As our long-time readers know, from time to time, we examine the Reine-de-Course list for additions or extensions to fill in or complete a family line. In this instance, we are taking the Miss Agnes branch of the great Agnes family a step further by extending the family line of Colosseum (named a Reine-de-Course in 2003) out to her fifth dam, *Ortegal.
This allows us to include such champions as Orientate, Holy Bull, Shut Out, Carnauba, and Shaanxi and G1 winners like Smart N Slick, Salse, Tri To Watch, Dream Team and Sweet Symphony under the family banner. The roots have always been there.
*Ortegal was a full sister in blood to *Ormonde, an unbeaten English Triple Crown winner, something even Nijinsky II could not claim. Both were sired by Derby winner Bend Or and they were out of the full sisters Lizzie Agnes (*Ortegal) and Lily Agnes (*Ormonde).
Although it is *Ortegal’s tail-female line with which we are concerning ourselves, it should be noted that her son, Octagon, was the sire of the great mare Beldame. Possibly the greatest horse ever bred by August Belmont II, Beldame won 12 of her 14 starts at three and even beat older males giving them weight. Though considered a flop as a broodmare, her name actually appears in quite a few pedigrees today via Revoked, a son of Blue Larkspur who has the great mare as his fourth dam.
Revoked, as a rare male Blue Larkspur kin, is an important presence in the pedigrees of such good horses as Broad Brush and Mt. Livermore. One can also find him via such horses as Irish Tower, Navajo and Ace of Aces.
Also of note is *Ortegal’s descendent O Play, which is inbred to her (carrying not only a cross of her closely related descendents Octoroon and Ormulu but also a cross of Polly Agnes’s three-quarter sister, Windermere). O Play appears in a wide variety of pedigrees today, most frequently via horses carrying Buffalo Lark like Bertrando.
The Bend Or-Macaroni “Nick”
*Ortegal was a product of the so-called “nick” between Bend Or and Macaroni which had also produced *Ormonde and Kendal. At the time (the late 1800’s and early 1900’s) it was even suggested that Bend Or owed his success to Macaroni and vice versa.
Today, of course, one can examine things much more readily via computer matings. And what we see when matching up the pedigrees of Bend Or and Macaroni tells us the same thing that we have discovered with so-called other nicks like Seattle Slew-Mr. Prospector, Damascus-In Reality and Bold Ruler-Tom Fool. It’s all about inbreeding.
Where Bend Or and Macaroni are concerned, we find several major families represented: Half siblings Touchstone x2/Jocose appear, as do half siblings Pawn and Parsol. Then full siblings Orvillina and Orville and Selim x2/Castrel x2 are also present. Some nick!
A Great Gift and a Memorable Saga
If Holy Bull and Carnauba alone belonged to this branch of the Agnes family, it would be worthy of mention. Both were horses of extraordinary ability and both had stories to match.
Holy Bull was bequeathed to his trainer, Jimmy Croll, by his breeder, Rachael Carpenter (Pelican Stables) and Croll went on to take the grey Florida bred and make him into one of the best and most popular horses the country has ever seen.
Then Holy Bull himself took the story a step farther and became a fine sire, getting 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo, juvenile champion Macho Uno and G1 winner Confessional to name just a few of his best. Given that he is an *Ortegal descendent, as is popular young sire Orientate, he is now in a unique position to act as an inbreeding tool to her.
Carnauba’s road was a far rougher one than Holy Bull’s, though it certainly did not start out that way. Donated by her breeder, Buckingham Farm, to the 1973 Saratoga yearling sale, the proceeds of which were to go to equine research as a memorial to Dr. Jacques Jenny (who saved the life of, among others, Hoist the Flag), Carnauba was purchased by Dahlia’s owner, Nelson Bunker Hunt, for racing in Europe.
The daughter of Australian champion *Noholme II was sent by Hunt’s main trainer, Maurice Zilber, to Luigi Turner in Italy for her early training. She became a champion under his tutelage at both two and three and even traveled to England where she won the Fred Darling Stakes. Then she was nearly lost to us, and to *Ortegal’s legacy.
On October 5, 1975, Carnauba was kidnapped from Turner’s stables in Italy. Ransom calls soon followed and while most were simply people looking to make money, one of the calls was legitimate and a $10,000 amount for her return was settled upon.
Turner and his sons never gave up hope that the filly was alive, even though the police and everyone else close to her were certain that she would never be seen again. And while it was a near thing, she was indeed found in time – at a butcher’s.
It seems the kidnappers had bit off more than they could chew with the filly. As a racing Thoroughbred, she was too temperamental to ride so the riding stable where they had her boarded sold her to a butcher shop where she was finally recovered on January 25, 1976. Hers had been a long ordeal.
After the poor handling she had received – her feet were pretty well ruined – and adding a police impounding into the mix, Carnauba was retired and bred to Hunt’s champion Vaguely Noble.
When looking at Carnauba’s pedigree, one of the things which stands out is that her sire, *Noholme II, carries two crosses of Ormonde via Orby. This means that Carnauba’s sire brought two crosses of her seventh dam’s full brother in blood on board. Now we grant you, this is not really close inbreeding, but isn’t it interesting how well Carnauba turned out, how sound she was, and what she left behind?
Bunker Hunt showed his creativity when naming Carnauba’s first foal, a filly named Spirited Away. Though she was unraced, she produced a stakes winning gelding by Vice Regent named Noble Regent and several of her daughters went on to produce stakes winners, including Fatal Hour, who got Lady Angela Stakes winner Attraction Fatale.
Today, Carnauba has several active branches under her immediate line including stakes winner Valid Carnauba, Rich and Riotious (dam of French champion Shaanxi) and Lyphard’s Holme. Perhaps most intriguing of all, however, is the Florida stallion Boastful, a stakes winning son of Cozzene who counts Carnauba as his second dam.
Boastful was good enough to place in a G2 and his first foals are arriving as this is being written. Like Holy Bull and Orientate, he can be an important line to use for inbreeding to *Ortegal.
And while it has nothing to do with pedigrees (and not much to do with the real story), there was actually a movie made about Carnauba’s abduction titled “A Rare Breed”, starring George Kennedy and Forest Tucker. For what it’s worth, it’s a fun story about a “damn good filly.”
The Pedigree of *Ortegal
Ortegal’s own pedigree, is of course, the source of all the excellence. And do keep in mind that as a sister in blood to Ormonde, she just might be particularly potent when re-introduced to Ormonde blood, say via Orme (who is out of St. Simon’s full sister). Orme is in dozens of pedigrees from Storm Cat to all of *Rough Shod II’s descendents.
In addition to the Bend Or/Macaroni inbreeding discussed above, Ortegal’s second dam, Polly Agnes, introduced a second cross of Mandane (via Brutandorf) to Bend Or’s cross of Lottery and she extends the Prunella line which is represented via Pawn and Parasol via a double of Penelope (through half siblings Waterloo and Whalebone).
Finally, she carries a double of Cressida via Linda and Priam. It is a highly complex pedigree, one full of promise and, as a near-contemporary of St. Simon (1881), she is absent that blood and that of his sire, Galopin.
So it should come as no surprise that horses like T. V. Lark, Northern Dancer and *Noholme II, which are rich in St. Simon, would be major players in her story. This is a family we have loved for a very long time and we are glad for the opportunity, thanks in large part to Holy Bull and Orientate, to bring it into alignment with the previously-named Colosseum.
New Reines-de-Course then are *Ortegal, Carnival Queen, Chance Gauge, Likely Lark and Alxanth. We’ve got an eagle-eye trained on Holy Bull’s part of this family and it is getting there. By this time next year, we may well be returning for a pick up to that part of the family line.