Mating Choices -- Flawlessly

The title of this post is a bit misleading.  The great racemare Flawlessly won nine grade I contests and $2,572,536 during her multiple-championship career -- but her produce record is too short to judge, with only two Storm Cat fillies produced. Of them, the 1996 Flawlessness was a maiden winner who died at age 4, reportedly because of the same colitis-x illness that recently claimed graded winner Sailor's Cap. That left full sister Dreamlike (pedigree), a 1997 model, to carry on her dam's female line.

And what a family it is.  Flawlessly's dam, La Confidence, was only a minor winner herself, but she produced a slew of good full siblings to her great distaff daughter. In fact, three other Affirmed-La Confidence foals went on to earn six figures on the track. The best of them, a grade III-winning son named Perfect, currently stands at stud in New Jersey. Granddam La Dame Du Lac produced six black-type runners from 15 foals, including a pair of Nijinsky II group III winners in Ireland. La Dame Du Lac was a half-sister to the great stallion Halo and to multiple champion Tosmah. Their dam, Cosmah, was in turn a daughter of the great matron Almahmoud, whose daughter Natalma produced Northern Dancer along with several daughters who have been the standardbearers of family 2-d. (This family, of course, has multiple branches -- just a couple of generations earlier in the female line was 1924 juvenile champion Mother Goose.)

La Confidence's pedigree reintroduced half-sisters Natalma and Cosmah: her grandsire was Northern Dancer, so she had Almahmoud 4 x 3. Flawlessly's daughter Dreamlike received another infusion of Northern Dancer via his grandson Storm Cat. (In fact, Dreamlike's pedigree exhibits quite a bit of inbreeding, with Native Dancer, Almahmoud, Bull Page, and Princequillo all doubled in the fifth generation.)

Now, Dreamlike was unraced -- but as the only source of Flawlessly, she's had a few good hits, so we'll take a look at the mates chosen for her and how they've worked.

  1. 2000 - Woke Up Dreamin (SRO):  This son of Holy Bull (SRO) came into his own fairly late. He won an 8 1/2-furlong event at 2 but wouldn't see the winner's circle again until late in his 4-year-old season. At 5, though, he was hot: he followed up a win in the True North Breeders' Cup Handicap with another victory in the Smile Sprint Handicap (both gr. II) to clinch a career earnings total above a half-million dollars. Woke Up Dreamin now stands at Millennium Farm in Kentucky, where his first foals are juveniles of 2009. Not surprisingly given Dreamlike's signiicant inbreeding patterns, her first foal was an outcross at five generations (and in fact the only sixth-generation cross was the Domino-line stallion Shut Out, broodmare sire of both The Axe II and Exclusive Native).  Woke Up Dreamin is a sprinter type much more in the style of damsire Storm Cat than he is like his own sire; I would expect him to cross well with speed-bred mares, whereas I'd tend to send rangier mares to other Holy Bull sons.
  2. 2001 - Dame Blanche (pedigree):  Another outcross at five generations, this daughter of Cherokee Run (SRO) was a minor winner in France. The cross with Cherokee Run brought in line-breeding to Nasrullah and Somethingroyal, the ingredients that produced Storm Cat's damsire Secretariat. There are two ways that I'd go with Dame Blanche's own mating selections.  Pairing her with Northern Dancer or Halo-influenced stallions would reinforce the Almahmoud strains that she's already carrying -- and that is what her owners appear to have sought in her first three matings, with the Danzig son Anabaa (SRO) and the Nijinsky II-line stud Green Tune. The other possibility I would study is the Somethingroyal angle. Dame Blanche's sire and damsire both descend on the broodmare sire side from sons of Somethingroyal. Crossing Dame Blanche with an A.P. Indy (SRO) son would neatly reinforce both Bold Ruler and Somethingroyal lines.  Of course, Elusive Quality (SRO-- with not only Secretariat and Sir Gaylord, but also his own cross of Northern Dancer -- would accomplish both criteria.
  3. 2002 - Dream Art (pedigree):  This son of Atticus (SRO) proved to be a dud on the track, failing to place from seven starts. Here the inbreeding pattern might have overwhelmed this pedigree. Dream Art's sire, damsire, and third dam's sire all come from sons of Northern Dancer, and Secretariat is the damsire of both Dream Art's sire and broodmare sire. Nine horses are repeated at least three times each within the first seven generations. But while I would avoid the 3 x 4 dual male-line cross to Northern Dancer, I otherwise like the overall pattern -- Dream Art was just not destined to shine at the track.
  4. After a barren year, Dreamlike was sent twice to uber-sire A.P. Indy. While Holy Bull ($25,000 fee at mating), Cherokee Run ($20,000), and Atticus ($20,000) were solid mid-range studs, we've got to respect the decision to send Dreamlike to A.P. Indy -- a huge upgrade at $300,000 -- before Woke Up Dreamin's big stakes successes. At the time of cover to A.P. Indy, there was little to indicate that Dreamlike was to be anything special as a producer, even given her good looks and royal pedigree.
    • 2004 - Philly's Philly (pedigree): The first attempt at the cross with A.P. Indy yielded both success and failure. On the track, Philly's Philly was a two-time loser and retired early as a 3-year-old. In the sales ring, however, Philly's Philly brought $200,000 as a yearling and $400,000 as a broodmare -- that latter price while in foal on a $30,000 cover. She now has two colts: a 2008 yearling by Dixie Union (SRO) and an '09 by Unbridled's Song (SRO). Where Dreamlike's first two foals were significantly outcrossed, Philly's Philly joins Dream Art as a rather heavily inbred horse. (Interestingly, the outcrosses have shone on the racetrack where the inbred produce have been poor performers.)  Philly's Philly has a triple cross of Bold Ruler -- two of them through Secretariat -- as well as inbreeding to Round Table, and heavy line-breeding to Princequillo. The Somethingroyal factor is seen again, as of course A.P. Indy's dam is inbred to that mare. For Philly's Philly future matings, I'd probably aim for an outcross but would also be intrigued by a match-up with Tiznow (SRO).
    • 2005 - Dream Smart (pedigree): This repeat mating with A.P. Indy looks better than the previous attempt because there's a mark in the "win" column -- but unless this gelding has a break-out season sometime soon (he's still racing at 4), his maiden claiming victory probably won't convince anyone that this cross was anything other than a failure.
  5. 2006 - Denomination (pedigree): Dreamlike's owners caught the hot sire Smart Strike (SRO) on the way up. He had not yet had the success of sons English Channel (SRO) or Curlin (SRO), but he was already seen as a rising commercial sire. Smart Strikes' $35,000 fee at conception seems a bargain when looking at Denomination, who's already won over $160,000 including a French group III contest a couple of months back. She's still racing at age 3. Denomination's five-cross pedigree makes her appear to be a reasonable outcross (only Raise a Native appears as an inbreeding), with Nearco (three crosses each on sire and dam sides) as an important line-bred influence.
  6. 2008 - [Unnamed]:  This yearling colt by Lemon Drop Kid (SRO) combines Charming Lassie -- Lemon Drop Kid's dam, bred on the same cross as A.P. Indy -- and Kingmambo, like Smart Strike a son of Mr. Prospector.

The question I have is why we haven't seen a repeat trip to Darley's Holy Bull to produce a full sibling to Woke Up Dreamin?

Additional reading:  2004 Hall of Fame Inductee: Flawlessly

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