Lady Be Good

Over the years, the Phipps family has bred so many major stakes winners and champions it is difficult to keep track.  One thing is certain, however; the fine horses who have carried their black and cherry silks to victory have all had one thing in common- good family.

Names like *La Troienne, Lady Pitt, Grey Flight, Bold Irish, Dorine, and High Voltage are the foundation mares of the Phipps family.  Then of course there is a very special homebred named Lady Be Good, a daughter of Better Self-Past Eight by Eight Thirty.

Phipps’ became involved with Lady Be Good’s family upon the purchase of her second dam, Helvetia, which he acquired in 1929 for $15,000 at the dispersal of James Cox Brady.  Helvetia was a well-enough bred mare, sired by the St. Simon-line horse Hourless out of *La Belle Helene.

*La Belle Helene, an imported mare, was already a stakes producer, having foaled Esseff and Chasar.  Her pedigree (Sardanapale-Cape Wrath by Carbine) was totally European in flavor and deserves a bit of comment.  Although his was not a well-known name in America, Sardanapale was a wonderful racehorse, counting among his prizes the French Derby, the Grand Prix de Paris, Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and Prix Eugene Adam – in other words just about every Group I race in France. As a sire, he became a professional Chef-de-race.  Two of his daughters, Agnes Sard and Forteresse are Reines-de-Course and Roberto’s dam, Bramalea is 4 x 4 to him.  Carbine, *La Belle Helene’s broodmare sire, was one of the greatest Australian horses ever born.

This was just the kind of foundation of stamina and soundness  upon which Phipps could layer and outcross American blood.  Blood which would create the kind of broodmare most owners only dream of having.

Among the horses the Phipps’ Wheatley Stable bred from Helvetia were Coaching Club American Oaks winner Edelweiss, Suburban and Metropolitan Handicap winner Snark and Adirondack Handicap winner Matterhorn.  There was also a winner named Past Eight by Eight Thirty who would write her name in history as the dam of Lady Be Good.

In addition to Lady Be Good Past Eight foaled her full brother, Time Tested.  A very good racehorse, Time Tested won $231,400 and his wins included the Delaware Valley H., Great American S., Toboggan H. and Dover S.  As a sire he got such good stakes winners as Az Igazi, Fair Test and Lexington Laugh.

Lady Be Good was foaled March 9, 1956, and she took the minimum amount of time necessary to make a name for herself, winning four of her first five starts while victorious in the Colleen Stakes and the filly division of the National Stallion Stakes.  In addition, she placed in the Schuylerville, Mermaid and Astoria Stakes.

Considered a sprinter, she may have been physically incapable of proving herself anything else after being hampered late in the season by a stone bruise, apparently acquired during her third place finish in the Astoria.  Trainer “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons put a bar shoe on the filly, and while she did not disgrace herself, neither did she win.  On one particularly disastrous occasion she reared and fell in the starting gate and injured herself while attempting to scramble free.  That experience earned her a respite until age three.  She was weighted at 108 pounds on the Experimental, nine pounds below top-weighted filly Quill and twenty below champion male First Landing.

At three, Lady Be Good ran only once, failing to win and was retired to Phipps’ broodmare band where she would build her dynasty.  Bred almost exclusively to either Bold Ruler or one of his sons, Lady Be Good foaled 10 winners from 13 named foals, four of whom won stakes.

Her stakes winners were Discipline (by *Princequillo) and the full siblings Disciplinarian, In Hot Pursuit and Full Of Hope, all by Bold Ruler. Discipline may have been the best of her runners, winning 10 of 29 starts and three major stakes while placing in five others on her way to earnings of $158,511.  No slouch as a broodmare, either, her branch is responsible for the excellent filly Goodbye Halo.  But for the misfortune of having been born in the same year as Kentucky Derby-winning filly Winning Colors, Goodbye Halo would surely have been a champion since she won no less than four Grade I stakes at three.

One of the most striking features about Lady Be Good’s family is its utter versatility.   Good colts like Posse and Wavering Monarch are side-by-side with marvelous fillies like Duty Dance and French Charmer.  Distance horses like Lay Down, Living Vicariously and Antrim Road reside within a bloodline which also claims smart sprinters like Mining and Gervasy.  An All American family?  Not on your life.  Lady Be Good has been represented by champions in England (Zilzal); Italy (Lonely Bird); France (Polish Precedent, Culture Vulture) and near-champion Goodbye Halo in America.

Like all Phipps’ mares, Lady Be Good and her daughters had the advantage of being bred largely to Claiborne Farm sires.  Rare is the horse among Lady Be Good’s descendents who can claim to have an unpopular or unfashionable pedigree.

Which brings us to Lady Be Good’s own pedigree, a lovely blend of speed and stamina, of the old American on the old European.  Lady Be Good’s sire, Better Self, was by *La Troienne’s son Bimelech out of Bee Mac by War Admiral.  His is the family which later produced horses like Alysheba and Lear Fan.  All of this is, of course, Colonel E. R. Bradley blood, blood of which Phipps was very fond, having acquired his *La Troienne mares from Bradley’s dispersal.

Past Eight, Lady Be Good’s dam, was by Rock Sand-line Eight Thirty, a very good racehorse and intermediate Chef-de-race.  It was hoped at the time of his retirement that Eight Thirty might further the Rock Sand line in America, but it was not to be and he is still remembered today largely because of his fine record as a broodmare sire.

Eight Thirty did his part, however, to fill in the almost All-American pedigree of Better Self and tie it into the European heritage of Lady Be Good’s female family.  Indeed, because of Eight Thirty’s presence, Lady Be Good’s inbreeding is a fascinating study.

She is 3 x 5 to Bradley’s magnificent Black Toney through the two males Bimelech and Black Servant, supported only by Better Self.  Two crosses of Man o’ War appear 4 x 5 through his son War Admiral and his daughter Seaplane.

The speed of Domino is highly evident, with four crosses 6 x 8 x 7 x 6, through a treble of son Commando and daughter Noonday.  Ben Brush is present 5 x 6 through his daughter Belgravia and son Sweep, supported solely by Better Self.

Two great mares, Fairy Gold and Bathing Girl, are doubled.  Fairy Gold appears 6 x 5 through her sons Fair Play and Friar Rock and Bathing Girl through her daughters Annette K. and Seaplane.  Bend Or is 7 x 6 x 6 through a double of his daughter Fairy Gold and another daughter cross in Caithess.

Finally, there is the background inbreeding to Rock Sand, which ties the patterns together. This 1903 English Triple Crown winner appears no less than four times, 6 x 5 x 7 x 5.  These crosses are through a double of daughter Mahuba to son Friar Rock and back to daughter Hour Glass II.

With so many inbreeding patterns, Lady Be Good was ripe for an outcross, or for another inbreeding pattern to blend with those already present.  In Bold Ruler, to whom she was most frequently bred, that is pretty much what she got.

In matings to Bold Ruler, the resultant foals had no inbreeding within the first four generations.  Added were two Sundridge crosses through daughter Lady Josephine and son Sun Briar.  A cross of The Tetrarch through Mumtaz Mahal is picked up and added to Herodias, another daughter.  So far as adding to present inbreeding, Fairy Gold, Sweep and Fair Play all are present in Bold Ruler’s pedigree and they add additional strains of those horses to these foals.

What stands out with the lone mating to *Princequillo which resulted in Discipline is the absolute common sense of the inbreeding patterns.  Very sound Man o’ War balances with speedy Domino to classic strains of Rock Sand (broodmare sire of Man o’ War) and St. Simon.  It is truly unfortunate that Lady Be Good was given only one chance with *Princequillo.  However, Discipline was foaled in 1962, and *Princequillo died in 1964, so perhaps Lady Be Good would have been returned to him had he been a bit younger when the first mating took place.

Lady Be Good produced her last foal, In Fine Fettle by Phipps-bred and raced Intrepid Hero, in 1978.  She was pensioned at the age of 23 the following year on April 16, and died three years later on June 6, 1982.

By Reine-de-Course standards, Lady Be Good is a relatively young mare, born just 46 years ago.  Considering what she has already contributed, the possibilities for her heritage to expand are exciting indeed.

With so many young branches of Lady Be Good still in production, we feel confident that we will be re-visiting her family to add more Reine-de-Courses in the not-too-distant future.  For the time being, however, we are content to keep the list shorter than the potential suggests.

Therefore, along with Lady Be Good, her Reine-de-Course daughters are Discipline and Bold Example.

In the meantime, we’ll be keeping track of the descendents of In Hot Pursuit, Impish, Uncommitted and In Fine Fettle.  After all, these are the daughters of the remarkable little Lady Be Good.

Family 8-H