Whenever great breeders are mentioned and the name August Belmont enters the conversation, it quite naturally follows that Man o’ War is the main topic of discussion. But if the truth be told, Belmont bred many horses on the Fair Play-*Rock Sand cross which produced Man o’ War, including that great horse’s full siblings My Play and Masdah; Mad Hatter; Chatterton; Chance Play and Chance Shot. He also bred an unraced daughter of Fair Play named Cri de Coeur, who was out of the *Rock Sand mare Toggery.
Today, Cri de Coeur’s bloodline has firmly established itself as a hard-knocking family of good sire producers (Mt. Livermore, Distinctive, Well Decorated, Johns Joy, The Doge, etc.) And while the Cri de Coeur descendents are generally precocious stock, they are quite capable, when crossed with classic lines, to produce even an Epsom Derby winner (Benny the Dip). Sad to say, as strong and sound as this group of horses are, we don’t see them inbred to all that often, and this is one reason we feel it is necessary to get the family out there in front of breeders before the opportunities dwindle to nothingness.
But first, some more background. As much interwoven with the history of this family as August Belmont was Charles Benjamin Shaffer’s Coldstream Stud. Coldstream, which bought a half interest in My Play, also purchased the top stallion *Bull Dog, whose blood plays an equally important part in the development of this family along with Fair Play and *Rock Sand.
Not only did *Bull Dog sire the outstanding full brothers The Doge and Johns Joy, but also their close relation Albania, whose daughters’ blood blended with Requested to produce the three fine branches of Tiny Request; Precious Lady and Questar. Thus there are any number of full siblings to use for inbreeding and it is quite logical to use a mare with a line of Distinctive back to a son of Mt. Livermore if you like your speed to stay sound.
Where To Find the Blood
The above-mentioned Benny The Dip was returned to England to stand at stud after only a brief opportunity, so his daughters will be hard to find. However, attention should be paid to a young sire named River Keen, whose pedigree carries not only Cri de Coeur in tail-female but many other unique opportunities such as his sire, Keen, a full brother to the excellent sires Diesis and Kris.
As to other sires from the family, Mt. Livermore is not getting any younger, and will have seen his 22nd birthday pass before the 2003 covering season. He does, however, have several very good sons at stud including champion Housebuster, recently repatriated from Japan; Peaks and Valleys, off to a good start at stud and Pyramid Peak, a Flamingo winner.
Distinctive Pro, who is out of a Distinctive mare, is still with us at age 24 (in 2003). And while he has been a very good sire (41 stakes winners), his sons are not red-hot numbers at stud and only a handful are listed at stud. Distinctive’s blood can, however, be found in two younger sires who are still in demand, Horse of the Year Favorite Trick and Preakness winner Louis Quatorze.
Well Decorated is another old timer and is a year older than Distinctive Pro, but he is still at stud. Two of his best sons, Formal Dinner and Notebook, are both at stud in Florida.
The Pedigree of Cri de Coeur
As with all new Reines-de-Course, we like to discuss the mare’s own pedigree and how the addition of various lines helped her bloodline to thrive. We have already mentioned that Cri de Coeur was bred on the same Fair Play-*Rock Sand cross as Man o’ War. But why is it that Fair Play and Rock Sand had such a powerful affinity?
As might be supposed, the answer lies in linebreeding to a great mare, this time Pocahontas (1837), the so-called “large heart” mare who is five times present in any Fair Play/Rock Sand cross via Stockwell x4/King Tom x2/Rataplan. It is crosses like this that no doubt caused Vullier to suggest that Pocahontas be made a “Chef” to go along with the original members of that exclusive club.
Once the Fair Play/*Rock Sand cross was in place, the next question is what *Bull Dog added to make The Dodge, Johns Joy and Albania so powerful. In the case of The Doge and Johns Joy, the answer is balance, as both Bay Ronald and his sire Hampton become balanced by the cross. In addition, *Bull Dog’s pedigree carries two Macaroni crosses which blend well with the Bend Or double via daughters created by the cross. (The much-vaunted Bend Or/Macaroni cross creates balanced Pantaloon and linebreeding to the mare Manilla x3 via Dr. Of Coriander x2/Miss Judy.)
The stallion North Star III, broodmare sire of Albania and sire of Busy American in the pedigree of Johns Joy and The Doge, also plays an important role. North Star III added to Cri De Coeur (before the addition of *Bull Dog) brings together full siblings Sainfoin and Sierra.
North Star III also brings in one line of the immensely important mare Doris, who is by Loved One, a half brother to Pilgrimage, one of the top 10 mares in the stud book. By adding Loved One x2 via Sunstar, the pedigrees of Cri de Coeur’s children were prepared to receive all the more modern lines of Selene’s children. Selene, inbred to Pilgrimage, is the dam of *Sickle (tail-male of Native Dancer); *Pharamond II (tail-male of Buckpasser); and Hyperion. She herself is inbred to too many times to count, including a Hyperion.*Sickle appearance in the pedigree of Northern Dancer.
It is always a difficult task to choose which members of such an excellent family deserve Reine-de-Course status. But thankfully, we can always return and make revisions. So for now, new Reines are Cri de Coeur herself along with her descendents Albania, Precious Lady, Tudor Jet and Questar. Don’t be afraid to mix and match these mares; they are as sound and solid as they come.