11/30/2004 12:00AM

Sister act provides classy performers

Benoit & Associates
Intercontinental wins the one-mile Matriarch on the Hollywood Park turf after passing the Breeders' Cup Mile.

LAS VEGAS - When it comes to racing class, it has always been about the dam and her entire tail-female line (dam, dam's dam, dam's granddam, etc.). There was never a better example of what class in the dam means than last weekend at Hollywood Park, where three major stakes winners from the same female family raced. Two of them won, while the other finished a strong third off a long layoff and tough trip.

When Intercontinental won her first three U.S. starts, I expected her to have an impact on this year's Breeders' Cup Mile. After all, her full brother Dansili was champion older male in England and France, and was flying fastest of all when he came up the rail to finish third to War Chant and North East Bound (by a neck and a nose) at 12-1 in the 2000 BC Mile. The following year, Intercontinental and Dansili's full sister Banks Hill romped to an eye-opening 5 1/2-length victory in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf and was named champion turf mare.

But Intercontinental disappointed over a yielding Saratoga course in the Diana Handicap, where she finished 11 1/2 lengths behind Wonder Again on July 31. Intercontinental was rested two months and reappeared in the 6 1/2-furlong Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap. She ran well to be second to the turf-sprint specialist Belleski in a race she obviously needed.

Rather than send Intercontinental to the Breeders' Cup Mile, trainer Bobby Frankel ran her in the Grade 1 Matriarch at Hollywood. On Sunday, against a star-studded field that included Musical Chimes, Ticker Tape, Island Fashion, Ocean Drive, the Frankel-trained Etoile Montante, and last year's highweighted 2-year-old filly in France, Denebola, Intercontinental proved without a doubt she is this year's best filly turf miler.

The Matriarch was expected to be Intercontinental's final race, but there is some speculation that she will remain in training, which, of course, would be racing's gain. Considering her talent and family history, Intercontinental deserves a shot at next year's Breeders' Cup Mile.

The day before Intercontinental won the Matriarch, two of her close relatives put on quite a show in the Citation Handicap. While Intercontinental is the top filly turf miler, Leroidesanimaux, who captured his fifth straight victory with another smashing performance in the Citation Handicap, is quite possibly the top turf miler, despite the heroics of Singletary in winning the Breeders' Cup Mile (sans Leroidesanimaux). After running fourth in his first U.S. start after being imported from Brazil, Leroidesanimaux reeled off four victories in a row, setting a new stakes record of 1:11.76 in the 6 1/2-furlong Morvich Stakes at Santa Anita and a new course record of 1:38.45 in the 8 1/2-furlong Inglewood Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Three Valleys, last year's 2-year-old champion in England, was making his first start in the Citation since his only poor effort in the English 2000 Guineas on May 1. Breaking slowly in the Citation, Three Valleys trailed the field for most of the race and accelerated quickly, finding room on the rail at the top of the stretch. But the hole closed and he had to alter course, finishing full of run to be third in a game effort.

Dams are half-sisters

Remarkably, the dams of Intercontinental (Hasili), Leroidesanimaux (Dissemble), and Three Valleys (Skiable) are half-sisters. Hasili (by Kayhasi), Dissemble (Ahonoora), and Skiable (Niniski) are all out of the High Line mare Kerali, a modest winner of one race in four lifetime starts. Ordinary on the racetrack, Kerali turned into a superstar in the breeding shed, and her influence on the breed now spans multiple generations.

The most famous of these dams, of course, is Hasili, who must be considered a strong candidate for this year's Broodmare of the Year. From five foals to race, she has produced five major stakes winners: champions Dansili and Banks Hill, Heat Haze, and 2004 stakes winners Intercontinental and Cacique. All were by the late Danehill (Danzig) except for Heat Haze, who is by another son of Danzig, Green Desert. Hasili, who will be 14 in January, has an unnamed yearling colt by Danehill and aborted a foal this year to the cover of Rock of Gibraltar (a son of Danehill).

Dissemble is the dam of three stakes winners, Disport (by Blue Stag), Uapybo (Blush Rambler), and Leroidesanimaux (Candy Stripes). She was barren in 2003 and has an unnamed weanling filly by War Chant.

Skiable was stakes-placed, finishing second in the Matching Stakes. She has an unnamed yearling filly by Miswaki.

Interesting bloodlines for Dubleo

After beginning his career with three dirt races, Dubleo found a home on turf. His impressive victory in the Generous Stakes was his fourth victory in five grass starts. By speed influence Southern Halo (the sire of More Than Ready), Dubleo has a lot going on in his pedigree. His dam, Secret Red (Secretariat), is a half-sister to a sprint champion, Rubiano, as well as to the dam of Tapit, this year's Wood Memorial winner. His second dam, Ruby Slippers (Nijinsky II), is a half-sister to Glitterman and Marine Brass, and his third dam, Moon Glitter (In Reality), is a full sister to Relaunch.