06/13/2012 11:09AM

Mohawk: American Jewel tries to give Brittany Farm a second Fan Hanover

Derick Giwner
American Jewel (above) is a descendant of the champion filly Three Diamonds.

Breed the best to the best.

That would seem to be the strategy behind every great breeding farm. Brittany Farm in Versailles, Ky., has remained loyal to a singular pursuit. It has built a legendary nursery for Standardbreds piece by piece.
Any great farm needs a foundation to build on and when it comes to the pacing powerhouses that have emanated from this great farm, the name Three Diamonds keeps appearing with regularity in those pedigrees.

The champion filly that raced some 30 years ago has more than left her mark on the sport.
So it’s really no surprise when you look at the pedigree of American Jewel, the favorite in Saturday’s $642,000 Fan Hanover stakes at Mohawk this Saturday that you find so many links to the Three Diamonds line.

Myron Bell, Brittany’s racing manager, has been with George Segal’s Brittany Farms almost from its inception and he recalls the days when both American Jewel’s sire American Ideal and her dam Trim Hanover came to his and the farm's attention.

“We sold American Ideal as a yearling,” Bell said. “I always follow our colts when they race because we’re always interested in purchasing into a future stallion."

Bell recalls that American Ideal was being campaigned in western Canada and he, a Jersey resident, had no real access to watch the horse race, but noticed he had gained a solid juvenile record.

“I came back from a vacation around Christmas time in 2004 and looked in the entries and noticed that American Ideal was entered to race on New Year’s Eve on a special afternoon card at Woodbine. My first thought was what were they doing racing at this time of year,” Bell said.

American Ideal did not win that afternoon, but his performance in defeat over a track listed as heavy was extraordinary.

“He paced in 2:02 that day and a week later he won in 1:52 3/5,” said Bell.

That effort prompted Bell to call Segal, who eventually became part of the horse’s ownership.

American Ideal showed potential. What he also showed was a pedigree infused with Brittany blood. His dam was Lifetime Success, a daughter of Three Diamonds. His sire, Western Ideal, was a son of the Brittany raced Western Hanover out of the Brittany race champion mare Leah Almahurst. Leah hails from the same direct maternal family as Three Diamonds.

What American Ideal represented was multiple crosses to the same family. Part of Brittany’s success formula is not only remaining loyal to a particular family, but adding as much of that blood as possible to the next generation.

“When we bought Trim Hanover (American Jewel’s dam) she was by Camluck from Three Diamonds family,” said Bell. That purchase happened late in 2005, well after American Ideal had paced a 1:47 4/5 mile and had a great three-year-old season. “I envisioned breeding her to American Ideal,” Bell said.

That mating took place when both of their racing careers had ended and the first foal was indeed something special. American Jewel was nearly flawless during her two-year-old season, which ended in injury. She has since come back to that rare form. Last week American Jewel went wire to wire in capturing one of two eliminations for the Fan Hanover. Her 1:50 mile was a career best and it certainly looked as if she could go faster.

Surprisingly for a farm that has had great success on the racetrack, Brittany Farm has managed only one Fan Hanover victory. That came in 2003 with Remember When, who not surprisingly hails from the same family as Three Diamonds. She was by Camluck, the sire of American Jewel’s dam, Trim Hanover.

But 2012 may be different. Not only does American Jewel have a chance to become Brittany’s second Fan Hanover winner, but her stablemate Romantic Moment, also an elimination winner a week ago, has a solid chance as well.

Also by American Ideal, Romantic Moment was a bit under the radar as a two-year-old but has emerged better and stronger this season. For her there is no Three Diamonds blood running through her dam side, but Bell recalled purchasing her as a yearling for Brittany.

“She’s produced some decent horses but few of them were good individuals,” said Bell.

Romantic Moment’s sold for $75,000 to Brittany in the fall of 2010, that price was by far the most expensive from the five foals of her dam Time N Again.

To no surprise Bell likes the chances of both of his fillies on Saturday night, but he knows there is plenty of talent in the field.

“Economy Terror is a great filly. She didn’t have much of a chance of coming from off the pace against American Jewel last week,” Bell said. “But she drew the nine.”

The Brittany girls will start side-by-side in posts four (Romantic Moment) and five (American Jewel) for the Fan Hanover, race nine on Saturday’s 13-race Mohawk program. The elite card, which features the $1.5 million North America Cup, has a first post of 7:10 p.m.