Is This a Broodmare -- Donnova

Watch out -- what seems to be a lot of discordant topics will merge by the end of the post -- I promise!


Airdrie Stud stands a large roster of stallions that offer value to breed-to-race operations, including several commercially attractive studs.  It's easy to appreciate a farm that stands sons of both Holy Bull (SRO) and Broad Brush -- Flashy Bull (SRO) and Include (SRO), respectively -- and I've already expressed admiration for Slew City Slew (SRO) in a previous post about top breed-to-race sires.

The Airdrie stallion that is associated with today's broodmare evaluation is one with solid commercial appeal.  Yankee Gentleman (SRO) is the covering sire of the Star de Naskra mare Donnova (pedigree) currently listed on Starquine. Yankee Gentleman's yearlings are averaging over $40,000 in 2008, with 19 left to sell at this year's Keeneland September sale.  His three hips sold at that sale through Sept. 15 have averaged $113,333 (median $120,000).  He's one of two Storm Cat (SRO)-line studs at Airdrie; the other is Stormin Fever (SRO).


The mare herself isThoroughbred mare Donnova an interesting study.  Donnova never raced and is the final foal of the unraced Graustark mare Lady Donna.  Donnova can boast three stakes-winning half-siblings, however, including two multiple graded winners.  Better still, she descends from the wonderful mare Bramalea -- her third dam -- who not only excelled on the track with wins in the CCA Oaks, the Gazelle Handicap, and the Jasmine Stakes, but also produced the group I- and Epsom Derby-winning Roberto, sire of Dynaformer (SRO) and Red Ransom (SRO).


Bramalea represents Thoroughbred family 12-c.  Her dam, Rarelea, is a Bull Lea full sister to Delta Queen, the second dam of Dixieland Band (SRO)'s broodmare sire.  (Delta Queen is also fourth dam of my Broad Brush mare Brush Back (pedigree), which is one of the reasons I liked Brush Back when I first saw her.)  You have to go back -- way, way back -- to the Precipitate Mare (1796) to find their common ancestor, but family 12-c is also the line of Singspiel (IRE) (SRO) and Devil's Bag and Saint Ballado and Rahy (SRO).


Donnova's five cross pedigree is one that has close-up instances of bloodline influences now commonly found in more distant generations.  She is a 1996 mare by the useful Nasrullah-line sire Star de Naskra, champion sprinter in 1979 at age 4. At the time of her birth, her sire was 21 and her dam 23 -- allowing Donnova to have Ribot in her third generation, and Balladier and Hyperion and Bull Lea in her fifth. 

The mare has an uneven production record.  Daughters by Matty G (2000) and Behrens (2004) are unraced.  A 3-year-old son of Meadowlake has not yet finished better than third in six races.  It took two years of racing -- at 4 and 5 -- for a 2002 Honor Grades mare to win twice for total earnings of under $16,000.  But Donnova does have black type under her.  A 2001 mare by the Fappiano son Roy was graded-placed in Argentina, and a 2003 Matty G mare placed in a stakes as a 3-year-old.  A 2007 daughter of Marquetry (SRO) and a 2008 son of Cape Canaveral (SRO) are still to race. 

That unraced 2000 Matty G daughter has gone on to a stakes-producing broodmare career.  She is dam of the multiple Canadian stakes winner Holy Nova, a son of the Storm Cat-line sire Pure Prize (SRO).  The apparent affinity with Storm Cat makes Donnova's currently-carried Yankee Gentleman foal look even more exciting.

It's hard to tell much from a single photo.  Donnova appears to be healthy and looks the role of a broodmare.  Could be the photo, but it looks like some mild over-at-the-knee on the right front. Her croup is short on muscling, not uncommon for a broodmare, and makes her back look longer than I bet it really is.  The awkward pose makes it hard to tell if her shoulder is really upright or if it is distorted by her stance.  She has a pretty head and alert ears, lots of angle to the fetlocks, a nice arch to the neck -- and even though I've never owned a chestnut, it's probably my favorite color for Thoroughbreds.

Donnova's $22,500 price tag might be a bit steep based on bloodlines and production records, but the Yankee Gentleman stud fee is factored in to that cost. 


I'd look in a few directions for potential future matings. 

High Brite (SRO) in California has done exceptionally well with daughters of Star de Naskra -- 11 winners from 11 foals. Other Turn-to-line studs that might be worth considering are Eltish (SRO) in New York and Devil His Due (SRO), son of the aforementioned Devil's Bag.

Another route would be to go with Intidab (SRO). (That's the third of the "Top 6 Breed-to-Race Sires" that I've mentioned in this post... seems to be a theme here....)  Intidab's sire, Phone Trick, earned a 1.78 AEI with Star de Naskra mares. 

Finally, any sire with Miswaki blood is worth considering, as he had an amazing 67% stakes winners and 13.04 AEI with an admittedly limited opportunity (three foals) with Star de Naskra daughters.  Two sources of Miswaki would be Yarrow Brae (SRO) (a son of the incomparable Deputy Minister), who has Miswaki as a broodmare sire; and Sir Shackleton (SRO), a son of Miswaki who would introduce a 3 x 2 cross to Star de Naskra for a foal with Donnova.  Both of these studs offer a great value for the stud fee investment.Purim-Donnova TrueNicks report

My favorite potential cross is one you just have to see on paper: that of Purim (SRO), the Dynaformer son that I voted one of my two most-preferred incoming sires of 2008.  Take a look at the TrueNicks hypothetical mating of Purim-Donnova.  In addition to getting a 4 x 4 cross to Bramalea (through Hail to Reason full siblings Roberto and Glorious Spring), there's a 3 x 3 cross to full brothers His Majesty and Graustark, and an uncommon 5 x 3 cross to Naskra, Donnova's grandsire.  And it rates an unbeatable TrueNicks A++The report also indicates that this is the same cross as grade I-winning multi-millionaire Perfect Drift.


Comments, suggestions, breeding ideas... please share!

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