Quick Change of Plans for Proud Spell

Less than a month after a surprising second-place finish in her season-opening prep race, champion filly Proud Spell (profile) was retired, moved home, and put into broodmare service.

A homebred for Airdrie owner Brereton Jones, the multimillionaire daughter of Proud Citizen (SRO) was sent to Airdrie Stud's Indian Charlie (SRO) for an April 11 cover.

Thinking in human terms, I know there'll be a few questions about the timing. (Right now I have a couple of pregnant friends who don't think mixing athletic stress and pregancy is a great idea -- they're mad on the mare's behalf!)  It seems to be a quick turnaround -- from training track to broodmare pasture in about four weeks -- but because of the length of equine gestation, it's actually not a bad practice.  It's a natural advantage of horses that was exploited in the past more frequently than it is now; in fact, it was once a reasonably common practice to breed a mare in late winter and continue to run her until early fall.  Pregnancy requires little from the mare's body in the first several months, giving these mares plenty of time to acclimate to their new lifestyle. And nature has another card up its sleeve: if a mare is too "racetrack fit," she won't conceive to begin with.

So, with that said, let's take a quick look at what will be one of 2010's most anticipated newborns:

The resulting foal will have a 5 x 5 duplication of Northern Dancer -- both Indian Charlie and Proud Spell are out of mares by grandsons of the Windfields wonder horse. Nothing out of the ordinary here.

It will be inbred 5 x 5 to Raise a Native also: Proud Spell's great-grandsire is Mr. Prospector, the most ubiquitous source of that stallion, but we also see a less-common strain through a Raise a Native daughter -- in this case, the dam of Indian Charlie's broodmare sire Leo Castelli.  Mr. Prospector has been one of the best crosses for Indian Charlie in general, as evidenced by three grade/group I winners on the sire-line cross (Pampered Princess, Fleet Indian, and Indian Blessing).

Doubtless, Indian Charlie is the top-of-the-line offering at Airdrie Stud.  His $75,000 fee is 2-1/2 times the price of the next most-expensive stallions at the farm in large part because the son of In Excess (IRE) has made a name for himself with a steady stream of big horses.  But he's not the only choice that former Governor Jones could have made.

I took a peek at the hypothetical match-up of Proud Spell with other Airdrie stallions and came up with some interesting results:

  • With Divine Park (SRO), the hypo pedigree shows an unusual duplication pattern.  Both Proud Spell and Divine Park are by Mr. Prospector-line studs out of mares whose grandsire was Danzig and whose damsire was a son of Nijinsky.  This particular cross yields a crazy-high nick rating due to there being only two runners on the Chester House/Mr. Prospector sire-line cross:  Take the Ribbon and Phoenix Towner, both grade III winners.
  • Similarly, Istan (SRO) has a pedigree pattern that mimics Proud Spell's, although probably too close for comfort.  They're both from the Gone West line (he's a son while she's by a son) and both are out of mares whose sires are grandsons of Northern Dancer.
  • Crossed with Friends Lake (SRO), Proud Spell's foal would be a 4 x 5 cross to Secretariat and would extend Friends Lake's inbreeding to Buckpasser.  More importantly, it would have the tried-and-true A.P. Indy/Mr. Prospector sire line affinity.
  • For those who prefer outcross matings, how about the breed-to-race favorite Slew City Slew (SRO).  Both Bold Ruler and Round Table are duplicated, but at more distant generations. This match would be heavy on Nasrullah and Princequillo bloodlines in general, actually, without introducing additional strains of Mr. P or Northern Dancer. 

By the way, I previously mentioned Proud Spell here:  Thoroughbred Female Family 4 Goes 1-2 in Alabama Stakes.


Leave a Comment:


No argument at all with Gov. Jones' decision to breed her to Indian Charlie. Indian Charlie certainly does appear to appreciate Mr. P. I've used this cross often, both for myself and clients-and I'm not one wedded much to "nicking" per se. Indian Charlie has proved to be as brilliant a sire as he was a racehorse. Some, though, are too fast for their size (not unlike Unbridled's Song-but I did breed a good one from that specific cross) so they need to be observed/evaluated closely.

14 Apr 2009 5:44 PM

inbredding needs to stop, the gene pool is too small, thats the reason horses break down, bred for speed and thats it. it really annoys me but i love this sport.

  • Scot's reply:  Actually, I think you're misinterpreting some of the data out there. This is a common belief that needs to be dispelled.  Inbreeding to individuals with a known tendency to pass on bad traits is indeed a problem.  Inbreeding itself, however, is not.  There is zero correlation between the concept of inbreeding and the reality of breakdowns.  In fact, inbreeding to sources known for stamina and durability is probably one of the best solutions to bring physical stability back to some lines that are more prone to training-induced breakdowns.
14 Apr 2009 6:01 PM
Ida Lee

I loved watching Proud Spell race. What a beautiful girl!  I know she'll be a great Mommy just like she was a great Champion. I hope she has a lot of beautiful babies and stays healthy. Thanks for the memories Pretty Girl!!! And to her connections, please take good care of her. We love her so much.

14 Apr 2009 7:30 PM

She was a wonderful race filly - good luck Proud Spell!!

14 Apr 2009 8:45 PM
Laura R


I’d really like them to send Proud Spell to Giant’s Causeway. The foal would have Secretariat top and bottom through his two best daughters, Terlingua and Secrettame, a sex-balanced RF to Crimson Saint through Terlingua on top and her half brother Encino, Proud Spell’s third damsire.  Encino and Storm Cat are out of Northern Dancer sires with Crimson Saint close up in both pedigrees.

Frost Giant (Giant’s Causeway /Gone West mare) won from 7F on turf to 10F on dirt and has similar breeding to the prospective foal. Overall, Giant’s Causeway bred to Mr. Prospector sire line mares has produced 17 graded stakes winners.  

Another “If I could breed her to anyone” stallion I’d choose is Dance With Ravens.  Yes, his two year olds have yet to run, but have you seen that pedigree (A.P. Indy out of Dance Smartly)?  I predict he’ll follow Malibu Moon to Kentucky in a few years.  The prospective foal would have a sex-balanced cross of Danzig on each distaff side and A.P. Indy over Mr. Prospector sire line has given us 53 Graded stakes winners.

  • Scot's reply:  Neat ideas!  Great thinking with the Crimson Saint double, taking advantage of the fairly obscure Encino.
14 Apr 2009 8:46 PM
Laura R


PS - Hat Trick would be an interesting match too.

Laura R

14 Apr 2009 8:50 PM

what a beautiful champion proud spell is I hope she has a long and happy life and all her foals will have happy lives to . Darlene.

15 Apr 2009 1:00 AM

"racetrack fit," is that what coming off Regu-mate and/or other hormone implants is called, LOl.

15 Apr 2009 6:42 AM

Good luck to Proud Spell.  I hope that she has lots of people that will give her all of the love and care that she so rightly deserves.

Hope you have a great life.

I will miss seeing you race, as you are such a beauty.

15 Apr 2009 10:02 AM
marc W

Off topic but it is another Jones horse, but curious because I have done this before through another with success. (I talked a friend of mine to buying shares in lightly raced, well bred horse--he did very well with him--I am secure enough financially now to do it myself)

What to you think shares in Old Fashioned would be a fair price?

With him retiring I think he has the makings of a good stud and in this depressed market-it may be a time to come in again.

15 Apr 2009 12:13 PM

Re: LauraR's suggestion of Giant's Causeway for Pround Spell:

She offered several reasons for this mating, among which are the "sex balanced RF to Crimson Saint through Terlingua on top and her half brother Encino..." This brings up an interesting issue, and one I've often wrestled with.- The relatative advantages to inbreeding/linebreeding may rise or fall depending upon the merit of the sources. One can never be sure of the qualities received from any specific ancestor, but all else equal, the racing and breeding record of the immediate decendant should have bearing. Yes, Crimson Saint appears to be a very special influence-a superior influence for speed, and no doubt contributed prominently in Storm Cat's success at stud. Her speed influence is so remarkable that when she was mated with Nijinsky II and Secretariat (twice)--both sires noted more as distance influences-all resulting offspring demonstrated great speed. But Encino was not a top horse, nor a particularly good sire (although he received only limited opportunity)-so with the above in mind, one must question how "positive" was Crimson Saint's contribution to his genome, and then, in turn, how positive would be his Crimson Saint contribution (resultant RF) to the prospective Giant's Causeway- Proud Spell. I.E., the paper pedigree might suggest one thing, but what is received in reality? The flip side to this specific analysis (Encino) is the fact that Encino was quick, and likely inherited much of his quickness directly from Crimson Saint's genetic contribution. So this piece of evidence does suggest that, at least, Encino carries some of her positive "speed-creating" genes. Consider had Encino not demonstrated much speed-that might also tell us something re-what he inherited from Crimson Saint. Depending upon Encino's generational postion, one must then move forward with similar analysis in attempting to predict what those decendants may have received...I realize that all this was quite long-winded, and not artfully explained, but may be worthy of thought when planning matings.        

15 Apr 2009 12:43 PM
marc W

Thanks for your insights

Anybody in the "Business" want to comment?

16 Apr 2009 4:02 PM

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