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Kentucky Oaks winners: The top 10 broodmares
Popular theory in breeding suggests that the very best racemares struggle to duplicate their success as broodmares. So, we decided to look at a key race for 3-year-old fillies, the Kentucky Oaks, to evaluate that theory.
As it turns out, Kentucky Oaks winners, much like their Kentucky Derby-winning counterparts, proved to be a mixed bag of hits and misses in the breeding shed, but a handful have become transcendent as producers.
For the fairest and most direct comparison to determine which Kentucky Oaks winners were best as broodmares, we looked only at how their individual progeny performed on the track, not taking into account successive generations. To look at future generations would tilt the pendulum toward older mares, the ones who have had multiple generations represented on the track.
Eliminating that criterion clearly left off some Kentucky Oaks winners who proved to be very influential broodmares, such as 1959 winner Hidden Talent, from whom descends such stakes winners as Exceller, Capote, Broad Brush, and Baldski, to name but a few.
We looked at Oaks winners only since 1930 because produce records are more readily available and complete in The Jockey Club’s system since that time, though that takes out of consideration an Oaks winner such as Audience, the dam of top stakes winner Whisk Broom II.
With those guidelines in mind, here are the 10 best Kentucky Oaks winners as producers of runners since 1930.
1. Alcibiades, 1927 mare by Supremus-Regal Roman, by Roi Herode. Dam of 8 foals, 7 starters, 7 winners, 1 champion, 4 stakes winners.
The winner of the 1930 Oaks was about as close to perfect as a mare can get. After two seasons of racing when named champion 2-year-old filly and 3-year-old filly, Alcibiades went 7 for 7 producing winners as a broodmare.
A Hal Price Headley homebred, the daughter of Supremus was a frequent partner of British import Pharamond II, who was purchased by Headley’s Beaumont Farm in Lexington, Ky., from Lord Derby for the 1929 breeding season. Mating with that stallion produced four of Alcibiades’s eight foals, including her two best runners, Menow, the champion 2-year-old male of 1937, and six-time stakes winner Lithe.
Menow finished second or better in five of his six starts during his juvenile campaign, winning the Futurity Stakes and the Champagne Stakes. In 1938, he followed up with wins in the Massachusetts Handicap, the Potomac Handicap, and the Withers Stakes, along with a runner-up finish in the Blue Grass Stakes and a third in the Preakness.
Lithe raced for four seasons, primarily as a standout on the Chicago circuit, winning back-to-back editions of the Arlington Matron Handicap in 1949 and 1950.
Other top foals out of Alcibiades were Salaminia (by Man o’ War), the winner of three stakes, including the 1940 Alabama Stakes, and Sparta (by St. Germans), a four-time stakes winner.
2. Seaside Attraction, 1987 mare by Seattle Slew-Kamar, by Key to the Mint. Dam of 5 foals, 5 starters, 5 winners, 1 champion, 4 graded stakes winners.
A broodmare résumé doesn’t get much better than that of Seaside Attraction, with the only flaw being her untimely death in 1996 at age 9. The Seattle Slew mare excelled as a producer, with all five of her foals finding the winner’s circle, including four in graded or group stakes, the most of any Oaks winner in the modern era.
The standout among that group was her second foal, Golden Attraction, a daughter of Mr. Prospector who was a three-time Grade 1 winner in 1995 and champion 2-year-old filly that year.
The cross with Mr. Prospector proved bountiful for Seaside Attraction, with all five of her foals coming from a direct mating to that sire or to one of his sons. When bred to Mr. Prospector, Seaside Attraction also produced Grade 3 or Group 3 winners Cape Canaveral and Red Carnival, and she also produced Grade 1 winner Cape Town (by Seeking the Gold) and the winner Mercer Mill (by Forty Niner).
3. Lalun, 1952 mare by Djeddah-Be Faithful, by Bimelech. Dam of 12 foals, 7 starters, 6 winners, 1 champion, 2 stakes winners, 1 stakes-placed runner.
Lalun achieved the rare feat of producing two horses to place in multiple Triple Crown races in Never Bend and Bold Reason.
Never Bend, by Nasrullah, was the 1962 champion 2-year-old male, with wins in the Cowdin, Futurity, and Champagne stakes. He came into the 1963 Kentucky Derby as the winner of the Flamingo Stakes at Hialeah Park and finished second to Chateaugay in the classic at Churchill Downs. Never Bend then finished third in the Preakness Stakes behind Candy Spots and Chateaugay.
Bold Reason was third to Canonero II in the 1971 Kentucky Derby and then was third behind Pass Catcher in the Belmont Stakes. The son of Hail to Reason went on to stage a powerful and diverse summer campaign, with wins in the Travers Stakes and Hollywood Derby on dirt and the Lexington Handicap and American Derby Handicap on turf.
4. Two Bob, 1933 mare by The Porter-Blessings, by Chicle. Dam of 7 foals, 7 starters, 7 winners, 1 champion, 3 stakes winners, 1 stakes-placed runner.
Once a claimer, Two Bob became a foundation mare for the storied Calumet Farm breeding program and one of the most successful crosses with Calumet sire Bull Lea.
Four of Two Bob’s seven foals were by Bull Lea, three of them multiple stakes winners, led by two-time champion filly Two Lea, a nine-time stakes winner in California and Chicago. Two Lea was a successful competitor against both sexes, winning the 1952 Hollywood Gold Cup and finishing third in the 1950 Santa Anita Handicap.
The Bull Lea-Two Bob cross also produced 11-time stakes winner Miz Clementine and three-time stakes winner Twosy. A mating with Calumet’s Triple Crown winner Whirlaway produced the stakes-placed winner Bob Away.
5. Princess Turia, 1953 mare by Heliopolis-Blue Delight, by Blue Larkspur. Dam of 9 foals, 6 starters, 5 winners, 1 champion, 1 graded stakes winner, 1 stakes winner, 1 stakes-placed runner.
The only Kentucky Oaks winner to produce a Kentucky Derby winner, Forward Pass in 1968, Princess Turia was another product of the Calumet breeding program.
Princess Turia started slowly as a broodmare, with only one foal to race from her first three foals, and that one never won. Her breakthrough came with her fourth foal, Forward Pass (by On-and-On), the champion 3-year-old male of 1968. His award-winning campaign featured seven stakes wins, including the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but his Triple Crown quest was denied with a runner-up finish to Stage Door Johnny in the Belmont Stakes.
Princess Turia was bred to On-and-On four times, and the stakes-placed winner Ever On also was produced from that cross. She went out on a high note with her final foal, Turn to Turia (by Best Turn), who won five of six races during his juvenile campaign, including the Grade 2 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga and the Youthful Stakes and Juvenile Stakes at Belmont Park.
6. Sweet Alliance, 1974 mare by Sir Ivor-Mrs. Peterkin, by Tom Fool. Dam of 8 foals, 6 starters, 4 winners, 1 champion, 2 graded stakes winners, 1 stakes winner.
Sweet Alliance hit it big with her first foal, Shareef Dancer (by Northern Dancer), who was the champion 3-year-old in England and Ireland in 1983.
She followed up with Zaffaran (by Assert), a stakes winner in England who finished second in the 1989 edition of the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup. Domestically, Sweet Alliance struck with War Deputy (by Deputy Minister), who won the Grade 3 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes in 1993.
7. Fran’s Valentine, 1982 mare by Saros-Iza Valentine, by Bicker. Dam of 10 foals, 10 starters, 6 winners, 2 graded stakes winners, 1 graded stakes-placed runner.
Fran’s Valentine had produced three foals of little regard by the time prominent owner and breeder George Strawbridge Jr. bought her in 1992. The following year, she began a solid run of offspring, all featuring the word “With” as the first word in their names.
The clear standout in that group was With Anticipation, a five-time Grade 1 winner among his eight stakes victories. The son of Relaunch was one of North America’s elite turf horses in the opening years of this century, winning consecutive editions of the Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap and the Man o’ War Stakes in 2001 and 2002.
Fran’s Valentine also produced French Group 3 winner With Fascination (by Dayjur) and the Group 3-placed With Fire (by Gulch).
8. Blush With Pride, 1979 mare by Blushing Groom-Best in Show, by Traffic Judge. Dam of 15 foals, 11 starters, 9 winners, 3 graded stakes winners, 1 graded stakes-placed runner, 1 stakes-placed runner.
Blush With Pride’s foals were globally successful on the racetrack, winning or placing in stakes in five different countries, led by French Group 2 winner Smolensk, by Danzig.
She also produced Grade 2 winner Better Than Honour (by Deputy Minister), Irish Group 3 winner Turnberry Isle (by Deputy Minister), English Group 1-placed Maryinsky (by Sadler’s Wells), and the United Arab Emirates stakes-placed Fire Thunder (by Dayjur).
9. Susan’s Girl, 1969 mare by Quadrangle-Quaze, by Quibu. Dam of 11 foals, 9 starters, 5 winners, 1 graded stakes winner, 1 stakes winner.
The quick-starting Copelan, by Tri Jet, was the top foal by Susan’s Girl, winning six of nine races during his 2-year-old campaign in 1982, including three in Grade 1 company, the Champagne, Futurity, and Hopeful stakes, as well as the Hollywood Prevue Stakes.
Tri Jet was the golden cross for the three-time champion, whose five foals by the sire include the Grade 2-placed stakes winner Paramount Jet, a late-blooming Midwest fixture.
10. Lite Light, 1988 mare by Majestic Light-Printing Press, by In Reality. Dam of 12 foals, 7 starters, 6 winners, 3 graded stakes winners.
The most recent Oaks winner on the list tied for the second-most graded stakes winners among her distinguished sorority with three: English Group 2 winner Saddad (by Gone West), Grade 3 winner Nite Light (by Thunder Gulch), and Japanese Group 3 winner Gaily Egret (by Storm Cat).
Top 10 Kentucky Oaks winners as broodmares
|Year won Oaks||Mare||Foals||Strs||Wnrs||St plcd||SWs||Graded plcd||Graded SWs||Champions||Best runners|
Menow (17-7-3-3) $140,100, Champion
Lithe (62-10-8-8) $187,415, MSW
Salaminia (26-5-2-3) $36,580, MSW
Sparta (60-12-13-12) $33,170, MSW
Golden Attraction (11-8-1-1) $911,508, Champion
Cape Town (12-5-1-1) $795,817, G1W
Red Carnival (7-2-1-2) $58,362, ENG-G2W
Cape Canaveral (4-3-0-1) $128,640, G3W
Never Bend (23-13-4-4) $641,542, Champion
Bold Reason (17-7-4-2) $304,082, MSW
Two Lea (26-15-6-3) $309,250, Champion
Miz Clementine (36-16-9-2) $267,100, MSW
Twosy (52-21-17-3) $101,375, MSW
Forward Pass (23-10-4-2) $580,631, Champion (Ky Drby, Preakness)
Turn to Turia (6-5-0-0) $73,601, G2W
Shareef Dancer (5-3-1-0) $236,978, ENG/IRE Champion
War Deputy (9-3-0-1) $141,725, G3W
Zaffaran (11-4-1-2) $95,555, ENG-SW
With Anticipation (48-15-9-8) $2,660,543, MG1W
With Fascination (10-3-3-0) $179,691, FR-G3
|1982||Blush With Pride||15||11||9||1||0||1||3||0||
Better Than Honour (8-2-4-2) $250,920, G2W
Smolensk (12-3-3-0) $227,806, FR-G2W
Turnberry Isle (10-3-1-0) $133,269, IRE-G3W
Copelan (17-7-1-3) $594,278, MG1W
Paramount Jet (36-5-8-8) $238,683, SW
Saddad (15-3-0-1) $140,707, ENG-G2W
Nite Light (20-6-9-1) $546,960, G3W
Gaily Egret (32-8-4-4) $1,785,348, JPN-MG3W
Lite Light would have won the Derby that spring if she had started. Her Oaks was as impressive as any I've witnessed, including Rachel.
Blush With Pride is who I would want to own!! Better Than Honor keeps this legacy going.
Look at the Breeders Cup program every year. Look at the broodmares of all the horses. It's easy to see that the best race mares don't make the best moms. It's the dams sire that really matters. Look at the broodmares for this year's Derby horses. You won't find a lot of grade 1 winners. People expecting Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra to be super moms are probably going to be disappointed.
Susan's Girl was one hell of a racehorse
It goes to show that sometimes you have to go back a few generations to find class.
none of these raced during the lasix era.