Almahmoud, dam of Broodmare of the Year Cosmah, granddam of Northern Dancer, Tosmah, Halo, Arctic Tern and great-granddam of La Prevoyante was one of those rare horses who turned out exactly as good as she was bred to be. By Epsom Derby winner and Chef-de-Race *Mahmoud out of Arbitrator, a daughter of champion Mother Goose, the chestnut mare with a white blaze and two white rear stockings was born May 18, 1947 at C. V. Whitney’s central Kentucky nursery near Lexington.
Sold as a yearling to Henry Knight, who had named her after his wife Alma, the filly brought a $15,000 bid from T. D. Taggert at the Saratoga yearling sale later that year. Taggert died soon after buying Almahmoud and she was again sold, in his estate dispersal, to William Helis, the price remaining at $15,000.
Helis raced Almahmoud at two and three and for her new owner the daughter of *Mahmoud won the Colleen Stakes at two and the Vineland Handicap as a sophomore. When Helis died, Almahmoud again went through an estate dispersal and this time sold as part of a $1 million package to the man who had purchased her first, Henry Knight. For Knight, Almahmoud had her first foal, Cosmah, a bay daughter of Cosmic Bomb, in 1953.
Racing for Eugene Mori, Cosmah won the Astarita Stakes and placed in four other added-money events, earning $85,525. Almahmoud foaled dead twins in 1954 and was barren for 1955, a condition which would haunt her later in life, but caught to the cover of Triple Crown winner Citation in the latter year.
Knight was in poor health in 1955 and when he dispersed his stock, he encouraged young D. G. Van Clief of Nydrie Stud to purchase Almahmoud, saying, “If you’re going to buy anything, this is the mare you should have.” Van Clief had learned the commercial breeding business from Knight, a lifelong friend, and went to $57,000 to get Almahmoud. Van Clief later sold an interest in the chestnut mare to his aunt, Mrs. E. H. Augustus of Keswick Stables. She had found a permanent home at last.
For Keswick, Almahmoud foaled seven offspring. The Citation colt she was carrying at the time of her purchase raced as the gelding Armistice and won three-of-seven starts and $3,765. Natalma, her 1957 filly by champion Native Dancer, was sold to E. P. Taylor’s Windfields Farm as a Saratoga yearling for $35,000. Stakes placed in the Spinaway Stakes, Natalma would gain immortality as the dam of Northern Dancer, patriarch of the ages. Almahmoud foaled only one other stakes winner, Folk Dancer by Native Dancer, a gelding who won the Swynford Stakes, but her last daughter, Bubbling Beauty by Hasty Road, is the dam of Group I winner and leading French sire Arctic Tern (by *Sea-Bird).
Bubbling Beauty was foaled in 1961, and Almahmoud did not get in foal again until 1966 when she produced the winning Native Dancer colt Ramadan, who brought $110,000 as a Saratoga yearling. During her barren years, Almahmoud had failed to conceive to the covers of such major sires as Hill Prince, Bald Eagle, Sir Gaylord and Tom Fool. After Ramadan’s birth, she was also barren in 1967 and 1968 to the cover of Mongo. Yet apart from being arthritic and having an asthma-like allergy, there was no apparent reason for Almahmoud’s lack of fertility.
On October 15, 1971, Almahmoud, who had suffered from navicular disease for a number of years, was destroyed. She is remembered at Keswick as a docile broodmare, though she had been very high-strung at the racetrack. Mrs. Augustus also remembered that she gave a very distinctive look to her foals, particularly about the eyes.
Although Almahmoud’s death marked the end of one chapter, her legacy lives on and on, particularly through her two most influential daughters, Natalma and Cosmah. With five strong stallion representatives; Northern Dancer, Halo, Arctic Tern, Machiavellian and Danehill, stemming from her roots, plus the good stallion Cannonade, Almahmoud might be considered a sire source mare. But her daughters have shown the ability to get good producers as well, so she is a little more versatile than that.
COSMAH, Almahmoud’s first foal, was a stakes winner whose first foal was Tosmah. Champion at two, champion three year old and handicap champion the following season, Tosmah was by far the finest offspring by 1958 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Tim Tam. Although a disappointment as a broodmare, Tosmah did foal the minor stakes winner La Guidecca.
Cosmah’s 1969 foal Halo, by champion Hail To Reason, was a Grade I winner and leading sire. Among his best offspring are the Kentucky Derby winners Sunny’s Halo and Sunday Silence; champion siblings Devil’s Bag and Glorious Song (dam of Rahy and Singspiel) and Canadian champion Rainbow Connection. Leading sire in 1983 and 1983, Halo is also a fine broodmare sire. His daughters have produced over 90 stakes winners (though the end of 1999) including such fine runners as Pine Bluff, Rainbows For Life and the above-mentioned Singspiel.
Besides Halo, Cosmah produced stakes winners Fathers Image (1963 by Swaps) and Maribeau (1962 by *Ribot), the latter a useful sire.
Then in 1966 she foaled an enormously influential offspring in Queen Sucree, a full sister to Maribeau. Although she could only win $3,925 at the races, Queen Sucree has been a priceless broodmare.
Her first foal, Cannonade by Bold Bidder, won the 1974 Kentucky Derby and became a classic sire when his son, Caveat, won the 1983 Belmont Stakes. Caveat would go on to be a good sire in his own right, and his daughters have produced such good runners as Belmont Stakes winner Editor’s Note and Kentucky Derby runnerup Cavonnier.
Queen Sucree is also the dam of Cannonade’s full brother Circle Home, a Grade 3 winner, listed stakes winner Wassl Touch and stakes producers Georgica, Bethamane and Princess Sucree. Other than Cannonade, her most important contribution to date is the Gallant Man mare Kennelot, dam of Grade I winners Stephan’s Odyssey and Lotka; Grade 2 placed Walesa and stakes producer Nicole Mon Amour.
Cosmah’s story hardly ends with Queen Sucree. Her other stakes producing daughters include Love of Learning, second dam of Grade I winner Annual Reunion; Perfecta, dam of stakes producers Professional Dance, Sans Condition and Suprina. Suprina, by Vaguely Noble, is the most influential of this group, being dam of classic winner and champion L’Emigrant as well as Group 2 winner Salpinx and stakes placed L’Empire.
Cosmah’s 1973 foal, La Dame Du Lac by Round Table, is another marvelously successful producer. Among her best get are Group 3 winners Single Combat and Lake Como and stakes winners Miznah and Nazoo as well as stakes placed Magloire and stakes producer Allison’s Dance and La Confidence, the latter dam of champion Flawlessly.
Other stakes producing daughters of Cosmah include Jojima; Royal Match and Cosmiah. The seemingly endless stream of quality flowing from her bloodlines earned her Broodmare of the Year honors as early as 1974 and the family as merely gotten stronger since the honor was bestowed.
NATALMA, Almahmoud’s 1957 filly by Native Dancer, will always be best remembered as the dam of Northern Dancer and it is for that contribution alone that she qualifies for Reine-de-Course status. However, the stakes placed filly actually contributed quite a bit more than just her magnificent son.
Natalma’s 1962 gelded Victoria Park son, Native Victor, was a multiple Canadian stakes winner; her 1981 Tentam daughter Born A Lady won a minor stakes and produced Arrowtown; and daughter Regal Dancer (1964 by *Grey Monarch) also was a stakes winner.
In addition, Natalma produced four stakes placed horses: Nostrum by Dr. Fager; Northern Native by Nearctic; Tai by Buckpasser and Arctic Dancer by Nearctic. Arctic Dancer, the only filly of the group, produced the magnificent Buckpasser filly La Prevoyante. La Prevoyante was champion at two in both the U. S. and Canada. She was also Horse of the Year in Canada that season as well as champion older Canadian mare in 1974.
At two she was unbeaten in 12 starts, defeated males and won on the grass. Tragically at the age of four in 1974, La Prevoyante collapsed on the track following the running of the Miss Florida Handicap and later died from a massive hemorrhage of the lungs.
Fortunately, Arctic Dancer had two more Buckpasser fillies, stakes producer Quat’sous and Danseuse Etoile, who was a winner in both England and France. As a broodmare, Danseuse Etoile has produced three stakes winners; Drapeau Tricolore (by Irish River); Danseur Etoile (by Spectacular Bid) and Danseur De Corde (by Foolish Pleasure). All are colts.
Natalma herself was bred to Buckpasser and produced Spring Adieu, second dam of top stallion Danehill, a Grade 1 winner, and his full brother Eagle Eyed, a Grade 2 winner just now starting his stud career. Another of Natalma’s stakes producing daughters is Raise The Standard by Hoist the Flag. Raise The Standard’s most important contribution is the Group 3 winning Halo filly Coup De Folie, a three-time Grade 1 producer (Machiavellian, Exit To Nowhere and Coup de Genie). Natalma’s other stakes producing daughter is Native Era by Victorian Era who foaled stakes placed Northern Sister and stakes producer Eranos.
The last of Almahmoud’s major daughters is BUBBLING BEAUTY, a 1961 daughter of Hasty Road who was unplaced in both her starts. Her lack of racing success did not, however, prevent Bubbling Beauty from becoming another fine broodmare from this top-class family.
The best of Bubbling Beauty’s foals is the *Sea-Bird stallion Arctic Tern, a multiple stakes winner who was leading sire in France in 1986. His more important stakes performances as a runner were the Group 1 Prix Ganay and placings in the Group 1 Prix Lupin and Eclipse Stakes and the Group 2 Prix Dollar and Prix d’Harcourt. His major runners include champion Polly’s Ark; French Derby winner Bering, a good stallion; French Oaks winners Harbour and Escaline; and Criterium de Saint-Cloud winner Intimiste.
Arctic Tern’s daughters are also doing well as broodmares, having produced such good stakes horses as Miswaki Tern, Vialli, Via Borghese Fabulous Hostess and Queenemara.
Besides Arctic Tern, Bubbling Beauty also produced the stakes producing Roberto filly Champagne Cocktail. Champagne Cocktail’s two stakes placed offspring are Meadow Mist by Irish River and French Champagne by Mr. Prospector. Bubbling Beauty has just one other stakes producing daughter, the Vaguely Noble mare Simple Beauty, dam of stakes placed Current Winner.
Almahmoud’s own pedigree is of interest. As mentioned previously, her dam, Arbitrator by Peace Chance, was a daughter of the 1924 champion two-year-old filly Mother Goose, who defeated colts in the Futurity. Besides Arbitrator, Mother Goose lives on through three other daughters: Gosling (1928 by St. Germans); Gooseflesh (1931 by Mad Hatter); and Avatara (1952 by *Mahmoud). Gosling’s branch produced major winner Nastique; Gooseflesh is sixth dam of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Skywalker and fourth dam of Nell Gwyn Stakes winner Freeze The Secret and Century Handicap winner Big Whippendeal. Avatara is the second dam of Jersey Derby winner Better Arbitor. As Avatara was a three-quarter sister to Almahmoud, her branch should by all rights have been the strongest, yet Almahmoud alone is truly responsible for keeping Mother Goose’s name vibrant in modern pedigrees.
Returning to Almahmoud, she is sex-balance inbred 4 x 5 to The Tetrarch through Mumtaz Mahal and Stefan The Great; has four crosses of St. Simon (three sons and a daughter) all in the sixth generation; and has a 6 x 7 cross of half siblings Sierra and Sainfoin. Sire *Mahmoud is also inbred 4 x 4 to half siblings Black Cherry and Bay Ronald.
Almahmoud’s pedigree composition suggests a good blend of speed and stamina, and this is borne out in the classic tendency of her descendents. The pedigrees of our classic winners would not be the same without the contributions of Northern Dancer, Halo, Arctic Tern and Danehill.
With a number of good young female representatives like champion Flawlessly and the daughters of Coup De Folie, this family’s future is more than secure. Even if there were no good daughter branches to represent Almahmoud, it is difficult to imagine Northern Dancer’s name dropping out of top pedigrees any time soon.
Reines-de-Course from the Almahmoud family are: Almahmoud, Cosmah, Natalma, Queen Sucree and Coup de Folie.