Mating Choices -- Bayakoa

A mare that earns $1 million in a season is one thing -- one that can come back the next year and repeat the feat is an entirely different league of greatness.  The back-to-back Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) victress Bayakoa (ARG) accomplished that and more during her six-year campaign that banked more than $2.8 million during which she won an amazing 16 graded races (13 of them grade I).

As a broodmare for Frank and Janis Whitham, Bayakoa did not dazzle, but also didn't have a whole lot of opportunity. She finished with only four foals -- and who would've guessed that her production record would be two runners and one winner? As time passes, though, it appears that her success wasn't a freak occurrence that would end with her -- it's just taking a couple of generations for her class to be propagated.

  • 1992 - Trinity Place (pedigree) by Strawberry Road (AUS):  Bayakoa retired from the track in 1991 and was bred almost immediately to Strawberry Road in a truly international union. Her first mating brought in an additional strain of Nasrullah -- Bayakoa herself had Nasrullah 4 x 4 x 4 -- and introduced a distinctly New Zealand mare family cross to her own decidedly Argenentine female lineage. Strawberry Road stood for a modest $10,000 in the year Trinity Place was conceived and was an unusual match-up for the twice-champion Bayakoa. The match yielded the filly Trinity Place who went unraced but whose produce record vastly improves on that of her dam Trinity Place produced the Affirmed filly Affluent, who bagged grade I stakes on both turf and dirt in a career that earned just shy of $1.5 million. (Affluent's first foal is a 3-year-old Storm Cat colt and has placed twice from three starts in 2009.)  Trinity Place went on to produce a Gilded Time colt that never earned black type but banked $225,420 "the hard way," along with several more recent colts by promising sires -- her record as a broodmare has many opportunities for further success.
  • 1993 - De Sarmiento (pedigree) by Seattle Slew:  Here is a case of an excellent racemare being sent to a top stallion -- but with a resulting inbreeding pattern that gives pause. Seattle Slew was inbred 4 x 4 to Nasrullah, so sending Bayakoa to him resulted in a 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 inbreeding to the son of Nearco, including a 4 x 4 cross to Bold Ruler, who was great-grandsire of both Seattle Slew and Bayakoa. Although unplaced in his only start, De Sarmiento's solid pedigree earned him a shot at stud. He died after standing only one season, which resulted in a handful of winners including Bayakoa's Image, victress of five restricted stakes from 2 to 4.
  • 1995 - Morocha (pedigree) by Kris S.:  Indicating that they thought "the more Nasrullah the better," the Whithams again chose a stallion with Nasrullah in his fourth generation. In this case, Roberto (sire of Kris S.) was inbred to Nasrullah's sire Nearco, adding one more strain of that bloodline to Morocha, the result of this mating. Interestingly, crossing Kris S. with Bayakoa brought in a line-breeding pattern to Miss Bunting (third dam of Bayakoa's sire's damsire Fleet Nasrullah, and also dam of Kris S.'s second dam's sire).  Probably not a highly significant genetic influence, but also not one commonly seen. Like her older sister, Marocha went unraced.
  • 1997 - Arlucea (pedigree) by Broad Brush:  Sure enough, Nasrullah appears again in the stallion choice for Bayakoa, this time resulting in line-breeding (Nasrullah is damsire of Broad Brush's third dam), and Nearco is a significant line-bred influence with three appearances on both the top and bottom sides of Arlucea's pedigree thanks in part to Broad Brush's close Turn-to inbreeding. Arlucea started out well, breaking her maiden first out, and looked to be the racetrack success that Bayakoa had thus far been denied. Alas, it was not to be: that maiden victory would be Arlucea's only time on the boards and would account for 96.3% of her lifetime earnings. Much like Trinity Place, however, Arlucea's true destiny would be the breeding shed. To date, her three foals to race are all winners, including 2005 Distorted Humor (SRO)  filly Izarra, a maiden winner who placed in both the Del Mar Debutante and Oak Leaf Stakes (both gr. I) in her second and third starts. Arlucea's 2006 Cape Canaveral (SRO) gelding Moonport is tearing up the track this year (with three wins and two places from five starts) and looks worth watching, as do her 2007 Afleet Alex (SRO)  filly and 2008 E Dubai (SRO) colt.

I've got to say I'm super-impressed to see the Whitham name as breeder for successive generations of this line.  The Thoroughbred industry needs more breeders who develop a family across generations, and Bayakoa's daughters and granddaughters seem to be a great legacy to build upon.

Going forward with Arlucea and Trinity Place, I would breed away from the Nasrullah/Nearco influences (the latter with the possible exception of Northern Dancer-line stallions, who do not appear to be oversaturated in these two mares). A neat choice for Trinity Place would be to breed to a stallion with Graustark or His Majesty (half-brothers to Bowl of Flowers in Strawberry Road's lineage).

Here's something fun for those of you who like oddities in Thoroughbred names:  note that multiple grade I-placed Izarra (mentioned above) is a daughter of Arlucea, whose granddam is Arlucea (ARG), a daughter of Izarra (ARG).  Someone was having fun with the catalog page at naming time!  I suppose Izarra's first filly should be named Azpeitia!  (See Izarra's pedigree here and follow the tail-female line to see for yourself.)

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