Lady Shirl

Update to Reine-de-Course family of *La Troienne via Baby League

It should come as no great surprise to anyone who follows racing that *La Troienne is always in the forefront of the pedigrees of top horses everywhere.  Recently her granddaughter Glamour has sprouted a major new sub-branch via the unplaced Hill Prince mare Brilliantly.

In turn, Brilliantly’s unplaced 1972 The Axe II daughter Heatherglow produced the 1976 Native Heritage mare Canonization, stakes placed in the minor Market Basket Stakes.  But Canonization outdid herself when, in 1987 she produced a filly by the rather ordinary stallion That’s a Nice who, racing as Lady Shirl, would win the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Handicap then retire to produce three graded stakes winners, one graded stakes placed horse and another minor stakes placed individual.  And that’s just to date.

There are a number of decent runners from the family apart from Lady Shirl’s produce, but she has been the most consistent to date and any mare who builds on her own G1 race record is worth a second look.  Keep in mind that this mare is not bred in the purple apart from her tail-female line, but there is a great deal of interest in her family.

Lady Shirl is tail-male to Hyperion and linebred to that great stallion.  Her Hyperion blood comes down to us via his great Australian son Star Kingdom, and his imported son *Noholme II who won stakes in Australia and was stakes placed in the U. S.  His most notable contribution to the American stud book prior to Lady Shirl was undoubtedly the grand racehorse and sire Nodouble.

*Noholme II is the paternal grandsire of Lady Shirl.  His son, Hey Good Lookin out of Lady Vale by Fairway-line Royal Vale was a tough (51 starts) runner who was a good two-year-old, placing in the Sanford and Saratoga Special Stakes.  He did not leave much of note behind but did sire the stallion That’s A Nice (out of a really tough runner named Our Bonnie S. by Palestinian.)  Our Bonnie S. never earned any black type, but she ran 117 times, so there is little doubt she was sound.

That’s A Nice was pretty tough himself, lasting 47 starts and running almost exclusively in the Midwest, he won the Washington Park H. (G3) twice and placed in five G2 events including the Pan American H. and Hialeah Turf Cup.  There is no doubt whatsoever that Lady Shirl is his most important contribution to the breed.

Native Heritage, Lady Shirl’s broodmare sire, is an interesting horse.  Winner of the minor Graustark Stakes and third in the Ak-Sar-Ben Juvenile Stakes, he is bred quite similarily to Alydar.  Both are by Raise A Native and they also share in common a Two Lea/Blue Delight nexus.

Overall, in fact, Lady Shirl has a fair amount of Calumet blood from Sun Again to Bull Lea x2 to Tim Tam (out to Two Bob) and Blue Delight.

The bottom half of her pedigree is where we find a *La Troienne double via Big Event and Baby League (the latter her sixth dam).

With toughness on the top and plenty of Calumet blood throughout, Lady Shirl herself lasted 41 starts.  She has been an even better producer than a racehorse, however with G1 winner Shakespeare by Theatrical (now at stud), his full sister G2 winner Lady Shakespeare; G2 winner Perfect Shirl by Perfect Soul, Fantastic Shirl by Fantastic Light, winner of the restricted De La Rose but second in the G3 Noble Damsel Stakes as well as the minor stakes placed Winning Talk by Victory Speech (a gelding).

All things being equal, it might have been hard to predict that Lady Shirl would become the grand matron that she has.  But one should never underestimate the power of *La Troienne and Theatrical may well have been one of the most underestimated sires in the stud book.  Further, he basically just added Malva lines to her pedigree and sex-balanced Native Dancer while both Perfect Soul and Fantastic Light added more *La Troienne.

Whether one of Lady Shirl’s daughters carries on for her – and we suspect that at least one will – we think she has done enough as a G1 winner and a three-time graded stakes producer with a young son at stud to boot that she deserves Reine-de-Course status.

And we also want to at least mention that she has a Raise a Native-line sister named Host of Royalty which has a Lomond daughter named Royal Charmer who in turn produced a 2000 filly by Gold Legend named Mona Rose.  Mona Rose won the G3 Dance Smartly Handicap and placed in the G2 Nassau Stakes.  Sad to say, Mona Rose only lived till the age of 10 and only produced two foals.  Before we get to those foals, think about her pedigree for a moment:

She was 2 x 2 to half brothers Seattle Slew and Lomond (or 3 x 3 My Charmer) and 4 x 4 x 5 to half siblings Poker x2/Brilliantly.  She got more *La Troienne from My Charmer via Jet Action and there is oodles of Myrtlewood in her pedigree via Crepe Myrtle x2/Miss Dogwood.  Though she had three Round Table crosses – always our favorite – she also had x3 Raise a Native.

Her two foals were a 2008 filly by Aragorn (IRE) named Magical Merry who is x4 Raise a Native sad to say and is unraced.  Her 2007 colt by Theatrical was unnamed, so he might have died.  Mona Rose was so beautifully bred that it is really sad to see such a brief contribution and her only filly being linebred to Raise a Native when Lady Shirl has so much toughness in her pedigree.

Perhaps this is why Nature selected Lady Shirl to carry on this tiny stirp of *La Troienne.  Toughness is hard to come by these days.  We welcome it wherever we can find it.  Come on board, Lady Shirl.

Family 1-S