(By Avalyn Hunter)
Forestry is one stallion that has been through more ups and downs than a good rollercoaster. One thing that has remained constant, however, is his apparent affinity for Fappiano, whose sire line is responsible for the dams of five of Forestry's 40 stakes winners. Those stakes winners include three of the stallion's 10 graded stakes winners: multiple grade II winner Etched, 2004 Bay Meadows Derby (gr. IIIT) winner Congressionalhonor, and recent Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Shackleford.
A closer look, however, reveals that the key element in this cross may not be Fappiano but Fappiano's maternal grandsire Dr. Fager, particularly in concert with In Reality, the best maternal grandson of Dr. Fager's sire Rough'n Tumble. Shackleford and Etched, in fact, are both out of dams inbred to In Reality, while Congressionalhonor is out of a mare by Quiet American, a horse inbred 3x2 to Dr. Fager.
Mares by Fappiano himself or those of his sons without reinforcing crosses of Dr. Fager or In Reality through their dams have not produced a single stakes winner by Forestry (though, in fairness, the numbers involved are small). It should also be noted that Forestry's results with mares by Unbridled or Unbridled's Song-fully two-thirds of his matings involving Fappiano-line mares-have been quite uneven. While Shackleford and Etched are both from this cross, they are two of only 17 winners out of 50 foals of racing age so bred (34%), a strike rate well below Forestry's overall 46% of winners from foals; both not only have extra crosses to In Reality through their dams but are out of a grade I producer and a grade I winner, respectively. Conformation is likely an issue that needs to be considered as carefully as pedigree when planning a mating between Forestry and an Unbridled-line mare.
The cross with Quiet American, on the other hand, has yielded much more consistent results, albeit out of a much smaller foal sample. Of eight foals sired by Forestry out of Quiet American mares, seven have started, five have won and two have been stakes winners. Granted, Congressionalhonor, the best runner produced from this specific cross, was also out of an exceptional mare as he is a half brother to 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam.
Of course, three-quarters of Forestry's stakes winners do not have Dr. Fager in their distaff pedigrees at all, but given that the 1968 Horse of the Year is not all that common in pedigrees-Fappiano is by far the most common source-that is not too surprising. The important point here is that, while a given pedigree element may be important to a sire's success, not all conduits for that element may be created equal, and this needs to be taken into account in planning a mating.