Large Heart or Not – The Pocahontas Legacy
For quite some time, many Thoroughbred breeders have searched for multiple lines of the “x-factor” or large heart gene, supposedly traced originally to Pocahontas (1837). With the addition of Cold Hearted to the Reine-de-Course list, we approach this family for the first time.
The eleventh dam of Cold Hearted is, indeed, Pocahontas; her tenth is that grand mare’s Ambrose daughter Araucaria. And while we have never been wholly convinced of anything other than that the majority of Thoroughbreds have large hearts, we believe the theory is entirely harmless and if it makes a breeder feel better to know the heart score of his horse, by all means go for it.
That said, there is little doubt that this sub-branch of the family, which has produced not only a classic winner and good sire in Caveat but quite a strong daughter branch in Winter’s Love, plus a budding second daughter branch in the cleverly-named Gold Hearted, is worthy of our attention. However, we must add the caveat – if you will pardon the pun – that this is not the soundest family that ever saw the light of day.
Araucaria’s Other Gifts
Briefly, the Araucaria branch of Pocahontas has also accounted for a number of other good horses, including two sets of classic winning siblings. Most recent of these are Dante (GB), by Nearco-Rosy Legend, winner of the 1945 Epsom Derby and his full brother Sayajirao (GB) winner of the 1947 St. Leger.
Prior to this pair, the line gave us a classic trio of half siblings out of Araucaria herself: Camelia (FR) by Macaroni, winner of the 1876 One Thousand Guineas; Chamant (FR) by Mortemer (FR), winner of the 1877 Two Thousand Guineas; and Rayon D’Or (FR) by Flageolet (FR), winner of the 1879 St. Leger.
Importing a Foundation Mare
The immediate family of Cold Hearted was developed by English breeder Dorothy Paget, a first cousin of C. V. Whitney and Mrs. Charles Payson. Paget raced 1943 English Derby winner Straight Deal and retained his daughter Straight Path, which she bred to another English Derby winner, Mustang. The result was Bridle Way, the second dam of Cold Hearted.
Bridle Way won only once but produced three stakes winners including the excellent sprinter Sound Track by Whistler. She also foaled stakes producers Pillar of Fire and Bridle Path. Sold to Texas breeder W. R. (Fritz) Hawn, Bridle Way produced four more foals including Turn to North, the winning dam of Cold Hearted.
Turn To North was foaled at Jonabell Farm (now Darley at Jonabell or just plain Darley if you wish) across the road from Keeneland race course in Lexington, Ky. Turn To North produced nine foals prior to her death in 1983, the year her grandson Caveat won the Belmont Stakes.
Cold Hearted by The Axe II was Turn To North’s only stakes winner and she was purchased by James Ryan’s Ryehill Farm, which also boarded its stock at Jonabell Farm. Though she won only one stake, the minor Pointsettia Stakes at Hialeah, it was enough for Ryan to give her a shot at stud.
The Pedigree of Cold Hearted
If the old adage “breed like to like” holds true, then there is some worth in the pedigree of The Axe II, sire of Cold Hearted, having been bred by Greentree Stud (Jock Whitney and Mrs. Charles S. Payson). One could say, in fact, that Cold Hearted is Whitney blood both top and bottom, which becomes even more interesting when we get to her apparent liking for crosses of Almahmoud, something we discuss a little further along in this story.
Cold Hearted herself, however, does not have a great deal of close-in inbreeding. Her sire The Axe II, sometimes cited as a source of unsoundness, was a delight to behold. A handsome grey with a kind disposition, he had the eye of an eagle, the bearing of a swan, and he welcomed visitors with the manners of a Southern gentleman whose place as the lord of the plantation is assured.
The Axe II ran 29 times, beginning his career in Europe where he won the Imperial and Newmarket Stakes at two and three but proved short of classic form. Returned to his homeland as a four-year-old, he found his niche as a good grass runner, winning such major races as the San Marcos and San Luis Rey Handicaps and placing in the San Juan Capistrano and Man o’ War Stakes.
Sire of 39 stakes winners, The Axe II daughters produced 69 more added-money victors. Among his best runners were Al Hattab and Hatchet Man and he lives on in the pedigree of such good horses as Relaunch, Holy Bull and of course, the relations of Cold Hearted.
Matched with Turn To North to get Cold Hearted, two more Lady Josephine crosses were added for a 4 x 6 x 6 cross of half sisters Mumtaz Mahal/Lady Juror. This standard pattern was the only major one that was augmented by using The Axe II while all other inbreeding (to *Blenheim II, Gainsborough, etc.) would have to wait for the addition of Almahmoud down the road to find its true greatness.
The Classic Winner and His Contribution
Caveat, the most recent classic winner from the immediate family, was the second of five Belmont Stakes winners trained by Woody Stephens and he defeated a field that included champion Slew O’ Gold and Preakness winner Deputed Testamony. Kentucky Derby winner Sonny’s Halo did not contest the Belmont, but Deputed Testamony had handled him in the Preakness, so the Belmont was a good representation of the crop. Also of interest was that Stephens had trained Caveat’s sire, Cannonade, to win the 1974 Kentucky Derby.
Caveat ran only through the end of his classic season, retiring with six wins in 21 starts and $542,190 in earnings. In addition to the Belmont he ran third in the Kentucky Derby, and also placed in the Arkansas and Tropical Park Derbies.
At stud, Caveat was never a smashing commercial success, and he died at the relatively young age of 15 in 1995. Nevertheless, his statistics are noteworthy. From 424 foals of racing age, he got 88% starters and 71% winners, including 8% stakes winners and 6% stakes placed. He moved his mares up from a CI of 1.63 to an AEI of 1.92.
His best runners included the tough, $3.2 million earner Awad, a multiple G1 winner; Brooklyn H. (G1) winner Timely Warning; Pennsylvania Derby (G2) winner Cefis [named for Woody Stephens’ middle name and owned by Ryehill Farm]; Manhattan H. (G1) winner Ops Smile; and multiple stakes winner Warning Glance.
As a broodmare sire, Caveat has done relatively well, but as with most horses the quality of his offspring fell off somewhat due to the quality of his daughters’ families. To date, there are 34 stakes winners, 40 stakes placed runners out of Caveat daughters. The best among these are Belmont Stakes winner Editor’s Note and his half brother French G1 winner Hold That Tiger; Cavonnier, who missed winning the Kentucky Derby over Grindstone by a half a nostril; hard-knocking gelding Foolish Pole; Canadian classic winner Lodge Hill; the tough Heros Reward; and Demoiselle S. (G2) winner Two Item Limit.
Though Ops Smile is still at stud, it sadly seems that Caveat has failed to establish a strong branch of the Bold Bidder/Bold Ruler sire line. For the time being, look for him via his daughters, and remember that a line of him back to a Tranquility Lake kin could work some very special magic.
Winter’s Love – The Major Daughter Branch
No mare becomes a Reine-de-Course without having a strong daughter branch and Winter’s Love more than qualifies in this regard. Winter’s Love was bred by Ryehill Farm and was sold for $325,000 in foal to Ogygian at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale. That foal proved to be stakes placed Hope for Gold.
Winter’s Love was purchased by Myron Rosenthal of North Central Bloodstock. He bred both G2 winner and sire Benchmark and multiple G1 winner Tranquility Lake from her. Both runners were purchased by and ran in the colors of Martin and Pam Wygod, Benchmark for $475,000 as a 1991 Keeneland November weanling and Tranquility Lake for $250,000 as a 1996 Keeneland July yearling.
Benchmark holds the distinction of being, in all probability, Alydar’s best son at stud. In addition to winning seven of 16 starts and $636,707, he is a leading sire in his home state of California, where he stands at the Wygod’s River Edge Farm near Buellton. Among his best get are G1 winners Brother Derek, Silent Sighs and Idiot Proof. He also has gotten G2 winner A To The Z and Proposed. He has sired three state-bred champions (Idiot Proof and full siblings Brother Derek and Don’tsellmeshort) as well as a Polish highweight (Sierra Nights). Other good offspring of Benchmark include G2 placed Smooth Performer and G3 winner Grazen (also G2 placed). Brother Derek and Idiot Proof are already at stud, so he has begun a new generation of Alydar heirs.
Given the fact that he has been bred largely to California-based mares, he has done remarkably well. His 1.33 AEI does not shine but it is better than his mare’s comparable 1.21 and he gets 60% starters, good for a pedigree that is Raise a Native over Danzig and he works quite well with sires who return another line of *Mahmoud to him (Graustark, Relaunch, Interco, etc.)
Benchmark’s daughters are just beginning at stud, but so far there is stakes placed Jose Adan by Crypto Star who placed in the G3 Arlington-Washington Futurity and the Jazil Al Bastakiya in the UAE and Tribal One by Tribal Rule who placed in the Arizona Breeders’ Derby. Both are geldings.
Tranquility Lake is in a class all by herself and though Benchmark is a fine horse, she puts him to shame in both the racing and production departments.
A seven-time graded stakes winner, including the G1 Yellow Ribbon S. and Gamely Breeders’ Cup Stakes, the daughter of Rahy earned over $1.6 million in 27 starts. She won 11 of those and placed in 10 others. Although she was one of the brightest female stars of her generation in Southern California, she has literally outdone herself at stud.
Her first foal was G1 winner After Market by Storm Cat, who stands at Lane’s End Farm next to A. P. Indy and Smart Strike and who has yearlings of 2010. The earner of almost $1 million has been popular with breeders from the outset. Expect him to be heard from in a big way.
Tranquility Lake’s next foal was Jalil, a full brother to After Market. A $9.7 million Keeneland September yearling, Jalil raced in the UAE, England and the U. S. He earned Group 2 black type in the UAE and placed in the minor Waquoit Stakes in the U. S.
Tranquility Lake produced a third Storm Cat colt in 2005, named Inflection Point, he is listed as unraced with no date of death as of this writing. Her 2006 foal, yet another Storm Cat, won the G2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes and ran second in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile. This girl is a serious producer!
She has an unplaced Storm Cat colt that just turned three named Recap, was barren in 2008 and produced a 2009 colt by A. P. Indy. She was bred to Zenyatta’s Sire Street Cry for 2010.
The Almahmoud Connection
The majority of good horses from this immediate family have Almahmoud crosses – Dew Line, Caveat, Golden Stravinsky and Tranquility Lake via Cosmah and Winter’s Love, Tranquility Lake, Baltic Chill and Stravinsky via Natalma or via a double with Cosmah.
When Almahmoud is added to Cold Hearted, we find the following balancing factors: *Mahmoud (son The Axe II/daughter Almahmoud); The Tetrarch (daughter Mumtaz Mahal in multiples to son Stefan The Great); Spearmint x3 (son Chicle x2/daughter Plucky Liege); Gainsborough x4 (daughter Mah Mahal x2/son Solario x2) closely related Flying Witch (by Broomstick out of a Peter Pan mare)/Equipoise (by a son of Peter Pan out of a Broomstick mare).
Given both the Broomstick and Peter Pan blood, not to mention Equipoise and the Chicle and *Mahmoud doubles, we find a considerable contribution of “Whitney blood” begun when The Axe II was mated with Turn To North to get Cold Hearted in the first place. Make no mistake: Whitney breeding makes as solid a foundation for the Thoroughbred today as it ever did.
New Reines from this immediate family will stay ‘current’ and we will name Pocahontas herself and her daughters as we zero in on the antiquity of the line at a later date. For the time being, new Reines are Cold Hearted and Winter’s Love.
We are obviously keeping our eye on Tranquility Lake for a breakthrough daughter and also watching the development of Gold Hearted’s line in other parts of the world.
Thus, for those who are sold on the “x-factor”, you have not been forgotten. Just know that when we name mares from this family, it is due to their accomplishments and not the large heart gene. We are not denying that this could be a factor, but we are more impressed with victories than heart scores and solid family lines that succeed year after year. Cold Hearted fits that profile to a “T” – or an “X” if you prefer.