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Another Derby Shot for Flower Alley

In the 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Flower Alley (TrueNicks,SRO) was making very promising forward progress when his momentum was halted by the imploding front-runner Spanish Chestnut. Winner of the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) and runner-up to Afleet Alex (TrueNicks,SRO) in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) going into the race, Flower Alley was unable to recover and finished ninth. Flower Alley sidestepped the next two legs of the Triple Crown but returned to show himself to be one of the best of his generation with wins in the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) and Travers Stakes (gr. I), and by running an excellent second to Horse of the Year Saint Liam in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).

The blazing fractions established by Spanish Chestnut—:22.28, :45.38, and 1:09.59—set up the 2005 Derby for the closer Giacomo (TrueNicks,SRO), who gained some redemption for the disappointing Kentucky Derby effort by his sire, Holy Bull (TrueNicks,SRO), who started favorite in the 1994 Run for the Roses. It's somewhat appropriate then, that similarly wicked fractions established by Bodemeister, set up this year's renewal for Flower Alley's son, I'll Have Another. It's also the second time a descendant of Distorted Humor (TrueNicks,SRO) has thwarted the Empire Maker (sire of Bodemeister) line, Distorted Humor's son Funny Cide beating Empire Maker himself in 2003.

I'll Have Another is a member of Flower Alley's second crop, and his first crop included the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) and California Oaks victress Lilacs and Lace; Bouquet Booth, victorious in the Delta Downs Princess Stakes (gr. III) and Silverbulletday Stakes; Jam'n Jackson, who took the K.L.A.Q. Handicap at Sunland Park; and stakes-placed Sassy's Dream and Desert Alley. I'll Have Another was preceded as a stakes winner from Flower Alley's second crop by My Wandy's Girl, a black-type scorer in Puerto Rico, and he has at least a couple of other recent 3-year-old maiden winners that are worth watching.

Out of the Arch (TrueNicks,SRO) mare Arch's Gal Edith, I'll Have Another is TrueNIcks rated a very solid B+ on the basis of the Distorted Humor/Kris S. cross, and Distorted Humor has done quite well with Roberto (sire of Kris S.) in general, getting another Derby winner—albeit the UAE (gr. II) version—in Regal Ransom (TrueNicks,SRO), and several other stakes winners on the cross.

I'll Have Another traces to an historic family, that of the Doncaster Cup winner Galopade, who was imported to the U.S. in 1835 and wielded a tremendous influence on the breed, her descendants including outstanding four-mile heat runner Lecompte (for whom one of the early Louisiana Derby trials is still named); the great racehorse and sire Domino; the major runner and sire Hamburg; the magnificent weight-carrier Discovery (the broodmare sire of Bold Ruler and Native Dancer), who comes from the same branch as I'll Have Another; and the Triple Crown winner Affirmed.

In more recent generations, the cross gives some interesting patterns. Distorted Humor and Princess Olivia—the sire and dam of Flower Alley—are both Raise a Native/Northern Dancer crosses, as is Lycius, the sire of Princess Olivia. Aurora, the dam of I'll Have Another's broodmare sire, Arch, is a Northern Dancer/Raise a Native cross. In Flower Alley the Raise a Native is through Mr. Prospector; in Arch, it is through Alydar, a horse with a very similar pedigree background to Mr. Prospector (Alydar is in the dams of at least five Distorted Humor stakes winners, and is sire of the second dam of Flower Alley's other grade I winner, Lilacs and Lace). And, in both Distorted Humor and Aurora, the Northern Dancer is represented through Danzig.

It's also worth noting in addition to coming up with I'll Have Another, who is is a grandson of Forty Niner, the branch of the family descending from I'll Have Another's fifth dam, Patelin, has done very well with Pleasant Colony, the cross producing grade I winner Roanoke (a very close relative to I'll Have Another's granddam, Force Five Gal), champion 2-year-old filly Pleasant Stage, graded winners Stage Colony and Colony Play, as well as several good producers. Perhaps it's not coincidence that Forty Niner's dam had Ribot/Double Jay/Nasrullah close up in her pedigree, while Pleasant Colony is by a son of Ribot, out of a mare bred on a Double Jay/Nasrullah cross. In addition to I'll Have Another being by a son of Distorted Humor with a second dam by a son of Pleasant Colonty, there are also at least four other stakes winners by Distorted Humor out of mares carrying Pleasant Colony, so that affinity has clearly established its potential.


I saw Flower Alley last year when I made my first Derby Pilgrimage.  He was being hosed down to look pretty for the tourists.  He didn't need it; he already looked pretty.

Nice to see he can sire fillies and colts.

mz 10 May 2012 1:56 PM

Has anyone noticed that Native Dancer appears no fewer than NINE times in I'll Have Another's pedigree?  That must be close to a record, and ultimate revenge for the 1953 Derby.

Arthur Reade 10 May 2012 6:04 PM

It is strange how a female line can remain almost dormant for a hundred years, like this BROOM FLOWER branch of the good taproot Gallopade, then suddenly produce two Kentucky Derby winners in four years like, Mine That Bird and I'll Have Another...

Their breeding did suggest that they would be long-shots in the Derbies, yet they managed to succeed.

But I wouldn't think that Roanoke and Jester, who are members of this family raised its profile in any way.

Hal Dane 10 May 2012 6:48 PM

Great Article!  I was privileged to meet face to face, FLOWER ALLEY on May 3rd at Three Chimneys...he is sleek, handsome and all muscles and a big boy!  I have a great close-up shot of him in the Sun that I will treasure for a long, long time.  I first met him in 2008 when I went to visit Smarty and Big Brown...

Carole Hemingway 11 May 2012 10:00 AM

Hal Dane-

"...remain almost dormant for a hundred years..."

What pedigree and produce log are you reading? This is the female line that contains the high quality Widener branch of Pontivy-Patelin !, among others-one of the best in racing. I'll Have Another's up closer, from Last Cause forward, not so classy, but Patelin-Pontivy and back a bit, pure class-elite.  

sceptre 11 May 2012 11:00 AM


Interesting about the nine crosses of Native Dancer, as he is out of a mare by Discovery, who from the same branch of Gallopade as I'll Have Another. Discovery also had Hamburg, who is out of a half-sister to Domino.

Of course Domino's second dam was heavily inbred to Gallopade, having her daughter Reel, 2 x 3, and then having Judith, a three-parts-sister to Reel as her third dam.

I'll Have Another goes back to Broom Flower through her daughter, Last Straw, who was by Ultimus (2 x 2 to Domino).

This family has such a foundational role in American pedigrees, it' probably not surprising that something might happen to re-ignite it.

Alan Porter 11 May 2012 12:09 PM

Tesio "He believed that a horse’s racing ability is the direct result of inherited nervous energy, and that the energy pattern follows a cycle over several generations, rising to a peak, then falling, and then remaining dormant for a period before beginning to rise again.

Obmar 11 May 2012 11:46 PM

Sceptre... my records are vaster (all horse breeds) than anything you will find on the internet.

So come on wise guy.. tell me any classic winning produce that were foaled by the following line of broodmares.

Broom Flower (1912) Last Straw (1918) Thorn Apple (1937) Golden Apple (1945) Mahari (1954) Pontivy (1959) Patelin (1968)

This line has been dormant in producing classic winners for one hundred years.

Hal Dane 12 May 2012 6:06 AM

Hal Dane-

I see, if a female family hasn't produced the winner of the Derby, Preakness or Belmont it is deemed to be "dormant". Get real and forget the cop out. I suppose, for ex.,a CCA Oaks win isn't good enough (by your criteria) to avoid the notion of dormancy? So if the *La Troienne-line hadn't produced a winner of a triple crown race then it too would be considered to be dormant? Real truth is, you had no appreciation/insufficient knowledge of the merits of this family. Own up.  

sceptre 12 May 2012 2:12 PM

How fortunate it is that the "laws of inheritance" mandate that those ancestors nearest exert more influence than those farther removed. Otherwise we'd be at a far greater loss when attempting to fashion a successful mating. Some of these posts bring this home in spades. And Alan, what do you mean by "re-ignite"? No re-igniting was necessary-the flame burned/burns rather strongly.  

sceptre 12 May 2012 3:58 PM

Love the connection or the perspective between IHA/Bode and Funny Cide/Empire Maker. Had said the same thing on Steve Haskin's blog following the Derby... love how things are connected like that.

Both Funny and IHA also have Sea Bird on the mare's line  which connects them more too. Can't wait to see how IHA does in the Preakness!

Tiz Herself 12 May 2012 3:59 PM

Sceptre... One final word with you, I noticed that you failed to name this Coaching Club Oaks winner that you say was foaled from a mare in I'll Have Another's direct female line, back to Broom Flower.

P.S. what does La Troienne have to do with this subject.

Hal Dane. 14 May 2012 4:18 AM

The Derby win was a tad bittersweet for us. Our yound Arch mare, Feminine Flair, was booked to Flower Alley. Major foaling complications in March have forced us to push that breeding back to next year. Hopefully. Does the doubling of Sadler's Well have merit?

Orchard Hill 14 May 2012 9:52 AM

IHA's third dam Last Cause is by extension, a Northern Dancer-Native Dancer cross, which segues into the multiple parallels and reverse parallels tnat have been mentioned above.

jyq 14 May 2012 10:41 PM

I got on Flower Alley at Winding Oaks many a morning in his progression to being a racehorse. He was all business with a sharp mind to go with his well-balanced body. A pleasure to work with. He was a great purchase driven by his damn's name that caught the eye of the future owner, whose own daughter is named Olivia.

EQUINEBOSS 15 May 2012 3:45 PM

Hal Dane-

She's not hard to find-not that I looked. Search for her in your "vaster" records...Explanation shouldn't be necessary re-my point about *La Troienne.

sceptre 16 May 2012 10:47 AM

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