10/25/2013 5:11PM

Family trees form integral roots of Breeders' Cup

Barbara D. Livingston
Claiborne Farm's Liable, dam of 2010 Classic winner Blame, is from a female family responsible for three Breeders' Cup winners in the last decade.

Close Hatches will have her own piece of history on her side as she faces two-time defending winner Royal Delta and championship contender Princess of Sylmar in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

The Juddmonte Farms homebred, the winner of the Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes and Cotillion Stakes by open lengths, hails from one of the most influential families in the three-decade history of the Breeders’ Cup, via her fourth dam, Best in Show. The prolific mare already has been represented by five descendants who have won or placed in Breeders’ Cup races.

“Obviously, at Juddmonte, we’re lucky enough to be around some very special families,” Garrett O’Rourke, manager for Juddmonte in Kentucky, said. “It’s definitely a family that obviously we’ve done well with, but if you look at that family, going all the way back to Best in Show, so many different breeders and owners have benefitted from that family.

“It never seems to take off a generation. Sometimes families disappear for a generation and then make a comeback. Best in Show’s family seems to have come the whole way, which is a great tribute to the ability of the genes and soundness of the genes as well.”

Juddmonte’s success with its mares is well documented, and the operation has made an additional impact on the Breeders’ Cup through Kerali and her brilliant daughter Hasili, one of only three mares in the history of the Breeders’ Cup to produce multiple winners.

Another prominent mare in the event’s history is the Phipps Stable’s Personal Ensign, who launched an unprecedented line of three generations of Breeders’ Cup winners. The undefeated racemare, and later her foals, were raised at the Hancock family’s Claiborne Farm, which holds its own place in Breeders’ Cup lore. The farm bred Special, whose several Breeders’ Cup-winning descendants include 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and champion Blame.

“With Special, it goes back five or six generations of mares here that we bred,” Claiborne’s Seth Hancock said. “It has been a good family.”

Darby Dan, Adena Springs, and Ramsey Farm also have been responsible for developing female families that have been a force at the Breeders’ Cup – and that could continue to make their influence known Nov. 1-2 at Santa Anita Park.

Best in Show

Best in Show’s Group 3-winning daughter Monroe was a private acquisition by Juddmonte from Robert Sangster. The mare produced the stakes-placed Silver Star, who, in turn, begat the Storm Cat daughter Rising Tornado. The mare underachieved on the track, but her first foal was Close Hatches, from the first crop of Juddmonte homebred First Defence.

“The really distinct feature that these families have is soundness as well as brilliance,” O’Rourke said. “They’ve endured through generations because there are good ones, and mediocre ones, but when they’re all sound, you can breed back to a brilliant stallion, and that trait of soundness just keeps going through the whole family from generation to generation.

“In Close Hatches’s case, her dam, Rising Tornado, was a lovely filly who we thought should have been, on looks, a classic prospect. So, we scratched our heads a bit when she didn’t show the family speed, nor the Storm Cat speed. Breeding back to First Defence, we had a lot of success – it worked tremendously.”

Best in Show, a stakes-winning daughter of Traffic Judge bred by Philip Connors, was represented by several other productive daughters. The most well-known branch of her family was launched by 1982 Kentucky Oaks winner Blush With Pride, whose triumph in that Grade 1 race helped earn her dam Broodmare of the Year honors. Blush With Pride produced 2007 Broodmare of the Year Better Than Honour, the dam of Belmont Stakes winners Rags to Riches and Jazil, as well as 2009 Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Man of Iron.

Best in Show’s daughter Sex Appeal is the third dam of 2002 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Domedriver. Sex Appeal further cemented her dam’s influence by producing the prominent sire El Gran Senor, who counts 1996 Sprint winner Lit de Justice among his stakes horses. El Gran Senor also is the sire of Juddmonte’s 2002 Broodmare of the Year, Toussaud, the dam of four Grade 1 winners. Those include Honest Lady, the dam of First Defence, himself a Grade 1 winner.

Best in Show’s daughter Minnie Hauk is the second dam of Imperfect Circle, who produced Spinning World, the winner of the 1997 Mile after finishing second the year prior. Minnie Hauk also is the third dam of 2002 Mile third-place finisher Good Journey.

Another daughter, Nijinsky’s Best, is the dam of 1998 Breeders’ Cup Turf runner-up Yagli.

Kerali and Hasili

A Juddmonte homebred by High Line, Kerali is best known as the dam of the stellar broodmare Hasili. The stakes-winning Kahyasi mare has produced two Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winners in Banks Hill (2001) and Intercontinental (2005) and five additional graded/group stakes winners.

“They all ran as 2-year-olds, as 3-year-olds, as 4-year-olds, as 5-year-olds,” O’Rourke said of Hasili’s offspring. “They always showed up, and they were tremendously consistent.”

Hasili’s Group 2-winning son Dansili now stands at Juddmonte’s Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket, England. The sire will be represented in this year’s Filly and Mare Turf by Grade/Group 1 winners Dank and Laughing, while another, The Fugue, is likely for the Turf. Meanwhile, Romantica, a Group 1-winning daughter of Banks Hill, will also contest the Filly and Mare Turf.

Kerali’s contributions are not limited to Hasili’s offspring. Her daughter Dissemble produced 2005 Mile runner-up and champion Leroidesanimaux. Another daughter, Arrive, produced Visit, third in the 2008 Filly and Mare Turf.


A Claiborne homebred from the family of prominent producer Rough Shod II, Special is responsible for three Breeders’ Cup winners in the last decade through her daughters, as well as two prominent sires.

Chief among the Forli mare’s recent representatives is Claiborne’s and Adele Dilschneider’s Blame, the winner of the 2010 Classic over champion Zenyatta in Claiborne’s centennial year. The horse was produced by the stakes-placed 2010 Broodmare of the Year Liable, who is out of Special’s daughter Bound.

“It was like a storybook ending,” Hancock said. “Coming from a family like that, that you’ve bred all along, that has been here at the farm for that many years. [Blame’s] weanlings and yearlings are selling so well. We have a lot of optimism for him and his 2-year-olds selling next year. We’re very excited about that. It has been a good family.”

Another of Special’s daughters, multiple Grade 2 winner Number, is the granddam of Multiply. That unraced mare produced inaugural Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Corinthian. Special also is the fourth dam of 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Wrote.

Special is the dam of Nureyev, and, through daughter Fairy Bridge, the granddam of Sadler’s Wells. Nureyev sired three individual Breeders’ Cup winners, including two-time Mile winner Miesque and the aforementioned Spinning World. Sadler’s Wells, the third-highest-earning stallion in Breeders’ Cup history, is the sire of five individual winners, including two-time Turf winner High Chaparral. That stallion, who sired Wrote, is one of five sons of Sadler’s Wells to sire a Breeders’ Cup winner, along with El Prado, Galileo, Perfect Soul, and Montjeu.

Primal Force and Sweet Life

These two mares, along with Hasili, are the only producers represented by multiple individual Breeders’ Cup winners. Both were Broodmare of the Year honorees.

Primal Force, a winning Blushing Groom mare bred by Bertram Firestone, was later purchased by Frank Stronach and produced 1998 Classic winner Awesome Again and 2000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Macho Uno for his Adena Springs operation. Both have gone on to successful stallion careers at Adena and have major contenders in this year’s Classic. Awesome Again, whose four Breeders’ Cup winners include 2004 Classic victor Ghostzapper, will be represented by potential race favorite Game On Dude as well as Grade 1 winner Paynter. Macho Uno’s representative is Grade 1 winner Mucho Macho Man. Ghostzapper is the sire of possible Classic starter Moreno.

Sweet Life produced 2004 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Sweet Catomine and 2009 Ladies’ Classic winner Life Is Sweet. Both were campaigned by Marty and Pam Wygod, who bred the stakes-winning Kris S. mare.


In her most notable contribution to the breed, Sequence – a stakes-winning daughter of Count Fleet bred by Brownell Combs – produced multiple stakes-winning filly Gold Digger, the dam of Mr. Prospector. The prominent sire was represented by three Breeders’ Cup winners in his own right but also launched his own successful male line. His sons and grandsons to sire multiple Breeders’ Cup winners include Elusive Quality, Fappiano, Gone West, Seeking the Gold, Smart Strike, Street Cry, and Unbridled.

Gold Digger also is the granddam of 1996 Canadian Broodmare of the Year Amelia Bearhart, whose son Chief Bearhart started in three consecutive editions of the Breeders’ Cup Turf, winning in 1997.

Sequence is the fourth dam of both 1998 Distaff winner Escena and 1999 Juvenile Fillies winner Cash Run.


Soaring, a Swaps mare bred by John Galbreath, launched a prominent female turf family for Galbreath’s Darby Dan operation. Her daughter Far Beyond produced graded stakes winner Wings of Grace, the dam of inaugural Filly and Mare Turf winner Soaring Softly. Another of Soaring’s daughters, Pi Phi Gal, is the third dam of multiple Grade 1 winner Wonder Again, third in the 2004 Filly and Mare Turf.

Through Far Beyond, Soaring is the fourth dam of Grade 1 winner Noble’s Promise, third in the 2009 Juvenile.

Soaring’s granddaughter Ballade made a significant impact by producing sires Saint Ballado and Devil’s Bag as well as Canadian Horse of the Year Glorious Song, the dam of Singspiel, the runner-up in the 1996 Turf, and prominent sire Rahy. Saint Ballado sired two Breeders’ Cup winners, while Singspiel sired one. Rahy sired three Breeders’ Cup race winners and is best known as a prolific broodmare sire. Among the notable Breeders’ Cup participants who are out of Rahy’s daughters is 2000 classic runner-up Giant’s Causeway, the sire of the aforementioned Man of Iron.

Missy Baba and Weekend Surprise

Missy Baba was responsible for launching a wildly productive female family that also has produced several prominent sires. The winning My Babu mare, bred by Michael Phipps, counted stakes winners Raja Baba and Gay Missile among her offspring. Raja Baba went on to a solid stud career, siring two Breeders’ Cup winners. Gay Missile, meanwhile, produced the prominent broodmare Lassie Dear, who, in turn, produced 1992 Broodmare of the Year Weekend Surprise. Weekend Surprise is the dam of 1992 Classic winner A.P. Indy and multiple Grade 1 winner Summer Squall, both sires of Breeders’ Cup winners.

The breed-shaping A.P. Indy is further represented by sons and grandsons including Mineshaft, Pulpit, Tapit, and Stephen Got Even, all sires of Breeders’ Cup winners.

Weekend Storm, an unraced daughter of Weekend Surprise by Storm Bird, is the dam of 2011 Mile winner Court Vision. Another of her sons, Kipling, sired 2007 Mile winner Kip Deville.

Lassie Dear also produced Deerhound, the sire of 1997 Juvenile Fillies winner Countess Diana.

Missy Baba’s granddaughter Toll Fee – out of 1991 Broodmare of the Year Toll Booth – is the second dam of 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace and multiple Grade 1 winner Riskaverse. Havre de Grace finished third in the 2010 Ladies’ Classic and fourth against males in the Classic the following year during her Horse of the Year campaign. Riskaverse competed in four consecutive editions of the Filly and Mare Turf.

Numbered Account and Personal Ensign

A Buckpasser mare who traces in direct female lineage to the influential La Troienne, Ogden Phipps’s Numbered Account, the champion juvenile filly of 1971, was responsible for launching her own branch of influence. Her daughter Dance Number produced 1989 Juvenile winner and champion Rhythm. Another of her offspring, Private Account, sired two Distaff winners for the Phipps family – Personal Ensign (1988) and Inside Information (1995).

The undefeated Personal Ensign went on to a storied broodmare career, producing four Grade 1 winners, including 1995 Juvenile Fillies winner My Flag. The latter, in turn, produced 2002 Juvenile Fillies winner Storm Flag Flying, a peerless streak of three generations of Breeders’ Cup winners. Personal Ensign was honored as Broodmare of the Year in 1996.

Kitten’s First

Although the line launched by Kitten’s First is still relatively new in influence, its stock could rise dramatically following this year’s Breeders’ Cup. The winning Lear Fan mare, the foundation of Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s breeding operation, is best known as the dam of champion Kitten’s Joy, a troubled second in the 2004 Turf. Now standing at Ramsey Farm, he already is the sire of 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Stephanie’s Kitten and will be represented this year by a group including Grade 1 winners Big Blue Kitten, Real Solution, and Kitten’s Dumplings.

Kitten’s First also is the dam of multiple Grade 1 winner Precious Kitten, who finished a close fourth against a strong field in the 2008 Mile.

Justenuffheart, a daughter of Kitten’s First, produced 2006 Juvenile Fillies winner and champion Dreaming of Anna. She also produced 2009 Mile third-place finisher Justenuffhumor.

Primal Force:
Awesome Again (1998 Classic), Macho Uno (2000 Juvenile)
Hasili: Banks Hill (2001 Filly and Mare Turf), Intercontinental (2005 Filly and Mare Turf)
Sweet Life: Sweet Catomine (2004 Juvenile Fillies), Life Is Sweet (2009 Ladies’ Classic)

Personal Ensign
(1988 Distaff) – My Flag (1995 Juvenile Fillies)
Hollywood Wildcat (1993 Distaff) – War Chant (2000 Mile)
My Flag (1995 Juvenile Fillies) – Storm Flag Flying (2002 Juvenile Fillies)


Defending Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned, a homebred for Janis Whitham, is out of a daughter of Bayakoa, winner of back-toback editions of the Distaff in 1989 and 1990 for Whitham and her late husband, Frank.

“It would be pretty special,” Whitham said of the prospect of winning two Classics with Fort Larned. “It would be just unbelievable.”

The Whithams privately purchased Bayakoa out of South America during her racing career and bred and raced her Broad Brush filly Arlucea, dam of Fort Larned.

“We just decided we needed to breed her to a Mr. Prospector-line stallion,” Whitham said of selecting E Dubai as the sire of Fort Larned.