As much as we wish it were different, we can only do one new foundation mares at a time. Thus mares such as Bayborough and her grand descendents like Morning Devotion, It’s In The Air and Queens Only are left to wait their turn and we do apologize to her, for she has made a major contribution to the stud book, especially in Europe.
A British Source – and Taproot
Bayborough, always on our radar, returned to our immediate attention due to the thoughtfulness of our client, Mary Ingarski of the Isle of Wight, who generously sends us the European racing magazine Thoroughbred Owner & Breeder Inc. Pacemaker. They had recently done a story on A Wind Is Rising, but we took the family farther back because we feel it is necessary for inbreeding, which might prove tricky for Americans in any case.
Bayborough’s family originated in Great Britain where her dam, *Scarborough, was foaled in 1924 at Knockaney Stud. She and most of her produce were acquired by R. F. Howe and imported to the U. S. where Bayborough, her ninth foal by Stimulus, was born in 1940.
From Howe’s stable, Bayborough’s descendents trickled down through Spendthrift Farm to Harbor View and Happy Valley in Florida and eventually over to Robert Sangster in Ireland and thus to Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stud. For a Domino-line mare like Bayborough – even one with British roots – it was quite a journey.
Bred to the best and most popular lines of the day – *Nasrullah at the offset and later Northern Dancer and Mr. Prospector – Bayborough prospered and improved her own winning (but no black type) record. Today, she stands tall as a monument to the “K” (Sweet Hawthorn) branch of the No. 4 Layton [Violet] Barb Mare family, the same family which gave us Harlan and his kin.
*Scarborough had laid a good foundation for her. Among her black type descendents were True North (Fall Highweight, etc.); Holler, who won the Osunitas Stakes and later foaled Milady Handicap winner Speedy Edie and multiple Washington and California stakes winner Lak Nak; and Groton’s Ace (Au Revoir H.). It was a heritage with much regional flavor, but it had its share of class from limited opportunities.
Bayborough herself had a California look at the outset, which perhaps explains why we are so drawn to her. Her first and only stakes winner was a horse named Sir Butch (1947 by Silver Horde) who won the Golden Gate Derby.
Five years later, Bayborough foaled her masterpiece, Queen Nasra, by the prepotent *Nasrullah. Queen Nasra won just one race but improved on her dam’s produce record by foaling the good stakes winner and useful sire Native Royalty by Raise a Native. Native Royalty’s best wins were the Gotham S., and Carter and Roseben Handicaps.
Queen Nasra was also the dam of Native Royalty’s three-quarter sister Sweet Joyce who did not win stakes but placed in the G3 Distaff and Correction Handicaps.
The Minor Daughters
In addition to her stakes performers, Queen Nasra produced the winning Francis S. daughter A Wind Is Rising who would re-write the family fortunes. But before we tell her compelling story, we owe it to Queen Nasra’s legacy to mention her lesser but still good stakes producing daughters.
Irish Princess by Blue Prince won four of 15 starts and founded a family branch which eventually produced the very good filly Kerygma by Drone who won the Straight Deal Stakes. Irish Princess was also the third dam of Charon H. winner One Rich Lady by Air Forbes Won who placed in the G1 Personal Ensign Handicap.
Then there was Queen of Diamonds, a tough (32 starts) campaigner who won just once but whose family has done quite well for itself. Among its more stellar members: French and Irish Derby placed Contested Bid; G1 winner and producer Only Queens; Bonnie Miss S. (G2) winner Last Song who also placed in the G1 Ashland and Secretariat S. (G1) winner Gun Salute by Military.
Time to Remember by Bold Native won two of 12 starts. Her family contributions include a couple of nice horses including Meadowlands Cup (G2) winner Diamond Stripes, who also ran third in the Whitney and Woodward (both G1). Puerto Rican champion Tozudito is also one of her descendents.
Fran Nasra, a full sister to A Wind Is Rising, was unraced. She and her heirs are responsible for G2 Forward Gal Stakes winner Mindy Gayle as well as a handful of regional stakes from Washington to Florida.
A Wind Is Rising
An old friend of ours who knew a thing or two about pedigrees named Leon Rasmussen used to say that one of a mare’s most valuable assets was to get plenty of daughters. That statement contains as much common sense as one is likely to get in this arcane business.
A Wind Is Rising, not much of a runner herself, was also a problem mare. The odds against her accomplishing all she did were enormous. But in the end, it came down to her getting quality (two outstanding daughters, one pretty good one) and not quantity.
The daughter of Francis S. produced only five named foals from 1972-1988. She died in 1990. Of those foals, two were winning colts who did nothing at stud named A Storm Is Coming (Pretense) and Winds of Catawba (Stage Door Johnny). She also shows an unnamed male by Assagai and then three barren years plus five ‘slipped’ years. Ouch!
But consider what she left behind with just three daughters: First and least (at the moment) is stakes placed Strictly Raised by Raise a Native who has established a good branch of the family in Australia. Her daughter Strictly Cool by Bering, a half sister to her only stakes horse, the Irish River son Tres Strict, is the key.
Strictly Cool was a winner in France who in turn produced the stakes placed Highest Cool (FR) by Highest Honor. In Australia, Highest Cool was bred to Rock of Gibraltar and got G2 winner Rock Me Baby (AUS) – a filly. Highest Cool has produced four other fillies, including a 2011 daughter who is unnamed as of this writing. So she still has a chance to build a strong branch of the family tree.
The Two Main Daughter Lines
Morning Has Broken by Prince John was unplaced in two starts but founded a branch of the family which has written its name in utter glory with names like Balanchine, Romanov (IRE); West Wind (GB); Radu Cool; Saoirse Abu and Art Coloisseur (IRE) to just hit the high spots. Balanchine in particular strikes a note.
The daughter of Storm Bird was out of Morning Has Broken’s stakes placed Affirmed daughter Morning Devotion. She became the champion of her age and sex by winning not only the Epsom Oaks but also the Irish Derby, defeating colts in the process. She has not been bred with much imagination at stud, and has produced only one black type winner, Gulf News, a gelding by Woodman.
It is likely too late now (though not for a daughter) but we’d have bred her to Alphabet Soup and Indian Ocean. Anyone paying attention out there? Oh, well, they never are. But one does not like the idea of losing a filly of whom, when winning the Irish Derby was said by no one less than Frankie Dettori, “It would have taken a real machine to pass me at the furlong pole.
“We outstayed them at Epsom but I also know now she has plenty of speed in a finish.” Now that’s not the kind of bloodlines one wants to see languish, eh?
As of this writing, Morning Devotion’s branch is likely the strongest, but her half sister by Mr. Prospector, It’s In The Air, is certainly no slouch.
It’s In The Air is one of those rare, sound (43 starts) Mr. Prospectors who not only lasted and lasted, but who also became a good producer. Not so flashy as Morning Has Broken perhaps, but remember what she gave at the races:
This bay filly, given her pedigree, looked a likely good two-year-old champion and that was, indeed, the only year she gained that honor, sharing the Eclipse with Candy Eclair. But in most years, she would have been good enough to earn more awards.
As a juvenile she shown brightly on both coasts and in the middle: She won the G2 Oak Leaf at Santa Anita; the G2 Arlington-Washington Lassie in Chicago and placed in the G1 Frizette (to Golferette) in New York.
As a sophomore she defeated her elders in the G1 Vanity and Ruffian Handicaps and her own age group in the G1 Alabama (including champion Davona Dale) and Delaware Oaks. She also placed in five more graded stakes.
She returned at four to win another Vanity (G1), the G3 El Encino and place in six more graded races including the G1 Beldame (behind Love Sign and Misty Galore) and Ruffian (behind Genuine Risk and Misty Galore). Prior to her retirement, she also placed in the G3 Distaff in 1981 at the age of five.
It’s always nice to get a bit of perspective from the person who rode the horse and Bill Shoemaker (despite his habit of calling whatever horse of the moment he was riding ‘the best’) rode many a top caliber animal. Of It’s In The Air in the 1979 Milady, he said, “She’s as game as they come. After Country Queen got to the front on the turn, my filly refused to give up, and I felt she would regain the lead because I still had a good hold of her. She ran like a champion today.” As she had many other times, he might have added.
It’s In The Air’s Children
It’s In The Air’s bloodline today is represented by the good stakes producing daughters Sous Entendu (by Shadeed); Try To Catch Me (Shareef Dancer) and Note Musicale (Sadler’s Wells). This trio is responsible for such good runners as Slip Stream, second in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat; Storming Home, winner of Group 1 races in two countries – the Champion Stakes and Charles Whittingham Memorial H. and the top class fillies Music Note and Musical Chimes, winners respectively of the Coaching Club American Oaks and Mother Goose and the French One Thousand Guineas.
Her best racehorse, Bitooh (GB) by Seattle Slew won the Group 2 Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte and got the good producer Zalitzine who has foaled a handful of useful horses in Europe.
He has no sons at stud, but he probably got a reprieve from obscurity via Even The Score’s son Dullahan. The only problem with Even The Score (and Dullahan is worse) is there is Raise a Native inbreeding – x2 in Even The Score, x3 in Dullahan.
Calimonco in California will have fewer opportunities but he is sounder (x2 *Princequillo). He is a Storm Cat with the Native Royalty mare Hail to the Queen as his third dam. Yes, that would make him a full brother to Sweet Catomine and Life Is Sweet, both G1 winners. For $1,000 – he ran 25 times and was G2 placed – he’s worth a long look for anyone who wants to score some of this bloodline and he is bred very much like Balanchine absent the Affirmed (which is Raise a Native but it’s tougher than average because not only Exclusive Native but Affirmed himself was a hickory horse).
This mare is all about speed over speed. She is Domino line via Commando and her broodmare sire, Bridge of Earn is by Bend Or-line Cyllene out of Reine-de-Course Santa Brigida. Her pedigree is very old, and it bears mention that she is linebred to her own tail-female line (Alice Hawthorn).
Today, it makes the most sense to us to concentrate on horses with Heliopolis blood like those carrying Olympia – Fred Hooper lines, for example. We’d also be tempted to try more Domino like Ack Ack (i.e. Include) or use the other Himyar standard Holy Bull (Macho Uno, Flashy Bull, Giacomo, etc.) and of course her Maggie B. B. blood might like something with Cozzene. The trend here is old Florida blood. It even sprang to life again with the addition of a horse who began to take form as a major sire in Florida and reached full bloom in Kentucky – that would be Mr. Prospector.
Bits and pieces of this blood can be found if one cares enough to pursue it. We think it is worth doing exactly that; this is raw speed that has adapted to European classic racing and has bounced back again to America with style. That’s versatility with speed that stays. Now if you can avoid too much Raise a Native when using these lines, you’ll be richly rewarded. Seattle Slew should love the family and Bitooh (GB) and Musical Note have proven out the cross.
New Reines-de-Course from this branch of 4-K family are Bayborough; Queen Nasra; Queens Only; A Wind Is Rising; Morning Devotion; and It’s In The Air. We’ll be watching the family as always for worthy updates, and comments from anyone who owns a family member are, as always, welcome.