05/01/2015 12:28PM

Sparkman: Effinex represents a global brand

Joe Labozzetta/NYRA
Effinex wins the Excelsior on April 26 at Aqueduct.

Few if any broodmares of the 1970s and 1980s have spread their genes quite so effectively through their female line as foundation mare Best in Show. Bred in Kentucky by Philip Connors, Best in Show, by Traffic Judge out of Stolen Hour, by Mr. Busher, was purchased for $25,000 by Norman Woolworth’s Clearview Stable at the 1966 Keeneland July sale.

Best in Show proved herself a pretty good racemare, winning the Comely Stakes at 3, but she far surpassed “pretty good” as a broodmare. Four of her 18 foals were stakes winners, including the Irish champion Malinowski, by Sir Ivor, and the multiple Grade 1 winner Blush With Pride, by Blushing Groom, but no fewer than six of her daughters have established Grade/Group 1-producing branches of her far-flung family, and a seventh may soon be added through the efforts of fourth-generation descendant Effinex, by Mineshaft, winner of the Grade 3 Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct on April 25.

Bred in New York by Russell S. Cohen, Effinex is the only foal out of another Cohen-bred, What a Pear, by E Dubai. Also bred in New York, What a Pear began her racing career by winning a restricted six-furlong maiden race at Aqueduct on Dec. 6, 2008, and followed a month later in her 3-year-old debut with a victory in a mile allowance for New York-breds.

That was promising enough to try What a Pear in open company Feb. 1, 2009, in the Wistful at Aqueduct at a mile and 70 yards. What a Pear willingly tracked the pace of Sapphire Sky and wore her down in the stretch to win by 1 1/2 lengths. The Busher Stakes at 1 1/16 miles at the same track three weeks later was even easier, as What a Pear again rallied from just off the pace and romped to a 10 1/4-length victory.

Winter racing at Aqueduct may not be exactly easy pickings, but it is not the same as facing the nation’s top fillies at other venues, and What a Pear never won another race in a very ambitious subsequent campaign. She finished up the track in races like the Grade 1 Ashland and Coaching Club American Oaks and Grade 2 Top Flight before finally placing again in the Personal Girl Stakes over Aqueduct’s winterized inner oval a year later.
Though short of top class, What a Pear’s record was far better than that of her dam, Perfect Pear, a Pine Bluff mare Cohen purchased for $28,000 at the 1999 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March sale of selected 2-year-olds in training.

A half-sister to the stakes-placed Jandool, by Nureyev, Perfect Pear finished 30 lengths last in her only start, a six-furlong maiden race at Aqueduct on the next-to-last day of the 20th century. Although several of her foals were amusingly if somewhat suggestively named, including Brass Pear, by E Dubai, and A Perfect Wood, by Marquetry, What a Pear was Perfect Pear’s only stakes horse.

Perfect Pear’s dam, Perfect Isn’t Easy, by Saratoga Six, was the 17th foal produced by Best in Show, born in 1987 when the 1982 Broodmare of the Year was 22 years old. By that time, Best in Show’s daughter Sex Appeal, by Buckpasser, had begun the globalization of the Best in Show family through champion sons Try My Best and El Gran Senor, both by Northern Dancer. El Gran Senor generally is ranked as the second-best racing son of Northern Dancer, but it is Try My Best whose male line has continued to spread Best in Show’s genes. Try My Best’s champion son Last Tycoon is the sire of the leading New Zealand sire O’Reilly, and Try My Best’s fourth-generation male-line descendant Dark Angel, by Acclamation, by Royal Applause, by Waajib, by Try My Best, has emerged as one of the hottest young sires in Europe.

Best in Show’s Kentucky Oaks-winning daughter Blush With Pride kept the flag flying in the U.S. through Grade 2-winning daughter Better Than Honour, by Deputy Minister, dam of the Belmont Stakes winners Jazil, by Seeking the Gold, and the 2007 champion 3-year-old filly Rags to Riches, by A.P. Indy.

Best in Show’s Group 3-winning daughter Monroe, by Sir Ivor, is the dam of the European champion 2-year-old Xaar, by Zafonic, and of the Group 3 winner Masterclass, by The Minstrel, another good sire in New Zealand. Monroe also is the third dam of the American champion Close Hatches, by First Defence. Monroe’s stakes-placed full sister, Minnie Hauk, is the dam of the Group 1 winners Chief Contender, by Sadler’s Wells, and Aviance, by Northfields. Aviance has done exceptional work in the Niarchos family stud as the dam of the Group 1 winners Chimes of Freedom, by Private Account, and Denon, by Pleasant Colony, and as the grandam of the Group 1 or Grade 1 winners Aldebaran (by Mr. Prospector), Good Journey (by Nureyev), Spinning World (by Nureyev), and Saddex (by Sadler’s Wells).

Best in Show’s daughter Nijinsky’s Best, by Nijinsky II, produced the American Grade 1 winner and leading Brazilian sire Yagli, by Jade Hunter, but it is Monroe’s and Minnie Hauk’s full sister, Show Lady, who has done perhaps more than any of Best in Show’s daughters to make her name a global brand.

Her daughter Dancing Show, by Nijinsky II, was exported to New Zealand and Australia, where she produced the Group 1 winners Hurricane Sky, by Star Watch, and Umatilla, by Miswaki. Umatilla was the better sire of the two, with six Group 1 winners among his 35 stakes winners, but his half-sister, Shantha’s Choice, by Canny Lad, produced a far better sire in three-time leading Australian sire Redoute’s Choice, by Danehill. One of three Group 1 winners out of Shantha’s Choice, Redoute’s Choice rapidly is establishing his own branch of the Danehill male line, including the current leading sire in Australia, his son Snitzel. Dancing Show’s rapidly expanding branch of the family includes the good Australian sire Al Maher, by Danehill, and the current high-class Australian 3-year-old Rubick, by Encosta de Lago.

Like What a Pear, Effinex was conceived in Kentucky but foaled in New York and began his career in statebred races on the Aqueduct winter circuit before graduating to the big time. A winner of maiden and allowance races on the inner track in March 2014, he was well beaten by Wicked Strong when finishing eighth in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial. Last fall, Effinex captured the most valuable prize restricted to New York-breds, the $300,000 Empire Classic Handicap, but the Excelsior was his first stakes win in open company. It shows a measure of his improvement that Wicked Strong finished third in the Excelsior.

Effinex is one of 38 stakes winners to date sired by Mineshaft, who must be ranked as one of the two best racing sons of dual leading sire A.P. Indy along with the Preakness winner and champion 3-year-old male Bernardini. Bred and raced by William S. Farish, James Elkins, and W.T. Webber, Mineshaft was one of a small group of horses sent to race in England when Farish was confirmed as the American ambassador to the Court of St. James in 2001.

Mineshaft showed promise as a 3-year-old in Europe for trainer John Gosden, winning a maiden race and placing in the Group 3 Prix Daphnis, but did not come into his own until transferred to trainer Neil Howard and tried on the dirt at 4. Mineshaft won 7 of 9 starts in 2003, clinching champion older male and Horse of the Year honors with consecutive victories in the Grade 1 Suburban Handicap, Woodward Stakes, and Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Retired to his birthplace in 2004, Mineshaft was the best of five stakes winners from five foals produced by the 1992 Grade 1 Acorn Stakes winner Prospectors Delite, by Mr. Prospector, from the Striking branch of the La Troienne family. His full sister, the multiple Grade 1 winner Tomisue’s Delight, is the dam of the Grade 1 winner Mr. Sidney, by Storm Cat.

Mineshaft has been a good but not great sire at Lane’s End. He has sired the Grade 1 winners It’s Tricky (out of Catboat, by Tale of the Cat), Dialed In (Miss Doolittle, by Storm Cat), Discreetly Mine (Pretty Discreet, by Private Account), and Bond Holder (Cielo Girl, by Conquistador Cielo) among his 38 stakes winners from 554 foals age 3 and up.

Like many other good sons of A.P. Indy, Mineshaft is out of a Mr. Prospector mare, which can be both a positive and a negative for his breeding career because of the huge number of mares carrying the name of that great sire close up. Effinex is inbred 3x3 to Mr. Prospector, as is Bond Holder, while It’s Tricky is even more closely inbred, since her dam is inbred 3x3 to Mr. Prospector, giving her three crosses of the two-time leading sire.
Effinex is the only foal produced by What a Pear, so it is unfortunate that she will not have the opportunity to expand the global brand of Best in Show.