Lou Lanier

One Of A Kind

There are many mares in the stud book which are basically associated with just one, great contribution.  Mahubah got Man o’ War for example, and Somethingroyal, though also dam of Sir Gaylord, will always be known as Secretariat’s dam.

Lou Lanier is that kind of mare, too.  If she had only been responsible for one of her major kin, Discovery, she would have been deemed a success.  How important is Discovery in modern pedigrees?  Well, you have only to think of three names:  Bold Ruler, Native Dancer and Intentionally.  Discovery is the broodmare sire of every single one of them.  Now imagine the modern Thoroughbred without any of those horses.  Quite a gift, this Discovery, wasn’t he?

Much Much More

Of course, Lou Lanier is responsible for a great deal more than just Discovery, great though he was.  At present, her strongest branch, and the one which makes the most headlines is a small grouping of Canadian mares headed by the Nodouble matron No Class.

From American champion (and Canadian Triple Crown winner) Dance Smartly to the excellent two-year-old Regal Classic and top grass runner Sky Classic, this family is in the headlines a lot.  Its greatest strength is the ability it has shown to get good runners of both sexes.  Both breed on as well, a most unique aspect.

The Other Great Branch

While Lou Lanier gave us a very great deal in Discovery and the family of Dance Smartly, there is still more.  This is the Thorn Apple branch of the family that has had its share of great speedsters, as well as its share of bad luck.

The bad luck included the early deaths of top sprinter A Phenomenon and champion filly Pleasant Stage.  Also none too lucky was the lovely Agitate, a multiple G1 winner good enough to run third in the Kentucky Derby, who was virtually buried at stud in California.

This family, which made its name in the Widener Stud, is responsible for many other good runners, including champion Jester, and such G1 winners as Roanoke, Pillaster, Class Play, Seattle Meteor, and many others.  The family seemed to have a true affinity for Pleasant Colony and did well with that sire and his sons.


Lou Lanier comes to us from Family No. 23 (Piping Peg’s Dam), Branch 23b (Turk Mare), one sub-branch of which is headed by the superior imported mare Galopade.  A foal of 1828, Galopade’s pedigree is so ancient that many of its members have no date of birth listed.  What really makes the hair stand up on the back of a researcher’s neck is that listed in her lineage on the most modern of devices, a computer, are the names “Eclipse, Herod and Matchem” – yes, the three founding sires of the breed!  Now believe us, they are in every horse’s pedigree, but one generally does not look at a pedigree so old that their own names appear.

The Best Runner?

If Discovery was the best sire and if Thorn Apple was responsible for the most speed, then surely Dance Smartly was not only the most classic runner but was also one of the most productive of the family members.  And like Moccasin and Dahlia before her, she passed her talent on to a whole brood of good runners.

This daughter of Danzig, who won 12 of her 17 starts, ran in front wraps that made one suspicious that she had inherited some of her sire’s unsoundness.  Nonetheless, she was as tough as they come in battle, earning championships in Canada at two and three and also earning an Eclipse at three in the U. S.

At three, she reminded us of Moccasin as a two-year-old.  She won not only the Canadian Triple Crown against males, but also the Molson Million, then added the Canadian Oaks and Breeders’ Cup Distaff against her own sex.  She returned at four to win the Canadian Maturity and place in the Beverly D., but her sophomore campaign had taken all the best of her and she retired as leading money-winning filly of her time, with $3,263,835 in the bank.

As a producer, she has been equally excellent, producing two Queen’s Plate winners, Scatter The Gold and Dancethruthedawn, the latter a filly.  Both are by Mr. Prospector.  Dance Smartly is also the dam of G2 stakes winner Dance With Ravens, by A. P. Indy, and stakes placed Dance Brightly and Dance to Destiny, both by Mr. Prospector.

Making things even more intriguing in this branch of the clan is the young sire Smart Strike, a Mr. Prospector half brother to Dance Smartly.  He has consistently been among the leading sires since he first went to stud.  Like his sister, he has strong ties to Canada and has sired three champions there:  Soaring Free, Portcullis, and Added Edge.

The Pedigree of Lou Lanier

Lou Lanier’s lineage is quite something to see.  Her sire is a son of the one and only Lexington, he a son of Boston (a champion of the day and time when Thoroughbreds ran two-mile heats), to which she is inbred.  Lexington led the American sire list 16 times.  On the bottom half of Lou Lanier’s pedigree, her dam is inbred to yet another leading sire, Glencoe, who led the general sire list eight times.

Lou Lanier’s sire, Lever, is probably best known for siring 1882 Kentucky Derby winner Apollo.  But, since Apollo was a gelding, it is crystal clear who has kept Lever’s name alive all these years.  Lever, by the way, was inbred to Lady Gray, the third dam of Lexington.  The mare appears 4 x 5 in the pedigree of Lever via Rowena and Lucy, the latter the fourth dam of Lever.

Also of note was her second dam’s double of the great Leviathan.  Once owned by King George IV, Leviathan was imported to America in 1830.  Standing in Tennessee, Leviathan led the sire list five times.  He is probably best known as the sire of Flight (1837), third dam of Himyar.

To sum up, Lou Lanier was most definitely a Herod-line mare via Diomed/Florizel.  She was inbred to Diomed via five lines of Sir Archy, all males.  She received more Herod blood still from a double of Doncaster Cup winner Catton who was linebred to Herod, and from her four lines of Orville, who was inbred to Herod.  It has been said that there is more Herod blood in the breed than anyone cares to remember and Lou Lanier’s pedigree is a good illustration of that probable truth.


Thanks to the No Class group of mares descending from this family, there is some sire power at last, more than at any time since Discovery himself.  As to the Thorn Apple branch, we’d be keeping an eye on the future offspring of the classy Hennessy filly Madcap Escapade.  A G1 winner, when she retires she will be bred to excellent sires and should have every chance to produce a good sire from this branch of the family.

New Reines-de-Course

New Reines from this family will be Lou Lanier herself, Classy Quillo,  No Class, Classy ‘N Smart, Dance Smartly, Ariadne, Thorn Apple, Datura, Solidity, Golden Apple, and Pontivy.  As we always do, we’ll watch this family for future additions.  For now, we’re simply delighted to have these mares on board.

Family 23-B