12/09/2008 1:00AM

Broodmare's legacy a golden one


Of all the grim economic indicators bearing down on the Thoroughbred racing industry for 2009, the most troubling of all might be this one:

Hasili will not be having a foal.

This is roughly equivalent to a football season without a Super Bowl, or a Led Zeppelin concert without "Stairway to Heaven." Those not completely hip to the details of the Hasili Effect need only turn to last Saturday's Hollywood Turf Cup victory by Champs Elysees, which gave Hasili her fifth major U.S. stakes winner (Grade 1 for those who insist on the designation) in a row.

Preceding the 5-year-old Champs Elysees, Banks Hill (a foal of 1998) won the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, Heat Haze (1999) won the Matriarch, Intercontinental (2000) won the BC Filly and Mare Turf and the Matriarch, and Cacique (2001) won the Manhattan Handicap.

Hasili had one other foal, her first, who tried to win a top-class American event. Dansili failed, though, losing the 2000 Breeders' Cup Mile at Churchill Downs by a neck and a nose. Ah well, every family has an underachiever. Still, in his defense, Dansili has become a stallion of great worth, already accounting for Matriarch winner Price Tag, CashCall Mile winner Diamond Diva, and Arc de Triomphe winner Rail Link.

Hasili's accomplishments as a mother lode have inspired swooning blog posts and website tributes befitting a piece of living art. She has been hailed as a throwback to the great broodmares of Phipps, Whitney, and Kleberg. Her pedigree is extolled as a complete five-generation outcross, 62 names without a repeat. There is already a campaign to anoint her the Broodmare of the Century.

Hasili has done most of her work in England, at the Banstead Manor Stud of Prince Khalid Abdullah, but for the past three years she has been in residence at Abdullah's Juddmonte Farm in Lexington, Ky. The keeper of the local flame has been Dr. John Chandler, Juddmonte's North American racing manager, along with farm manager Garrett O'Rourke.

"She's a once-in-a-lifetime mare," Chandler said earlier this week. "But to look at her you wouldn't think it. If you saw her out in the field with one other mare, you wouldn't be able to pick her out."

Hasili is one of many reasons the Juddmonte operation is the envy of the breeding world. Chandler has been there from the earliest days.

"I met the prince in 1979," he said, "and some of the horses we bought I can remember which boxes they stood in as yearlings, what we paid and who sold them.

"About four years ago I went back to South Africa for a 40-year class reunion of my graduating year from veterinary college," Chandler went on. "It was a great turnout. I saw a lot of old friends, but a lot of them were using the 'R' word - retire.

"I thought, in the horse business you don't really retire," he added. "Unless retirement means getting up when you want to and doing exactly what you want to do all day. If that's the case, then I retired 30 years ago."

Although she will turn 18 in January, Hasili isn't quite ready to cash in her pension. After foaling in late May and failing to catch right away, it was decided not to press the issue. Hasili has been barren before, so it's no big deal. She returned to England during the summer to end her broodmare career where it began.

"I was sad to see her go," Chandler said. "But you just don't know how many more rounds there's going to be. I just think the prince wanted her to have her last couple of foals in England, where she's done her best so far."

While Champs Elysees soldiers on, the next chapter of the Hasili saga will be written by the two fillies she produced in Kentucky.

"The yearling, by Storm Cat, is delightful," Chandler said. "A real knockout. She was broken here and been training well, and now she's in line to get on a plane heading across the water to England."

Juddmonte does sell horses, but this won't be one of them, even though "you could pay for this farm with a Storm Cat-Hasili," as Chandler put it. Hasili's weanling is by Empire Maker, a mating that represents a meeting of Juddmonte's two greatest matrons. Empire Maker, Abdullah's 2003 Belmont Stakes winner, is out of Toussaud, the daughter of El Gran Senor who also produced Arlington Million winner Chester House, Kilroe Mile winner Decarchy, and the brilliant Honest Lady, who finished second in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Sprint.

"You can't go wrong combining your two best families," Chandler said. "You might come up with a bust, but you've got to try it, don't you?"

Even with such marquee mares as Better Than Honour and Azeri going through sales, Hasili remains, quite literally, priceless. Still, as a young filly, she was nearly on the block. After failing to distinguish herself on the Parisian circuit, she was given one last chance to earn black type in the French provinces. Her victory in the 1993 Prix des Sablonnets at Nantes turned out to be as significant as any classic triumph.

"You just never know," Chandler said, still relieved they dodged that bullet. "You've just got to not make a mistake and sell the wrong ones."