01/09/2017 8:54AM

Sparkman: Made You Look offers glimpse into Serena's Song's success

Barbara D. Livingston
Made You Look, a grandson of the great racemare and broodmare Serena's Song, wins the Grade 3 Dania Beach at Gulfstream on Saturday.

Among the many brilliant observations on the Thoroughbred credited to the Italian master Federico Tesio is that success along a female line often appears to follow a wave pattern. Mares along a given female line may produce well enough for many generations followed by a seemingly inexplicable explosion of talent set off by a single mare.

The family descending from the Perigord mare Snoot had been extremely productive in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s both here and abroad, her descendants including St. Leger winner Caligula, American champion American Flag, and French Derby winner Sandjar. But the line through her daughter Snow Maiden languished, comparatively speaking, until the great Serena’s Song took America by storm in the mid-1990s. Serena’s Song has since generated an explosion of class all her own, and the most recent example, the well-named Made You Look, expanded his CV with a victory in the Grade 3 Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park last Saturday.

By Rahy out of Imagining, by Northfields (an eighth-generation descendant of Snoot), Serena’s Song was bred in Kentucky by Howard J. Baker, DVM, and purchased for $42,000 as a weanling at the 1992 Keeneland November sale by Arthur Appleton. Appleton’s Bridlewood Farm pinhooked the filly to the 1993 Keeneland July sale of selected yearlings, where trainer D. Wayne Lukas selected her for $150,000 on behalf of Robert and Beverly Lewis.

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A smallish, blocky, very muscular filly with the determination to match her bulldog build, Serena’s Song put together a racing career that harked back to the era when American racehorses ran early and often and took on all comers, regardless of sex. Winner of the Grade 2 Landaluce against fillies in July as a 2-year-old, she was beaten only a half-length by subsequent Grade 1-winning colt Mr Purple in the Grade 2 Hollywood Juvenile Championship.

An experiment in rating her off the pace in her next two starts failed, and she returned to her front-running ways in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf, winning off by almost three lengths. Serena’s Song dueled throughout the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies with the undefeated Flanders, succumbing by only a head, and then closed her season with a similar, hard-fought victory in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet.

A 10-race juvenile campaign would have fried many a fast filly, but Serena’s Song was even better at 3, winning 9 of 13 races - including victories over colts in the Grade 2 Jim Beam and the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational, and over fillies in five Grade 1’s - to earn champion 3-year-old filly honors. Attempting to lead all the way against colts in the Kentucky Derby, though, was too much for her, and she faded out after a mile. Serena’s Song was almost as good at 4, winning three more Grade 1’s, but she was beaten by divisional champion Jewel Princess in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Serena’s Song retired to life as a broodmare at Denali Stud with Hall of Fame credentials of 18 wins in 38 starts, and she has been, if anything, an even better broodmare. Her daughter Sophisticat, by Storm Cat, won the Group 1 Coronation Stakes and is dam of stakes winner Sefroua, by Kingmambo, and granddam of stakes winner Sivoliere, by Sea The Stars. Sophisticat’s full brother Grand Reward won the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap, and another full brother Schramsberg captured the Grade 3 John B. Connally Turf Cup. Serena’s Song’s son Harlington, by Unbridled, won the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap, and his half-sisters Serena’s Tune, by Mr. Prospector, and Serene Melody, by Street Cry, are stakes winners. Serena’s Tune, dam of two stakes winners, is the granddam of champion Honor Code, by A.P. Indy.

Made You Look, who was bred in Kentucky by the Robert and Beverly Lewis Trust, run by the Lewis’s son Jeff, is the second foal out of Serena’s Song’s once-raced daughter Night and Day, by Unbridled’s Song. She has since produced colts by Speightstown and Verrazano, and was bred to Honor Code in 2016, a fascinating mating that will produce 4x2 inbreeding to Serena’s Song.

Made You Look, who was purchased for $350,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale by Let’s Go Stable and Three Chimneys Farm, is the one of 173 stakes winners sired by More Than Ready, one of the few stallions who has been almost equally successful in both hemispheres. Sire of Australian champions More Joyous, Phelan Ready, Sebring, and Samaready, he has sired Breeders’ Cup winners Regally Ready, Pluck, and More Than Real, plus the brilliant Verrazano in the U.S.