06/27/2011 4:15PM

Raison d'Etat - a Gordita no more


Above:  Raison d'Etat breaks his maiden at Belmont Park on June 18, 2011.  He ran the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:41.88, earning a 95 Beyer.


Definitions of RAISON D'ÉTAT
: reason of state

: A purely political reason for action on the part of a ruler or government, esp. where a departure from openness, justice, or honesty is involved

: The national interest, often referred to by the French term raison d'État, is a country's goals and ambitions whether economic, military, or cultural

: Gordita

Gordita?! OK, so, I added that one.  Last year, someone at the Mott barn nicknamed a royally-bred roly-poly 2-year-old ‘Gordita’ (Spanish for ‘little fat one’) because, well….although the bay colt was a looker – with a broad blaze and confident style, and occasionally flashing his sire A.P. Indy’s famous white-rimmed eye - he was a chunko.

Nowadays, Raison d'Etat is still sizeable, although he has grown into his body beautifully. And last Saturday, in his third start, 'Gordita' became a hot tamale. He pinned his ears and stormed home a 7 ¾ length-winner at Belmont, to become the first winner for his spectacular dam Sightseek.

Sightseek won 7 Grade Is – 5 of those at Belmont - and 12 of 20 starts. After Sightseek’s 2004 Beldame win, upon announcing her retirement, Bobby Frankel called her “the best filly I ever trained…definitely on the dirt.”

And so Sightseek headed home to Juddmonte Farms in Kentucky to join their world-renowned broodmare band.

Sightseek’s first foal, an Empire Maker filly named Striking Example, was born in 2006.  She never made the races, but she’s now a Juddmonte broodmare. In 2011 she produced a Mizzen Mast foal.

Sightseek’s second foal died the year he was born. 2008 brought Raison d’Etat, now a winner at 3. And Raison d’Etat’s 2-year-old half-brother, the unraced Night Site (by Giant’s Causeway), resides in Mott’s Saratoga barn.  Hope springs eternal...

Above:  Sightseek winning the 2004 Beldame at Belmont, and with trainer Bobby Frankel the morning afterward, after her retirement was announced.

Above:  Sightseek's dam Viviana, at Juddmonte Farms in summer 2003.  Viviana, by Nureyev - Nijinsky Star, by Nijinsky, has also produced G1 winner Tates Creek.

Above and below:  Sightseek (Distant View - Viviana, by Nureyev) at Juddmonte in 2006, including with her first foal, an Empire Maker filly named Striking Example.

Above:  OK, this photo probably doesn't belong completely, but I can't imagine when I might otherwise use it.  It's Sightseek's half-sister Quest to Peak, being held by then-Frankel assistant (and now trainer) Chad Brown.  Quest to Peak, shown in 2004 at Saratoga, wasn't a great race filly, but she's already shown her Juddmonte class by producing Special Duty.  Special Duty has the odd distinction of winning two classic races via disqualification - the Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) and the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (Fr-I) - as well as the Group I Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Above:  Raison d'Etat as an unnamed - but unusually handsome - 2-year-old at Saratoga.  June 2011.

Above and below:  Raison d'Etat, Neil Poznansky up, at Saratoga in August (above) and October 2010.


Above: Mott assistant Leana Willaford is aboard Raison d'Etat during Belmont Stakes week 2011.

Above and below:  Raison d'Etat and Eddie Castro, decked out in the world-famous Juddmonte silks, make for a winning team at Belmont Park on June 18, 2011.  

Above:  A triumphant Raison d'Etat heads back to the barn.

Above:  From the 'hope springs eternal' department...  Bill Mott exercise rider Paul Breedon visits with Sightseek's unraced 2-year-old Night Site.

Special thanks to Juddmonte Farms, Erin Frey and Lin Arnold. 

alex johnson More than 1 year ago
More, more, more Barbara. So interesting to have you doing this focused research for us, pulling interesting related pictures from your deep files and giving us this terrific insight. Bravo Mr. Crist & DRF for this blog!
Theresia More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed this, Barbara. Thank you so much for posting it and will definitely be keeping an eye out for Raison d'Etat (love that name, although Gordita is a great nickname)
Lin More than 1 year ago
There are not enough words in the English language to thank you for this blog. Sightseek was my absolute favorite, and what a joy it is to see your photos of her once again. And you might have thought Raison d'Etat was winning the BC Classic the way I cheered when he broke his maiden. Thank you so much, Barbara: each one of your blogs is phenomenal, but this one is VERY special to me!
hialeah More than 1 year ago
raison d'etre is "reason for being". I was never good at French. Oh, well.
hialeah More than 1 year ago
Hi B, Sorry I missed this post, but it is beautiful as always! Several years, just 10 or so this time, the Red Sox had a reliever Rich Garces who was called "El Guapo" or the fat one. He had his moments and is well remembered. Good for RAISON D'ÉTAT - glad you were there. Having a French-Canadian grandfather, I believe it can also be used as "reason for being." All the best!
Amy More than 1 year ago
Breeder's Cup at Saratoga - wouldn't it be grand! So beautiful whatever season of the year. And yes he is very handsome indeed, like his daddy! Look forward to seeing him at Saratoga in "person". Barbara, your photos and stories are always both beautiful and informative, making us feel like we are taking part it in each moment.
Nic More than 1 year ago
Do you mean for the caption under Night Site to say, Sightseek's unraced 2 year old, not her unraced half brother? (or Raison d'etat's unraced half-brother ;o) ) >
yuwipi More than 1 year ago
Crazy question but isn't that a Firestone silks placard on the barn? Once got talked off of a horse named Carolina Moon because my companion thought her "the fattest horse in New York." An original way to lose a bet I suppose. I think that's a great photo of Chad Brown holding the Juddmonte filly at Saratoga a few years ago. The background of the shot is what really catches my eye. Don't know exactly what time of year it was taken, but the leaves have turned their beautiful shades of red and gold. Oh that they could someday manage to schedule a Breeders Cup at Saratoga in the fall. I just think it would be spectacular.
Dorothy Ours More than 1 year ago
Thank you! Loved watching Sightseek race -- delighted to know about Raison d'Etat. He sure is Muy Guapo, now!