06/14/2004 11:00PM

Arch's female class starts to show

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LAS VEGAS - Arch, winner of the 1998 Super Derby, was expected to be the heir apparent to his late sire, Kris S., when he first entered stud at Claiborne Farm in 1999. After a rocky start, Arch is beginning to realize that promise.

First, his 4-year-old filly Overarching won the prestigious Group 1 South African Fillies Sprint, and last weekend Prince Arch won his second stakes when he ran down Kitten's Joy to win the Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs. That same day, the 3-year-old colt Golden Look remained undefeated winning an allowance race at Belmont, looking like future stakes material.

Many sons of Kris S. have had moderate success at stud, including You and I, Prized, and Kissin Kris, but Arch has the kind of female family that sets him apart from most sons of Kris S. Arch is out of stakes winner Aurora, an exquisitely bred mare by Danzig out of 2-year-old filly champion Althea. Arch's third dam is the influential Courtly Dee (by Never Bend), the 1983 Broodmare of the Year and the dam of a remarkable eight high-class stakes winners from a variety of stallions.

In addition to Althea (Alydar), who defeated males in the Arkansas Derby, Courtly Dee's other stakes winners include Native Courier (Exclusive Native); Ketoh (Exclusive Native); Aquilegia (Alydar), the dam of stakes winners Bertolini, Alchemilla, and Amelia; Twining (Forty Niner); Ali Oop (Al Hattab); Aisah (Alydar), the dam of stakes winners Atelier, Aldiza, and Arabis; and Princess Oola (Al Hattab), the dam of stakes winners Azzam and Balwa. Bred to Fappiano, Courtly Dee also produced Press Card, whose neck loss in the Pennsylvania Derby deprived him of becoming Courtly Dee's ninth stakes winner. Courtly Dee is a supreme example of class in the dam.

To underscore Courtly Dee's depth of quality, even her other non-stakes winning daughters became important producers as well. Maidee (Roberto) produced Young America winner, Defacto; Vireo (True Knight) produced stakes winner Chief Turko and stakes-placed Rush for Gold; Embellished (Seattle Slew) produced stakes winners Seattle Dawn, Truckee, and Island of Silver as well as stakes-placed Lord Charmer and Alydar's Son; Namaqua (Storm Bird) produced stakes winner Namaqualand and stakes-placed Lemon Dove; and the unraced Foreign Courier (Sir Ivor) produced top-weighted European sprinter and influential sire Green Desert and stakes winner Yousefia.

Turf influence on top and bottom

Despite his victory at 1 1/4 miles on dirt in the Super Derby, Arch has strong grass influences on both sides of his pedigree (Kris S. and Danzig), and it is no surprise that his offspring are showing an affinity for turf.

Overarching herself was meant for turf, and is perfectly suited to South African racing. She is out of Lonely Fact, who is by a strong grass influence, Known Fact (In Reality). The second dam, Lonely Beach, is by Kennedy Road (Victoria Park) and Overarching descends from a tail-female line as imposing as Arch's.

Overarching's sixth dam is Bourtai, a foal of 1942 who became one of racing's greatest broodmares. From the same female family that produced the influential sire Bull Lea, the cornerstone of Calumet Farm, Bourtai's influence is so vast that it is still being felt around the world today. Four of Bourtai's stakes-winning daughters - Banta, Delta, Levee, and Bayou - had a major impact on racing. Banta is the second dam of 1973's 2-year-old filly champion, Talking Picture; Levee was the 1970 Broodmare of the Year and dam of four stakes winners, most notably champion Shuvee; Bayou was the 1957 3-year-old filly champion and the dam of stakes winner Batteur. Bayou is also the second dam of Slew o' Gold and Coastal and third dam of Aptitude. Delta was 1968's Broodmare of the Year and produced five stakes winners, including Dike, who had the misfortune of being in the same crop as Majestic Prince, Arts and Letters, Ack Ack, Nodouble, and Reviewer. Delta is the fifth dam of Overarching.

Prince Arch has been a different animal since switching to turf this year, hardly surprising, as his damsire is Kris, a full brother to Diesis. His only off-the-board finish on grass came in his first effort on that surface, and his turf record now reads 7-3-3-0, with stakes victories in the Forerunner and Jefferson.

Golden Look won his maiden debut on April 15 for Shug McGaughey, which is noteworthy since he is a trainer who does not push his young runners early. Golden Look followed that victory with a strong 2 1/4-length win last Saturday. Golden Look is out of the Seeking the Gold mare, Gilty Look, a half-sister to Coronado's Quest, and his second dam, Laughing Look (Damascus), is a three-quarter-sister to Private Terms. Golden Look's third dam, Laughter, is a three-quarter-sister to Ruffian and On to Glory, and a half-sister to Icecapade and Buckfinder. Fusachi Pegasus, Pine Bluff, and Demons Begone all descend from this exceptional female family.

With runners such as these, Arch has shown that he can sire quality winners on dirt and turf, and the loss of his popular sire makes Arch a very attractive alternative.