03/24/2011 2:44AM

North of Eden (1983 – 2011) - The Pride of Bridlewood Farm

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“North of Eden was and will always be the pride of Bridlewood Farm,” said George G. Isaacs, general manager at Bridlewood, in a statement Tuesday (3/22/11) about her death. “To be blessed and associated with such a magnificent blue-hen mare is every serious horse breeder's dream come true.”

She was one of this country’s greatest producers of modern times, and I write the word “greatest” with certainty. Three of her foals were Grade I winners – champion Paradise Creek ($3,401,415), Wild Event ($937,274) and Forbidden Apple ($1,680,640). A fourth foal, I’m Very Irish, was a stakes winner as well. 

Above:  Paradise Creek (left) wins the 1994 Manhattan Handicap, Wild Event (center) takes the 1999 Early Times Turf Classic, and Forbidden Apple (right) stands tall at Arlington, 2002

Above:  Paradise River (1994 - 2010, at left), a daughter of North of Eden and dam of champion David Junior (right)

And North of Eden’s daughter Paradise River is the dam of the unusually handsome European champion, and multiple G1 winner, David Junior ($4.1 million).

In February 2006, I spent an afternoon in North of Eden’s company on a warm, breezy day at Bridlewood Farm in Ocala, Florida.   I wanted to include her in the book More Old Friends. Then very pregnant, the 23-year-old mare shared a paddock with another Grade I producer, Jolie Jolie (dam of Jolie’s Halo). 

North of Eden watched me from afar for a while, and then she slowly meandered over to say hello. After spending a few minutes nearby she wandered away again. The breezes shifted her tail, a tail so long that it swept the grass, and every so often she raised her head to gaze off into the distance. To look at her, it was obvious she was confident and comfortable, with intelligent eyes, a strong head, an unusually long body and a relaxed manner.  And she obviously had a lovely pedigree, as she was a half-sister to Theatrical.  But just what made her what she was?

“She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body,” Isaacs said in 2007. “She lets you come into her stall and be around her and her foal all you want. She just loves being a mom.

“She is what I’d describe as a perfect conduit mare. She will absolutely pass on all of the characteristics of the stallion that you bred her to, but throw in all of the perfect nurturing parts of the equation that you would want from the mother.

“She always throws a level-headed, easy going foal, but they all have the heart of a champion.”

Above:  North of Eden at Bridlewood Farm in February 2006, including with Grade I producer Jolie Jolie (dark bay)

MaryAnn More than 1 year ago
Great portrait of North of Eden, the beautiful one of her head with the wind blowing her mane. What a classic look. I do love how you photograph horses, Ms. Livingston. The comment, "pregnant at 23, hmmmm" caught my attention. Is that older than the norm? You noted that she had a longer back than is usual and I guess that may have contributed to the deep sway in her back, as well as bearing numerous foals.
MaryAnn More than 1 year ago
Barbara ~ Thank you so much for your informative response. What a nice surprise it was to see that you responded. And yes, North of Eden was beautiful and you captured a bit of her essence, an exquisite expression in your phtographic portrait. Thank you again. MaryAnn
Sue R-CT More than 1 year ago
North of Eden, stunning, beautiful, kind and loving. I can see how she was the crown jewel for Bridlewood Farm and how much she was cherised. Thank you for sharing this special lady.
Tracy More than 1 year ago
Her belly is huge in that top left photo! Who was she in foal to at the time it was taken? >
Celeste More than 1 year ago
Thank you for sharing your photos and memories of this beautiful mama. That first head shot of her seems to emanate such strength of character even though that sounds odd to say about a horse. Beautiful.
Linda More than 1 year ago
Pregnant at 23. Hmmmmm.
sarah More than 1 year ago
What a great broodmare, and what wonderful pictures of her and her offspring. She must be one of the great mares of the modern era.
Abigail (Terlingua lady) More than 1 year ago
Yup, she did! And I see that her broodmare sire was Sassafras. Now I'm off to read more about her!!!!
Abigail from Montreal (Terlingua lady) More than 1 year ago
I loved the opening photo with the breeze blowing in her hair.....Did she make it into More Old Friends? (I'm off to check!!!!)
Vicky More than 1 year ago
She is such a classic Thoroughbred in her head and build! Her breeding was to die for, and she did exactly what you hope a mare of that caliber will do - produce exceptional babies. Losing her has to result in a lot of sadness for never again seeing her beautiful face, kind nature, and strong heart each day. Hopefully some of that lives on in her babies, but she, herself, will be missed for who she was.
Elizabeth Blythe More than 1 year ago
Hi Barbara, lovely pics of this great lady. So sad such an emphasis on "looks" in breeding today, the commercial market would probably turn their noses up at her, which would be their loss. I think she's grand looking & George Isaacs is perfectly correct about "conduit" or "incubator" mares. Beautiful mares may not have beautiful foals, but plain mares often do have beautiful foals. The whole point is supposed to be breeding good runners! Did you happen to visit the incomparable Dahlia in her golden years? She was from the same 1970 foal crop as the all time greats Secretariat & Forego. I saw her after being pensioned & it was amazing how she dropped 5 years off her age when the camera came out! She was one of the greatest ever, multiple G1 winning champion, then dam of 13 foals (first at 8 yo, last at 26 yo), 6 stakes winners (4 G1, 2 G2 including G1pl, 2 millionaires) & 2 stakes-placed (including 1 G1). Her last foal was a full sister to G1 SW Dahlia's Dreamer. They were by North Of Eden's half-brother Theatrical (Ire).