10/25/2014 4:09PM

Personal Ensign tops among Distaff winners as broodmares

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Barbara D. Livingston
Personal Ensign - with Gus Koch at Claiborne Farm in 2006 - won the 1988 Breeders' Cup Distaff to cap her unbeaten career, then went on to become an elite broodmare.

There are few lines of black type that can do more to boost a broodmare prospect’s résumé than a win in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

The list of Distaff winners includes some of the most important female runners of the past three decades. However, while a victory in the Breeders’ Cup may open doors in the sales ring and the stud barn, it has not guaranteed a bountiful career as a broodmare. Measured by success in the breeding shed, the spectrum of Distaff winners ranges from Broodmares of the Year to outright disappointments.

The factors taken into consideration for this list include the ontrack performance of each mare’s foals, the number of her sons at stud and their success, and the number and quality of the mare’s daughters as broodmares.

Because of those criteria, Distaff winners who have yet to establish themselves as broodmares, such as 2008 winner Zenyatta and two-time winner Royal Delta, did not make the cut. Those mares could one day take their place among the top Distaff-winning producers if they are able to pass their superior class on to their foals.

Additionally, the list considers only winners of the Distaff, meaning that winners of other Breeders’ Cup races for fillies and mares and winners in open divisions, such as three-time Mile heroine Goldikova, were not in the running.

The following list ranks the top 10 Breeders’ Cup Distaff winners as producers, including the year that each horse won the marquee race, and a description of their careers after the racetrack.

1. Personal Ensign – 1988
B. m., 1984, by Private Account—Grecian Banner, by Hoist the Flag
11 foals, 9 starters, 9 winners, 3 graded stakes winners, 3 graded stakes placers

Personal Ensign is the only Distaff winner to also be named Broodmare of the Year in the U.S., accomplishing that feat in 1996. A product of the vaunted Phipps family breeding program, and one of its pillars going forward, she was also the only Distaff winner to produce more than one Grade 1 winner.
The bountiful cross with sire Mr. Prospector yielded Grade 1 winners Miner’s Mark and Traditionally, Grade 1-placed Our Emblem, and Grade 3-placed Proud and True. Personal Ensign’s first mating with Easy Goer produced My Flag, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at age 2, then followed up with a trio of Grade 1 wins at 3.
All five of Personal Ensign’s sons that survived to breeding age were retired to stud, highlighted by Our Emblem, sire of dual classic winner and champion War Emblem. Proud and True sired two-time Canadian champion True Metropolitan, while Traditionally sired New Zealand champion Chant.
Personal Ensign’s daughters proved successful as well, four of them producing graded stakes horses. The most successful of the group was My Flag, whose five winners from seven foals to race include champion Storm Flag Flying, stakes winner With Flying Colors, and Grade 3-placed On Parade, the dam of Grade 2 winner Parading.
Other daughters include Salute, dam of Grade 1 winner Mr. Speaker; Title Seeker, dam of Grade 3 winner Seeking the Title; and Pennant Champion, dam of Grade 3 winner Animal Spirits.

2. Dance Smartly – 1991
Dk. b. or br. m., 1988, by Danzig—Classy ’n Smart, by Smarten
10 foals, 6 starters, 6 winners, 2 graded stakes winners, 1 stakes winner, 1 graded stakes placer, 1 stakes placer

The Sam-Son Farm homebred was named Canada’s Horse of the Year in 1991, and was recognized as the country’s Broodmare of the Year 10 years later.
Dance Smartly is one of two Distaff winners to produce a champion – Dancethruthedawn, who earned Canada’s 3-year-old filly Sovereign Award and won the Queen’s Plate in 2001. The Mr. Prospector filly was the second Canadian classic winner in as many years out of Dance Smartly, preceded by full brother Scatter the Gold, who won the Queen’s Plate and the Prince of Wales in 2000.
Dance Smartly had five sons at stud, led by Dance Brightly, sire of 2013 Chilean Horse of the Year Sabor a Triunfo and Grade 1 winner Mea Domina. Seek Smartly has sired three Venezuelan champions.
Dance Smartly’s daughters did not bear many prominent runners, with the only stakes producer being the Thunder Gulch mare Dancethruthestorm. However, Dance Smartly is the third dam of current Breeders’ Cup Classic contender Moreno, who is out of Dancethruthedawn’s daughter Danceinthesunlight.

3. Hollywood Wildcat – 1993
Dk. b. or br. m., 1990, by Kris S.—Miss Wildcatter, by Mr. Prospector
12 foals, 12 starters, 9 winners, 2 graded stakes winners, 2 stakes winners, 1 graded stakes placer, 1 stakes placer

A Grade 1 winner on both dirt and turf, Hollywood Wildcat’s foals saw the most success as grass runners. Chief among them was Breeders’ Cup Mile winner War Chant, who went on to become the mare’s most prominent son at stud. Her notable offspring also included Ivan Denisovich, who was a Group 2 winner in England and Grade/Group 1-placed in the U.S., England, and France.
Hollywood Wildcat’s lasting legacy is as a producer of sires, of which she has five. War Chant, who now resides in Australia, has sired 13 graded/group stakes winners, including Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Chamberlain Bridge and Santa Anita Derby winner Midnight Interlude. Ivan Denisovich and Ministers Wild Cat have also sired graded or group stakes winners, and the latter has been a solid stallion in California for several years.

4. Sacahuista – 1987
B. m., 1984, by Raja Baba—Nalees Flying Flag, by Hoist the Flag
13 foals, 11 starters, 9 winners, 1 graded stakes winner, 1 stakes placer

Sacahuista leads the list of Distaff winners by most sons at stud, with seven. Multiple U.S. stakes-placed Hussonet, a son of Mr. Prospector, has become one of the Southern Hemisphere’s most prolific stallions, leading Chile’s standings three times and siring 20 champions across Australia, Chile, Argentina, and Singapore.
She is also the dam of global runner Ekraar, a Group 1 winner in Italy who has become a sire of note in New Zealand. Two of Sacahuista’s daughters have become stakes producers.

5. Inside Information – 1995
B. m., 1991, by Private Account—Pure Profit, by Key to the Mint
9 foals, 5 starters, 3 winners, 1 graded stakes winner

The second Phipps-bred on the list, Inside Information is the only Distaff winner to bear an Eclipse Award winner, in the Unbridled filly Smuggler, who was named champion 3-year-old filly of 2005.
Inside Information has had one stakes-producing filly, Illicit, who is the dam of multiple Grade 2 winner and millionaire Gone Astray and group stakes-placed Contentious. Two of her colts have become sires, led by prominent Argentine stallion Manipulator.

6. Bayakoa – 1989 & 1990
B. m., 1984, by Consultant’s Bid—Arlucea, by Good Manners
4 foals, 2 starters, 1 winner

Bayakoa’s record as a producer of runners is unspectacular, but her success as a second dam is worthy of note, with two Grade 1 producers from three daughters. Arlucea, by Broad Brush, is the dam of 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned, as well as multiple Grade 1-placed Izarra and stakes-placed Moonport, while Trinity Place, by Strawberry Road, produced multiple Grade 1 winner Affluent.

7. Unbridled Elaine – 2001
Gr. or ro. m., 1998, by Unbridled’s Song—Carols Folly, by Taylor’s Falls
8 foals, 3 starters, 2 winners, 2 graded stakes winners

The youngest mare on the list has gotten off to a fast start, with Grade 2 winner Etched and Grade 3 winner Out of Bounds. Etched, now a young sire in Maryland, was represented by his first yearlings in 2014.

8. Jewel Princess – 1996
B. m., 1992, by Key to the Mint—Jewell Ridge, by Melyno
11 foals, 5 starters, 3 winners, 1 stakes winner, 2 graded stakes placers

Jewel Princess is the second dam of Grade 2 winner Coup de Grace and stakes-placed Street Savy, both out of the Grade 3-placed Storm Cat mare Home Court. She is also the second dam of Grade 3 winner El Caballo.

9. Spain – 2000
B. m., 1997, by Thunder Gulch—Drina, by Regal and Royal
10 foals, 8 starters, 5 winners, 1 graded stakes winner, 1 stakes winner

Spain is the dam of Plan, an Irish Group 3-winning and U.S. Grade 1-placed son of Storm Cat, and Dreamtheimpossible, a Group 1-placed stakes winner by Giant’s Causeway. Plan now stands in Maryland, where his first crop hit the track this year.

10. Life’s Magic – 1985
B. m., 1981, by Cox’s Ridge—Fire Water, by Tom Rolfe
14 foals, 9 starters, 7 winners, 1 graded stakes placer, 2 stakes placers

The second Distaff winner’s standout runner is Grade 2-placed Simon Pure, by Silver Deputy, who is one of her four sons to stand at stud.