Rare Thoroughbred Sire Lines -- Ormonde and Teddy and Damascus

Last month while I was proofreading the "grey pages" at the back of the Stallion Register -- the charts that trace stallions back to the male-line progenitors of the Thoroughbred breed  -- it hit me that the sire line of Damascus, and in fact the larger Teddy sire line, is in danger.  I thought it would be useful to explore the current Teddy bloodlines a little more closely.

(Need a quick overview of modern Thoroughbred sire lines?  I recently posted a brief summary history in another post -- read it here.)

If you look at the Teddy sireline chart (pg. 1366 in the 2009 Stallion Register), you'll see that this is the shortest lineage chart, with the fewest branches, of any of the sire lines in the book.  This has been a fairly concentrated line since Bend Or branched off with sons Bona Vista and Ormonde in the 1880's. 

Ormonde's great-great-grandson Teddy (pedigree) initially established several branches of his own.  The 1983 Stallion Register (which I believe is the largest stallion book ever published... ah, the glorious '80s!) shows Teddy lines through sons Aethelstan (Reliance and Relko branches), Bull Dog (Bull Lea and The Doge), Sir Gallahad III (Fighting Fox, Gallant Fox, and Roman), and Sun Teddy (Sun Again and Sunglow).  In fact, the Sword Dancer line of Sunglow boasted three branches of its own, including a slew of Damascus sons and grandsons. 

In 2009, we're limited to a single viable line of Teddy -- through Damascus -- and even that line looks to be in trouble, with only seven representatives in this year's Stallion Register.  Here's the roster:

  1. Afternoon Deelites (SRO)
  2. Early Flyer (SRO)
  3. Old Topper (SRO)
  4. Say Florida Sandy (SRO)
  5. Skip Away (SRO)
  6. Swiss Yodeler (SRO)
  7. Time Bandit (SRO)

Many thought multiple grade I winner Ogygian (pedigree) would be the savior of the Damascus line, but other than a few regional studs currently representing him, his line appears to have fizzled in tail-male.  And Desert Wine (pedigree) -- a multiple grade I winner who placed in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness (both gr. I), and who is out of Anne Campbell, making him a half-brother to Menifee -- likewise petered out without leaving a potent heir.

I personally had high hopes for Private Account (pedigree), especially through his sons Corporate Report (grade I-winning, classic-placed millionaire); Personal Flag (multiple grade I-winning millionaire); and Private Terms (another grade I-winning millionaire, this time from the immediate family of the great Ruffian).  All three lines are still viable (Corporate Report, in his 18th year at stud, stands in North Dakota; Personal Flag's iron-horse son Say Florida Sandy stands in New York; and Private Terms' grade I-winning millionaire son Afternoon Deelites is in Louisiana). 

Another Private Account-line stud, Top Account (pedigree), stands in Washington and I sure wish he'd get some more attention.  From the 1-x female family of La Troienne, Top Account actually has a terrific Rasmussen Factor inbreeding to the full sisters Glamour and So Chic.  Top Account is broodmare sire of Imawildandcrazyguy (pedigree), a stakes winner who is graded-placed on both turf and dirt, and who earned $100,000 with his fourth-place finish in the 2007 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands.  Sadly, this guy has only a handful of 2008 weanlings and yearlings, and hasn't yet produced a son worthy of carrying on the line.

I wrote about Damascus in the recently-released Eclipse Press book Horse Racing's Greatest Rivalries, and am convinced that he was one of the greatest runners ever to hit the track.  His record (21 wins and 10 additional placings from 32 starts at 2, 3, and 4) is amazing, and was accomplished in an era when horses went through harder campaigns than most trainers currently advocate. Damascus blood in today's Thoroughbred breeding is a source of soundness.  It also introduces speed that can be carried for a route -- a quality that is underrepresented in North American breeding today.

Of course, Teddy blood exists in abundance outside of tail-male lines.  It's hard to find a Thoroughbred runner today that doesn't have multiple lines of Teddy through the great horse and his sons as broodmare sires.  In fact, much like Phalaris, Teddy blood is one of the biggest influences on today's Thoroughbred.  The difference is, Phalaris established a major sire line, while Teddy's male line appears to be in desperate need of a new hero.

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