*Agnes Sard

Considering how much time and thought go into the naming of Thoroughbreds, it is something of a surprise to encounter an important mare who was actually re-named.  Yet our current subject was not christened *Agnes Sard, but rather was given the birth name of Babylone.

Bred by Baron Maurice de Rothschild, the filly was imported as a weanling and was purchased by William Woodward for his Belair Stud at the Saratoga yearling sale in 1918.  Woodward later sold a full brother to *Agnes Sard’s immortal daughter Bel Agnes at the same Saratoga sale for $2,100.  Named Peanuts, he won 18 of 52 starts including the Brooklyn Handicap in the colors of Robert Gerry.

Bel Agnes herself went on to produce the excellent Man o’ War mare Judy O’ Grady from whose branch of the family come such stellar performers and progenitors as Bint Pasha; Green Dancer, *Grey Dawn II, Tuzla, Right Away, Faraway Son, Liloy, Baillamont, and Blue Prince.

The lesser of *Agnes Sard’s branches, that of Farmerette, descends from Agnes Star, who Woodward sold for $900 at Saratoga in 1932.  The buyer’s wife, Mrs. W. Plunket Stewart, was a sister to Mrs. Robert Gerry, whose husband owned Peanuts.  The Stewarts bred Cottage Cheese by matching Milkman, sire of their Belmont Stakes winner Pasteurized, with Agnes Star.

Thus, the pedigrees of *Agnes Sard’s two main conduits were very different indeed.  Judy O’Grady’s three St. Simon lines alone, to Cottage Cheese’s one, may well have made the difference in the overall quality of their descendents, for while Cottage Cheese was a very good producer, Judy O’ Grady was a great one.

In all fairness to Cottage Cheese, however, Judy O’Grady had one more daughter, and she also was bred to better stallions.  Judy O’Grady’s mates were Blue Larkspur (twice); *Sir Gallahad III; *Pharamond II; *Bull Dog and *Mahmoud.

Cottage Cheese was courted by *Sickle; *Challenger II; *Sir Gallahad III; Good Goods and By Jimminy.  While *Sickle and *Sir Gallahad III were obviously good sires, one can certainly see a major gap between the likes of *Mahmoud/Blue Larkspur and Good Goods/By Jimminy – and the merits of *Challenger II can likewise be argued.

As to *Agnes Sard herself, Baron Rothschild certainly knew what he was about when planning the breeding that resulted in this wonderful mare.  She is 4 x 4 to half sisters Bonnie Agnes and Fair Agnes, thus increasing the strength of her own female family and making her the perfect introduction of this branch of the excellent Agnes family to the U. S.

*Agnes Sard also was inbred to half siblings Haricot/Blink Bonny x2 and to half sisters Rouge Rose and Ellen Horne.  She had three lines of Pocahontas (1837), the so-called “large heart mare” via a treble of Stockwell to his half brother King Tom.  What this all amounted to was an extraordinary contribution to the stud book.Of all *Agnes Sard’s relatives, *Grey Dawn II may well be the most famous.  By French Derby winner *Herbager from the *Mahmoud mare Polamia, *Grey Dawn II was  brilliant and precocious at two in France.  His championship was also fairly earned.  In the Grand Criterium, he became the only horse ever to lower the colors of the mighty *Sea-Bird, a horse still sometimes called the greatest Epsom Derby winner of all time.

At three, *Grey Dawn II was considered a disappointment because he did not round into classic form, but he still ran second to Cambremont in the French 2000 Guineas.  Imported to the U. S., he won the Brandywine Turf Handicap, but  lost more than he won here and was finally retired to stud.

*Grey Dawn II’s sire, *Herbager, was also an Agnes relation, showing three crosses of Miss Agnes, the sixth dam of *Agnes Sard, and the mare to which she was inbred 6 x 6.  Thus *Grey Dawn II had five line of Miss Agnes in total.

Like *Grey Dawn II, many of Judy O’ Grady’s other descendents also fared well in France.  Green Dancer, whose second dam Sly Pola, is a half sister to the dam of *Grey Dawn II, won the French 2000 Guineas and was an excellent sire.  Among his best offspring are champions Suave Dancer, Market Booster, Green Tune, Will Dancer and Samraan.  Green Dancer had sired 83 stakes winners at the time of his death in December 2000.  He was 28.

Liloy, whose second dam Snow Goose is closely related to Polamia (they are bred on the same *Mahmoud-Judy O’Grady cross) won the Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt.  And while he was moved around from France to Argentina to the U. S. to South Africa, Liloy did well wherever he stood at stud, which is no mean accomplishment.  In South America, he sired champions I’m Glad and Isabela; in South Africa champions Prontisimo and Ecurie; in the U. S. he got Grade 1 winner Reloy and Grade 2 winner Swink, who also won a Grade 1 in France.

Faraway Son, a half brother to Liloy, was a champion miler in France and sired such good runners as Prix Maurice De Gheest winner Boitron, who became a sire in the U. S. and lived long enough to sire a handful of crops despite losing one leg and having to get around on an artificial limb; Coronado Handicap *Byroderm; Sorority Stakes winner Office’s Ball and champion Waya, who was 4 x 4 Judy O’Grady.

Today, any of these bloodlines are worth concentrating.  *Grey Dawn II’s blood can be found liberally sprinkled throughout the stud book and is present in the pedigrees of such good horses as Holy Bull; Smoke Glacken and Waquoit.  Green Dancer crosses can be found in horses like Peaks and Valleys and Sandpit (BRZ) and there are several other ways to access Judy O’ Grady as well.

 

Blue Prince’s name can still be found in pedigrees, likewise Stutz Blackhawk has daughters out there, as does Lyphard’s Wish.  Lazaz, an own brother to Baillamont, stands in California, and there is also a half brother to this pair by Seattle Slew named Ashdown who stands in the same state.

Of special interest is recent major winner Tuzla, who might never have been born in the first place had the owners of her first two dams not been very patient indeed.  Tuzla’s third dam is Mia Pola, a half sister to *Grey Dawn II, but both her first and second dams were unplaced. Though she never earned a championship, Tuzla won or placed in eight graded stakes and certainly proved that waiting it out with mares from this famly can pay big dividends.

The most famous recent descendent of Cottage Cheese was 1991 Kentucky Derby winner Strike The Gold, who was the first horse to crack the magic dosage numbers of 4.00.  As a son of Alydar, Strike The Gold had this branch of the Raise A Native male line to overcome at stud and when he did not get off to a very fast start, he was sold to Turkey in 1998.  This is unfortunate insofar as the daughter of Cottage Cheese from which he descended, Chessel, had also produced the champion English two-year-old Noble Decree.

Though Cottage Cheese’s other major descendents were not quite so well known, there are a number of good ones, including the useful sire Full Pocket, the champion mare Bornastar and Grade 1 winner Dontstop Themusic.  Although Cottage Cheese and Judy O’Grady are out of *Agnes Sard’s half sister daughters Agnes Star and Bel Agnes, they are bred differently enough that it makes more sense to use inbreeding within the Cottage Cheese group – say a daughter of Strike The Gold or his full brother Greydar to a horse with a cross of Full Pocket, than crossing over to the Judy O’Grady branch.  Admittedly, it is harder to find the Cottage Cheese descendents, but some are out there if you are determined to seek them out.

Inbreeding to Judy O’Grady is easier, but still requires some creativity.  One recent example of the type horse that one might produce using this inbreeding is the Grade 1 winner Confessional, a daughter of Holy Bull from his first crop.  This filly is 5 x 4 to half sisters Polamia (via Holy Bull’s *Grey Dawn II cross) and Sly Pola, second dam of her broodmare sire Green Dancer.

Of course, the most important ready-made source of inbreeding to this family, champion Waya, has turned out to be a bust so far as sire production is concerned, though young New York sire Rage might still do something.  Waya was inbred to two difficult-to-find Judy O’Grady sources is Faraway Son and Blue Prince.  The best runner under her, Teapot Row (IRE) by Generous, is inaccessable to Americans; he is standing in Saudi Arabia under the name Manaaf.  And while there are some young horses (Watching, a colt by Storm Cat is stakes placed), the family does not look very strong.  Liloy, the tough son of Bold Bidder, is now best found via his daughters.  And Blue Prince crosses can also be found in Labeeb and Luthier Fever.  Stutz Blackhawk, by the way, has been pretty much a failure, though if one found a well-bred daughter of this horse, she would be viable.

As to the current availability of horses with Cottage Cheese blood, there are Full Pocket sons Pok Da Pok and Fighting Fit, the former from a good family, Erin, though he has not done very well, possibly due to standing in Pennsylvania. Daughters of Strike The Gold and his full brother Greydar, scarce though they may be, would also work well to inbreed to this branch of *Agnes Sard.

For the moment, the two biggest hopes for the Cottage Cheese family lie with the young mares Dontstop Themusic, whose second dam Yellow Train is a full sister to Full Pocket, and Empress Aly, a full sister to Strike The Gold and Greydar who has already produced the stakes winning Capote filly Princess True.

Dontstop Themusic’s daughter Liliha, a winner by Chief’s Crown, was actually bred to Strike The Gold and produced a 1995 colt named Slide To The Left, who has not done much on the track.  However, the Cottage Cheese inbreeding is 7 x 9 or 6 x 8 to half sisters Chessel and Farmerette and the major cross existing in this colt’s pedigree was a 3 x 3 cross of half brothers Hatchet Man and Stop The Music, making that inbreeding far more potent.  Frankly, it looks like a filly pedigree and given Strike The Gold’s own pedigree, we would much rather have a filly from this cross.

Also, do not forget the European Noble Decree, which one sees occasionally in pedigrees.  Noble Decree’s best son, Papal Decree, is a half brother to the excellent sire Silver Hawk.  Unfortunately, Papal Decree’s best son, Papal Power (by Miswaki), went to stud in Australia.  But the world is growing smaller and it is not beyond the realm of possibility that a mare with such a bloodline might one day be available.  Noble Decree’s dam, Hidden Secret, and Strike The Gold’s second dam, Majestic Secret, are half sisters.

It might be very difficult to achieve, but a particularly intriguing way to go would be if one could combine the blood of Noble Table and Pappy, who share lines of Round Table (Perfect Looker/Apalachee) and Farmerette (Bornastar/Clover).  Such challenges oftentimes result in superior runners.

So far as sire blood is concerned, Judy O’Grady’s branch of the family is obviously the stronger of the two:  *Grey Dawn II; Green Dancer and Liloy, and to a lesser degree Faraway Son, Baillamont, Lyphard’s Wish and Blue Prince all prove this.  Cottage Cheese’s group of mares seems to have more of a sex bias, with only Full Pocket to date really a successful horse, though one who has never been popular.

A sex-bias when inbreeding to Judy O’Grady may also exist, with Waya and Confessional the main examples.  Should Waya’s son Rage encounter mares by *Grey Dawn II or Green Dancer, we will be watching them closely to see how three lines of Judy O’Grady will work.  Confessional is now retired, but it will be quite some time before she produces any sire sons.  When she does, we will be watching them as well.

For the time being, new Reines-de-Course from this family are *Agnes Sard; Judy O’Grady; Blue Denim; Ampola; Sly Pola; Locust Time; and Cottage Cheese.  We would very much like to return to the Cottage Cheese branch as some of the younger mares from this branch of the family get foals to the races and daughters and sons at stud, at which point we will consider naming more mares from that group of *Agnes Sard relations to the Reine-de-Course list.

 Family 16-C