the largest donkey sanctuary in the world.  Over 9000 donkeys!!!  Maybe that's why i cannot abide seeing my horse friends abused or exploited!

Chocolate Candy obviously interests me greatly for all the reasons you mention but would love Midshipman to dead heat with Stardom Bound!!!  Hows that for wishful thinking???!!!

19 Jan 2009 7:02 PM

okay this is great. finaly  some reconition for  these  great mares. rough shoh  should be on the list  with all she has done. she is  special for me!!  

seen moccissin  and her female family  is so impressive. there  are some good buys out  there now  and broodmares are so key to  make or break  the breeder, like  the last  great  depression  when the bradly mares were sold.

its the time  to buy and look back on the female blood,  and you just might find a true gem!!



19 Jan 2009 7:20 PM
Mike K.

It is interesting to note, that in the case of Poltergeist (See Girl Talk above), there is a 5Sx3D cross to Foggy Note(MSW). Foggy Note is both the dam of Relaunch, Poltergeist's broodmare sire, and the dam of Tapit's 3rd dam, Moon Glitter (MSW).  Moon Glitter is a full sister to Relaunch and the dam of Glitterman (MSW and Sire). So Poltergeist has a duplication of his broodmare sire's (Relaunch) genetic makeup in his sire's (Tapit) pedigree through his sire's third dam. It is rare to have two full siblings of different genders in the same pedigree.

19 Jan 2009 10:31 PM
The Holy Bull

What happened to West Side Bernie and Big Drama??

I predict for starters 1-2 in the Holy Bull next week!


20 Jan 2009 9:34 AM
Steve Haskin

Thanks, Abbie. You're right, my brain got a bit scrambled. I corrected it. For some reason I wrote Sea Bird as his sire and the horse who beat him which obviously cant happen. Thanks again for pointing it out.

20 Jan 2009 9:57 AM
Steve Haskin

Mike, I noticed that after going over the pedigree profile. I missed it the first time and by the time I saw it I figured it was too late to go into detail on it, but I will mention it next week. Thanks for pointing it out.

20 Jan 2009 10:08 AM

Steve I wish you had your website where you reported on the triple crown half the year and the breeders cup the other half.. Every monday or tuesday i know to log on just to see what your insight is..I have been reading on alot of websites for years and nobody lays it down like you, i cant wait for you to be at Churchill when you start going over the workouts.. Whats your thoughts on Well Positined ....Thanks alot Mike

20 Jan 2009 11:02 AM

It was great to see a mention of the Donkey Sanctuary--I would think that any horse lover would appreciate the wonderful work they do for donkeys all over the world.  The sanctuary is a fantastic place to visit in England.

20 Jan 2009 2:53 PM
Inquiry is available :)

20 Jan 2009 5:18 PM
Steve Haskin


( is available :))

20 Jan 2009 6:53 PM
Steve Haskin

Stardom Bound has been training well. With IEAH, I wouldnt be surprised if they start thinking Derby. But it's a long way off.

Inquiry, thanks. Well Positioned no doubt has talent, but I'm not sure he's all that sound.

20 Jan 2009 6:56 PM

Steve, pedegree analysis of the Derby aspirants compared with previous Derby winners is quite revealing.  Horses whose sire and/or dam line have Mr Prospector and/or Northern Dancer within the first 3 generations have the best genetic constitution for success on the first Saturday in May.  Also those with multiple doses of Northern Dancer in the female line up to 6 generations and those with Derby-winner-producing sires within 3 generations are hotshots.  Square Eddie and Breakwater Edison lead the ratings on this basis.  Look at the last ten years and go figure. I'm not suggesting that this is fool proof.  My top choice is still Big Drama.  

20 Jan 2009 7:36 PM
Abbie Knowles

Yes the donkey sanctuary is a fantastic place to visit and they do lot of work not only with the donkeys but also use the fit donkeys with special needs children and have several centres in the UK.  Including the Slade Centre in Devon where the main Sanctuary is.  Devon is well worth visiting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

God Bless

best wishes

Abbie Knowles

20 Jan 2009 8:11 PM

Hi Steve am from Kenya and have a few questions. First of all, I know our racing industry is not as developed as yours but if I may ask, why do you guys not have preps before the derby that are actually equal to the one the will be traveling on the big day? Back here our Derby comes in April and its a mile and a half, and most horses before going to post on that day will have at least gone the distance once or twice. Secondly I've read many  articles on American racing particularly on the roses and the famed mile and a quarter. Maybe its me but that seems like piece of cake. Our first classic is the Guineas in January at a mile, and again most contenders will have had preps over the distance or gone longer (mile & 1\8 or mile & 1\4) our third and final classic race is the Kenya st. Ledger going 2800metres (mile and three quarters)and it comes around in June. So is it that American horses are all about speed and no endurance or what really is the Issue? I know I've digressed from the topic of the blog but please bear with me. My final issue is why do you guys make such a big deal when Fillies compete against the boys? I see fillies every other day destroy colts and geldings on the track and thats at all distances. We've had classic winning fillies over the years most doing both the derby and the Ledger. On girl talk, I like chocolate candy but on the overall Old fashioned would be my derby choice, or Stardom Bound if she should happen to run. thank you.

21 Jan 2009 6:59 AM

Thank you, Steve, for another wonderfully educational article.  This is something that I have been struggling with for a long time, to really get my head around, but I often get lost in the siblings and who is tail-male, tail-female and all of that.  I guess I'm just easily confused, but I keep trying.  Based purely on some kind of weird instincts, I've always felt that the broodmares were overlooked in some of the hype about classic contenders, except of course, for Better Than Honour last year.  (What an accomplishment she did in producing three classic starters, although Casino Drive didn't get to actually start - he got close.)  Like I said, though, I struggle through the pedigrees and get confused and can't remember one blue hen or another, yet my brain can recall that La Troeinne's importation was #20.  Is there help out there, some sort of simple explanation for a slow learner?  

21 Jan 2009 8:51 AM
Steve Haskin

Ezzy, thanks for your comments. Your racing structure is similar to the rest of the world, while we are off in our own world when it comes to the Triple Crown. Our Triple Crown wasn't designed, it was adopted from three different races at three different racetracks. Unlike the rest of the world, we do not have a single regulatory body making rules for the Triple Crown, because the three races, as I mentioned, are run by three different entities, and none of them would be willing to change their race to a mile and break with tradition.

As for starting our Triple Crown with horses running at a distance they've never gone before, perhaps thats what makes it so intriguing. It gives it a sense of the unknown. Thats just the way it happened.

We would never have a race, never mind a Triple Crown race, at 1 3/4 miles. Our top horses simply are not bred to run that far, which is unfortunate.

Again, you are like the rest of the world when it comes to fillies beating colts. Our  trainers as a whole dont like to try. Fillies traditionally beat colts in Europe mainly at sprint distances and 1 1/2 miles and farther. We have had our share of fillies beating colts in the BC Sprint, but we just dont have the long-distance races the route fillies prefer. We used to have a filly named Shuvee who won back-to-back Jockey Club gold Cups when it was run a 2 miles. You dont see too many fillies in Europe(I dont know about Kenya) beating colts in the Guineas or even in the 9f and 10f races. It's more 1 1/2 miles and longer.

21 Jan 2009 9:42 AM

People can talk about bloodlines all they want; bottom line is that there will not be a triple crown winner this year or any other year.  The triple crown went out with Affirmed.  I'd like to see someone breed a real racehorse like Affirmed,  but today's breeders are not capable of that or they would have done it. The only thing breeders today can do  is produce sprinters that last for about 4 races or so.

21 Jan 2009 11:45 AM

Steve you maybe right about fillies beating the boys at a mile(we do have fewer fillies winning the guineas as compared to the other two classics) but they seem to be very efficient at that same distance and all others. In this years' three year old crop, two of the very best are fillies and in the last prep(7 furlongs) for the guineas they finished  1, 2 beating the gelding that went on  to win the guineas, they were however scratched from the classic one on the morning of the race due to various minor ailments. As for your top horses, why not advocate for breeding of better champions? You could start a campaign or something especially against sending horses to the breeding shed after their three year old season(I believe you are very resourceful) We still have an 8year old ungelded record setting (1 3/4 miles and 2miles)dual classic winner still slugging it out on the track with horses half his age. That is my personal challenge to you!

22 Jan 2009 6:47 AM

Further to my previous posting it seems that Native Dancer (grand sire of both Mr Prospector and Northern Dancer) has taken revenge on his only career loss in the Derby (beaten by Dark Star)through his daughter Natalma (dam of Northern Dancer) and son Raise A Native(sire of Mr Prospector).  These progenies of his seem to get ripe and ready for the first Saturday in May better than others.

Another observation is that offsprings of fashionable stallions AP Indy and Storm Cat have been overrated when it comes to producing Derby winners, the latter has Northern Dancer too far back in his pedigree.  However their daughters may fare better.  What do you think Steve?

22 Jan 2009 10:30 AM

I took a peek at Poltergeist's pedigree after people mentioned the inbreeding to full siblings Relaunch and Moon Glitter. Even more amazing is that Poltergeist's damline goes all the way back to Clonaslee, ancestress of In Reality who is the sire of Relaunch and Moon Glitter. What are the chances of THAT happening?

23 Jan 2009 5:17 AM
MIchael Blowen

Steve, Thanks for all the great columns...We've added Clever Allemont, Mighty Mecke, Judge's Case, Flick, Klassy Briefcase and, of course, Hidden Lake in the last month or two...We've fenced in the back 40 acres and we're just trying to raise the money for the waterers to let more retirees in...Thanks, once again, for everything...

25 Jan 2009 1:03 PM

With the exception of Chocolate Candy, all of these derby contenders are La Troienne's descendants.

25 Jan 2009 4:12 PM

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