10/02/2008 11:00PM

Tutta Bella has plenty of class on both sides

Email

LEXINGTON, Ky. - With an improving record and a victory in the Fran's Valentine Handicap earlier in the year, Tutta Bella will be among the favorites Sunday in the California Cup Distaff Handicap for fillies and mares over 6 1/2 furlongs down the hill at Santa Anita.

The 5-year-old daughter of Horse of the Year Holy Bull is out of the stakes-placed Griselda, by Red Ransom. This is a pedigree that suggests considerable size in a horse, improvement with maturity, and an appreciation for racing on turf.

Both Holy Bull and Red Ransom are big horses, and some of their offspring, especially the larger ones, need some time to show their best form.

Although Holy Bull never raced on turf, many of his offspring have performed well on the surface, and as a sire he has been remarkably versatile, getting major winners at distances from six furlongs to 1 1/4 miles. In addition, the stallion's offspring frequently have the capacity to race well on any surface.

As testimony to the sire's ability to produce quality that expresses itself in many different modes, the gray son of Great Above has sired Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo, Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Macho Uno, and the important sprinters Woke Up Dreamin and Pohave among a total of three dozen stakes winners.

Bred in California, Tutta Bella was bred and is raced by Pam Ziebarth. The mare combines the speed and turf success found in some of the stock by Holy Bull.

Holy Bull has been almost as much a find for breeding as he was for racing. A horse of tremendous speed, Holy Bull was able to carry his speed over a distance, winning such eminent races as the Travers, Woodward, and Metropolitan Handicap during his championship season at 3.

From his early crops at stud, Holy Bull has fashioned a solid record as a sire of athletes with speed and class.

In addition to Holy Bull's aptitude for quality, Tutta Bella also inherited some strong turf performance from her broodmare sire Red Ransom, also sire of top turf performers like Eclipse champion Perfect Sting, Epsom Oaks winner Casual Look, and Group 1 winners Ekraar (Gran Premio del Jockey Club) and Red Clubs (Sprint Cup).

Of course, not all the distinction comes from the stallions in the pedigree, and this family has been a major source of high-class racers for generations. The dam of Tutta Bella is Griselda, who was stakes-placed three times, including a third in the important E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine. Griselda is the best daughter of the Spectacular Bid mare Ruling Crown, who is out of Chosen Crown, by the Argentine star Forli.

A big, rugged stallion with exceptional racing class, Forli was purchased by A.B. "Bull" Hancock and imported to race in the United States. A winner in 2 of 3 American starts before an injury ended his career, Forli retired to stand at Claiborne Farm, where he was bred to outstanding broodmares and produced some very important broodmares.

The most memorable of these is Special, the dam of major stakes winners Nureyev, Number, and Bound, as well as Fairy Bridge, who became the dam of European super sire Sadler's Wells.

Chosen Crown also had an eminent pedigree. She is the first foal out of the stakes-winning Secretariat mare Six Crowns, whose dam was the champion filly Chris Evert. A winner of the New York Filly Triple, Chris Evert began her breeding career with a mating to Triple Crown winner Secretariat, and their first foal was named Six Crowns.

During her racing career, Six Crowns improved with age, winning a stakes at 3 and placing in a half-dozen others, including the Grade 1 Ladies Handicap.

Although her first foal, Chosen Crown, was a dud as a racehorse, the second foal out of Six Crowns was champion Chief's Crown and the fourth was Grade 1 winner Classic Crown.

Chris Evert produced only five live foals, all fillies. In addition to Six Crowns, Wimbledon Star (Hoist the Flag) was a stakes winner, Tournament Star (Nijinsky) was stakes-placed, and both Nijinsky Star (Nijinsky) and Center Court Star (Secretariat) produced multiple stakes winners.