Nothing is more satisfying or intriguing to us than adding to an existing Reine-de-Course family through a line that is not only a personal favorite but one which adds both stoutness and soundness, two qualities in which modern Thoroughbreds are sorely lacking. Major stakes winner and foundation mare Folle Nuit, from the Illuminata family line via Vauxhall a half sister to existing Reine-de-Course Chelandry, is such a mare. Given that Illuminata is responsible for both of them she, too, earns Reine-de-Course status with the inclusion of Folle Nuit.
Classic Stamina via Chelandry’s French Cousin and the Teddy Influence
Folle Nuit, described by The British Bloodstock Review of 1959 as “an excellent racemare”, was bred in France by Auguste Daubin and won the Prix Penelope, Prix Vermeille and Prix du Prince d’Orange (all run at 2000 meters or more, the equivalent of slightly less than 10 furlongs). She was named for the play Folle Nuit (literal translation “Mad Night”), a story of the amorous misadventures of a one Guy Parzy who ends up dressing up like a girl to get the girl….well, no matter….. except that he does this because of her ever-present chaperone, one Marguerite Deval.
Which is not very different from the name Marguerite de Valois, the full sister to *Bull Dog and *Sir Gallahad III which is the tail-female line for Fappiano, Quiet American, Honour and Glory, Ogygian and several more good ones.
Thus this one play may well have helped to give names to two very important mares which lent classic ability to American Thoroughbreds. They had even more in common than meets the eye. Folle Nuit was by Astrophel, a grandson of Teddy, and was inbred to Teddy’s sire Ajax 4 x 4.
Marguerite de Valois was by Teddy, and while she was not inbred to him, she certainly did well when exposed to more of her sire, especially via her full brother, *Bull Dog, which appeared three times in the pedigree of Fappiano (Miss Dogwood, Roused and Bull Brier) and had yet another cross of Teddy from Case Ace. But we digress.
Coming to America – Thrice
Three different branches of this family have been imported to the United States: The first was *Nuit de Folies, who was also bred by Auguste Daubin and which won the Prix d’Aumale and Prix de Minerve. Brought to the U. S. by Elmendorf Farm, the daughter of Prix Ganay and Prix Lupin winner Tornado (by Tourbillon) begat not only the grand runner Speak John, but established a female line via Red Damask that accounted for a number of G1 quality horses including Rouge Sang and Love That Red and G2 performers like Berry Bush, Thunder Achiever and Choctaw Nation..
William G. Munn’s Thoroughbred Record story on Stage Door Johnny tells us that Robert L. Green, who worked first at Elmendorf and later at Greentree Stud, discovered that *Nuit de Folies’ half sister *Folie Douce, a stakes placed daughter of Blandford-line Caldarium, was for sale circa 1958-59.
Quoting Munn’s story, Green remembered, “I sent a wire to France and got an option to buy the mare for Greentree. That winter Greentree asked me to go to Newmarket to bid on some mares at the sales. While I was in Europe I went to Normandy to see *Folie Douce. She was nine then, and was a well-balanced, small, clean, good-looking mare. She had a good family so I recommended that Greentree buy her. I later got permission to go ahead and she was purchased privately.”
Today, that purchase looks like sheer vision. In addition to Peroxide Blonde, the dam of Stage Door Johnny which she was carrying at the time of her importation, *Folie Douce also produced French champion *Mi Carina, Sweet Folly, Epsom Oaks second *Mother Goose, and a branch via Fool’s Folly which would later produce Epsom Derby winner Shaamit.
Finally, there is *Mandolina by Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud winner Ocarina. Herself the winner of the Prix de Minerve, her daughter Bonne Note by Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Bon Mot, is the second dam of Better Talk Now which won the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf in 2004. This branch of the family has produced a handful of other good horses including Slippin N’ Slyding, and B. A. Way, the last-named a half brother to Better Talk Now.
Bonne Note was bred in France by Mrs. Allen Manning and imported to the U. S. in 1983 where she was purchased by Wimborne Farm. They in turn bred Bendita, the stakes place Baldski mare who produced Better Talk Now.
Though Shaamit flopped at stud, and Stage Door Johnny is better known as a broodmare sire, his three-quarter brother Speak John was quite a good sire. His Hold Your Peace branch is keeping the tail-male line alive, though barely, via Meadowlake, and Verbatim is still found in the pedigrees of such horses as E Dubai, Essence of Dubai and Count the Time.
Perhaps most importantly, Speak John is the broodmare sire of the grand Spend A Buck, a horse Americans stupidly tossed away. Though equally cavalier with Spend A Buck’s good son Pico Central, who was sold to Korea, we still have a chance to save this blood through the current runner Einstein. We retain an exceptional cross as well via his daughter Antespend, dam of the exciting young sire Friends Lake.
Notable Winners in France
*Mi Carina, the half sister to Stage Door Johnny’s dam Peroxide Blonde, was a daughter of Ocarina. Interestingly enough, we just discussed another good Ocarina daughter in Mistress Ford’s Reine-de-Course story, the filly Barbaresque. Since he is hardly a common name in pedigrees, we found this interesting.
The British Bloodstock Review wrote of *Mi Carina that she “proved herself to be the best of the progeny of her sire Ocaraina, who was unbeaten in four outings at three and four years of age.
“The pedigree of Mi Carina shows close inbreeding (3 x 3) to Brantome (a Classic Chef-de-Race) and Folie Douce, her dam, is inbred 3 x 3 to Massine (a Professional Chef-de-Race).”
*Mi Carina ran several times more including a good fourths in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (behind St. Crespin III), Gran Premio del Jockey Club (Italian Derby) behind Sedan and the Washington D. C. International (behind Bald Eagle).
Sadly, neither *Mi Carina or her top-class half sister (both imported to the U. S.) ever lived up to their racing prowess as producers. *Mi Carina got nothing of note and *Mother Goose has a small branch of minor stakes winners under her.
The same might have been said of their Wild Risk half sister, Old England, who won the Prix de Flore and Prix de Royallieu. Until this year, that is.
Springing to Life
If you look the average American race fan in the eye and tell him the French Derby winner is by Chichicastenango out of Uberaba by Garde Royale, he is likely to say, “Huh?” Yet that is the pedigree of this (2008) year’s French Derby winner.
And this is a pedigree worth savoring for its very differences. It is absent Mr. Prospector and has but one Northern Dancer cross and thus only one Native Dancer cross. This is also a most unusual pedigree in that dam Uberaba (by a son of Mill Reef) is inbred to Pervencheres via Barberybush and Wood Violet.
Sire Chichicastenango whose tail-male line reads Smadoun-Kaldoun-Caro is inbred to Somethingroyal via Sir Gaylord and his full sister Swansea. He is also inbred to Myrobella via half siblings Snowberry and Big Game.
This colt, who has stamina in his pedigree at every turn – Vaguely Noble, Sicambre, Right Royal, Wild Risk…also, has none other than Folle Nuit, a stamina Reine-de-Course, as his fifth dam. If this horse is given half a chance at stud, he should enrich the Thoroughbred bloodlines of almost any nation on earth.
His Northern Dancer line, via Antheus, is hardly a common one, so he is set up to work Mr. Prospector, Somethingroyal, or his Judy o’Grady line via Right Away. Since Holy Bull also has Judy o’Grady via Grey Dawn II, what an outcrossed-looking pedigree that would be – one of his daughters to this horse, that is.
This son of Bold Bidder acquitted himself with distinction in four major racing jurisdictions, winning the Group 1 Gran Premio di Milano in Italy, placing in the Group 2 John Porter in England and the Group 2 Grand Prix D’evry in France prior to placing in the G1 Man o’ War Stakes in the U. S.
Sadly he died at age 10 after siring only five crops of foals. The Elmendorf bred got 88% starters and 57% winners. Today his name is carried forward in pedigrees almost entirely by his daughter Chaleur, who won the Glorious Song Stakes in Canada. She is the dam of four stakes winners including the Irish River colt Bog Trotter (G2), and his full brother Poteen, a restricted stakes winner in the U. S. who placed in three Group 1 races in England including the Two Thousand Guineas.
Chaleur also has a good producing daughter by Bahri named Patacake Patacake who has two stakes horses to her credit: Bakerman (GB) by Singspiel who placed in a non-graded stake in France, and Doonside Cup Stakes winner and multiple G3 placed In The Wings colt Mashaahed.
It may not be tail-male, but at least he’s still ‘running’.
The Pedigree of Folle Nuit
The first thing that stands out about Folle Nuit’s pedigree is that she is inbred to her own bottom line via a 5 x 5 cross of Ladas/Vauxhall (x2 Illuminata). She is also linebred to Rouge Rose via Bend Or x2/Rose of York and has a 5 x 5 cross of full siblings Raconteur and Childwick (St. Simon-Plaisanterie).
Sire Astrophel is inbred to half siblings St. Angelo and Medora (x2 Agneta). As previously noted, she is inbred to Ajax via son Teddy and daughter Mauri and has multiple lines of Hampton, St. Simon and Isonomy.
All in all, this is a most remarkable pedigree and we should have included this grand mare sooner in the Reine-de-Course list. Nothing like a French Derby winner to light a fire under even the slowest of us!
As we noted above, Illuminata joins the list as a ‘bridge’ between Folle Nuit and Chelandry. Also added are *Nuit De Folies, Red Damask, Night Dance, *Folie Douce, Peroxide Blonde, and *Mandolina. Our favorite way to inbreed to this family is still Speak John/Stage Door Johnny. But Vision d’ Etat may change all that, or perhaps one of Chaleur’s kin can even pull off a coup of her own!