08/01/2016 7:02AM

Sparkman: Flintshire brings more honor to distinguished Juddmonte family

Barbara D. Livingston
Flintshire, from a class-filled Juddmonte family, wins the Grade 2 Bowling Green on Saturday.

The Juddmonte juggernaut rolled into Saratoga on Saturday in the imposing form of Flintshire, who added a sixth graded stakes win to his globe-trotting record with an easy victory in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Stakes. Like almost all of Juddmonte’s runners, Flintshire is a homebred, as were his sire, leading French sire Dansili, and dam, Group 2 winner Dance Routine, and three of his four grandparents. All five of those Juddmonte-bred immediate ancestors were stakes winners (the sixth is 14-time leading English sire Sadler’s Wells), and his Juddmonte-bred third dam, Bourbon Girl, by Ile de Bourbon, finished second in 1987 in both the Epsom and Irish Oaks, though she never won a stakes race.

Pedigrees do not get much better than that.

Juddmonte’s management tends to modestly deflect compliments to its demonstrable skill at breeding high-class racehorses, saying that it is as simple as breeding a good horse to a good mare, but it was not always thus with the family that produced Flintshire. Juddmonte acquired the fourth dam of Flintshire, Fleet Girl, by Habitat, when Juddmonte owner Khalid Abdullah purchased Ferrans Stud in Ireland in 1983.

Although her sire, Habitat, and broodmare sire, Vaguely Noble, were two of the best racehorses of the 1960s and two of the best international sires of the 1970s, Fleet Girl’s immediate female family was pedestrian at best. Although she traced to the greatest of 19th century American foundation mares Maggie B B, the only black type winner along her first three dams was her second dam, Limey’s Moppet (by Limelight), whose proudest accomplishment was a victory in the Tanforan Lassie Stakes.

Bourbon Girl, who was beaten five lengths by Unite in the Oaks at Epsom and three by the same filly in the Irish Oaks, was easily the best horse Fleet Girl produced for Juddmonte (she produced stakes winner Sleet Skier, by Niniski, after being sold on). But Bourbon Girl’s family simply exploded with class when exposed to the world-class stallions Juddmonte utilizes. Her first foal, Shining Bright, by Rainbow Quest, won only a maiden race, but produced Group 1 winner Spanish Moon and Group 2 winner Spanish Sun, both by El Prado. Daring Miss, Bourbon Girl’s Group 2-winning daughter by Sadler’s Wells, produced stakes winner Destruct, by Rail Link.

Bourbon Girl’s daughter Apogee, by Shirley Heights, won the 1993 Group 3 Prix de Royaumont, and has produced four stakes winners for Juddmonte. Apsis, by Barathea, won two Group 3’s in France, and Dance Routine, by Sadler’s Wells, captured the Group 2 Prix de Royallieu and ran second to Bright Sky in the 2002 French Oaks.

Flintshire is Dance Routine’s fourth foal and second stakes winner, following his full brother Dance Moves. She has produced only one other foal, the once-raced 4-year-old Oasis Dream filly Across the Floor.

Flintshire is one of 116 stakes winners from 1,195 foals age 3 and up sired by Dansili, who led the French sire list in 2006 when his son Rail Link (out of Docklands, by Theatrical) won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. That 9.7 percent stakes winners to foals ratio includes 19 Group 1 or Grade 1 winners, including 2013 champion American grass mare Dank (Masskana, by Darshaan), and 13 highweights on European free handicaps.

Dansili, by the great Juddmonte-bred sire Danehill, was one of eight stakes winners out of his Juddmonte-bred stakes-winning dam, Hasili, by Kahyasi. A neat, compact, medium-sized horse with the exceptionally deep girth characteristic of Danehill, Dansili was a top-class racehorse at a mile, though he never managed a top-level win. Like Flintshire himself, Dansili had a bad case of “seconditis,” finishing second in the French 2,000 Guineas, and the Group 1 Sussex Stakes and Prix de la Foret. He may have been the best horse in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Mile, where he was trapped on the inside until the final eighth and closed fastest of all to be third, beaten a nose and a head by War Chant and North East Bound.

The Bowling Green was the 6-year-old Flintshire’s seventh victory in 21 starts, but he has run second no less than 10 times, including in the Group 1 or Grade 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (twice), Breeders’ Cup Turf, Dubai Sheema Classic, Hong Kong Vase, Coronation Cup, and Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

In the very best company at 1 1/2 miles, his best distance, Flintshire lacks the finishing speed of the world’s best horses, but as his record shows, he is a formidable opponent in any company.