05/15/2002 11:00PM

A proud heritage comes to Pimlico


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Proud Citizen, who was second in the Kentucky Derby and is one of the favorites for the Preakness, has a pedigree that teems with important breeders, both with regard to his distinguished sire Gone West and also through his extraordinary female family.

Bred in Kentucky by Edmund Loder, Proud Citizen is the third foal of the 12-year-old mare Drums of Freedom. Loder bought the mare for $245,000 at the 1994 Keeneland November breeding stock sale when she was carrying her first foal, a son of leading European sire Caerleon later named Toho Spark.

Loder boards Drums of Freedom at the Mill Ridge Farm of Dr. John and Alice Chandler, and the Mill Ridge influence is evident in the subsequent foals from Drums of Freedom. Three, including Proud Citizen, are by the farm's premier stallion, Gone West, and the other is a daughter of leading sire Diesis.

The roots of this story, however, lie several generations back, as Proud Citizen's fifth dam is the immensely successful broodmare Almahmoud, a daughter of Epsom Derby winner Mahmoud. As a young horse and a broodmare, Almahmoud was an immensely appealing animal, selling five times before coming to rest at Nydrie Stud, who bred her to Native Dancer and got a handsome bay filly in 1957. Nydrie sold the filly to E.P. Taylor, who named her Natalma. She actually finished first in the Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga but lost the race on disqualification.

Following her retirement early the next year because of an injury, Natalma was bred to Taylor's stallion Nearctic, and the mare's first foal was a chunky bay colt, Northern Dancer. Unable to sell him, Taylor kept the colt, raced him to victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and saw him become a great international sire.

When the time came to sell Northern Dancer's full sister, Arctic Dancer, the market was not so bashful, and Jean-Louis Levesque acquired her from Windfields for his expanding racing and breeding operation. Arctic Dancer achieved less on the racetrack than her famous brother, placing second in the My Dear Stakes from only two starts, but she has become an important producer through her daughters, champion La Prevoyante and Danseuse Etoile.

La Prevoyante was a very special racehorse who died before going to the breeding shed, and Danseuse Etoile, like her famous sister, was bred by Jean-Louis Levesque. She was the last Buckpasser filly out of Levesque's grand broodmare Arctic Dancer.

La Prevoyante was one of the best daughters of Buckpasser, along with champions Numbered Account and Relaxing and English classic winner Quick as Lightning. Whereas La Prevoyante was unbeaten in a dozen starts as a juvenile and was a champion in the United States and Canada, Danseuse Etoile was not a stakes winner. From four starts, however, she won three races and clearly had considerable athletic ability. Danseuse Etoile compensated somewhat for the brevity of her racing career by producing four stakes winners from 13 foals.

Daniel Wildenstein, the international art dealer and Thoroughbred breeder and owner, acquired Danseuse Etoile from Levesque, and Wildenstein bred the four stakes winners out of Danseuse Etoile. The best of these was Drapeau Tricolore, winner of the Grade 2 Fayette Handicap, and Dampierre, winner of the Group 3 Prix Quincey.

Drums of Freedom, a nonwinner by European champion Green Forest, was bred by Daniel Wildenstein in the name of his Allez France Stables. Like all practical breeders, Wildenstein had to cull the stock that appeared to have less chance of producing top racehorses. As a result, Edmund Loder was able to acquire the daughter of a European champion out of an extraordinary family and add her to his breeding operation.

Loder, who has about a dozen broodmares in Kentucky, lives in Ireland and emphasizes quality in breeding horses. Alice Chandler, who has Drums of Freedom at Mill Ridge, noted the depth of family behind Proud Citizen and said, "This mare has a license to do this well. When Proud Citizen ran here in the Lexington, I thought I'd never seen a better-looking colt."

Proud Citizen was a good-looking colt with an excellent top when Mill Ridge consigned him to the Keeneland September sale and sold him to Robert Baker, David Cornstein, and William Mack, who purchased the colt in the name of Grand Slam Farm. In 1996, the three partners had purchased another son of Gone West at the Keeneland September sale and named him Grand Slam. A Grade 1 winner and now one of the most promising freshmen sires of the year, Grand Slam stands at Ashford.

Chandler said that "Drums of Freedom has a gorgeous yearling full sister to Proud Citizen that Mr. Loder will keep and race." He sold the colt's full brother last year at the Keeneland September yearling sale for $460,000. Drums of Freedom was bred to Theatrical on May 1.