His name was Roi Herode, described as “a remarkable type of powerful, big-boned Thoroughbred, with immense substance” and his designated role was to establish Herod’s male line in England. A grey, he was thought to have inherited his coat color from the Alcock Arabian, arguably the most important carrier of the grey color gene in all of the breed.
Since Roi Herode was not a particularly good racehorse, his breeder Maurice Caillault said he would be greatly surprised if he made a very good stallion, but he was proved wrong. In his first limited book of mares, Roi Herode sired The Tetrarch, whose blood was immortalized by his great daughter Mumtaz Mahal, “the flying filly”, and as a broodmare sire he got, among others, Reine-de-Course *Lady Comfey and our current subject, *Cinq A Sept, ancestress of no less a giant than Secretariat.
*Cinq A Sept was bred by Lord Furness at his Gilltown Stud and was sold as a yearling at Doncaster to department store heir Marshall Field for 3,000 Guineas. She proved a bargain, winning the 1927 Irish Oaks and Park Hill Stakes (the latter frequently referred to as “the fillies’ St. Leger”). Although a confirmed classic stayer, when Marshall Fields imported her to the United States in 1929, she only enhanced the faster American blood to which she was bred. In so doing, she created a family which is still going strong and which, at its best, has been capable of producing some of the greatest runners of modern time. Hers is a legacy.
*Cinq A Sept’s family breaks down today into three main branches: Assignation, Gentle Tryst and Twilight Tryst. All three daughters are closely related. Assignation is a daughter of *Teddy; Gentle Tryst is by *Teddy’s son *Sir Gallahad III; and Twilight Tryst is by *Sir Gallahad’s son Gallant Fox.
Assignation, a foal of 1930, was bred by Marshall Field as was her 1934 daughter Cinquepace. Cinquepace was unraced, but she produced the Caruso filly Imperatrice, who was bred in the name of W. A. La Boyteaux. In her breeder’s colors, Cinquepace won the 1941 Test Stakes at Saratoga and the following year defeated colts in the Fall Highweight Handicap, then a far more important feature than it is today, denoting not only weight-carrying ability but speed and courage.
In 1947, the La Boyteaux horses were dispersed at an estate sale at Saratoga and among the lookers was Christopher T. Chenery of Meadow Stud. Imperatrice was not a beautiful mare, being short legged and lop-eared. But she had had real ability and not only had a foal at foot but was announced as in foal to the good sprinter *Piping Rock. Chenery went to $30,000 to get her, only to find out later that the mare was not in foal.
As it turned out, it mattered little, for Imperatrice was not a difficult breeder and her offspring were of uniform excellence. Prior to her death at the advanced age of 34 in 1972, Imperatrice had produced six stakes winners. But her most important offspring turned out to be a filly who could not run at all, a daughter of *Princequillo named Somethingroyal, who at the time of her dam’s death had a two-year-old colt who was about to be named Horse of the Year. This was Secretariat.
Somethingroyal, like her dam before her, lived a long and productive life, dying at the age of 31 on Sept. 9, 1983. She had foaled stakes winners First Family and Syrian Sea as well as near-champion Sir Gaylord when she produced her thirteenth foal, Secretariat, in 1970.
Somethingroyal had been granted access to Bold Ruler’s court due to her high-class produce record, but as always with the great sire, there was a catch. All mares bred to Bold Ruler would visit him twice and his owners, the Phipps family, would flip a coin with the mare’s owner for first choice of the two foals. Because Somethingroyal’s owner, Penny Chenery Tweedy, officiated for her father at the coin flip, it was she who lost the coin flip, ultimately winning in the long run.
The foal the Phipps received was a filly named The Bride, who is famous for little more than being Secretariat’s full sister. The colt of course raced in Meadow Stable’s famous blue and white and would win the first American Triple Crown since Citation in 1948.
Secretariat brought out the poet in all those who encountered him. Today, all these years after his incredible 1973 season, it is easy to forget the impact he had on the sport, an impact far greater than more recent heroes like Affirmed, Spectacular Bid, Cigar or Sunday Silence.
Edward L. Bowen, who can turn a phrase with the best of them, wrote of Secretariat’s Belmont, “Of all the foals that Gentry and his men have attended as they snuggled in the damp newness next to their dams, there was a certain one foaled on March 30, 1970, of all the possible March 30ths, of all the possible stalls on all the possible farms. He was to win the Belmont by a larger margin than Count Fleet did, bridge the gap of Citation-to-present, tear down the caution of horsemen in the appraisals and sing to the hearts of those who knew him.”
That’s how it was with Secretariat. No one who saw his incredible 31-length victory in the 1973 Belmont Stakes where his opponents were mere yardsticks of his utter superiority, will ever forget the call, “Secretariat is moving like a tremendous machine.”
But he was gone too soon, both literally and figuratively. Due to the pressures of a $6.8 million syndication, Secretariat ran only through the end of his three year old season and he died too young, at the age of 19. So many tributes were written about him and how he had affected the lives of those around him that The Thoroughbred Times, The Blood Horse, The Racing Form and many, many other regional publications were filled with them for months after his demise.
Yet even now, long after Secretariat’s death, long after his remarkable Triple Crown, we hark back to Frank Deford’s moving farewell to the great horse as the definitive tribute. Focusing on Secretariat’s retirement rather than his death, Deford wrote this goodbye with his heart on his sleeve, “The last flowers they put on Secretariat were carnations, red and white, and then they took them off and he left. So the best thing racing had seen in years – some would say ever – was gone, gone in his prime, gone in his glory, gone away to his tea and scandal in the Blue Grass, while the exactas and doubles stay behind to entertain the old men with their Racing Forms. How strange is this enterprise that takes away the hearts and leaves the numbers.
“The groom, Eddie Sweat, had him by the bridle as they walked around the clubhouse turn back to the race barn, back for the last time. He kept patting him on the withers. It was very nearly dark by now, and one could only wave after Secretariat, remember him, marvel at him, and cry out (after Shelley): Why didst thou leave the trodden paths…too soon?”
Secretariat left behind some fine runners, namely Horse of the Year Lady’s Secret, double classic winner and champion Risen Star, good sire and Travers winner General Assembly and 54 other stakes winners. Although he did not leave behind a son really good enough to carry the male line forward, his daughters have become priceless gems as broodmares, producing over 135 stakes winners to date including Dare And Go; Al Mamoon; Chief’s Crown; Gone West; and A. P. Indy.
His half brother Sir Gaylord did him one better in getting fine sire sons in Habitat and Sir Ivor, and he, too, is a wonderful broodmare sire, his daughters having foaled almost 120 stakes winners including Track Barron; Gay Mecene and Shelter Half.
Secretariat’s two full sisters Syrian Sea and The Bride both have become stakes producers and his three-quarter sister Speedwell out of Imperatrice, is the second dam of the excellent sire Cure The Blues. This branch of the family is only getting stronger.
Gentle Tryst has nothing to be ashamed of either. Also bred by Marshall Field, her daughter Up The Hill (also a Field bred) is responsible for both 1976 Preakness winner Elocutionist (sire of the top-class runner and good young stallion Demons Begone and broodmare sire of Horse of the Year Kotashaan) and the double Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Alleged, an outstanding sire, who died in 2000. Undoubtedly, the next best thing to a Secretariat is an Alleged.
As a runner, Alleged lost only once, when second in the testing St. Leger, which is slightly more than 1 3/4 miles long. He emulated his great-grandsire *Ribot by annexing back-to-back Arcs in 1977 and 1978, was champion at both three and four and was considered to be one of the world’s premier sires. Like his relative Secretariat, he certainly is deserving of Chef-de-Race status.
Alleged was an outstanding stallion, siring champions Law Society (Irish Derby); Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Miss Alleged; Sir Harry Lewis (Irish Derby); Midway Lady (Gold Seal Oaks) and Muhtarram (Guinness Champion Stakes) to name only a few. His prospects as a broodmare sire also are bright with 85 stakes winners representing him including Dr. Devious; Go And Go; and Champagneforashley.
Twilight Tryst, the last of *Cinq A Sept’s major daughters, has much to brag of as well. Hers is the branch responsible for Coaching Club American Oaks winner Fiesta Gal (by Alleged and thus inbred to *Cinq A Sept); champion French miler Nonoalco; champion French filly Maximova, dam of the good Seattle Slew stakes winner Septieme Ciel; Kentucky Oaks winner Nancy Jr. and champion steeplechaser Warm Spell.
Nonoalco, who was sent to Japan, has sired only 31 stakes winners to date. Some of them, however, have been of the highest quality and include champions Noalcoholic; Katies; Mesange Bleue (IRE) and Melyno, the latter broodmare sire of 1996 champion older mare Jewel Princess. Nonoalco has one son at stud in the U.S., Sun Worship (IRE) who stands in Texas. Nonoalco’s broodmare daughters have produced at least 24 stakes winners including Blew By Em; Sheba Dancer (FR); and Glen Kate (IRE).
*Cinq A Sept’s pedigree is a very old one and is riddled with the names of ancient greats. She is linebred to Vedette, sire of Galopin and Speculum, showing six crosses through these two male-line relatives.
Speculum’s branch of Vedette ultimately ended up in the U.S. as a conduit for the blood of Count Fleet and today, sadly, St. Simon’s own line has dwindled down to a handful of Prince Rose and *Ribot relatives.
As for the St. Simon influence, in *Cinq A Sept, we find a 5 x 4 cross supported only by her dam via two of the stallion’s greatest sons, Persimmon and William The Third.
*Cinq A Sept also had three crosses of the great mare Pocahontas through a Stockwell double and a cross of King Tom, while her sire Roi Herode traced to Herod as mentioned above – via Thormanby – and was in fact inbred to him 4 x 4; while *Cinq A Sept’s dam contributed a double of Hampton via the great mare Maid Marian and Perdita II, dam of Persimmon.
Newminster is doubled in Roi Heroid and Toxophilite in Rackety Coo, making *Cinq A Sept’s sire and dam just different enough while sharing the common bond of Vedette.
*Teddy, whose blood was responsible for all three of *Cinq A Sept’s major branches, augmented the Newmister, Galopin, and Hampton and added the fascinating double of Bend Or, who was produced by Rouge Rose. Rouge Rose was also the dam of Rose Of York, second dam of Roi Herode, so in effect each time that *Cinq A Sept was exposed to *Teddy’s bloodline, she not only received reinforcement of her existing strains, but added inbreeding to the half siblings Bend Or and Rose Of York. The results speak for themselves.
We have been wanting to add *Cinq A Sept to the Reine-de-Course list for quite some time, so it is a real pleasure to announce her inclusion. Her descendents which will join her on the list are Assignation; Gentle Tryst; Twilight Tryst; Cinquepace; Imperatrice; Somethingroyal; Up The Hill and Bank Account. A better group of mares are hard to find anywhere in the world.