The *Berriedale Family
Where Triple Crown winners are concerned, we have not spent a great deal of time on their families. In fact, to date we have done just St. Marguerite (Gallant Fox); *Cinq A Sept (Secretariat); and Frizette (Seattle Slew). Our current subject, Ormonda, boasts as one of her most famous descendents 1941 Triple Crown winner Whirlaway, aka “Mr. Longtail”.
Ormonda descends from the imported mare *Berriedale, bred by the Duke of Portland, whose greatest gift to the Thoroughbred world was St. Simon, often called “the prototype of the modern Thoroughbred.” *Berridale was brought to the U. S. by Marcus Daley in 1898.
From her descended in tail-female not only our current subject, but an earlier Reine-de-Course named Beaming Beauty, ancestress of such top quality runners as Damascus, Native Charger and Banshee Breeze.
For H. T. Oxnard’s Blue Ridge Stud in Upperville, Virginia, Princess Ormonde, produced our subject, Ormonda, a quick and tough sprint stakes winner.
In turn, Ormonda got two important stakes winners and a minor one: Osmand (Carter H., 2nd Kentucky Derby); Brevity (Champagne, Florida Derby, 2nd Kentucky Derby) and Binder (Amagansett Hur H.). She also got one immortal daughter, Dustwhirl, the dam of Whirlaway.
Dustwhirl was bred by Joseph F. Widener and was later purchased from him by A. B. Hancock, who then sold her to Warren Wright of Calumet, breeder of Whirlaway.
The Triple Crown Winner
While Whirlaway was, indeed, a marvelous racehorse, he also had the reputation of being something of ‘head case’. To make matters worse, he failed at stud and was exported to France at age 12 where he also failed to distinguish himself. He died there at age 15.
For those who are enamoured of his blood, it is most commonly found today via two important mares, Rock Drill (from the Reine-de-Course family of Canfli), and Whirla Lea and Whirling Girl (both from the Reine-de-Course family of Nellie Flag). Rock Drill is the stronger of the two; her daughter Lady Pitt’s branch includes G1 winners like Dramatic Gold, The Liberal Member, Dancing Spree and Heavenly Prize.
Whirla Lea’s main contribution was Belmont Stakes winner Bet Twice, a failure as a sire, while Whirling Girl was not much help in that department either, being responsible for the great gelding Forego.
(Incidentally, Rock Drill isn’t making sires for the clan, either. Dramatic Gold is also a gelding, while Dancing Spree went to stud in France. We have not heard great things about his offspring.
The Whirlaway Sisters
Whirlaway did, however, have a full sister named Whirl Right. Today, she is responsible in tail-female for such good runners and producers/sires as Elloluv, Over All, Conquistador Cielo, Ruthie’s Native and Lil’s Lad.
Conquistador Cielo made the most headlines as Belmont Stakes winner and Horse of the Year in 1982. He was subsequently syndicated for $36 million but never quite lived up to his hype. At best a useful sire, he does seem to have a continuing bloodline via Marquetry who has sired two Breeders’ Cup Sprint winners in Artax and Squirtle Squirt. If either of these horses carries on, the line is “made”.
Whirlaway had some productive half sisters, too. Dustsweep gave us the useful sire Raised Socially and G1 winner El Corredor. Panoramic gave us the great California racemare Honeymoon, she dam of Dahlia’s broodmare sire Honey’s Alibi. Lost Horizon accounted for Hollywood Oaks winners Market Basket and Sybil Brand while With Honor’s descendents include French 2000 Guineas third Cresta Rider.
Another branch of the family, Miss Brief (a full sister to Brevity) is responsible for top sprinter Phone Trick and the family of Knitted Gloves. Knitted Gloves most recent major contribution to the stud book is last year’s champion two-year-old filly Halfbridled.
Phone Trick was undoubledly one of the fastest sprinters of his day – or any day for that matter – and won nine of his 10 starts for trainer Dick Mandella. A popular sire, the now 22-year-old son of Clever Trick who stands in New York, has sired 52 stakes winners.
Among his best get are Horse of the Year Favorite Trick, who has not done well at stud to date, champion two-year-old filly Phone Chatter, and other good speedsters such as UAE Champion Caller One and Mazel Trick. As of this writing, it is difficult to say he has failed as a sire of sires. Some of his better sons are still rather young. But frankly, it is not looking good.
At first blush, one might think of Ormonda’s pedigree as a product of the so-called “international outcross”. But that is hardly the case, for she is actually heavily inbred, particularly on the bottom.
Her sire, Superman, is a Domino-line stallion via Commando and was produced by a Bend Or mare. That is but one line of Bend Or, as that great source of speed is picked up twice via her dam for a total of three crosses. Bend Or is also balanced (son Ormonde to daughters Anomaly and Caithness).
St. Simon (via St. Serf) meets his full sister Angelica, third dam of Superman. And her dam is inbred to three-quarter siblings St. Serf and Atalanta (x2 Feronia).
Intriguingly enough, when Whirlaway came along, his sire *Blenheim II, added not only a third cross of Feronia via Robert Le Diable, but two more St. Simon crosses, one of them female (La Fleche) for a total of three.
Updating And Inbreeding
By the time Conquistador Cielo was born 41 years later, the picture had changed considerably and the emphasis was on speed, primarily via *Nasrullah x2/*Royal Charger and *Bull Dog but also via his sire, Mr. Prospector and his sire, Raise A Native. Dam K D Princess made her contribution with a double of Reine-de-Course Lavendula, adding a classic look that most observers missed altogether.
Phone Trick (1982) who was pretty much a contemporary of Conquistador Cielo, received an interesting contribution from his dam, Over The Phone, of Beaming Beauty, the other Reine-de-Course descending from *Berriedale. He also picks up three strains of Fair Play (Man o’ War x2/Fairday) and is sex-balance inbred to *Sickle via Unbreakable/Miss Brief.
Given that Phone Trick is the most significant horse from the family to show both important branches of *Berriedale, it will be intriguing to see if anyone inbreeds to Phone Trick himself in years to come. Doing so, particularly with a mare who also has, say, a Damascus cross, would be most intriguing.
This family also has immediate interest and a big future thanks to two top-class fillies who are currently racing, Elloluv and Halfbridled. Neither is free of Mr. Prospector blood, so they would not be good crosses back to Conquistador Cielo-lines, but one of Phone Trick’s sons or grandsons lacking this blood would be well worth trying.
Overall Influence – And The Future
Ormonda can, actually, be classified as a classic-type foundation mare with Whirlaway, Brevity, Conquistador Cielo, Cresta Dancer, King Cole and Osmand already having won or placed in classics and Halfbridled still available to win a classic of her own. But Ormonda is not limited to classics; she is very versatile and can get plenty of speed, such as Elloluv or Phone Trick.
There also appears to us to be a slight female sex bias, as very few really top-of-the-line sires have emerged from the family over the years. The term “useful” has even been applied to the great runner Damascus, who hails from *Berriedale’s other branch, Beaming Beauty.
We don’t see this family inbred to nearly often enough and hope that this article sparks some interest in giving a try to such a cross. In the meantime, we hereby name the ‘root’ mare *Berriedale, plus Ormonda, Whirl Right, and Miss Brief as the latest Reines-de-Course.
It is our most sincere hope that we will one day return to add our current runners Elloluv and/or Halfbridled to the list.