Heavenly Body

The family of Too Bald is a favorite of ours, not just because she was the first-named Reine-de-Course in November of 1991 (in Owner/Breeder where the series began), and later the first in Pedlines (August of 1996), but because it is so clearly definitive of speed and stallion production.  We updated this family to include Hidden Talent and Turn To Talent several years later and now, finally, we complete this group with the family of Heavenly Body, the year-younger full sister to Hidden Talent.  As we shall see, Heavenly Body has had a far different influence than her full sister, with the majority of her major descendents being stayers in Europe.

Both of these mares were out of Capt. Harry Guggenheim’s original import, the *Nasrullah mare *Dangerous Dame, who along with *Turn-to, sire of Turn to Talent and Fast Turn (dam of Guggenheim’s wondrous Ack Ack), had ties to both Claiborne Farm and David Vard.  Vard bred *Dangerous Dame and had purchased *Turn-To as a foal, then later re-sold him to C. C. Tanner.

B. “Bull” Hancock of Claiborne Farm bought *Dangerous Dame as a yearling privately for Guggenheim in 1952 and he sold *Turn-to to him the same year, having acquired him from C. C. Tanner. Of course, Hancock also stood *Dangerous Dame’s sire, *Nasrullah, a three-quarter brother to *Royal Charger, sire of *Turn-to. Neither needs any introduction to Pedlines readers.

*Dangerous Dame was from the last group of foals sired by *Nasrullah in Ireland and she took her chestnut coat colour from her dam, Lady Kells, who was by Hyperion’s son His Highness.  Lady Kells was herself a half sister to Irish Two Thousand Guineas winner Solonaway and was a top juvenile. However, she did not mature into classic form at three.

*Dangerous Dame ran in good company and held her own against some of the best fillies of her generation including Flambeau and Evening Out, but she never earned any black type and retired after her sophomore year with just two wins in 10 starts and earnings of $9,200.

Her first two daughters, Hidden Talent and Heavenly Body were both stakes winners by Guggenheim’s 1953 Kentucky Derby winner Dark Star, the only horse ever to defeat Native Dancer, and they are her primary legacy.  Later she produced several unraced and unplaced fillies by Tom Fool (His Lady Fair, dam of G1 Demoiselle winner Diplomette), Dedicate (Lost Love, dam of Astoria Stakes third Gypsy Blade), *Turn-to (Turn To Waves and Swivel) and T. V. Lark (False Gossip).  Most intriguingly, there is also a full sister to Hidden Talent and Heavenly Body named Dangerous Star (1967), who still has some good runners out there and whose line spawned the nice listed Forty Niner stakes horse, Pikepass, who stands in Iowa.

Clearly not in the same league as Too Bald’s Capote, Baldski or Exceller or Heavenly Body’s Mastercraftsman (IRE), Celestial Storm or Sakhee, he might still be an intriguing way for a regional breeder in that area to inbreed to the line with a mare carrying Broad Brush, Capote, or some of the other major sires in the line.

Intriguingly enough, Heavenly Body was actually a better speed horse as a runner than Hidden Talent.  But her legacy belies her precocity.

Such major stayers as River Memories, Mazuna (IRE), Pressing, Celestial Storm, Sakhee, Blue Stag (IRE), and Oscar (IRE) represent her.  Sadly, her best daughter, classic placed A Thousand Stars, never produced a living foal.

As we wrote in our update to Too Bald story on Hidden Talent, *Dangerous Dame’s pedigree was a study in inbreeding.  We’ve learned even more since then.  Not only was she inbred to the speed influence The Tetrarch, sire of Mumtaz Mahal, but also to Spearmint, sire of Plucky Liege who begat four Chefs-de-Race.  Full siblings Sainfoin/Sierra are 6 x 6 x 6; half brothers Phalaris and Hainault are 3 x 3 and half siblings Chaucer and Swynford are each x2.  And that’s just the first six generations.

If one goes just one generation farther, to the seventh remove, we find the following:  Half siblings Flying Footstep/Aryshire (S) or x2 Atalanta; x10 St. Simon/Angelica (full siblings), the St. Simon including full brothers Persimmon and Diamond Jubilee via *Dangerous Dame’s broodmare sire His Highness.

Also appearing are half siblings Astwith/Moorhen x4 (D) (x2 Skirmisher Mare); x3 Quiver via La Fleche x2/Maid Marian; x5 Pilgrimage (x4 Canterbury Pilgrim/Loved One); full siblings Grand Mariner and Mother Siegel [Friar’s Balsam-Galopin Mare] (D); x2 Black Duchess (Black Cherry and Bay Ronald) and finally three-quarter siblings The Mersey x2/Clementina (x2 Clemence).

Complicated?  You bet, but it’s exactly what made this rich pedigree so potent.  Yet sad to say, we almost never see Heavenly Body crossed back on Hidden Talent.  Because Too Bald’s major sons (save Baldski, of course) and the offspring of Broad Brush were inbred to Northern Dancer like so many of Heavenly Body’s descendents, not it seems a natural way to us to add speed to Heavenly Body without sacrificing soundness.

In the meantime, we are not holding our breath, but are, instead, adding *Dangerous Dame, Heavenly Body, Tobira Celeste, Reves Celestes, Thawakib (IRE) and Snow Day (FR) to the Reine-de-Course list.  Perhaps doing so will encourage crossing this classic branch of *Dangerous Dame back to her swifter American cousins.

Family 21-A