Silver Lining

Roman Chestnut, winner of Saturday's Busher S. in New York, is the fifth stakes winner, and tenth stakes horse, from the first crop of Roman Ruler (TrueNicks,SRO) , the top North American-raced son of Fusaichi Pegasus (TrueNicks,SRO). What made us do a double-take, however, was when we noticed that Roman Chestnut’s dam, Silverdew, is by Silver Deputy. Of course, Silver Deputy is also broodmare sire of Roman Ruler, so Roman Chestnut is inbred 3 x 2 to Silver Deputy, and 3 x 5 x 4 to Mr. Prospector, the grandsire of Roman Ruler, and the broodmare sire of Silver Deputy.

We were sufficiently intrigued by this pedigree to give her co-breeder David Hayden (who with his wife JoAnn breeds as Dark Hollow Farm, Maryland) a call. David told me that he and his wife have a show horse background, and are very focused on type-to-type matings, with the emphasis on producing athletisism. With this in mind, and confident in the type that Silverdew had been producing (her earlier foals include the Carry Back Stakes (gr. II) winner Not For Silver, who is by Not For Love (TrueNicks,SRO), and inbred 2 x 4 to Mr. Prospector, and 3 x 5 to Northern Dancer), David said that he was unconcerned by the close inbreeding. Incidentally, the Haydens have been breeders or co-breeders of 14 stakes winners, and these also include Homeboykris, who became the first graded winner Roman Ruler when capturing the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) last fall. David, also mentioned that the first time that he saw Roman Ruler off the track, he was not overly impressed, but when when he revisited the horse a couple of months later, Roman Ruler had let down, and become a far more attractive individual. At that point David negotiated a deal to send two mares, and the result is Homeboykris and Roman Chestnut!

There are a few things that one might draw from this. As an advisor, planning the mating from a pedigree standpoint, I would have been intriguied by the pattern, but somewhat cautious about suggesting quite such close inbreeding (although there are plenty of examples of such patterns working). However, with intimate knowledge of the mare and the foals she was throwing, the chance was well worth taking. We actually had a somewhat similar conversation with a Kentucky breeder last week looking at a mating that had fairly close inbreeding to Danzig, but also some other compelling patterns. Our advice was, knowing that one strain was through a horse untypical of Danzig, that if the breeder was confident that the sire and dam were good physical matches, and didn’t have Danzig physical negatives the chance was worth mating. So, when you know your individuals, aggressive inbreeding is not necessarily something to fear.

It’s also a reminder that stallions just off the track, and beginning to let down don’t always make the best impression, so perhaps they shouldn’t be dismissed too quickly until they have completed the transition.

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