09/29/2006 12:00AM

Ascot winner has royal blood in his veins

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LAS VEGAS - The story of the influential broodmare Almahmoud is the story of the Thoroughbred pedigree the last four decades of the 20th century, a story that continues unabated today. Admiralofthefleet, a 2-year-old colt who won the Royal Lodge Stakes at Ascot last Sunday, became the latest stakes winner descending directly from Almahmoud.

Bred by C.V. Whitney, Almahmoud was by the 1936 Epsom Derby winner, Mahmoud. Her unraced dam, Arbitrator, was out of the 1924 Futurity Stakes winner, Mother Goose, who was honored with a Grade 1 race in her name. Almahmoud was a good, if not exceptional, racemare, winning 4 of 11 starts including the Vineland Handicap and Colleen Stakes. Although Almahmoud was foaled in 1947, her name still appears in hundreds of pedigrees today, mostly through two of her grandsons, Northern Dancer and Halo.

Almahmoud produced eight foals, but her legacy comes from two of her daughters, stakes winner Cosmah (by Cosmic Bomb) and Natalma (Native Dancer), who finished first in the 1959 Spinaway Stakes but was disqualified to third. Cosmah first gained attention as the dam of Tosmah (Tim Tam), the 1963 co-champion 2-year-old filly and 1964 champion 3-year-old filly. Built like a colt, Tosmah had brilliant speed and carried it over a distance of ground. Bred to a wide variety of stallions, Cosmah produced stakes winners Halo (Hail to Reason), Maribeau (Ribot), and Fathers Image (Swaps).

Halo became a prominent stallion, siring such stars as Sunday Silence, Devil's Bag, Sunny's Halo, Glorious Song, Saint Ballado, Goodbye Halo, Rainbow Connection, Jolie's Halo, and Southern Halo.

Maribeau won 4 of 8 starts, including the 1965 Fountain of Youth Stakes, and Fathers Image was a top-class 2-year-old in 1965. He finished first in the Pimlico Futurity but was disqualified and placed second behind Spring Double, and he was second to the mighty Buckpasser in the Arlington-Washington Futurity.

Cosmah's influence extended through her many daughters, most notably Queen Sucree (Ribot), a full sister to Maribeau, and La Dame du Lac (Round Table). Queen Sucree is the dam of the 1974 Kentucky Derby winner, Cannonade, his stakes-winning full brother Circle Home, and Kennelot (the dam of Stephan's Odyssey and Lotka). La Dame du Lac is the dam of La Confidence, the dam of champion Flawlessly.

A priceless dam

Natalma's name in a pedigree is gold, and in addition to her son Northern Dancer (Nearctic), her influential name is also found through her daughters, who are responsible for the important stallions Danehill, Machiavellian, and a two-time European champion, Bago.

Natalma produced a full sister to Northern Dancer, the stakes-placed Arctic Dancer, who, in turn, produced La Prevoyante, who was a champion filly at 2 (undefeated in 12 starts) and a Canadian Horse of the Year.

Bred to Buckpasser, Natalma produced Spring Adieu, who was the dam of Razyana, famous as the dam of Danehill.

Bred to Hoist the Flag, Natalma produced Raise the Standard, the dam of two outstanding broodmares - Bonita Francita (Devil's Bag) and her three-quarter-sister Coup de Folie (Halo). Bonita Francita produced an Irish 2-year-old champion, Orpen, and stakes winners Jules and Etterby Park. Bonita Francita is also the dam of Black Penny, the dam of Group 1 winner Bluemamba.

Coup de Folie won 4 of 7 starts and was a Group 3 winner, and she, too, has been sensational as a broodmare. She is the dam of Machiavellian (Mr. Prospector), a French champion at 2, as well as his full sister Coup de Genie, also a French champion at 2. Coup de Genie, in turn, produced stakes winners Snake Mountain, Loving Kindness, Denebola, and the unraced Moonlight's Box - the dam of Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner and European champion Bago.

Coup de Folie also produced group winners Hydro Calido, Exit to Nowhere, and Ocean of Wisdom. Rafina, a full sister to Machiavellian and Coup de Genie, was third her only start, but is the dam of Admiralofthefleet.

Rare inbreeding pattern,

In addition to being by Danehill, whose offspring swept the three major races at Ascot last Sunday (George Washington won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Simply Perfect won the Fillies' Mile), Admiralofthefleet is a rare triple Rasmussen Factor - inbreeding to a superior female within five generations through different individuals - as he is inbred to Natalma three times, 4x4x4, through three of Natalma's offspring: Northern Dancer, Spring Adieu and Raise the Standard.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien has indicated that Admiralofthefleet, owned by Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier, and the Niarchos family, will be pointed for the 3-year-old European classics next year, and with his exceptional pedigree, the sky is the limit.