06/27/2011 3:15PM

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.