Rounding Out The Line
In this, the final article on the Frizette family, we will fill in the gaps left after three previous Reine-de-Course stories on Myrtlewood, Charming Alibi and Princess Palatine. This is a task we should not have left undone for so long and we are pleased that the Frizette story is finally complete, for this is one of our truly great families.
Previously Named Reines And Their Influence
To recap just a bit, Myrtlewood (a granddaughter of Frizette via Frizeur) was the first Reine-de-Course from Frizette’s family to be named. It is her branch of the line which is responsible for Seattle Slew and Mr. Prospector, as well as such good runners and progenitors as Sharood, Chief Bearhart, Escena, Tudor Queen, Highest Trump, Ajina, Siberian Express, Wardlaw, and Jumping Hill.
Frizette’s Ondulation branch was honored next, via her great-grandaughter Charming Alibi and Charming Alibi’s incomparable daughter Dahlia. Dahlia, of course, produced four G1 winners, two G2 winners, and two stakes placed individuals. The family also includes G3 winner Blending Element and July Stakes winner Wharf.
Princess Palatine’s huge branch includes champion Vagrancy; Horse of the Year Ferdinand; champion and Broodmare of the Year Natashka; champions Mukaddamah, Distant Relative, and Ezzoud plus Skip Away’s paternal grandsire Bailjumper.
The Remaining Influence
This leaves us with the following: Janet Blair, Black Curl, and Bluelarks; the first two half sisters to Myrtlewood, the last-named her full sibling. This completes Frizette’s influence via Frizeur.
Then there are the remaining Frizette daughters: Banshee; Lespedeza II; Durzetta; and Frizelle. The last three named are full sisters by *Durbar II and bear the mark of the Marcel Boussac stud. Boussac, in fact, made a practice of inbreeding to these full sisters and their offspring long enough and often enough to create a whole group of horses which are very closely related. Perhaps the downfall of his stud at the time, these horses have now moved far enough out in pedigrees to be very powerful inbreeding tools, even when used with a light touch. But we will discuss that part of the story later on.
Though Frizette’s family has as broad an international influence as any in the stud book, she was actually bred in the U. S. by Harry Payne Whitney. Sired by his great stallion Hamburg, Frizette was produced from the St. Simon matron Ondulee, whose second dam was the outstanding runner Shotover.
Shotover, a foal of 1879, won a Triple Crown of sorts, accounting for the Two Thousand Guineas, the Epsom Derby and the Park Hill Stakes (the ‘fillies’ St. Leger). The daughter of Hermit was bred by Henry Chaplin’s Blakney Stud, but ran in the colors of the Duke of Westminster.
Shotover’s granddaughter *Ondulee, by St. Simon, was imported to the U. S. by James R. Keene, but she eventually found her way from Castleton to Harry Payne Whitney’s stud where she produced Frizette.
Frizette won the Rosedale Stakes, but was sold as a three-year-old to Whitney’s friend Herman Duryea and exported to France. Though Duryea bred most of Frizette daughters, many of them eventually made their way back to the United States.
*Frizeur was sold at the Duryea dispersal and purchased by John Madden, who then sold her to Brownell Combs, for whom she produced Myrtlewood.
*Princess Palatine was not bred by Duryea but by a former jockey named Frank O’Neill, who sold her to L. Waterbury of Shandon Stud in Kentucky. Waterbury imported the Prince Palatine filly to the U. S. as a yearling.
*Ondulation’s branch was badly served and scattered about the globe, but fortune smiled on her when a mare named Charming Alibi emerged almost from the ashes to give the racing world Dahlia.
The three major sisters of Myrtlewood, Janet Blair; Black Curl and Bluelarks can still be found in pedigrees today, though none have the depth of influence of Myrtlewood herself.
Janet Blair’s two strongest agents are champion sprinter Shecky Greene (especially via champion Green Forest) and the Fappiano sire Roy. Roy, who began his stud career in Argentina, has the mare Ivy Hackett, a half sister to Shecky Green, as his second dam and inbreeding this pair would be an intriguing way to touch on this speedy sub-branch of Frizette.
Black Curl, who appears in the pedigree of Seattle Slew, is pretty well known for her grandson Jet Pilot and little else. Jet Pilot, however, is still relatively easy to find thanks to the plethora of Seattle Slew sons. Another important sire who carries a cross of Jet Pilot is Cozzene and there are, of course, other more plentiful daughter lines.
Bluelarks, Myrtlewood’s full sister, is quite another matter. Her major conduit is the Rough’n Tumble sire Flag Raiser. And while his blood is not totally gone, it is increasingly difficult to find.
The Boussac Influence
Apart from Myrtlewood herself, nowhere else is Frizette’s influence more deeply ingrained than in the pedigrees of horses bred by Marcel Boussac. And while many of those horses are now doing their best work in the Aga Khan stud, it was Boussac who ‘created’ them.
The great breeder purchased Frizette’s daughter Durzetta and granddaughter Durban from the widow of Herman Duryea in 1919. He then bought Durban’s full sister Heldifann in 1921 and Durzetta’s full sister Frizelle in 1922.
Every single one was either by Durban II-Frizette or by Durban II out of a daughter of Frizette. In time, Boussac would combine their blood to create the pedigrees of outstanding runners, champions and blue hen producers like Cillas (French Derby); Apollonia (French Oaks); Tourzima (ancestress of classic winners Darshaan, Ebadiyla, Acamas and Akarad); Djeddah (Eclipse S.); and many more who were inbred and linebred to Frizette relations.
In Peter Willett’s incomparable volume Makers Of The Modern Thoroughbred, he quotes a brochure that was distributed in 1975 when 47 Boussac mares were sold at Deauville:
“Monsieur Boussac has indeed created a breed within the breed of the thoroughbred: a breed of homogeneous quality comprising horses with a singular harmony of outline and marvelously spirited bearing. When one of them appears in the parade ring at Longchamp people are often heard to say: ‘That’s a Boussac.'”
The Boussac ‘brand’ was in large part a matter of inbreeding, but certainly not of indiscriminate inbreeding, for in the beginning at least Boussac culled his sub-par stock and inbred only to exceptional individuals. The stunning results are still reaping rewards today, from horses like American Horse of the Year Favorite Trick to European superstar Montjeu (inbred to Djeddah) and from Epsom Derby Sinndar, whose dam carries five lines of Frizette to Belmont winner Lemon Drop Kid (Frizeur x3/Banshee x2).
A Line Here And There
While not all of Frizette’s branches are equally good, there are bits and pieces of her bloodline to be found in a variety of places.
One good example is the pedigree of champion sprinter Safely Kept. Her sire, Horatius, traces to Frizette via *Frizelle and her dam contributes a cross of Tourbillon via *Ambiorix. Thus her pedigree contains a 7 x 6 cross of the three-quarter sisters *Frizelle/Durban – and the rest is history.
In 1999, we saw Wolf Alert, who was inbred to full brothers Djask/Djebel x2, win the G3 Miss Grillo Stakes, while champion Beautiful Pleasure has a far-removed cross of Banshee/Princess Palatine. Such inbreeding is not necessarily obvious, but it is worth searching out.
As always, the best way to trace family lines is via family number and Frizette’s family is 13C. So when you see a cross of half brothers *Priam II/Djeddah or a cross of Tourbillon and Labus in the same pedigree, take note.
Likewise, do not consider a Seattle Slew son crossed on a mare inbred to Tourbillon an outcross, and keep in mind that even the most basic Seattle Slew/Mr. Prospector cross reflects inbreeding to Frizeur x3 (Black Curl/Myrtlewood x2). If the dam has yet another cross of Frizette, the foal will be very rich in Frizette blood indeed.
Every family has a character all its own, and over the years Frizette’s family has spawned enough good sires to be considered a good sire family. However, the Princess Palatine branch has been very weak in sire production (Ferdinand, Fiddle Isle and Judger all being notable failures). Ezzoud may make a difference; it is still too soon to tell. Further, since none of Dahlia’s sons have been given a fair shot at stud, we need to include the Ondulation branch as a poor sire producer as well.
That leaves Myrtlewood with her Seattle Slew, Mr. Prospector contribution as well as good young sire Explosive Red and his younger brother Chief Bearhart, along with the inconsistent Siberian Express and the sold-too-soon Jolie’s Halo. So Myrtlewood is generally a good sire-producing branch.
Banshee can definitely be characterized as a decent sire producer with Tourbillon, Darshaan, Horatius and Labus to her credit. But it’s a big family, so be careful how you choose from this group. It is probably a better branch to inbreed to, rather than choosing a sire who is a direct descendent of the line.
To complete the Frizette influence on the Reine-de-Course list, we thus add Frizeur herself; Banshee and her descendents Durban, Heldifann, Tourzima and Albanilla. Don’t hesitate to mix and match these outstanding mares, even in multiples. Enough generations have passed that an Irish Oaks winner like Ebadiyla or a top sprinter like Safely Kept may be your reward.