09/25/2017 8:39AM

Sparkman: It Tiz Well brings Arch back into sire spotlight

Barbara D. Livingston
It Tiz Well, a daughter of Arch, won the the Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes at Parx on Saturday.

Ever since he first stepped onto the public stage at the 1996 Keeneland July sale of selected yearlings, Arch has been a star. Purchased that day for $710,000 by Seth Hancock of Claiborne Farm as agent for Claiborne and Adele Dilschneider, Arch validated that investment by winning 5 of 7 starts, all at 2 and 3, including the Grade 1 Super Derby. His stud career has been solid but not spectacular. 

It Tiz Well, winner of the Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing last Saturday, is Arch’s 11th Grade 1 or Group 1 winner among 66 stakes winners and 36 group or graded winners. While those numbers are impressive, they pale next to the totals of some of his contemporaries, some of whom have sired more than 100 stakes winner. Since Arch stands at Claiborne, he has never covered the huge books that prevail at other farms. Thus, he has sired “only” 1,087 foals of racing age, whereas some of his contemporaries have sired over 2,000.

Arch’s sale price was readily justifiable since his sire, Kris S., had already sired four Breeders’ Cup winners at that point, and his dam, Aurora, by Danzig, was a stakes-winning full sister to Japanese champion Yamanin Paradise, and half-sister to Grade 3 winner Destiny Dance, by Nijinsky II, and to stakes winner Alyssum, by Storm Cat. All were progeny of 1984 champion 3-year-old filly Althea. Arch’s third dam, Courtly Dee, by Never Bend, is the foundation mare of one of the most prolific and revered families in the international Stud Book, developed mostly by Arch’s breeder, Helen Alexander and her family. Aurora later produced UAE Horse of the Year Festival of Light, by A.P. Indy, and Grade 1 winner Acoma, by Empire Maker, and her family remains one of the most coveted in the world through Althea and her siblings Aquilegia and Aishah.

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Trained by Frank Brothers, Arch won his only start at 2, and missed the classics the following spring because of a minor injury. He returned in time to score an easy victory over an undistinguished field in the Super Derby, and followed that up with a victory over the previous year’s Belmont winner Touch Gold, while giving him eight pounds, in the Grade 3 Fayette Stakes. He ran poorly in his final start, however, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, finishing ninth behind the rodeo finish fought out by Awesome Again, Silver Charm, Swain, and Victory Gallop.

Retired to Claiborne, Arch, a solidly built, correct, handsome horse, proved himself capable of siring top-class animals, but never quite reached the top echelon of stallions. His best son Blame (out of Liable, by Seeking the Gold) famously ended Zenyatta’s 20-race win streak in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic, earning champion older male honors, and succeeded his sire at stud at Claiborne. Arravale (Kalosca, by Kaldoun) earned Horse of the Year honors in Canada, and Overarching (Lonely Fact, by Known Fact) was three times champion sprinter in South Africa, but Arch sired few juvenile stakes winners and his offspring were never a major factor in the classics.

It Tiz Well is the second foal out of It Tiz, a sturdy, talented daughter of Tiznow who won 5 of 19 starts, all from 2 to 4, including the listed Megahertz and Le Cle stakes in California. The late John and Betty Mabee bred most of the family descending from It Tiz Well’s fifth dam Beautiful Spirit, by Bold Bidder. Beautiful Spirit produced Grade 1 winner Beautiful Melody, by Alydar, and Grade 3 winner Beautiful Glass, by Pass the Glass, dam of Grade 1 winner Jeanne Jones, by Nijinksy II. The family also includes perennial leading South African sire Silvano, by Lomitas.

It Tiz Well’s third dam, stakes-placed Star of the River, by Soviet Star, was the only stakes horse our of Beautiful Spirit’s daughter Beautiful River, by Irish River, but Star of the River’s daughter Star of the Woods, by Woodman, is also dam of Canadian champion Solid Appeal, by Successful Appeal, as well as It Tiz. Another half-sister, stakes-placed Meetmeinthewoods, by General Meeting, is dam of stakes winner Jimmy Bouncer, by Square Eddie.

It Tiz has since produced the unraced 2-year-old filly End of Now, by Ghostzapper, a yearling Scat Daddy filly named Pink Scatillac, and a 2017 filly by City Zip. She was bred back to Honor Code in 2017.