Mating Peruvian Champion Almudena

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
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From time to time we come across a mare who is "not from around here," as the expression goes. This is often an imported mare whose pedigree, while quite possibly high-class in her own environment, has little in common with the population in her new home.

Planning a mating for this kind of mare can be quite a challenge, as more often than not the mare's sire line has had very few opportunities to be tested under the strains prevalent in the new region, so there is little evidence for sire line/broodmare sire line crosses. Delving through what are often some very unfamiliar names, deep pedigree research will sometimes throw up strains also found in the background of the home population, but the degree of success or otherwise that might be enjoyed by linking these up is a generally a matter of speculation. Similarly we sometimes come across mares that are by sires from one region out of mares from a totally different one, and so have pedigrees that are "in two halves." It might be easy enough to find a sire line cross that fits, but it can be a lot less clear whether that cross has a potential affinity for the pedigree as a whole.

One mare that presents this kind of challenge is the splendid Peruvian mare Almudena. A champion in her native country where she captured the local 1,000 Guineas (Per-I, video below) and defeated colts in the Clasico Presidente de La Republica (Per-II), Almudena also showed very good form in Argentina, with a second in the Criadores (Arg-I) and third in the 25 de Mayo (Arg-I) before coming to the U.S. for a tilt at the Breeders' Cup Marathon (gr. II).

A half sister to champion Peruvian grass mare Azucena, Almudena is by Silver Planet, who was born in Argentina, as was his sire, Fitzcarraldo, and his grandsire, Cipayo. In turn, Cipayo was by the imported stallion Lacydon, a son of the English stayer Alycidon (by Tesio's Italian Derby hero Donatello II). With that information at hand, it's fairly obvious that Almudena is not the simplest mare to mate with the North American commercial population.

However, what might be a very tough task is rendered much simpler by the TrueNicks Key Ancestors Report, which considers the whole pedigree of the mare at five generations; searches for similarly-bred mares; and determines which ancestors have been positive and negative for those mares, and to what degree.

So, what do we find when we run Almudena against a group of U.S. commercial sires? Well, a number of very familiar strains come up as positive ancestors, among them Deputy Minister; Relaunch and his sire, In Reality; Seattle Slew; Nijinsky II; Storm Bird; Crimson Saint; and Halo. As a result, when the Key Ancestors Report with Analysis—which allows the user to input a mare with up to 200 potential stallions and obtain Key Ancestor Scores and TrueNicks ratings for the top 50—is run, a number of alluring matings are revealed. To give a flavor of the diversity of stallions identified by the Key Ancestors Report as strong choices for Almundena, we could see ourselves picking from a group headed by Ghostzapper (TrueNicks,SRO), Tiznow (TrueNicks,SRO), Awesome Again (TrueNicks,SRO), More Than Ready (TrueNicks,SRO), Kitten's Joy (TrueNicks,SRO), and Unbridled's Song (TrueNicks,SRO).

What stallion would you choose for Almudena?

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