05/13/2010 11:00PM

Dansili living up to family's name


Hasili, the Queen Mother of the Thoroughbred world, is back in the news this week with the announcement that Deluxe, her undefeated 3-year-old Storm Cat filly, will prepare for the French Oaks in next Sunday's Prix Saint-Alary at Longchamp.

Hasili's exploits hardly need recalling, but it doesn't hurt to be reminded of her five Group 1 or Grade 1 winners: Banks Hill, Heat Haze, Intercontinental, Cacique, and Champs Elysees. They won 13 Group 1 or Grade 1 races, seven Group 2 or Grade 2's, and 10 Group 3 or Grade 3's among them, mostly in America, where they won 11 Grade 1's, five Grade 2's, and four Grade 3's.

The odd man out in this is Hasili's first foal, Dansili, who is by Danehill and is a full brother to Banks Hill, Cacique, Champs Elysees, and Intercontinental. Dansili never won at the highest level and never won in America, finishing third in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Mile at Churchill Downs, won by War Chant. Trained in France by Andre Fabre, Dansili won his three stakes in France, all at a mile: the Group 2 Prix Muguet, Group 3 Prix Messidor, and Group 3 Prix Edmond Blanc.

Yet it is Dansili who has made the biggest impact in the breeding shed thus far. Banks Hill has produced one listed race winner, and Intercontinental and Heat Haze have managed one foal each to race, neither of them a winner. The first small crop of Cacique, who is suffering from fertility problems, are 2-year-olds this season, and Champs Elysees began his stud career this winter.

Dansili, on the other hand, is a first-class stallion. The achievements of his seven crops through 2009 have been noteworthy. He sired Arc and Grand Prix de Paris winner Rail Link, Grand Prix de Paris winner Zambezi Sun, Criterium de Saint-Cloud winner Passage of Time, Celebration Mile winner Zacinto, and Price Tag, who was disqualified from first in the French 1000 Guineas but later won the Matriarch Stakes.

This year, Dansili's talents have blossomed, making him a threat to move to the top of the European sire standings. Through May 14, he has sired six winners of seven group races, a record most stallions would be satisfied with in a full year. Those seven victories have come in races between a mile and two miles.

To start at the bottom distance, Famous Name took the one-mile Amethyst Stakes at Leopardstown last Sunday. This was his third Group 3 victory, but he is capable of better. He has been second in three Group 1's: the French Derby, the Tattersalls Gold Cup, and the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp.

Strawberrydaiquiri won her first Group 3 on May 2, when she took Newmarket's 1 1/8-mile Dahlia Stakes. A three-time listed winner at a mile, the 4-year-old filly is 5 for 7 and capable of improving.

Ice Blue will start one of the favorites for the French Derby off his victory in the 1 1/4-mile, Group 2 Prix Greffulhe last Saturday. Blocked in midstretch, he had to be angled out but quickened to win by three-quarters of a length, prompting trainer Pascal Bary to exclaim, "He is a super horse in every way."

Aviate thrilled everyone at York on Wednesday, when she overcame a ton of trouble to grab the 1 1/4-mile, Group 3 Musidroa Stakes by a head. Undefeated after three starts, she will attempt to give Henry Cecil his ninth win in the English Oaks, for which she is the 8-1 second favorite.

Dansilis are not supposed to stay two miles, but that is what Illustrious Blue did last month when he won Ascot's Group 3 Sagaro Stakes. A 7-year-old, he has the look of a Cup horse, and as a five-time winner at Goodwood, the two-mile Goodwood Cup on July 29 should be right up his alley.

Last but not least is Harbinger. A 4-year-old, he has run seven times, but three of them resulted in Group 3 scores. He followed his three-length win in the 1 1/2-mile John Porter Stakes with an equally convincing score in the 1 5/8-mile, 89-yard Ormonde Stakes, and looks like a prime contender for all of the big 12-furlong races down the road for Michael Stoute.

Dansili stands at Juddmonte Farms's Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket, where his fee is 65,000 pounds ($97,500). Hasili, meanwhile, has an unnamed 2-year-old Empire Maker filly with Fabre. Now 19, Hasili was not bred in 2009, and her Oasis Dream foal this year was stillborn.