The best Reines-de-Course, the ones we most enjoy writing about, are those whose families span the globe, doing equally well in a wide variety of environments. The families of mares like this produce two-year-old champions side-by-side with top marathon grass runners and even branches which have been long dormant can still pop up with top horses.
Lindos Ojos falls into this category. Americans know her best for the Soaring sub-branch of her family which has produced Singspiel, Rahy, Devil’s Bag and Soaring Softly and the *Linaria branch which has accounted for Avie’s Copy and Magical Maiden. Then, in 2000, U. S. racegoers were introduced to yet another branch when a nearly-black colt named Kalanisi (from the Joan branch of the family) scored an impressive win in the Breeders’ Cup Turf and in so doing, earned his way onto enough ballots to become champion turf horse in the U. S.
Lindos Ojos has one of those frustrating pedigrees with an “either/or” in the sire field. She is most definitely by an Argentine horse named Buen Ojo, but whether he is by Craganour or Chili II is in dispute. Most programs carry her pedigree with the Craganour prefrence, so for purposes of discussing her pedigree, we will do the same, with the caveat that there is a question about the accuracy.
Lindos Ojos was bred by Major Dermot McCalmot and won several important events: The May Stakes, the Spring Stakes, the Great Surrey Foal Stakes; the Ham (Produce) Stakes, the Nottinghamshire Breeders’ Foal Plate, the Manchester Autumn Breeders’ Foal Plate and the Lingfield Park Breeders’ Plate. She was purchased by Prince Aly Khan from her breeder at the 1935 Tattersalls December sales. In the Aga Khan’s stud, the Lindos Ojos line thrived, and the influence of other great Aga Khan foundation mares is felt sharply in its various branches, both in the U. S. and abroad.
The Jennie III branch of Lindos Ojos, which came to the U. S. via *Skylarking/Soaring, was given an infusion of speed by the Aga Khan’s Mumtaz Mahal clan. *Skylarking II was imported to the U. S. and was owned wholly by the Galbreath family of Darby Dan Farm after Prince Aly Khan’s death. She was by Mirza II, a three-quarter brother to *Mahmoud and a full brother to Mumtaz Begum, dam of *Nasrullah and second dam of *Royal Charger. Champion Devil’s Bag (and his full brother Saint Ballaldo) carry a very typical Aga Khan pattern in their pedigrees – i.e. Mumtaz Begum/*Mahmoud x2/Mirza II.
Teresina is the other Aga Khan foundation mare that has had a strong influence on the Lindos Ojos family. Champion *Linaria is by Teresina’s grandson =Turkhan and the branch from which Kalanisi hails (Joan) has lines of both Mumtaz Mahal and Teresina. Kalanisi is inbred to *Nasrullah and his full sister Malindi and picks up a cross of *Mahmoud via Northern Dancer/Almahmoud (for Mumtaz Mahal x4). Teresina also appears via =Turkhan.
In assessing this family, nothing is as disappointing as the produce record of the extremely game race mare Magical Maiden. Though she hails from a different branch of the Lindos Ojos family than Devil’s Bag, Saint Ballado and Rahy, she has never been bred to any of them. This was a mare of impeccible courage and ability and deserves more careful planning in the choice of her mates. Matching her with any of these horses effects doubles of Almahmoud, *La Troienne and Lindos Ojos, as well as offering truly fascinating linebreeding to Mumtaz Mahal (Mumtaz Begum x4/*Mahmoud x6/Mirza II/Mah Iran with Rahy, for example).
Darby Dan, who first made the arrangement with the Aga Khan to bring *Skylarking II to the U. S., still retains a large group of mares from this family, stemming back to the Nijinsky II mare Far Beyond. Far Beyond is the dam of Wings of Grace, dam of champion grass mare and Breeders’ Cup Turf Distaff victress Soaring Softly and G1 Yellow Ribbon winner Plenty of Grace. Either of these mares would also be excellent mates for the good sires from the immediate family, in this case effecting inbreeding to Soaring.
The Lindos Ojos family is obviously quite capable of producing a good sire. Devil’s Bag, Saint Ballado, Rahy and Kaldoun have all sired very good runners. Tricky Creek is a useful stallion, and there is an exciting group of young sires who have yet to make their mark. These fellows, who have names like Singspiel, Parade Ground and, of course, Kalanisi, could push Lindos Ojos into the “sire source family” column very easily, as none of them is likely to see bad mares.
Among the current sires, full brothers Devil’s Bag and Saint Ballado are an interesting pair, not to mention a stud in contradictions. Devil’s Bag was an unbeaten champion at two; Saint Ballado ran once at two and did not win. At three, Devil’s Bag failed to train on; Saint Ballado won two stakes. Neither sires horses who consistently look like him, but Devil’s Bag’s horses seem to mature a little later and stay sound longer.
Their statistics are very revealing: Devil’s Bag gets 75% runners, 51% winners, 5% stakes winners and has an AEI of 2.32 vs. a CI of 3.01 in his mares. Bred to obviously excellent matrons, he has gotten only four G1 winners to date.
Saint Ballado on the other hand, gets 67% runners; 42% winners; 10% stakes winners and has a 2.15 AEI vs. a 1.88 CI in his mares. Though he has gotten only five crops to date vs. 13 for his full brother, he has gotten three G1 winners.
We have no doubt that the reason for this difference has everything to do with the mares to which these horses were bred. The redoubtable producers covered by Devil’s Bag were far more classic type mares and were by sires like Caerleon, Nijinsky II and Secretariat. Saint Ballado has gotten two of his better runners, Captain Bodgit and Flame Thrower, out of mares by Greek Answer and Metrogrand respectively. Cheaper mares tend to be speedier and more unsound, thus the difference.
As previously stated, neither of these horses consistently sires in the Halo mode – tall, dark and handsome in other words. We don’t think it’s any accident that Devil’s Bag’s best son at stud to date is the very Halo-like Devil His Due. Note in addition that this horse was sound (41 starts) even though he was out of a mare by Raise A Native-line Raise A Cup.
The reverse is true with Saint Ballado. His best-looking son, Yankee Victor, is out of a mare by the sound, good-boned Caro. He was an excellent miler, is from a good sire-producing family (Myrtlewood) and was not particularly sound. He’ll probably be a better sire than Devil His Due if the brothers continue to follow their zig-zag patterns of success.
Rahy, whose dam is a full sister to this pair, is a different horse entirely. He gets small, solid horses of all types who can run long and short, on dirt or turf.
His daughters are very good crosses for this pair of brothers, but which one should you use? We suggest that if you want brilliance and a better chance of getting a stake horse, but are less concerned about soundness, then Saint Ballado is your ticket. If you are patient and give the horse some time, Devil’s Bag will do fine for you (and at this stage, he’s less expensive).
We now come to the sticky wicket of Lindos Ojos’ pedigree. If her sire Buen Ojo is by Craganour, then she imparts a double of full siblings Viridis and Cybele; a double of half siblings Napoli and Belioscope; a x4 cross of Rouge Rose via Bend Or x3/Rose of York and a 4 x 4 cross of St. Simon sons Desmond and Persimmon.
If Bueno Ojo is by Chili II, she imparts the same Viridis/Cybele cross; the same (only x3) Bend Or x2/Rose of York cross; sex-balanced crosses of Hampton and Galopin and a double of Vista via Sir Visto/Bona Vista.
Both pedigree mixes look good, but the Chili II cross actually offers better overall balance. Too bad no one had a DNA kit in 1928 when Lindos Ojos was born.
Among the more interesting sires whose lineage was added to Lindos Ojos pedigree was Apelle (sire of Jennie III). This mating effected a 4 x 4 cross of full brothrs Florizel II/Persimmon. Tehran, who sired *But Beautiful, produced a match which effected a double of the foundation mare Admiration – provided Craganour and Chili II is not in Buen Ojos’ pedigree. In various branches, particularly *Skylarking and *But Beautiful,the multiple additions of Mumtaz Mahal, gives us two daughter crosses of the great speed influence The Tetrarch. Since The Tetrarch is inbred to Rose of York/Bend Or, that cross is doubled and a couple of other Bend Or lines are added; it’s the oldest kind of speed in the stud book and is still reliable.
It’s very difficult to find families any more versatile or dependable than Lindos Ojos and we’re delighted to welcome her to the Reine-de-Course fold. New Reines are Lindos Ojos herself; *Skylarking III; Soaring; Ballade; Far Beyond; =Embellie; and *Linaria. We just hope we’ll see the right kind of inbreeding using this clan before much longer.