03/06/2009 12:00AM

Look to the dam for world domination

Email

NEW YORK - The death of Urban Sea this past week should remind us of how important a role the female side of the Thoroughbred family plays. Conventional wisdom shouts "Hurrah!" as soon as a merely average stallion sires a single Grade 1 winner, but it is through the dam that class is passed on with the greatest surety.

Urban Sea, who died on Monday from foaling complications after giving birth to a colt by Invincible Spirit, was a perfect example of an excellent filly on the racecourse who passed her class on to her offspring no matter to which stallion she was bred. The winner of the 1993 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and three other French group races against males, she produced seven stakes winners - by Sadler's Wells, Giant's Causeway, Bering, Lammtarra, and Cape Cross - who have won 15 group or graded races to date in addition to placing in three classics. Galileo, champion European 3-year-old of 2001 when he won both the Epsom Derby and the Irish Derby as well as the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, is the best of them. He is closely followed by two-time Group 1 winner Black Sam Bellamy and My Typhoon, winner of Saratoga's Grade 1 Diana Stakes as well as four Grade 2 races and a Grade 3.

In addition to her Invincible Spirit foal, Urban Sea has in Sea the Stars one of the favorites for this year's 2000 Guineas by virtue of his juvenile victory in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes. A half-sister to 2000 Guineas winner King's Best and to Group 3 winner Allez Les Trois, Urban Sea will have her genes - and those of her own outstanding dam, Allegretta - passed on to future generations primarily through her Sadler's Wells son Galileo. His 10 Group 1 winners include New Approach, Teofilo, Lush Lashes, Soldier of Fortune, Red Rocks, and Sixties Icon, plus the current favorite for the 2000 Guineas, Rip Van Winkle. Urban Sea's best daughter, My Typhoon, foaled an Awesome Again colt in January.

Perhaps surpassing Urban Sea's accomplishments are those of Hasili. The product of an Aga Khan stallion, Kahyasi, and a Juddmonte mare, Kerali, Hasili is the pride and joy of Khalid Abdullah's powerful breeding operation. Now 17, she has had a career as a broodmare that stands comparison with that of any female Thoroughbred in history. Her six stakes-winning progeny have won 27 group or graded races. Five of her sons and daughters have won 11 Group or Grade 1 contests.

All of Hasili's Group/Grade 1 winners have been successful in both Europe and America. Banks Hill, winner of Royal Ascot's Coronation Stakes, beat older colts in the Prix Jacques le Marois, then stepped up to 1 1/4 miles to land the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. A listed race winner in France, Heat Haze won two Grade 1's in the United States: the Beverly D. and the Matriarch. Intercontinental was also a listed winner in France before winning the Filly and Mare Turf and the Matriarch along with three Grade 2's and three Grade 3's in America. Cacique was a three-time group race winner in France before Stateside scores in the Grade 1 Man o' War and the Grade 1 Manhattan. Champs Elysees, a Danehill full brother to Banks Hill, Intercontinental, and Cacique, earned Group 3 stripes in France before winning two North American Grade 1's, the Hollywood Turf Cup and the Northern Dancer Stakes.

Hasili's best son at stud is Dansili. Also by Danehill, he was a Group 2 mile winner in France who has sired four Group 1 winners: Arc laureate Rail Link, Passage of Time, Price Tag, and Zambezi Sun. And Hasili is not through yet. She has a 2-year-old Storm Cat filly with trainer Andre Fabre and is being bred this spring to an outstanding young stallion, Oasis Dream. If history repeats, we will not have to wait too long before seeing these two in Bobby Frankel's barn.

Just 13 years old, Better Than Honour may be the heir apparent to Hasili's throne. By Deputy Minister out of the Blushing Groom mare Blush With Pride, she produced back-to-back winners of the Belmont Stakes in Jazil and Rags to Riches, and might have made it three in a row had Casino Drive not picked up a stone bruise on the eve of the 2008 renewal. The winner of the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes, Casino Drive recently finished second in Tokyo's Grade 1 February Stakes and is one of the favorites for the Dubai World Cup on March 28.

Better Than Honour has a 2-year-old Giant's Causeway colt in trainer Aidan O'Brien's yard and is visiting the sire of Rags to Riches, A.P. Indy, this spring. At the November Fasig-Tipton sale, her co-owner John Sikura paid $14 million to acquire 100 percent ownership of her, making her the most expensive broodmare in history.

In terms of sheer earning power, however, no mare in the world tops Scarlet Bouquet. While only two of her nine winning foals have been stakes winners, they have combined to earn $21,232,920 among them. Of course, we are talking Japan, where the money grows on cherry trees compared with America or Europe. Consider that Hasili's offspring have earned just $8,447,945 and you get the picture.

By the Northern Dancer stallion Northern Taste out of the Crimson Satan mare Scarlet Ink, Scarlet Bouquet was a four-time stakes winner in her native Japan. Her Sunday Silence colt Daiwa Major won 10 graded stakes including four Grade 1's or their equivalents: the Japanese 2000 Guineas, the Yasuda Kinen, and the Mile Championship twice. His three-quarter sister Daiwa Scarlet, by the Sunday Silence stallion Agnes Tachyon, won eight stakes, among them four at the highest level - the Japanese 1000 Guineas, the Shuka Sho, the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup, and the Arima Kinen, the last against colts. Daiwa Scarlet would have been lining up for the Dubai World Cup later this month, but she suffered a career-ending leg injury in February. She will be sent this spring to Teruya Yoshida's Shadai Farm to be bred to Chichicastenango - a two-time Group 1 winner in France and the sire of 2008 French Derby winner Vision d'Etat - who is standing his first season in Japan. Scarlet Bouquet, also based at Shadai, has a 2-year-old colt by Neo-Universe and is visiting Agnes Tachyon again this spring.