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Poll: Choose a Stallion for Havre de Grace

According owner Rick Porter, recently-retired Havre de Grace is currently for sale, and she could be offered at a broodmare sale this fall. Given that Royal Delta, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2011 realized $8.5 million at last year's Keeneland November Sale, we should expect fireworks if Havre de Grace—Horse of the Year and champion older filly or mare of 2011, and an 8¼-length conqueror of Royal Delta in the Beldame Invitational Stakes (gr. I) last October—should also appear in the ring.

Of course the Beldame was only one of a number of outstanding performances for the now 5-year-old Havre de Grace, who won nine of her 16 starts for earnings of $2,586,175, and only once finished out of the first three (when fourth against the boys in the grade I Breeders' Cup Classic). Havre de Grace first made her name in a succession of titanic battles with another stellar distaffer, Blind Luck. Beaten inches by that mare in the Del Mar Oaks (gr. II) and Alabama Stakes (gr. I), Havre de Grace took her revenge in the Fitz Dixon Cotillion Stakes (gr. II), equaling the track record for 8½ furlongs in the process. Blind Luck again had the upper hand in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I), although the 3-year-olds both had to yield to the older Unrivaled Belle.

Havre de Grace kicked off 2011 with three straight wins, taking the Azeri Stakes (gr. III)—Blind Luck a neck back this time—the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I), and Obeah Stakes (gr. III). The epic Delaware Handicap (gr. II) saw Blind Luck get the verdict by a nose. Rebounding from that effort, Havre de Grace delivered a stellar performance to defeat Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) victor Flat Out in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I). That performance was followed by the Beldame tour de force and the bold effort in the Breeders' Cup Classic. The champion ran only once this year before her career ending injury, turning the New Orleans Ladies Stakes into a paid workout as she strolled home 4½ lengths clear of grade II winner Juanita.

Of course, performance is only one aspect of the requirement for a sale-topping broodmare prospect. As far as having the looks to match her race record is concerned, we need only note that Havre de Grace was a $380,000 Keeneland September yearling (third highest price of the 44 yearlings by her sire to sell at public auction).

On the score of pedigree, she is something of a rarity in that she is the only grade I winner from the only crop of her sire, Saint Liam. A Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner and Horse of the Year by Saint Ballado, Saint Liam offers a link to some of the stars of last year's November Sale, as he was bred by the late Edward P. Evans, from one of the Spring Hill families that lit up the price board last fall. It's hard to know how well Saint Liam would have done as a sire in the long-term, but he has been represented by seven stakes winners from 82 starters, including Havre de Grace, Buddy's Saint, whose promising career was ended by a fatal injury, and the graded-winning Liam's Dream. While we don't yet know how Saint Liam will fare as a broodmare sire, with Halo and Quiet American (TrueNicks,SRO) as his two grandsires, and the blue hens Ballade (dam of Saint Ballado, Devil's Bag, and Glorious Song) and Quiet Dance close up in his pedigree, you would have to like his prospects.

As far as the distaff side of the family is concerned, Havre de Grace is out of Easter Bunnette, a Carson City three-parts-sister to graded stakes-placed The Bink (dam of Riskaverse, a multiple grade I winner of over $2 million, and of graded winner Cozzy Corner). Eastern Bunnette is also a half sister to the dams of graded winners Tasteyville and Bouquet Booth. Havre de Grace's granddam is the stakes-winning and graded stakes-placed Toll Fee. A daughter of Topsider, Toll Fee is a half sister to no less than six other graded stakes winners, including champion sprinter Plugged Nickle, and grade I scorer Christiecat. The third dam, the Buckpasser daughter Toll Booth, is a half sister to grade I-winning 2-year-old Sauce Boat and champion sire Raja Baba. More significantly in this context, however, is that she is also a half sister to Ashland Stakes victrees Gay Missile, ancestress of a legion of major winners and sires, among them A.P. Indy, Summer Squall, Lemon Drop Kid (TrueNicks,SRO), Court Vision (TrueNicks,SRO), Duke of Marmalade (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO), and Wolfhound.

Havre de Grace's pedigree also has the positive to being open to a wide variety of sire lines. She does have two crosses of Mr. Prospector, but only one will be in the first five generations of her offspring, and similarly, she will supply her sons and daughters with only one cross of Northern Dancer at that distance.

Since Saint Liam sired only a single crop, and his daughters are only just beginning their stud careers, we can look to his sire Saint Ballado for some guidance. To date, sires who have produced graded stakes winners out of Saint Ballado mares are Afleet Alex (TrueNicks,SRO) and his sire Northern Afleet (TrueNicks,SRO), General Meeting, Indian Charlie, Lemon Drop Kid, Street Cry (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO), Wildcat Heir (TrueNicks,SRO), and Yes It's True (TrueNicks,SRO).

Havre de Grace's eventual buyer might also take a look at a TrueNicks Broodmare Report for additional research. Variations of this report allow you to build a group of up to 50 potential stallions, or let TrueNicks assemble a group of top-rated nicks and hypothetical matings.

From the stallion list below (all priced above $50,000), which would you select for Havre de Grace? Choose up to three stallions, and explain your reasoning in the comments below.

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49 Comments:

I'm loving the Medaglia D'Oro cross with her. Talk about NO inbreeding and an A++ hypo-mating!

Ange 24 Apr 2012 2:11 PM

I really like the War Front cross because of the Danzig/Halo cross. Other Danzig sires of interest, not named on the list are Exchange Rate and Hard Spun.

Kyle 24 Apr 2012 2:46 PM

Rock Hard Ten.  He got an A++ rating.

Lori 24 Apr 2012 2:52 PM

Of the current breeding stallions, Medaglia d'Oro makes the best match.  But Dynaformer would have been even better.

Lmaris 24 Apr 2012 2:56 PM

I chose Bernardini for the 3x4 inbreeding to Quiet American and the re-inforcement of the female line of Missy Baba through Toll Booth.  I am not aware of any listed, group, or graded winners inbred to Quiet American.  They may shy aware from inbreeding to such an intensly inbred stallion, but it is far enough back and I believe it should be tried.  It is also interesting that the dams of Bernardini and St Liam were both Grey's and both born in 1993 and both were out of Northern Dancer Granddaughters....one from the male line and one from a daughter.  All sorts of interesting angles with this mating.

Robert 24 Apr 2012 3:00 PM

Love the War Front cross - nicks a A+ too (as does Medaglia d'Oro

Kendra 24 Apr 2012 3:16 PM

The Hard Spun cross looks very solid especially with the Alydar influence. Tiznow also proven sire and very little line=breeding

jr 24 Apr 2012 3:19 PM

My money goes to Unbridled's Song. I love the thoughts of doubling up on Fappiano and Dr. Fager through Unbridled and Quiet American. A close second would be Tiznow with an awesome Lyphard linebreeding.

Clark 24 Apr 2012 3:28 PM

I love the War Front cross, Danzig over Carson City on the damside, it's a power cross.

Lizz 24 Apr 2012 3:53 PM

Pedigree-wise, Indian Charlie would have been the clear-cut first choice. Now it's probably best to play with A.P. Indy-line and Danzig-line, but Bernardini yields a Quiet American inbreeding(a no-go for me), and Topsider gets in the way re-going to Danzig-line.  

sceptre 24 Apr 2012 4:06 PM

With HDG's mommy having a little Tiznow baby this year, I believe Tiznow would be a great choice.  The success he has had with Mr. Prospector line mares is well documented.  I would imagine that if HDG's mom would strike well with Tiznow, she should as well.

Tiznow has done extremely well covering mares with Northern Dancer in their pedigree as well, as most of his stakes winners do have Northern Dancer within their first 5 generations.

TJLuvsTizs 24 Apr 2012 4:15 PM

HDG would be interesting with Unbridled's Song, but...with her leg injury and the fact that Unbridled's aren't known to be strong legged. I'd steer away from that mating for a bit.

Hard Spun and the other Danzigs would be brillant. Any A.P. Indy's (Pulpit, Bernadini etc) would be equally well recieved, I think

Michelle 24 Apr 2012 4:41 PM

what about another horse of the year??????curlin

eileen 24 Apr 2012 4:47 PM

Sceptre,

You had the same thought I did - we are really going to miss Indian Charlie. We had weekend graded winner by him, Roxy Gap from a mating we planned and out of a Saint Ballado mare, same cross as this would have been.

Let's hope Uncle Mo, who is free of Mr. Prospector can pick up where his sire left off!

Alan Porter 24 Apr 2012 5:16 PM

Medaglia D' Oro would be my 1st choice:

It is A++ and MDO has done well with mare that are daughters of Halo's sons.

I would cross my fingers to have a filly out this cross. MDO has produced super fillies like Rachel, Plum Pretty and Gabby's Golden Gal.

Tiznow is the 2nd Choice:

He has done great with mares that have Carson City in their family.

Big Brown is my 3rd choice, although not in the list. Big B is off to a great start and his progeny is selling like hotcakes plus the cross is rated A++.

Freddy 24 Apr 2012 5:16 PM

Looking at limiting inbreeding, Medaglia d'Oro and Tiznow both allow for no inbreeding in the first three generations and only a slight amount of inbreeding in the fourth generation.  However, how many excellent Medaglia d'Oro males have we seen?  Most of his outstanding horses are female (or at least have been up to now).  For example, from the Thoroughbred Times stallion directory, only three of the top ten performers on their Performance Rates metric are males (Iqbaal, Warrior's Reward and Alma d'Oro).

Given Medaglia d'Oro's lack of productive colts, especially in the classics, I would lead toward mating with Tiznow, assuming there were no conformational issues to be concerned about.

Anthony 24 Apr 2012 5:30 PM

Machiavellian is a mr. prospector x halo cross, Have de Grace is a halo x mr. prospector cross.

garfs29 24 Apr 2012 7:40 PM

I was surprised how poorly she would apparently cross with two of my favorite sires, Tiznow and Tapit -- so I went to another favorite, underrated Lemon Drop Kid, and that cross gets an A++. This foal should have tons of stamina, with some brilliance from his dam, would have potential for any racing surface, and would get soundness from his sire. The linebreeding in the cross is far back and looks positive to me.

Kyri 24 Apr 2012 7:41 PM

Medaglia d'Oro, but think US Ranger would be better

Cyd 24 Apr 2012 7:48 PM

Would love to see them consider Yes It's True, who sired Aikenite who earned 800k+ and retired this March, out of a Saint Ballado mare, also sired Missile Bay. Missile Bay is a producer of winners Awesome Arceno, Fire and Forget, and Mount Cervin. Missile Bay earned $200k+, and other winners Summerlong, Special Truth, etc.

Or Sky Mesa, who has sired Game Ball (118k+ winner), and winners Starry Skies and Game Ball as well out of Saint Ballado mares.

Street Cry

Point Given

Proud Citizen

Harlan's Holiday

Awesome Again

Rock Hard Ten

Successful Appeal

Can't go wrong!

Tiz Herself 24 Apr 2012 8:29 PM

Gotta go with Bernardini. He is the best sire in the country and inbreeding to Quiet American who would be pretty interesting. He would be the bms of both the sire and the broodmare sire. I also like the idea of Unbridled/Quiet American but I would prefer Empire Maker if he were still here.

Baby Jane Towser 25 Apr 2012 12:29 AM

I think that Dynaformer would have been a slam-dunk. Unfortunately, his sons have yet to produce anywhere near the kind of horses Dynaformer did right out of the box. In his absence, I like Bernardini.

Melissa P 25 Apr 2012 10:54 AM

BIG BROWN is the perfect horse to mate with HAVRE de GRACE  

GEN.DUKE 25 Apr 2012 12:19 PM

From your list, I would have agreed with Robert and gone with Bernardini.  Lassie Dear (2nd dam of AP Indy) and Toll Booth are 3/4 sisters.  Nice to breed back to that family. Quiet American is one of the best sons of Fappiano, who is one of the soundest Mr. Prospector lines.  So, I think inbreeding to him may work out.  Away from Bernardini, I liked Eskendereya (not withstanding his soundness issues).  In that mating, you get full siblings Saint Ballado and Glorious Song, inbreeding to Round Table (which should help from a soundness standpoint) and tons of Almahmoud.  Interestingly, you get the standard inbreeding to that great mare from Northern Dancer and Halo, but also, Eskendereya tails to her daughter Queen Sucree.  Eskendereya's speed paired with Havre's speed/staying ability could produce a nice two-turn runner.

Mark A 25 Apr 2012 12:56 PM

I think Tiznow would be the perfect match. His stamina and heart with her speed and endurance, they would make an amazing foal. However, Tiznow is only second, if I could have my way, I would have chosen Dynaformer.

ALR 25 Apr 2012 1:21 PM

I think her offsprings will do good with those (3) that I

picked...since their offsprings have done well.  I also like

Giant's Causeway and Street Cry.

Nydia Hart 25 Apr 2012 2:01 PM

I think she would do well with all the stallions mentioned, but I started to think, Lewis Michael.  Halo, Broad Brush.  I don't know, I just think it might work.

Margaret Ann 25 Apr 2012 5:27 PM

What about horses like Afleet Alex, Giacomo, Rock Hard Ten, Rockport Harbor, Big Brown, or Imperialism?

jockeykid 25 Apr 2012 5:39 PM

Or how about Pollard's Vision?

jockeykid 25 Apr 2012 5:41 PM

I suggest that a mating with the Buckpasser line stallion Einstein would be very good for the following reasons:

1)HDG brings the best of Einstein's dam's blood in Northern Dancer and son Lyphard to the mating which is usually a formula for success at stakes level

2)Buckpasser 4X5, Lyphard 4X5 and Northern Dancer 4X5 in the offspring looks like a potent classic pedigree

Ranagulzion 25 Apr 2012 5:56 PM

I would like to see HDG bred to one of the following:

Bernardini

Giant's Causeway

Curlin

Jazil

I eliminated quite a few due to soundness issues, or too much in-breeding that perpetuated soundness issues.

I like Bernardini because of the soundness and classic distances in his pedigree through Seattle Slew and Weekend Surprise.  He possibly has the large heart gene through Princequillo and Secretariat.  He has War Admiral and the ancestry in that line.  I'm happy also, that he has Northern Dancer only once through Northern Fable.

I chose Giant's Causeway again due to the genetic make-up that Storm Cat carries through Secretariat to Terlingua.  Roberto was a major factor in my selection.  There again was soundness, classic distances and speed through Secretariat's line.

Curlin carries the Native Dancer line, but I think Nasrullah,Count Fleet and Sir Ivor and Sir Gaylord and Smarten through Turn-To gave contributed to his soundness, distance and speed - even though Rags To Riches beat him in the Belmont.

And last, but not least is the ever beautiful Jazil!  He has Nasrullah, Count Fleet, Menow, War Admiral, Red God and thereby Blushing Groom and the best that is yet to come - Better Than Honour as his Dam.

Hopefully one of them is a good cross with Havre De Grace, as I love her, as well as Saint Liam and would like to see his genes and spirit continue well into the future.

Stellar Jayne 25 Apr 2012 9:15 PM

I like the Tapit line because his line has proven themselves as champions. But what about Smarty Jones or Curlin?

rjackson 25 Apr 2012 11:01 PM

I doubt Bernardini is "the best" sire in the country, but he is undoubtedly the MOST SUPPORTED stallion in the country. He is definitely getting some of the best mares. I am not saying he is not a good sire, I just think he is getting the best start possible, and there are plenty of stallions out there that could be better, but just are not getting the proper support to take off.

happyticket 25 Apr 2012 11:23 PM

Think outside the box, as in the Atlantic.

Send "Grace" to the great European sire "Galileo". I know that injects a lot of Northern Dancer into her line, but there is enough out-breeding with the Irish Star to modify this influence. I would have said Montjeu if he had not died recently.

State side, the obvious choice would be Tiznow, before it gets too late ala A.P. Indy.

Of course, she could just wait for "Frankel" and send us all into a tizzy! Can you imagine the price tag on a Frankel-Havre de Grace foal? Or better still, a Frankel-Zenyatta foal. Yikes!!!

My third choice would be the most breath taking runner I have seen in recent memory: Eskendereya. That was true greatness lost on the track.

Sires I would stay away from until you see some running proof: Curlin (overrated), and Tapit: fast runners, but no bottom (good luck Zenyatta connections).

CEF 25 Apr 2012 11:25 PM

I voted for Medalia and Street Cry but would love to see her mate with Curlin as well.

Paula 26 Apr 2012 12:29 PM

Bernardini is my first choice. Having a foal by this stallion would make a unique club as fellow Horse Of The Year winners Zenyatta, who has a colt by Bernardini, and Rachel Alexandra, who was to be bred to Bernardini already belong to this group. And Bernardini was an excellent race horse and is proving to be no slouch as a stallion. Three HOY winners with three foals by the same stallion. I don't believe this has ever happened before.

Smarie 26 Apr 2012 1:19 PM

i think big brown would be a great choice for her a++ rating 3.00

michael 26 Apr 2012 2:39 PM

big brown would be a great choice a++ rating

michael 26 Apr 2012 2:41 PM

big brown will be a great choice great rating

michael 26 Apr 2012 4:26 PM

I think Zenyatta'a sire Street Cry would be great for Grace, he is a proven sire and they should have a GREAT baby...Next is Unbriddled Song has also proven to be a good sire...Both have strong bones, strong will and even their filly's Win...

Mary Lou 26 Apr 2012 5:46 PM

I prefer 1. WAR CHANT or MEDAGLIA D ORO. ARE BEST RANKING.

THE NUMBER DONT LIES.

Jose 26 Apr 2012 7:38 PM

I'm so glad someone mentioned Galileo! Why not the #1 sire in the world? Who knows where she might go when sold. I don't see anything wrong with shipping her either.

Double Jay 28 Apr 2012 5:40 AM

I am fond of the principle of like to like, and Havre de Grace is a smooth, well-balanced, attractive individual, so I would look first for a sire who, along with his offspring, matches that description. Accordingly, my first choice based on phenotype would be TIZNOW. But I’m not crazy about this hypothetical mating on paper because, to me, it doesn’t seem sufficiently homogenous to be reliably predictive of success. Another, probably better, choice would be MALIBU MOON, who offers both compatible phenotype and a more cohesive pedigree.

Whoever ends up with Havre de Grace will probably feel pressured to make a high-powered mating with strong commercial appeal, which I presume is why the listed choices are all priced at more than $50,000. From this point of view, it would be hard to argue with either STREET CRY or BERNARDINI, both of whom also qualify on physical appearance. But, for reasons I confess I don’t fully understand, neither of these truly floats my boat.

If, on the other hand, we concede that commercial considerations aren’t everything, then I really, really like this mare with LEMON DROP KID, whose 2012 advertised fee is $35,000. Justly termed “underrated” by previous poster Kyri, he stems from the same superior family as Havre de Grace, which would be interesting to duplicate. Kyri further notes that his runners can excel on turf as well as on dirt, and I always consider the prospect of versatility a strong plus.

If I owned Havre de Grace myself and were rich enough to feel certain that I would never need to sell her foal, I would be sorely tempted to throw even more turf at her, either with the extraordinarily handsome ARTIE SCHILLER or with the Sadler’s Wells son SLIGO BAY. I’m sure I’d be accused of underbreeding her, but hey, if I were that rich, I wouldn’t care. And I’d expect to have a whale of a lot of fun with the foal.

Summary: (1) Lemon Drop Kid, (2) Malibu Moon, (3) Sligo Bay.

Sandy 29 Apr 2012 4:52 AM

candy ride.check it out.A++.

jyq 29 Apr 2012 11:33 PM

Awesome Again

High Chaparral

Galileo(best sire in the World)

Dylan Thomas

Smart Strike

Sligo Bay

Sea The stars

Lammtarra'sArc 03 May 2012 6:44 PM

hard spun would be the best choice last son to danzig closest to northern dancer same height weight color and trainer

michael 04 May 2012 3:10 PM

blame

michael 15 May 2012 11:18 PM

dosage index with some proven sires are high 3.67 to 5.00 medaglia doro lemon drop kid war front hard spun are best at keeping the index lower and unproven sires eskendereya blame and big brown do the same

michael 17 Nov 2012 9:45 PM

to many sires on the poll list when matched with havre de grace have a high dosage index medaglia doro lemon drop kid blame eskendereya big brown hard spun first samurai are low

go with the low

michael 18 Nov 2012 11:29 AM

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