Be A Leader, Not A Follower

 “While the market becomes more and more polarized toward big commercial operations, first-season sires and a handful of ‘top’ stallions, the breeder with  long-term goals, other than commercial gain, will have to defy this trend.   Breeding decisions, which may seem to many unwise or unconventional, may in fact represent the key to our survival.”

—The H. H. Aga Khan

Before we take you on this rather lengthy journey, exploring parts of pedigrees which are hard to find or are not appreciated, we want you to take a minute and read the Aga Khan’s comments just one more time.  Really, really read them.   Because what this, one of the wealthiest men in the world, is telling all of us is something that works just as well – maybe better – for the small breeder, than it does for anyone else.

But in order to make these things come together, in order to make them work for you, you have to be willing to step outside the ordinary and take the occasional chance.  Allow us to digress here for just a minute and give you an example.

We recently did a report on a mare who was actually bred by the Aga Khan.  Though she had routinely been bred to the world’s very best stallions, she had yet to produce anything of note.   Her owner asked if I would take a look and see if I could find something that had been missed. I did — and I did.

The only problem was that my suggestion was not met very enthusiastically because it would have required that mare to be sent outside of Kentucky to a stallion that stands for a very small fee.   I understood completely the breeder’s point of view.   He felt he would be devaluing his mare.

But nothing devalues a mare faster than having a whole series of offspring that are disappointing in one way or another.  Maybe, we suggested, it was time to think – how did the Aga Khan put it? – in what appears to be an “unwise or unconventional” way.

However, before even a little unconventional thinking can take place, you have to first know where to find these things and why they work.   If you don’t understand that New Mexico stallion Ferrara is inbred to Blue Canary, who is so loaded with Bend Or blood (via the great Chilean mare *Papila, tail-female ancestress of Tiznow) that he fairly sings with speed, then you are never going to go to New Mexico to breed to him, are you?   (Or better still, if you stand stallions, grab this poor horse and rescue him from certain oblivion).

But consider this.   The horse only fits just about every single mare out there with Crimson Satan blood and that includes horses like Storm Cat and Mt. Livermore.   If you want to get away from inbreeding to fragile, conventional speed like Raise a Native, he’s sure one way to do it.

It Takes Some Thinking

One of the main places most breeders fail is not understanding how pedigrees relate to each other and how to recognize similarily-bred horses when they are staring them in the face.   We suspect that this is because pedigree research really is hard work.   But that work can bear rich rewards.   Take the example of recently-retired Commendable and New York stallion A. P. Jet.  Their pedigrees are almost identical.

  1. P. Jet is by Fappiano; Commendable has both Fappiano’s parents (Mr. Prospector and Killaloe) in his pedigree.   Both are out of In Reality mares and while Commendable is by Gone West (second dam Tamerett), A. P. Jet’s own second dam is Tamerett.  The only real difference between the two is that Secretariat appears in Commendable’s pedigree as the sire of Secrettame, dam of his sire Gone West.

Commendable, it will be remembered, had a singular distaste for battle, winning only two of his 12 lifetime starts.  Just about everyone was surprised by his Belmont win.   A. P. Jet didn’t win a lot of races, either – four to be exact, but he certainly lasted longer (36 starts).   The only reason he is standing in New York rather than Kentucky with a pedigree like he has is that he did his racing in Japan.

One cannot help but wonder how he would have done had he been trained in the U. S.

So if you are a small breeder, do you pay $15,000 for Commendable, or do you pay $5,000 for A. P. Jet, who has sired three stakes winners in his first crop?

Killaloe And Beyond

Commendable is the latest in a long line of horses bred on a Mr. Prospector-Killaloe cross.  There is Fappiano himself, of course, the top-class Quiet American and then there are relative newcomers Torrential and Quiet American.   Because all these horses are bred almost exactly alike, it is logical to breed to the proven one, which is Quiet American, since Fappiano himself is dead.

Granted, Quiet American is more expensive ($35,000), but you also know what you are going to get with him and as stud fees go these days, he’s still reasonable.

In a recent PEDLINES, we commented on why we thought Honour And Glory was so vital to pedigrees, since he is the only horse (other than exported Ogygian and Lookinforthebigone) from this great sire family who is not by Mr. Prospector or a son of Mr. Prospector.   He stepped right up to the plate, becoming the leading first-crop sire last year, and now he’s $40,000.

We want to make it clear that A. P. Jet is not from the Killaloe family.   His sire, Fappiano, is but he himself is bred on the same cross as Gone West (sire of Commendable), so his family is Aloe.  That means that the offspring of A. P. Jet are going to like the grass and should be given a chance on it.

While we’re on the subject, we recently noted that there is an unraced son of Ogygian in Kentucky named Ogydoug who is bred on an inside/out pattern to Fappiano, being out of a Mr. Prospector mare.   He is also from the family of Thunder Gulch.

This brings all kinds of intriguing thoughts to mind, but no matter which way you look at it, it creates inbreeding to Mr. Prospector.   That is called a no-win situation.

Instead, consider another son of Ogygian named Connecticut, who stands in Iowa – yes, Iowa.  Keeping in mind that his sire shares the same second dam as Fappiano (Grand Splendor), take a look at his bottom line:  He is out of Tweak, a daughter of Secretariat–Ta Wee.   Yes, that’s the same Ta Wee who is a half sister to Dr. Fager and Magic (the third dam of Unbridled).   Since Connecticut lacks Mr. Prospector blood, imagine crossing an Unbridled daughter on him, or taking one of his daughters to an Unbridled son!

What a mating like that would create is a double of Grand Splendor, three crosses of Aspidistra and sex-balanced Intentionally (In Reality/Ta Wee).   Further, it is important to note that since Ogygian is by Damascus, he also has a cross of the mare Speed Boat in his pedigree via Sword Dancer.   Speed Boat is a full sister to War Relic, to which In Reality (in Unbridled’s pedigree) is inbred!

Now, the question is, what is he doing in Iowa and why did somebody overlook all that?   Or maybe a better question is, will someone out there with an Unbridled-line mare have the vision to breed to him regardless of where he stands at stud?

Exciting Prospects

Before leaving Killaloe, we noticed in a recent printout on her that two members of her family have been bred to A. P. Jet.   The first mating produced a 1998 c. named Tequestas that has won $41,400 as of this writing.   Unfortunately, he is inbred to Raise a Native, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed that he stays sound.

Then the mare Cassat was twice bred to A. P. Jet, producing colts in 1999 and 2000.  We have more hope for the soundness of this mating since it does not double Raise a Native.  The dam, Cassat, is by Broad Brush-Lambros (by In Reality-Killaloe).   This doubles Killaloe via Fappiano/Lambros and also doubles In Reality via daughters (Taminette and Lambros).

Two other young horses from this great family caught our attention.  One is a 1998 colt by Holy Bull named Holy Decree, who has yet to win a race.   Give him time.   He is inbred to Intentionally via Ta Wee/In Reality; to Rough’n Tumble via sons Minnesota Mac/Dr. Fager and to Aspisistra via Ta Wee/Dr. Fager.   If he can get his act together, he will be a very valuable stallion prospect.

The other colt who caught our eye is by our beloved Sunday Silence and is a stakes winner in Japan.  This colt, now a four-year-old, is out of the Northern Taste mare Elizabeth Rose (thus creating inbreeding to Almahmoud).   His fourth dam is Killaloe.

We’ll be the first one to admit we don’t always know (or catch) everything.   So if anyone out there knows of a horse from this family other than Honour And Glory who has no Mr. Prospector blood or who is is bred along the lines of the above-referenced Connecticut, we’d like to know about him.  He’s a gem!

When It’s Gone, It’s Gone Forever

One of the more depressing things (along with all the Killaloe blood having Mr. Prospector crosses) that we come across is the tossing away of bloodlines which cannot be replaced.

We’ve discussed Island Whirl before, of course, but we wonder if anyone really “gets” it where he is concerned. This is a horse who carries one of only two full sisters to Fairway and Pharos, the mare Fair Isle.

So imagine our surprise when we discovered that a former California sire named Chilicote (Intrepid Hero-Never Bends Queen) was a tail-male ancestor of the other full sister to this powerful pair via the mare Fara.   And just how did we come to this knowledge?   By accident, of course.  When Ann and Matt Springman added the mare Bold Chilinita to their broodmare band, it was because her third dam was Monarchy, the full sister to Round Table.

But when we looked at her sire Chilicote, we were stunned.   Here was a son of Intrepid Hero (who died after only a couple of crops), with Fara as his fifth dam!   Intrepid Hero, it will be remembered, was by *Forli (x2 Lady Juror via Fair Trial/Riot), second dam Grey Flight.  This horse was no throw-away; he was full of rich bloodlines.  Apparently, nobody noticed in time to put him to good use – and now it’s too late.

Yet imagine for just one minute if one bred a Chilicote mare to Island Whirl or to a son of Island Whirl.   The result would be several crosses of Fairway and Pharos, but it would also pick up both full sisters to the pair, Fair Isle and Fara!

Let’s suppose you got a filly from such a match and you one day bred that filly to a stallion who had a cross of *Herbager.    *Herbager (and other Vandale kin) have a cross of the mare Pladda, a three-quarter sister to Fairway, Pharos, Fair Isle and Fara.   And keep in mind that it’s exactly this type of long-term planning that has netted the Aga Khan so many world-class horses.

There are no guarantees in this world, but might not the combination of the potent bloodlines suggested above be an explosive mix?   This is, obviously, presupposing that the horses involved in these matings were sound and correct and that the offspring was placed in responsible hands.

But it probably won’t happen, because horses with these bloodlines stand off the beaten track, for low stud fees and are neither commercial nor glamorous.   I guess you might say breeding to them seems “unconventional or unwise”.

 And While We’re At It

Isn’t it a relief to see Buckhar get out of Utah?   This G1 winner has one of the most strikingly obvious things we’ve ever seen in a pedigree that is consistently ignored – he is out of a full sister to Al Hattab!

By Dahlia’s son Dahar, this was a fine racehorse and he’s a lovely physical specimen.   So why has he been tossed from place to place without so much as a single mention of this outstanding aspect of his pedigree?

He won’t live forever.   When his dam, Water Buck’s, line is gone, it will be gone with the wind so to speak.   He’s been wasted for too long already; let’s not let it happen again.   For those smart enough to take him a mare with a cross of Al Hattab, he now stands in Pennsylvania at Xanthus Farms.

Watch For It

Good lines and crosses are not always obvious as Buckhar’s Water Buck blood.   Take the mare Kitchen Window in the pedigree of Yes It’s True.   Now compare her pedigree to the great producer Too Bald, dam of Capote, Baldski, Exceller and American Standard.

Too Bald’s third dam, Lady Kells, is a half sister to Solonaway, broodmare sire of Kitchen Window. Kitchen Window’s sire, Dead Ahead, is out of Siama, dam also of Bald Eagle, the sire of Too Bald.

Kitchen Window’s second dam, Heather Thatcher is by Bois Roussel, a son of Plucky Liege.   Too Bald’s broodmare sire, Dark Star is out of a mare by *Bull Dog, another son of Plucky Liege.   And of course, there is even more *Bull Dog via Tiger, the sire of Siama.   Plus Dead Ahead is a paternal grandson of *Royal Charger, while Bald Eagle is a son of *Nasrullah, *Royal Charger’s three-quarter brother.

All of which suggests a very fine match. Mares with Too Bald crosses to Yes It’s True.   Of course that involves getting off the Capote/Mr. Prospector bandwagon for a bit, but we’d certainly like to see it done and if anyone out there tries it, let us know about it.

Revisiting A Favorite

In April of 1999, PEDLINES wrote about a uniquely bred gelding named Ewer All Wet.

This fellow was no classic horse, but since that time, he has gone on to be a very useful handicapper who has earned over $300,000.

Ewer All Wet is inbred to Native Dancer and his full sister Teahouse (also his fifth dam) 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5.  Two of the crosses are via Teahouse, three via Native Dancer (who is also sex-balanced).  Now this is some very unique linebreeding indeed.   There is more to his pedigree, but this is the main attraction.

Obviously, since Ewer All Wet is a gelding, he is no use for mixing and matching in pedigrees.  However, he does have a 1997 full sister named How Dry I Am and we are willing to bet that one of these days one or more of her sons will go to stud.   Breeding one of them to a mare inbred to Grey Flight (who is also from this family) would be just one very intriguing way to go.

Every day of the week, we try our best to point breeders in the right direction.   But they have to let go of some preconceived notions if they are going to learn to think creatively.   The Aga Khan has condensed into two sentences the way of the future.   Do you have the courage to follow his lead?