Tale of Two Darleys and a Kitten

Before we get to the Darley duo, we have to begin with a nursery story.

Once upon a time, there was a boy (well, a boy in a man’s body) named Ken who had a kitten. As hard as Ken would try to find the kitten a home, no one was willing to take it in. So, Ken decided to keep the kitten and give it a good home. But the kitten grew into a big ferocious cat and had litters upon litters of kittens of its own. Before Ken knew it, he had kittens running all around his house. He sent them out into the world and they scattered across the country. Kittens here, kittens there, kittens everywhere. No one could figure out how to get rid of all these kittens and stop this feline frenzy. Ken and his kittens became such a national phenomenon he found himself making millions of dollars. All the people who had turned down Ken’s kitten years earlier cried. But whenever anyone saw Ken, he had a great big smile on his face. The more the kittens ran amok, the louder Ken’s booming laugh became. His world was now one big kitten’s joy and he and his beloved wife Sarah and their family, and that little unwanted kitten, lived happily ever after.

OK, now let’s turn our attention to the Travers Stakes.

Transparent and Romansh, the two Darley Stable colts who crossed the finish line first and second, respectively, in the Curlin Stakes prior to the former’s disqualification, have not yet earned their stripes. That basically means they have not done quite enough to be fitted for the Godolphin blue, worn by the crème de la crème of Sheikh Mohammed’s equine society.

Both colts are by the greatest horse ever to wear the Darley colors, Bernardini, who somehow avoided being snatched up by Godolphin during his spectacular 3-year-old season of 2006.

Both Transparent and Romansh still are works in progress as they prepare for their biggest test in the Aug. 24 Travers for trainers Kiaran McLaughlin and Tom Albertrani, respectively.

Because they are still progressing and improving with every start, we really have no idea how good they are, but they made their case for a potential upset, or at least a competitive effort, with excellent performances in the 1 1/8-mile Curlin Stakes.

Before we get to the Curlin, mention must be made of their pedigrees, which require close scrutiny due to their unique nature.

Earlier in the year, we wrote about John Nerud’s influence on a number of Kentucky Derby hopefuls, including Kentucky Derby winner Orb. Well, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

In Transparent’s first six generations, there are an amazing 19 horses bred by Nerud at Tartan Farms (counting several duplicate names).

Forgive the number times we use “bred by Nerud,” but here goes. On the sire’s side, Bernardini’s broodmare sire, Quiet American, was bred by Nerud. Quiet American’s sire, Fappiano, and dam, Demure, both were bred by Nerud. Fappiano’s dam, Killaloe, was bred by Nerud. Demure’s sire, Dr. Fager, and dam, Quiet Charm, both were bred by Nerud. Killaloe’s sire, Dr. Fager, and dam, Grand Splendor, both were bred by Nerud.

On the dam’s side, Transparent’s broodmare sire, Unbridled’s Song, is by Unbridled, who was bred by Nerud. Unbridled’s sire, Fappiano, and dam, Gana Facil, both were bred by Nerud. As stated earlier, Fappiano’s dam, Killaloe, was bred by Nerud, which brings us back to Killaloe’s sire and dam, Dr. Fager and Grand Splendor, both bred by Nerud. Gana Facil’s dam, Charedi, was bred by Nerud, and Charedi’s dam, Magic, was bred by Nerud.

Transparent’s second dam is by Ogygian, who was bred by Nerud. Ogygian’s dam, Gonfalon, was bred by Nerud. And Gonfalon’s dam, is Grand Splendor, who as we know by now was bred by Nerud.

It is quite obvious by now that Nerud, at age 100, still is as big an influence on the breed as ever. To expand on that statement, other Travers hopefuls who trace to Nerud-bred horses are Orb (out of an Unbridled mare), Verrazano (whose dam traces to Dr. Fager), Will Take Charge (who is inbred 3x4 to Fappiano), and, of course, Romansh (who is by Bernardini, out of a Quiet American mare).

If you’re a child of the Sixties and are still fixated with the 1967 Woodward Stakes, often-dubbed the Race of the Century, you will be interested to know that the three Hall of Fame titans in that race – Damascus, Buckpasser, and Dr. Fager – all are in the first five generations of Transparent’s pedigree, as are three of the legends of the Seventies, Seattle Slew, Secretariat, and Spectacular Bid.

And now for something a little different. Romansh, as we mentioned, also is by Bernardini, but you would have to look far and wide to find a tail-female pedigree with more odd names and storylines, especially for a Darley-bred..

Romansh’s broodmare sire, Go For Gin, is a Kentucky Derby winner with a top-class pedigree that goes through two of the biggest class and stamina influences in the last 30 years – His Majesty and Stage Door Johnny. But, oh, that tail-female family. We haven’t seen anything quite like this in a while.

Romansh’s second dam is by Slady Castle, an Irish sprinter who wound up standing in New Jersey, where he was Stallion of the Year 11 times. Slady Castle is by Tudor Melody, who was strictly a five-furlong horse, out a mare by Blue Train, who managed to sire an Irish Oaks winner before becoming sterile.

Romansh’s third dam is by Deep Sun. Who, you ask? Well, Deep Sun set a five-furlong track record at now-defunct Cahokia Downs and a four-furlong record at Thistledown. Deep Sun is by Depth Charge. Here is where it gets really strange. Depth Charge, whose claim to fame on the racetrack was a third in the Miles Standish Stakes, is a half-brother to Triple Crown winner Count Fleet and wound up becoming a leading sire of quarter horses and is in the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame.

Romansh’s fourth dam is by Hy Diamond, who is by Hygro. No, I am not making these names up.

Getting back to the mares, his second dam, C.J.’s Sister, took 26 starts to break her maiden. His third dam, Time Barrier, is a Texas-bred who won one of 15 starts, and his fourth dam, Double Diamond, is an unraced Texas-bred. Fifth dam, Double Orphant, is an unraced filly by Liberty Limited, who pulled up lame in the 1932 Kentucky Derby.

Romansh’s pedigree demonstrates what an inexact science this is. You’ve got the ultimate in class with Bernardini and A.P. Indy and so forth on top combined with more class in Go For Gin through His Majesty and Stage Door Johnny on the bottom. It seems this has connected very well with all that European sprinter’s speed from Slady Castle through his grandsire, the brilliant and classy Tudor Mintsrel. And you can sprinkle in the family of Count Fleet and an Irish Oaks winner. Who knows what to make of that wild tail-female line?

Two of the obscure names we mentioned, Hygro and Liberty Limited, are by well-known French-bred sires Epinard and Sir Gallahad. To continue the oddball tidbits about this pedigree, Epinard and Sir Gallahad faced each other in a match race at Saint-Cloud in 1924, with Sir Gallahad winning by a neck The following year, A.B. Hancock brought Sir Gallahad to the U.S. to stand at his Claiborne Farm and he became a major influence on American breeding.

While Sir Gallahad came here by steamship, Epinard arrived on a luxury liner to compete in a series of three races, called the International Special, a brainchild of August Belmont, Matt Winn, and James Shevlin. Although Epinard finished second in all three races, he still was named champion handicap horse in America in 1924. The story goes that Epinard was returned home and eventually was commandeered by the Germans during the occupation of France and was last seen being used as a cart horse. He died in 1942.

Yes, this drifted way off subject, but the story is too good to pass up, and just further demonstrates the unusual history of this family.

Like Transparent, however, you cannot throw Romansh out of the Travers picture, especially if you’re looking for a price horse for the trifecta who is improving rapidly.

Making only his fourth career start in the Curlin, he stumbled, not once, but twice coming out of the gate, nearly falling to his knees both times, while slamming into the horse on his outside. Although he quickly recovered, he was forced four-to-five-wide going into the first turn and raced wide the rest of way. He then made a big wide move on the turn to pull abreast of the two leaders, finally put them away inside the eighth pole, but was no match for Transparent, who demonstrated an excellent turn of foot to draw clear. But Transparent, who had saved ground most of the way, had come out for his run and took away the path of Proud Strike, who stumbled badly, and that was enough for the stewards to take Transparent down and place him fifth.

It should also be pointed out that Romansh earned a 110 BRIS speed rating for the Curlin, while Transparent earned a 112, the same number as Verrazano earned in his Haskell romp. In his previous start, Transparent captured a one-mile allowance race by 10 3/4 lengths in a sharp 1:35 3/5, earning a strong 117 BRIS rating, higher than anyone in the prospective Travers field. So, from a numbers standpoint, both Darley colts certainly fit with these horses and should relish the mile and a quarter.

And, heck, anyone can win this race. After all, there are no kittens in there.


Leave a Comment:


Oh my goodness, poor Epinard!  What a terrible fate for such an esteemed horse. I hate the collateral damage and hubris of war. That seems so cruel...a high strung horse having to enter a war zone. He must have been traumatized beyond belief.

Sorry Steve, that story just hit me really hard.

As for John Nerud, I had no idea that he and Tartan Farms had such far-reaching influence on so many racing sires and dams.  That  really took some digging.

The Ramseys and their amazing family of kittens certainly had quite the weekend taking the Arlington Million with Real Solution being named the winner and also Admiral Kitten taking the Secretariat. Then to also get the Word Dancer at Saratoga with Big Blue Kitten.  We'll have to start calling them "the Ramses" and the kittens "Bastets" because after this weekend, they have again proven they are royalty.

Thanks for the story Steve, it's another milestone and the hours of research that it must have taken.  You're the best!        

18 Aug 2013 4:34 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I think Palace Malice is the king of the jungle, will win The Travers and has a big chance to win The Classic. I'd put his ML at 7-5 for the Travers. Now I'll be singing "pussycat, pussycat, I love you, yes I doooo," the rest of the day.

18 Aug 2013 5:16 PM

A very informative column Steve--as usual. I started with Quarter Horses, show then race. I remember DEPTH CHARGE and other speed bred TBs crossed on the QHs.

Looking forward to another great Travers race.

18 Aug 2013 7:36 PM

I loved the tale of Ken and his Kitten.

BRAVO Steve!!!!!

Ken did an interview with HRTV and said he took the money from the sale of Roses in May and invested in broodmares just for his Kitten's Joy.

18 Aug 2013 11:40 PM

You could never be in finer company than Mr Nerud and the Ramseys, wonderful intertwining of historical racing/breeding, Steve.

As much as I am hoping for an Orb win in the Travers, I am intrigued by the 2 Bernardini colts. Is it some form of fatalism that Bernardini is to sire a Travers winner in each of his first 3 crops?

As for the 1967 Woodward - I can appreciate Damascus' talent now but for years I loathed this race. Nah, to be honest, I still loath this race as I hate the use of rabbits in races.  

18 Aug 2013 11:42 PM
Karen in Indiana

Love the fairy tale, Steve - oh, wait - it's real life! What a great way to keep a good bloodline going. Heard Mr. Ramsey's interview on TV today and it is amazing that Kitten's Joy has done so well with broodmares who were mostly claimers. Talk about moving the offspring up in class! One of the commentators said that up until 2012, KJ had only been bred to one stakes winner, Don't know if that's true, but if it is, it makes the success of his offspring that much more impressive.

18 Aug 2013 11:59 PM
The Deacon

What amazes me Steve is how you remember all this stuff. Your notes collection must be as large as a library, truly amazing.

Anytime I see Nerud or Dr. Fagers name in a blog I get goosebumps.

Ta Wee a sister to the Doc was arguably the greatest female sprinter of all time. Dr. Fager also sired Dearly Precious, a pretty good filly as well not to mention Tree of Knowledge.

Since Verrazano is a distant relative I will root for him in the Travers but Dr. D may be right in picking Palace Malice.

The Travers has been known for its upsets so maybe an unknown will win.

Remember friends, Saratoga was labeled the graveyard of champions............

19 Aug 2013 4:51 AM
Abigail Anderson

STEVE: What a great way to start off a new week! Loved the Ken & kitten fairytale since (among other things) I was always a huge fan of El Prado who, a little like said kitten, was not deemed good enough to stand at Coolmore by Vincent O'Brien. Now I'm thinking that our Kitten's Joy might be showing signs of Sadler's Wells!!! The Ramseys have got to have the same breeding "gene" as John Nerud because these babies are all homebreds. And the Nerud link to Transparent & Romansh -- my absolutely favourite pedigree talk! Romansh pedigree is really quite fascinating....he's kind of a multi-media equine collage! Thanks for this. A great read!

19 Aug 2013 10:16 AM
Bethany Loftis

Thank you so much for the tale of the kittens as well as the intriguing history lesson! It's absolutely amazing to see the impact that John Nerud has had on racing throughout his entire life, and the legacy he has created! Seeing all the runaway kittens makes me excited for the Ramsey's in part because they (appear to be) nice people, but also at the thought of the legacy that Kitten's Joy might leave on racing. Even in retirement, he continues to provide the Ramsey's with countless joyus moments.

I had often read of horses being commandeered to pull carts during the war, and had also read some thoroughbreds of note were either killed during the war, or secretly smuggled out of the warring countries for protection. I can't imagine the horror these horses went through, and as an owner, I can't imagine the pain of having to send away or hide my love all over people's warmongering.

As for the Travers, thanks for introducing two interesting horses to add to the mix! Dr. D, I think you may be on to something on Palace Malice. He seems like he keeps getting stronger with each passing race and relishes his job, just like his daddy! I can't help but wonder still if Verrazano can carry his talent to 10F, and I'm seriously hoping that Orb rounds back into his previous form so hopefully ultimate picks to follow pending the draw? Here's to hoping they all have a safe, happy, and uneventful week leading up to the big day!

Thanks again Steve for taking the time to do all your diligent research, then twisting it into a tale that pulls you right in. You mentioned in an earlier blog how Charlie Hatton was the best turf writer, without a doubt you sure give him a run for his money!

19 Aug 2013 10:29 AM
A Horsey Canuck

Steve, you make my head spin, and I thank you for the numbers of hours of research that it must have taken for this article. Of course, I'm sure that there is a lot in your head. As a Canadian, I am really interested in any of El Prado's offspring. I did notice that, Somethingroyale, Secretariat's dam, had a part in Kitten's Joy. What a great story...so many kittens. Good for the Ramseys. They deserve it. You have made me go and do research of my own and I thank you.

19 Aug 2013 11:10 AM

Thanks, Steve, for the 'kitten' take.  Great!  With the success the Ramseys have with Kitten's Joy, they are positioning themselves with SW producing mares for the future.  The SW mares they are producing, some with the 'Kitten' name, will themselves become desired broodmares.  In a few years, the industry may be littered with kitten broodmares.  Congratulations to the Ramseys!

Thanks also for your in-depth bloodline analyses.  I'll give Romansh a long look because his 3rd dam was by Deep Sun, a 4F record holder at my beloved Thistledown.

Agree with Dr. D., Palace Malice looks very professional in his works.  At this point he's the one to beat.    

I'm checking off the Travers from my bucket list.  I've been to Saratoga 3 times, never for the Travers. I'm coming for two days.

Hope to see you and say Hi.  

19 Aug 2013 12:13 PM

Two things:

First, I'm really thrilled with the Ramseys' success.  For years we've heard that turf-bred stallions won't be accepted by American breeders and buyers, despite many opportunities and much purse money here in turf and synthetic track races, and even though many of our great sires of the past came from Europe.  I'm thrilled that the Ramseys' are proving them wrong, and hopefully this will open up more opportunities for turf sires.  I hate seeing so many of our good turf runners exported for stud duties.

Second, you brought up a point I've always wondered about.  Does anyone know why Bernardini stayed in Darley colors throughout his career?

19 Aug 2013 12:16 PM
Steve Haskin

Lance, Bernardini got so good so fast, winning the Preakness in his fourth career start, and once he won the Preakness they really couldnt take him away from Albertrani. And back then if a horse was switched to Godolphin it had to be switched to Rick Mettee's barn and race in Saeed bin Suroor's name. Now the trainers get to keep the horse, as there is no sole Godolphin outfit anymore. If it was like that then you can be sure Bernardini would have raced for Godolphin.

Thanks everyone for your comments.

19 Aug 2013 12:45 PM

It is Ironic that I read your article today and you broke down Bernardini's pedigree citing all the names of horse bred by Nerud, as I am right now reading your book Dr. Fager.  The quality of all those horse must be flexing their muscles in the two sons of Bernardini.  I firmly believe Quiet American plays a big roll in his sire power.  A.P. Indy does also, but that sheer crusing speed comes right from Quiet American and Dr. Fager.  As a proud part owner of a 3 year by Quiet American, I am hopeful he shows some of his lineage.  

The femail line of Romansh is a tough old line and will serve him well in his racing career.

19 Aug 2013 1:00 PM

I think it is wonderful that Ken Ramsey is having such success with Kitten's Joy. I always thought that KJ was grossly interfered with during the 2004 BC Turf, and that the best horse did not win that race, and Mr. Ramsey certainly had elegance and grace in his defeat that day. I love that pedigree and I love turf racing over the main track. It is a shame that some breeding stallions have to be overly supported by the people who believe in them in order to flourish. Even with all his successes, is Kitten's Joy going to be an A.P. Indy, or even a Distorted Humor? Probably not, due to the turf influence. What a shame.

19 Aug 2013 1:39 PM
Linda in Texas

This was such a nice piece with tributes to so many greats and who sired and damed who/which and the brilliant man behind their breeding.

Mr. Nerud you are nothing less than a sheer genius. Thank you, sir. Splendid Job.

And bless Epinard. He raced in 1924 and lived until 1942 and was foaled in 1920, he lived of course to be 22. I was 2 when he died. So hopefully his life was not too bad. Lovely photo of his handsome self if you google his name and use thoroughbred after it. Epinard, how did i forget, is French for Spinach so maybe his cart was filled with fresh spinach from gardens. I am a dreamer and I hope his life was content and decent.

Trackjack, you lucky guy. I dream about going back to Saratoga and The Travers is looking right now to be a super race so you picked a good time to visit. Have a nice walk back in time and i hope your choice wins!

Thank you Steve. And i must remember to not double click submit anymore, i just changed browsers. One posting of mine is enough, sure don't duplicates.

Update from Sunday -

Two more Kittens won yesterday after the three Grade 1 winners i posted. They both placed so watch out for them in the upcoming season of racing. It is a hot time at the ol' Ramsey Farm for sure. What will they do for an encore? Stay tuned.

19 Aug 2013 1:54 PM
Pedigree Ann

Let's see - Cologny, the dam of Romansh, was an open SW of 10 races, and a half-sister to two other SWs, one open (a 3/4 sibling), one NJ-bred. The second dam won only once, but was a full sister to an open SW (won 11 of 36 starts) and a half-sister to another open SW. The third dam, also a winner, was also full sister to a SW at Fair Grounds. Only when you get to the fourth dam do you find what one would call a poor producer. Yet just a little further back we come to Bonny Maureen, a winner 5 times and bred in the purple, by North Star III out of SW Batter Cake and a 3/4-sister to the dam of top filly Baba Kenney. Batter Cake's other descendents include the Travers winner By Jimminy, damsire of HotY Sword Dancer.

As one can probably tell, this  family was developed by Col. Bradley at Idle Hour.

And about Hygro. He was not a nothing racehorse; he was a SW at 2 and 3 in decent races, twice defeating Met Mile winner Jack High at 6f. And well-bred; by Epinard, the French champion miler, his dam a SW; he was a half-brother to SW Errard, a sire, and SW Chiclelight, whose daughter Blue Delight would be a foundation mare for Calumet Farm.

Regional families with a background of producing solid winners over several generations can come up with top horses. Where do you think Jameela, Tiznow and Best Pal came from? Heck - where do you think Aspidistra came from? The sires on her damline were worse than these, most of whom actually earned black type, but the dams were all solid. Don't be a pedigree snob; it ill-suits you.

19 Aug 2013 3:17 PM

“I think Palace Malice is the king of the jungle”

He won the Jim Dandy from a fast finishing Will Take Charge. If records are correct Will Take Charge finished 8th in the KD, 7th in the Preakness and 10th in the Belmont. The last time WTC ran a competitive race prior to the Jim Dandy was his winning effort in the Rebel.

What caused his sudden return to form? I can identify two possibilities.  The surface at Saratoga could be one. He made his debut at that track and finished 5th in a 5.5F race. A 5th place finish is a winning effort for him at that distance. The removal of the blinkers could be #2 and the most significant. Mr. Lukas believes all horses require the head gear.  A return to form WTC should have the better of PM at 10F.

If Palace Malice could only manage to defeat a colt with an ABYSMAL TC record by 2L, how will he repel the challenge of a freshened Orb?

Between 2005- 2007 Flower Alley, Bernardini and Street Sense won the Jim Dandy followed by victory in the Travers. A victory by Palace Malice in the 2013 Travers will represent the second time in 10YRS  that 3 consecutive Jim Dandy winners have gone on to win the Travers.

In the last 10yrs, five winners of the Travers have also won the Jim Dandy. What’s significant about those JD winners? None won the Belmont. In the same period two 2nd place finishers and two winner of the Belmont won the Travers.  The Belmont winner that won the Travers did not contest the Jim Dandy.

History is against a Palace Malice victory in the Travers.

19 Aug 2013 3:51 PM
Steve Haskin

Pedigree Ann, I know you like being a contrarian, but have a clue what you're talking about. I said this family was odd, not bad.It has names most people never heard of except for experts like yourself. I also said it has melded well with the sire line, so dont go throwing out names like snob if you havent a clue what you're saying. If you want to talk about pedigree snob, look closer to home.

19 Aug 2013 3:51 PM

Wow. Steve, that's quite a terse response. A side rarely seen from you.

Having said that, I really enjoyed your article. I am a great fan of Mr and Mrs Ramsey - they love racing immensely, and they love their family even more.

It's a personal, unsubstantiated, theory that many of our beautifully bred sires would do very well with some more workmanlike matings. Mr. Ramsey bought solid race mares for KJ's harem. The strategy is paying off handsomely.

19 Aug 2013 4:24 PM
Steve Haskin

Yes, Puchi, I didnt feel good about my response, but on a rare occasion someone says the wrong thing and uses a word I find personally offensive and insulting. And also on rare occasion, someone simply rubs me the wrong way with their attitude. I doesnt happen often, but when it does I have to remember to stay professional and keep things in control, as difficult as it may be.

19 Aug 2013 4:54 PM
Paula Higgins

Steve, you must have a computer for a brain. By the time I finished reading who bred who to what, my mind was running in circles. I think I needed a glass of wine before reading these bloodlines. It might have been easier keeping them straight. John Nerud was a genius.

19 Aug 2013 10:17 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I have only eaten one candy bar in the last few years but for many years Kit Kat was my favorite, along with Snickers.

19 Aug 2013 11:04 PM

One of the dead heat winners of the 2012 Travers and the 2011 winner (Alpha/Stay Thirsty) were sired by Bernardini. I sometimes like to default to the law of averages. Two consecutive winners of the Travers sired by the same stallion is a rarity. It is therefore highly unlikely that a Bernardini sired horse will win the 2013 Travers.

20 Aug 2013 1:19 AM

Dr.Drunkinbum; try a kit kat frozen out of the freezer.

Also frozen seedless red grapes are good

20 Aug 2013 9:56 AM

Love the info in this article, thanks Steve!  As for the Ramsey's, I was rooting for them until I read the following in a recent Blood Horse article:  

While some owners start out with a stable of claiming horses and leave that behind as they build their racing stable, Ramsey still gets a kick out of winning races, regardless of the level. Also, he loves the thrill of seeing his trainers improve a horse.

“It’s the competition, it’s fun, and we show a profit with it,” Ramsey said of the claiming game. “I have a real good trainer (Mike Maker, who set a record for wins by a trainer at a Keeneland meet this spring with 25) and we claim one of these horses and we go over them with a fine tooth comb.

“We pull the blood see if they have potassium deficiency, iron deficiency. We x-ray everything, spend a few thousand dollars and find out what is wrong with them. Maybe he needs a little tieback and if it’s something we can fix, we fix it. If we can’t fix it, we plunge them down at the lowest level and hope we’re not the last one to own them.”    

So, if you can't fix em just dump em off on someone else?  Why not retire them and see if they can succeed at a second career?  I find that I cannot be supportive of someone with that attitude as to me it reflects a MAJOR problem in this sport! Sorry to be a downer but I thought those who are praising him should read in his own words his philosophy regarding his claimers.....

20 Aug 2013 9:58 AM

Mr. McLaughlin will be in search of consecutive wins in the Travers with Transparent. I was very high on Transparent in early spring but was disappointed with his inconsistency. That stated, his last race was visually impressive and gives renewed hope that the issues that caused his early season inconsistencies have been addressed.

Transparent dam sire Unbridled’s Song has turned out to be as good a broodmare sire as he is a sire. Hold Me Back, General Quarters and Out Of Bounds are some of the stakes winning horses produced from sire Unbridled’s Song mares. The promising Incognito is also another. Can Transparent give the recently deceased Unbridled’s Song his 1st G1 winner as a broodmare? The law of averages is against it. However one never knows.

Trainer McCaughey was the last to saddle consecutive winner of the Travers. Mr. McLaughlin quest to emulate his feat will not be an easy one as the Traverse is usually a tough race to win as are all 10F races for 3YO.  

20 Aug 2013 10:33 AM

Mr. Albertrani will be in search of his second Travers winner with Romansh. In his quest he will be attempting a rarity i.e., trainer of father/son winners of the


While I acknowledge that Romansh stumbled at the gate in the Curlin, he was not used extensively to get into contention. The fact that Transparent ran by him with such ease suggest 10F might just be challenging. I prefer him without the blinkers.

While his dam line has been extensively detailed above, one cannot ignore the dismal record of Ribot line broodmare sires. This is the line from which Romansh’s dam sire Go For Gin hails. If my recollection is correct Risen Star was the last exceptional horse produced from this broodmare line. In addition, Derby winners are traditionally not great broodmare sire.

Prior to Orb victory in the 2013 Derby, the previous Derby winner that was produced from a mare sired by a Derby winner was 1965 winner Lucky Debonair. (47YRS)

Could this be the year for broodmares sired by Derby winners? Probably! It has certainly been the year for Breeders Cup Classis winning sires. Awesome Again is the sire of Preakness winner Oxbow and Curlin is the sire of Belmont winner Palace Malice. An Unbridled mare produced the Derby winner and a Go For Gin mare could make it a year for the previously dormant categories.

20 Aug 2013 11:18 AM
Love 'em all

First, I loved the nursery story.

And I'm so glad you went off subject to tell the story of Epinard and Sir Gallahad.  No fault of yours, but my head was spinning after reading all the pedigree information you so generously shared with us.  Can remember a few of the pedigrees (e.g., Secretariat and John Henry), but folks like you and Mr. Nehrud just amaze me!  I probably visit the pedigree query site more often than most ... and I still have trouble!   I'm fairly good at remembering their birthdates ... but that's it.

Did anyone happen to mention Epinard's granddaughter Happy Issue (1940 -1964) from the paternal side?  On her maternal side, she was a great granddaughter of Sir Gallahad.  Good heavens!  She raced nine years ... had 157 starts: 27 - 23 - 22. She was quite a racer ... and still had five foals.  A pretty chestnut like her grandsire, Epinard.  

Thanks, Mr. Haskin.

20 Aug 2013 12:43 PM
Pedigree Ann

Most commercial breeders conflate oddity with inferiority, which is one reason why such clearly superior animals as Invasor get inferior books of mares. If I jumped to a conclusion on that basis, I apologize.

When 'oddity' comes up with brilliant ability, those breeders should be lining in droves so they can outcross, like they did with Forli or Caro. Instead of which, they keep on going back to the same well, time and time again. Repeated inbreeding worked with Lexington, because he stayed sound running in 4-mile heats. It worked with Domino, because he stayed sound racing on hard, dusty tracks of the late 19th Century. It is NOT going to work with horses who couldn't stay sound on the type of cushion horses race on today.

20 Aug 2013 2:42 PM

Coldfacts 19 Aug 2013 3:51 PM

You said "History is against a Palace Malice victory in the Travers".  You could be right but history is really not a determining factor (only useful for the records after the actual race).  This Travers is looking very exciting on paper but the result may turn out to be an anticlimax when Verrazano streaks off to a facile victory, leaving Palace Malice, Orb, Will Take Charge and Moreno in his wake.  Looking for a colt with the potential to score a major upset (a distinct possibility in the Saratoga tradition) look no further than Transparent because the AP Indy/Bernardini line horses with Godolphin connection that have ability tend to flourish at this time of year.

20 Aug 2013 5:02 PM

I do not like to comment on entries made by one blogger because this might give him the impression I take him seriously but when one writes total nonsense, I feel I have to comment.

Imagine this incredible statement :

“one cannot ignore the dismal record of Ribot line broodmare sires”


Some facts:

“His Majesty became an influential sire of more than fifty stakes race winners as well as a prominent broodmare sire…

Through his daughter, Razyana, His Majesty is the damsire of the outstanding international sire, Danehill” Wiki

Tom  Rolfe is the broodmare sire of Forty Niner.

Hoist the Flag:

“Successful as a sire and as a broodmare sire, he was the leading juvenile sire in North America in 1981 and the leading broodmare sire in 1987”Wiki.

Enough said.

20 Aug 2013 5:26 PM
Steve Haskin

Jersey Boy, I too was taken aback by that comment. He did say if his recollection is correct, so it is based solely on memory. Glad you jogged it a little. And dont forget about the influence of Pleasant Colony and Pleasant Tap and Dynaformer on the dam side and Cryptoclearance. Street Sense's female family goes through His Majesty. Just to name a few.

20 Aug 2013 5:42 PM


I so enjoyed your nursery rhyme!  Thanks for printing it.  I always like modern fairy tales that end in "Happily Ever Afters".  

OMG, I love all of the "Kitten" horses!  I just do!  Whenever I see a Kitten's Joy descendent on the program in a race I stop to watch the race, just to see how great it will perform, and I'm always thrilled when they do well - which they often do! - LOL.  It's so FABULOUS that a horse that American breeders pooh-poohed and did not want (that's getting to be a very frustratingly familiar scenario lately), was adored and believed in by his owner who decided to keep him and breed him himself, and now the Ramseys and Kitten's Joy are living "Happily Ever After", enjoying millions in deserved profits, and having the last laugh on those who didn't think Kitten's Joy was worthy of their time & consideration, let alone their money. Way to go, Kitten's Joy!  You are proving that greatness comes in unexpected packages! - LOL.

20 Aug 2013 6:19 PM

Thanks Steve.

I could not believe that statement.

20 Aug 2013 6:23 PM

John Nerud - what a visionary he turned out to be!  His influence in the game 100 years later is fascinating, legendary stuff!  Mr. Nerud has been responsible for bringing us some of the most incredible horses that have ever put hooves to dirt or grass.  He's a great credit to the game and a blessing to the thoroughbred.  Thank you, Mr. Nerud.

And thank you, Steve, for telling the stories about the good guys in this sport - including John & Sarah Ramsey and the legend, Mr. John Nerud.  Great reporting, Steve!

20 Aug 2013 6:35 PM
Linda in Texas

Racingfan i made a comment on another blog about the subject of your very post. I felt it was a terrible thing to say and so against my feelings and efforts.

I am hoping that with the comment i made about his 3 grade 1 winners and the 2 place winners that he will have a change of heart and perhaps remind him to give those who don't make the cut for him a chance and not send them to a horrible end.

Seemed after i posted my disdain and actual disgust that my comment was heard as it must have traveled through the Ramsey barn what their outcome could be if they don't win because they all started winning.

So i pay tribute to the horses more than anything in my comment on the wins. Good for them and hopefully a second chance for the ones who are not quite so qualified. I never will give up. I am against slaughter. Period. Have been since the kind Mustang Lady began her long journey in Arizona to save The Wild Mustangs. That is another subject.

Thank you Steve.

20 Aug 2013 7:14 PM
Linda in Texas

I double clicked again Steve. 3 years of posting and it is hard to break a habit. Linda

20 Aug 2013 7:15 PM
The Deacon

Steve % Jersey Boy: Well stated, both of you took the words right out of my mouth when I read that comment.

20 Aug 2013 8:07 PM

Linda in Texas: so glad to hear you expressed your feelings too.   I was disgusted and I am really surprised there hasn't really been any backlash to him for that uncaring comment...especially in light of the Monzante debacle.  I wonder if it's because he's wealthy....? (Which makes it even worse because he could afford to do right by his horses!)

20 Aug 2013 9:29 PM


This 2013 Travers is almost upon us and looking like the most intriguing Midsummer Derby in a decade ...could we have more of your thoughts on the possible outcome?  Its true that Transparent and Romansh are legitimate dark horses but whats your take on "three the hard way" i.e. Verrazano vs Palace Malice vs Orb?  Perhaps I should throw Will Take Charge into the mix and call it "clash of the four titans".  Over to you "Mr Derby Dozen" :)  

20 Aug 2013 9:30 PM


The dark horse in the Traverse is War Dancer. I have reviewed the video of his only effort on dirt (02/13/2013) and I am convinced he will handle the surface as effectively as he does turf.

In his winning effort in the 10F VA Derby he defeated Bluegrass runner up Charming Kitten and Jack Milton who returned to finish a creditable 3rd in the 9.5F Secretariat.

In his start prior to the VA Derby he finished a close 3rd in the G2 American Turf to Noble Tune and Secretariat winner Admiral Kitten. He experienced traffic problems in the stretch while Noble Tune and Admiral Kitten had clear passage.

War Dancer is May foal who seem to be at the top of his game right now. The good turf course on which the VA Derby was contested is an ideal prep for the Travers. This colt is race horse of the highest caliber and he will enjoy every inch of the Travers distance.

20 Aug 2013 9:36 PM


I can always count on you to keep me honest.

My views were specific to Triple Crown type horses as I am still in that mode. You will not I specified Risen Star whose broodmare was sires by His Majesty.

Can you mention the number of champion 3YOs in the last 10YRS whose broodmares were sired by Ribot line stallions. By this I mean the sire of the first dam.

I pay very little attention to  2nd and 3rd dam sires. Why? They are never regarded a champion broodmare sires.

I focus primarily on the sires of the dams and the lines from which they were produced. It a bit one sided but that's what I do.

I take a lot heat for my posts because many contributors fail to recognized that they are in most cases restricted to 3YOs participating in the either Triple Crown or mid summer Derbies.

I do not keep a lot of records on stake winning horses if they are not connected to the TC.

I do not expect you to accept my position but the revelation above will help you to understand the context of my post.

20 Aug 2013 10:02 PM

Racingfan and Linda from Texas, I too share your dismay at the statement made by Ken Ramsey about lesser-quality Thoroughbreds. No, not every horse is a success on the track. But that does not mean that you just "dump" them and forget about them. We are talking about living, breathing animals here, not commodities to dispose of at will.

I remember being very put off by a statement made by Satish Sanan several years ago. He bred The Green Monkey, the Thoroughbred that sold for the highest price ever I believe. After the horse was retired because of injury, Mr. Sanan said that something to the effect that he had bred this horse's brother too, "another dud."

This kind of attitude is just plain wrong IMO. This kind of attitude is what gets kill buyers trucks filled with Thoroughbreds and all other kinds of horses. If you breed them, you should be responsible for them as much as humanly possible. Marylou Whitney comes to mind. She heard of a horse she'd bred that was in danger of going to slaughter and she moved quickly to purchase this horse back and to give this animal a wonderful retirement. This is what racing needs. Statements like Mr. Ramsey's and Mr. Sanan's will turn even more people away from horse racing.

On another note, both Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra have offspring from Bernardini. I am anxious to see how they progress if they ever make it to the races.

20 Aug 2013 11:32 PM
Steve Haskin

Ranagulzion, I'm going to shock you and say I agree with Coldfacts about War Dancer. I've been following his races closely after his allowance win at Keeneland that has to be seen to be believed. He ran more sideways than straight in the stretch of the American Turf looking for room and closed very fast to be third, finishing right behind Admiral kitten who won the Secretariat Stakes. The Centaur at Indiana downs was too short for him and the winner ran a dynamite race going in 1:34 1/5. He still came home in :23 3/5. And now he's won at 1 1/4 miles and beat very good horses. In his one dirt race, he ran greenly, but galloped out like a monster. I'm looking at him as a longshot pick and to play in the exotics.

21 Aug 2013 12:01 AM
Age of Reason

Are my caffeine-deprived eyes fooling me? Did Steve Haskin and Coldfacts just agree, emphatically agree, on how to handicap an upcoming race?

Yeah, it's a cold day here too...

21 Aug 2013 8:56 AM
Steve Haskin

At least that's one horse you can eliminate. Just looking at him as a potential live longshot who could at the very least pick up a piece of it at a big price.

21 Aug 2013 9:09 AM

As clarified in a previous post, the context in which I regarded the Ribot sire line as dismal is connected to 3YOs that have been on the TC Trial.

The most dominant broodmare sires in TC history are those that trace back to Northern Dancer. His sons, grandsons and great grandsons have sire mares that have produced the winners of 22 TC races. The latest being Palace Malice.

The Mr. Prospector sire line has dominated the sire side of the TC chart. His generations of stallions were very dismal in the broodmare siring department. This all changed when the broodmare line secured its  1st Derby winner in Barbaro whose dam sire was Carson City.  Barbaro was followed by Mine That Bird whose dam sire was Smart Strike. The 2013 Derby winner Orb has continue the surge as he was produced from an Unbridled mare.

Secretariat was considered a good broodmare sire. However, the record of his broodmares in the TC series is poor with only one victory. The broodmares from the A P Indy and Storm Cat lines have horrible records in the TC as well. The A P Indy line has one and Storm Cat zero. In fairness The Storm Cat and A P Indy broodmare lines have produced runner ups in TC races. These broodmare lines are at least on the board occasionally.

The last serious 3YO produced by a Ribot line broodmare that I can recall is Pleasant Prince whose dam sire was Pleasant Tap.  He finished a NS second to Ice Box in the FL Derby. He was nice horse but nothing special. The Ribot line broodmares have been MIA in the Triple Crown series for some time.

The 2013 Travers has number of colts that participated in the TC series. Since Romansh will be running against them, it is in this context that I have cited the dismal record of the Ribot broodmare line.

21 Aug 2013 9:49 AM

Steve & Coldfacts,

This year's renewal must indeed be the mother of all Travers ...War Dancer??? Are you kidding me?  An improving colt, yes ...but can you really see him toppling this stellar field?

I'm kinda glad to see these developments because the winner will definitely prove himself to be something special.

I'll bodly predict right now that Verrazano will squander this field and take dead aim on Wise Dan for the 2013 HOTY. After this rout I hope that Todd Pletcher points him to the Breeder's Cup Classic via the Kelso, rather than the Jockey Club Gold Cup.  Thats my take on it friends ...you all know by know that I have pretty good foresight (not bragging 'cause I run the risk of eating loads of crow ...and having Coldfacts and my new "blog adversary", Signal, rub salt into my wounds LOL).  Enjoy.

21 Aug 2013 12:08 PM

Verrazano drew post 3. If the track is dry, it should be a walk in the park.

21 Aug 2013 12:32 PM

I founded quite amuse when somebody touted Verazano as the best horse in this universe after he won the Haskell, yeah he's gonna walk over any horses in the Travers and the breeder's cup classic too.

Now all of sudden he thinks we are going to have a horse race in the Traver, no more talk like Verazano won in a romp.

What a joker!!!!

21 Aug 2013 12:45 PM


Do you like Jersey Boy's take on the likely outcome of the Travers? I certainly do ...a walk in the park ...on a dry track.

Lets see you run away and hide after Verrazano smokes 'em.  BTW who's your pick for the Travers ...man up and tell us pal ...show us your signal.

21 Aug 2013 4:26 PM


"but can you really see him toppling this stellar field?”

Did War Front sire the winner of the UAE Derby and 7th place finisher in the Kentucky Derby? In which position did the More Than Ready sired Verrazano finish in the 10F Kentucky Derby? Did War Front also sire the 3rd place finished in the 10F VA Derby and 9.5F Secretariat?  Does War Dancer’s dam hail from the most successful broodmare line in TC history? Has War Dancer previously won at 10F? Did he walk out of the starting gates and was left 20L behind the field and still won handily? The commentator remarked that his victory at Keeenland was impossible.

Is he good enough at this point to defeat the Travers field?  Who knows? Only one of his 7 or 8 starts have been on dirt and this is an obvious concern. In the ability department I think he is second to none in the field.

His young sire has been producing some very good turf and dirt horses. The Northern Dancer broodmare line produced the dead heat winners of the 2012 Travers. Palace Malice and Verrazano broodmares also hail from the Northern Dancer broodmare line. However, both failed in their only attempt at 10F. The 12F Belmont walking race that Place Malice won is not an indication that he is effective at 10F in a truly run race. Verrazano has not broken 1:50 in his two efforts at 9F. His hype is not support by his record beyond 8.5F.

Revisit the videos of this colt’s races and you will see there is no quit in him. The more he is asked the more he gives. He will enjoy the distance of the Travers. I think he is worth a gamble as he could turn out to the best of the late bloomers.

21 Aug 2013 11:40 PM
Age of Reason

Add me to the list of Strange Bedfellows who find themselves agreeing with Coldfacts. I don't trust Verrazano at the true classic distance of 10 furlongs. That isn't to say that he won't hit the board in the Travers, and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him salvage a placing on class alone; keep in mind, Verrazano is his father's son. More Than Ready was a sprinter/miler and King's Bishop winner who managed a 4th in the Derby and 2nd in the Dwyer (to Albert the Great while defeating Commendable and Red Bullet) just on toughness and grit. Maybe it's just because I'm the extreme skeptic type and so despise Bandwagon/Hype horses with a passion, but those types almost never live up. Uncle Mo, anyone? With a side of Fed Biz, and Rydilluc for dessert?

22 Aug 2013 11:45 AM
Linda in Texas

Coldfacts so you are going with War Dancer? Yikes, talk about turn of mouth!  I sorta tried to get that across in my simpleton post just submitted. I probably would have reworded it had i known your choice. I am in denial here. Agreeing with Coldfacts! :)

Just now reading the comments. I always like to comment before i read those of others. So this pleasantly surprises me.

Coldfacts and Steve agreeing.

Never thought that day would come.

I just like the dams and sires in War Dancer's pedigree and their wins.

Not razzing either Steve or Coldfacts, please know that. Just good kidding and 2 smart men! :)


22 Aug 2013 12:50 PM
Forbidden Apple

A walk in the park is what Verrazano has had in his last 2 races. Tomorrow he will be facing top competition and true speed. You guys can have him at 2-1 or less. Transparent has natural speed, class, no lasix, and an athletic body that is crying out for the 1 1/4 mile distance. His new glue on shoes are treating him well, look for him to be roaring down the stretch. I have Palace Malice 2nd and Orb 3rd.

24 Aug 2013 12:44 AM

A tour de force in the importance of bloodlines, Steve.  Awesome blog that still has my brain reeling.

Has Verrazano won at 10f? I don't think so. Love the horse, but have doubts about the distance.

My boy Orb has had a great rest, but heeee's baaack! Unfortunately without the benefit of Joel Rosario. That bode poorly for Judy in Disguise in the Ballarina..just pure tough luck all day.  And Orb needs a run just to work out the rust.

Palace Malice could be favored by post time. He has the credentials, and he has big wins.

I'm still pulling for Orb in the Travers. How can I not? I'm finally getting to see him run again. What class!

But, as you point out, there are no SURE things, especially at Saratoga. And there's loads of talent along with strong pedigrees.

24 Aug 2013 11:18 AM

Steve, I thought Orb ran extremely well considering everything (jockey change, etc) and the Travers prepares him well for races later in the year. Arguably, the lack of a pep race may have had an impact but that's racing, you take your chances.

Wonderful to see DWL having a stella year, reminiscent  of the 80s.

Lets see, this year: Orb 2 - Verrazano 0; Orb 2 - Palace Malice 1; Orb 3 - Will Take Charge 1. Even more, Orb has not been off the board in any of his races unlike the others mentioned above.

Now, who is the leading 3 year old?

24 Aug 2013 6:37 PM

Coldfacts 21 Aug 2013 11:40 PM

"Verrazano has not broken 1:50 in his two efforts at 9F. His hype is not support by his record beyond 8.5F."

25 Aug 2013 6:46 AM
Forbidden Apple

I will be the first to admit that Transparent was extremely dull and did not run a step.


Your fuzzy dreams of Horse of the Year just turned into a nightmare. Verrazano is simply the latest hype horse from the Pletcher regime. He looks like the next coming of Violence. This horse has done nothing to even put him in the same conversation as Wise Dan. Time to take your Pletcher blinkers off!

25 Aug 2013 12:09 PM
steve from st louis

Watching Todd Pletcher's chesire cat grin when Capo Bastone upset the King's Bishop rubbed me the wrong way for some reason. He had three runners in the race, including the favorite, Forty Tails. And I know he has a public stable for many different owners. If I were in that position, I think I would temper my excitement because two of my horses just ran up the track. I know he just won a Grade 1 race and it's a fine line running his horses against each other. I could be wrong, but I think his reaction should have been more tempered. Any thoughts?  

26 Aug 2013 4:11 PM

Dr. Fager was not so great that he should cast his sister Ta Wee into the shadows.

I remember the explanation of her name being published -- it is the native American equivalent of a wolf whistle. A writer for the New Yorker no less -- take that Doc -- wrote of her "Oh, Ta Wee, you pretty girl, if you could cook I'd marry you."

26 Aug 2013 7:00 PM

Steve from St. Louis:

If a grin is too wildly celebratory for you, you must be older than Lukas.

I believe the next category down is reserved for zombies.

Will Take Charge deserved this one after his horrible luck in the Derby. I'm grinning.

26 Aug 2013 7:07 PM
steve from st louis

Cassandra.Says,I think you missed my point, which is somehow becoming the norm. So sorry.

27 Aug 2013 10:59 AM

A good delve in to the pedigree of two Travers contenders, their association to two great horses of yesteryears and the Nerud Farm. Very interesting!

28 Aug 2013 2:40 AM

A very interesting delves in the pedigree of two Travers contenders. To experience playing the game of horse racing with today’s horses or from antiquity, Horse Racing Fantasy at www.horseracegame.com developed by Horse Racing Simulation LLC is the place to be.

28 Aug 2013 5:19 AM

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