01/30/2017 10:52AM

Sparkman: Arrogate's bloodlines paying it forward

Barbara D. Livingston
Arrogate, by Unbridled's Song, cruises to victory in the inaugural Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup.

At the 1989 Keeneland September yearling sale, Rob Whiteley, director of operations for Carl Icahn’s Foxfield, fell in love with a chestnut filly by Meadowlake out of the In Reality mare, Inreality Star. Whiteley purchased the filly in Foxfield’s name for only $90,000, and within a little more than a year, she had won all seven of her starts as a 2-year-old, including a dominating victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies to clinch an Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly of 1990.

Meadow Star was not so dominant as a broodmare, but, as Whiteley would say, she has paid it forward in the magnificent form of her great-grandson Arrogate, easy winner of the inaugural Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup last Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

Bred in Florida by Jaime S. Carrion, Meadow Star was the fifth foal out of Inreality Star, whose produce record at the time showed only a maiden winner from her first three foals to race. A maiden winner herself from only three starts, Inreality Star was, however, a full sister to stakes winner Par Flite and a half-sister to three other stakes winners, all bred by the late William Floyd and/or his son Morris B. Floyd and their Fairway Farm.

Par Flite won the Grade 2 Washington Park Stakes and ran second in the Grade 1 Arlington Classic, but his half-brother Fairway Phantom, by What a Pleasure, won the Arlington Classic as well as the Grade 2 Breeders’ Futurity. Their half-sister Marian Z., by Gallant Man, and half-brother Spectacularphantom, by Spectacular Bid, were both stakes winners, and the family had been developed mostly by the Headley family after John Sanford imported Meadow Star’s ninth dam, Queen Mab, by Sunstar, in the 1920s.

Trained by Hall of Famer Leroy Jolley, Meadow Star won her first start at Belmont Park in June by more than five lengths and then swept the Grade 3 Astoria, Grade 2 Schuylerville, Grade 1 Spinaway, Grade 1 Matron, and Grade 1 Frizette in succession before the Breeders’ Cup. Her average margin of victory in those seven juvenile races was more than five lengths, including a ridiculously easy 14-length romp in the Frizette. No juvenile filly got closer than 1 3/4 lengths of her at the finish.

Those were Hall of Fame-caliber credentials in themselves, and Meadow Star added to her streak with victories in the Queen of the Stage and Grade 2 Comely at 3 before taking on colts in the Wood Memorial with a view toward a tilt at the Kentucky Derby. That proved a bridge too far, and she never got into the race in the Wood Memorial behind Cahill Road, but she bounced back with an easy win in the Grade 1 Acorn.

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That set the stage for what proved to be an epic battle with Lite Light in the Grade 1 Mother Goose, where Meadow Star fought back gallantly to win by a nose. Lite Light got her revenge in the Grade 1 CCA Oaks, and those two hard races seemed to get to the bottom of Meadow Star. She ran twice more after a long break at 3 and five times at 4, but she never won again.

Meadow Star produced only five foals, and only one, Grechelle, by Deputy Minister, earned black type, placing in the Grade 3 Golden Rod. Grechelle’s daughter Bubbler, by Distorted Humor, won four stakes in Texas, and the latter’s half-sister Unbridled Femme, by Unbridled, also is a stakes winner. Grechelle’s full sister Field of Vision is granddam of Grade 1 winner Belle Gallantey, by After Market.

Arrogate is Bubbler’s foal, and she has since produced an unnamed 2-year-old filly by Medaglia d’Oro that sold for $300,000 to Bridlewood Farm at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale. She also has produced a yearling filly by Giant’s Causeway and was bred to Into Mischief last year.

The narrative on the stud career of Unbridled’s Song has certainly changed over the last few years with the emergence of his three best sons to date – Arrogate, Liam’s Map, and Will Take Charge. Those three multiple Grade 1 winners are among 118 stakes winners and 22 Grade 1 winners from 1,700 foals sired by Unbridled’s Song.

Those are the numbers of a world-class sire by any measure, but Unbridled’s Song was saddled very early with a reputation as the sire of unsound stock. Breeders’ Cup winners and champion 3-year-olds in three out of four late crops have rehabilitated that image.

Those three brilliant colts also will have an excellent chance to rehabilitate Unbridled’s Song’s record as a sire of sires. Like Meadow Star, they have a chance to pay it forward.