The Man o’ War Myth

Perhaps the most widely disseminated and routinely cited bit of Apocrypha concerning Man o’ War was that Sam Riddle didn’t know what he was doing when he acquired mates for him.  Never mind creating the breed-shaping War Relic, just take a peek at Bashful’s pedigree to put this misinformation to bed once and for all.

The daughter of Royal Minstrel (tail male to Roi Herode and from a line, Golden Harp, that would give us *Gallant Man in 1954) tailed to Cinderella (21-a).  She thus brought a return of that line to Hastings, the paternal grandsire of Man o’ War, giving her a 3 x 4 cross of half siblings Hastings and Slippers.

Her dam was also linebred to Mannie Gray, dam of Domino and 2nd dam of Hamburg and had a Bend Or x2/Rose of York cross (x3 Rouge Rose).   Domino and Bend Or are two of the most pervasive speed lines extant in the Thoroughbred even today.

But that’s not all.  She is linebred to Pocahontas with five lines in all, via Stockwell and King Tom; to Hybla via Mincemeat x2/Kettledrum and to Banter via Jocose and Touchstone.  We could go on, but the picture is clear.

Oh, and her breeder?  None other than that dolt Sam Riddle.

Saving More Than Man o’ War

Today, Bashful comes down to us via a wide variety of good horses of international, national and regional import.  Many of them, including champion Heavenly Cause, carry *Grey Dawn II and we are thus grateful to her for helping to save that precious bloodline, too.

Nothing could benefit the Thoroughbred more than Son-in-Law blood, which the Europeans have found out as they plunder some of the grand old German blood that ‘outcrossed’ all the Northern Dancer with which they had bred themselves into a corner.  Sadly, there is now very little ‘pure’ German blood left thanks to this trend.

But it was Man o’ War himself who played a very large part in the development and strength of this family.  Its strongest branch, via Shy Dancer (which Jacques D. Wimpfheimer purchased at Saratoga for $4,000 in 1956) proved the continuation of (what seems at least) Riddle’s master plan for Man o’ War, much as In Reality would later prove inbreeding to War Relic.

Shy Dancer was inbred not only to Man o’ War himself but to Fairy Gold (Friar Rock/Fair Play x2), to Domino x2/Mannie Himyar and to Hastings x2/Slippers.  Amazing what retrospect does for a genius’ vision, isn’t it?  Maybe Sam Riddle wasn’t so clueless after all, eh, non-believers?

The Minor Kin

Before delving into the major contributions of Shy Bim via Shy Dancer, let us digress a bit and consider the smaller contributions of Shy, Huba and Sweet Ace.  One simply never knows when one of them might show up in a regional pedigree and be worthy of inbreeding back to a stronger branch (i.e. Shy Dancer).

In California, we have some descendants of Sweet Ace (by Case Ace and bred by Sam Riddle).  Here we find Bay Meadows Derby winner Fleet Tempo and a handful of lesser horses.  There seem to have been some problem mares in the bunch and today a search revealed that very little of the blood has survived.  If anyone out there has a cross of this branch of Bashful, please let us know and also let us know if you have thought of linebreeding to this sound and fine old family.

Shy, a twin daughter of Bashful by *Princequillo, was bred by Sam Riddle’s estate.  She left a handful of black-type heirs and they are scattered from Japan to Arizona to New York state.  We haven’t found anything current of note from this line either, but if any of you readers know of any regional descendants of Shy that we have overlooked, let us know and we will keep an eye on them.

Finally, there is Huba by *Mahmoud who was also bred by Riddle’s estate and who left much of her bloodline in the Midwest and East.  We can only hope to hear from someone who knows of a noteworthy family member here as well, for she seems lost to us.

Sex-Bias at Its Most Potent

So far as Bashful’s sons are concerned, she was certainly no sire source type.  Her first foal was a 1945 colt named August by Domino-line Zacaweista who ran 95 times.  He never earned a bit of black type and is not listed as a sire.

The next male out of Bashful was 1949 Arab Knight by *Mahmoud who ran five times and never won.  In 1953 to the cover of Requested she got Shy Request who got 16 tries and died a maiden.  Two more males, both by *Rico Monte – 1956 Modest Count who won four races in 75 starts and unraced Vain Action (1959) complete a picture of a very strong female sex bias.  This was a producer of producers.

And the Family is Stronger…..

We have learned that the family is stronger than the individual and Bashful is surely a good example.  All these years later, the only ‘name’ sires – and we are being kind here – in the entire family are Opening Verse, Dawn Quixote, Two Punch (a regional sire in Maryland and the best of the lot), and Bounding Basque.

Clearly, the perpetuation of this line needs to be done via females and since Two Punch got a champion son in Smoke Glacken, he is to be commended for his ability to swim upstream in a family that seemed destined to drown his potential.  He did, however, sire very large horses, so one has to use caution when breeding to him and since this is clearly a Mr. Prospector-dominant male, be discerning when crossing him back on the family.

Shy Bim and Shy Dancer

The strength of this line lies almost entirely within this group of mares and we have two men to thank for it – Sam Riddle himself and Jacques Wimpfheimer.

Wimpfheimer cast a long shadow in all he did.  A Princeton graduate who flew 54 missions as a bomber pilot during World War II, he was named as ‘the man who did the most for racing’ by the New York Turf Writer’s Association in 1971.  Among his many contributions apart from the horses themselves, Wimpfheimer oversaw the introduction of graded stakes races in North America, served as TOBA President and was also a director of the Grayson Foundation and a former vice president of The Blood Horse.

A Jockey Club member, Wimpfheimer contributed much to humankind as well.  He helped found the New York backstretch Employees Pension Fund and also served as present of his family’s American Velvet Co., one of the first firms to adopt profit sharing with employees.  Clearly, this was a man who deserved to inherit such a bloodline.

Breed the Man o’ War to the Man o’ War and Hope for the Best

Shy Dancer, who was inbred to Man o’ War 5 x 3, simply loved even more of Big Red’s blood.  Her contribution is listed in the chart in Pedlines #167 and most of our readers will recognize the names of many horses tracing to her.  We are personally a bit prejudiced in that Richetta is our favorite.  This lovely little Rahy miss belongs to a client of ours and we are partly responsible for his having purchased her as a two-year-old in training.  She went on to become a state-bred champion at two in Maryland and as a broodmare she has foaled the states winning Smarty Jones gelding Concealed Identity.

She is just one of many Bashful descendants whose pedigree contains multiple lines and crosses of Man o’ War.  And Smarty Jones added even more of the line.

In a less personal sense, the two ‘name’ horses of the line are Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Opening Verse and champion Heavenly Cause.  Opening Verse won his G1’s for Allen Paulson, started out at stud in Maryland and ended up in England.  He got a handful of stakes horses but nothing with any real impact and his name has all but disappeared from the studbook.   We are certain some of his blood can still be found via regional mares in the Midlantic area and it might be worth looking into to cross them back to the line.

Jacques Wimpfheimer bred Lady Dulcinea, dam of Heavenly Cause, but later sold her to Jim Ryan.  Her champion daughter thus ran in the Ryehill Farm colors.  Though her championship was won as a juvenile, Heavenly Cause returned the following year to win the Kentucky Oaks.  More importantly, she is the dam of Two Punch who as noted above, went against the family grain and became a successful sire.  Without Heavenly Cause and her taproot, he would have had less bottom, but as a stallion he obviously was able to spread the blood around more effectively.

Versatility and Range

Champions and classic horses from this family have the ability to win at two like Heavenly Cause and Make Music for me, and to win from England (champion Zafeen) to France (classic placed Princess Arjumand and Raintree Renegade) to Peru (classic placed =Pentecostes) to Japan (classic placed =Mayano Maybe [JPN]).  It has shown just as well in California as in New York and has produced a wide range of very good horses as well as the occasional great one.

Durability and versatility as well as consistency are qualities we prize in the Thoroughbred.  The Man o’ War daughters, especially those who are ‘receivers’ or which love an extra helping of the line, fit that description.  Though not a sire-source family it managed to produce a sire, Two Punch, who could advance the bloodline and while overcoming narrow regional opportunities, it established a queen of a daughter line – Shy Bim/Shy Dancer.   She’s just our cup of tea.

New Reines-de-Course from the Bashful family tree are: Bashful herself, Shy Bim, Shy Dancer, and Lady Dulcinea.  What we would most like to see – what would really make this family for us is to return one day and name our beloved Richetta.  Having helped to pick a queen would make all the work we’ve done on family lines throughout the years more than worthwhile.

Family 21-A