Perhaps the most amazing thing about studying pedigrees is how often one comes full circle. In other words, the best breeders of their day have left behind gifts even they probably did not imagine and few have left more than Col. E. R. Bradley, who bred the majority of *La Troienne’s daughters.
*La Troienne alone would have been gift enough, but Bradley’s fabulous “B”‘s – names like Blue Larkspur, Baba Kenny, Balladier, By Jimminy and Be Faithful are still very much with us. Bradley frequently characterized himself as a gambler, and one cannot help but wonder what the Col. would think about how little gambling is involved in using his bloodlines today. Breeding and inbreeding to the Bradley best is about as close to a ‘sure thing’ as anyone can get.
The subject of this article, Padua, was purchased (along with several other English-bred mares) for the specific purpose of finding a good match for Bradley’s stallion Black Toney. During World War I when wartime prices offered American raiders some rare bargains in British bloodstock, Bradley sent his trainer Cliff Hammond to see what kinds of mares might be available.
Two of the mares that Hammond purchased were descendents of little bay Padua, a daughter of Uncas or Thurio and a half sister to Wreath, second dam of 1908 Irish Derby winner Wild Bouquet. Padua was bred by Mr. R. H. Combe in whose colors she raced. Although her sire (provided we accept that it was Thurio) was a great racehorse but a poor sire and her dam won nothing of note, Padua was a relatively good runner.
Though she did not win stakes, she proved a tough mare, racing 40 times in all and winning six races from five to 12 furlongs. Overall, her record was one of substance and versatility rather than brilliance and her produce record was similar: She got 11 winners from 13 foals.
Hammond did not buy the best of Padua’s produce. One purchase, her daughter *Padula, was by the indifferent sire Laveno. She could not run and had produced nothing of note, but five generations later, she became the tail-female ancestress of Raise A Native.
Padua’s granddaughter, *Vaila, was out of the mediocre race mare Padilla and was sired by yet another bad stallion, Macheath. *Valia, however, could run, winning the Moulton Stakes and placing in the important Cheveley Park S., Atalanta and Falmouth Stakes. She became the second dam of Blue Larkspur.
Though Blue Larkspur never sired a son good enough to carry on his male line, he was a tremendous broodmare sire (Myrtlewood alone would put any broodmare sire on the map) and is, in fact, a classic Chef-de-Race. He was also an excellent racehorse winning, among other major races, the Belmont and Withers Stakes and the Saratoga Special.
Blue Larkspur is frequently found in multiples in today’s pedigrees. One recent example is another classic Chef-de-Race, Roberto, the English Derby winner and top-class sire who had Blue Larkspur 4 x 4 in his pedigree in sex-balanced fashion via his son Blue Swords and his daughter Bleebok.
What makes Roberto’s inbreeding to Blue Larkspur so intriguing is the pedigree of Blue Larkspur himself, who was inbred 2 x 3 to half sisters Padula and Padilla, both daughters of Padua of course. Therefore, Roberto’s pedigree holds four lines of Padua, which accounts for her third prominent appearance in the pedigree of a major sire. The same is true of another son of Hail To Reason, Halo, who is also sex-balance inbred to Blue Larkspur via Blue Swords and Banish Fear.
There are many other examples, such as Green Dancer, Meadowlake (who also has a cross of Raise A Native) and Private Account, yet without trying very hard, we find Padua involved in the pedigrees of four extremely important progenitors, all of them designated Chefs-de-Race. So whether Bradley bought her best daughter and granddaughter or not, he most certainly had the right idea in breeding her to his stallions Black Toney and North Star III.
Blue Larkspur and Raise A Native are not the only good sires who are direct descendents of Padua. Indeed, Hopeful and Bahamas Stakes winner Relic is an excellent sire member of this family.
Relic actually has more in common with Blue Larkspur than just Padua. Blue Larkspur is by Black Servant by Black Toney. Black Toney is the sire of Relic’s dam, Bridal Colors. Blue Larkspur is out of Valia’s daughter Blossom Time; Relic is out of her daughter Bridal Colors.
In essence, when Blue Larkspur and Relic are combined in a pedigree, the close common relationship between Blue Larkspur and Relic’s dam works as a very good inbreeding tool. One of the best and most recent examples of this is 1997 Triple Crown star Free House, who is inbred to Blue Larkspur and Relic on a 7 x 7 x 7 x 5 cross. (His broodmare sire, Vigors, is 5 x 3 to Blue Larkspur/Relic and sire Smokester has two crosses of Blue Larkspur).
Because Relic was sent to France at the age of five, we do not have as much of his blood as we do of another War Relic son, Intent (paternal grandsire of In Reality). However, Relic did leave behind Olden Times, a top-class racehorse and sire who won (now) Grade I races from one mile (the Metropolitan Mile) to 1 3/4 miles (the San Juan Capistrano Handicap). Olden Times’ sire line suffered a nearly-mortal blow with the death of two-year-old champion Roving Boy, but one can still find a Full Pocket son or two standing at stud; his son El Relicario is the broodmare sire of Vigors, and he is also the broodmare sire of Fortino, sire of Caro, who is relatively easy to find in American pedigrees.
Relic’s blood is more plentiful in European-breds, however. Relic’s daughter Relance is the dam of two Derby winners – French Derby victor Reliance and English Derby winner Relko. Reliance can be found as the broodmare sire of top-class full brothers Diesis and Kris and Eclipse Stakes winner Pieces Of Eight still shows up in pedigrees from time to time as well.
One of Relic’s best American broodmare daughters was Chappaquiddick, a full sister to Pieces of Eight, and dam of Grade 1 winners Tiller and Endear. Endear went on to foal double Breeders’ Cup mile winner Lure, and his half brother by Devil’s Bag, Devil Begone, who stands in Canada.
Another of Relic’s European sons, Venture VII, was an excellent racehorse, winning such races as the St. James Palace and Sussex Stakes at a mile. Find him in the pedigree of any Darshaan horse as the sire of second dam Kelty and as the damsire of another good miler, Soviet Star.
Despite the influence of Blue Larkspur and Relic, it is really Raise A Native who ‘made’ the family. A big, strong horse with a massive hindquarter, Raise A Native was both top-heavy and extremely fast, a combination which led to his making only four career starts, all of which he won. He was impressive enough in those four starts, however, to be named champion two-year-old of 1963.
Because of his speed, Raise A Native was hugely popular from the moment he entered stud and though he continued to infuse the breed with swiftness, when combined with classic mares, he was able to get such good distance horses as Majestic Prince, Alydar and Laomedonte. However, none of his more classic sons is the banner-carrier for the sire line.
For a time, it seemed that Exclusive Native, who sired a stronger, stouter and more capable distance horse, would be the agent by which the Raise A Native line carried on. But two of his best sons, Our Native and Affirmed, never came up with sons who can advance the line another generation.
Thus, it was left to a son who owned an abundance of Raise A Native’s long suit, speed, to keep the line alive. He is, of course, Mr. Prospector, a horse who bears little resemblance to his famous grandsire but who has been an veritable stakes-siring machine. As long as the Mr. Prospectors continue to run – and there seems to be no end in sight – Hirsch Jacobs’ comments about Raise A Native should be recalled. It was Jacobs who told the colt’s owner, Louis Wolfson, that not only was Raise A Native the best two-year-old he had ever seen, but he believed that had the horse been able to race on, he would have become one of the all-time greats.
Because of horses like Raise A Native and Blue Larkspur, Padua’s descendents lean toward a larger male than female contribution. However, good fillies like I’m Sweets and Hail A Cab (both Grade I winners) are still in production as are several mares from the Raise You branch of the family, so there is very little doubt that the family’s daughter branches still have a future.
Padua’s own pedigree looks very strange to modern pedigree students, but it is really a simple compilation of staying blood, classic blood and inbreeding to a female family which would find its way from the Marcel Boussac Stud to Spendthrift Farm. That is the family of Frizette.
Padua is inbred 3 x 4 to the redoubtable three-quarter siblings Orlando and Mendicant. Orlando is an Epsom Derby winner, Mendicant an Epsom Oaks winner and dam of Derby winner Beadsman. Both are by Touchstone and are out of the half sisters Vulture and Lady Moore Carew respectively, daughters of the Bustard mare Kite.
Kite’s contributions are too huge to cover in one story, but suffice to say she is the eighth dam of Frizette, ancestress of Myrtlewood (and thus Seattle Slew and Mr. Prospector), Dahlia, Tourbillon, Jet Pilot, Vagrancy, Black Tarquin and too many other good ones to name.
Padua also has four crosses of Touchstone, twice winner of the Ascot Gold Cup and the Doncaster Cup, and also a St. Leger winner. In Padua’s pedigree, Touchstone is represented by three daughters, Jennala, Phryne and the above-mentioned Mendicant, and the son Orlando. Touchstone, however, is not the only stamina influence in Padua’s pedigree.
She is additionally inbred to Doncaster Cup winners Lottery and Tramp and her dam is inbred to Derby and One Thousand Guineas winner Bay Middleton. Padua receives yet another dose of classic blood from Ion, whose second dam Medora is an Oaks winner. Ion appears 4 x 5 via daughter Iodine and son Wild Dayrell.
Again, if we accept that Padua was by Thurio, she was sired by a Grand Prix de Paris winner as well. Because her half sister Wreath was the granddam of 1908 Irish Derby winner Wild Bouquet, one might have thought that her branch of the family would have prospered. But such is not the case.
It is Padua’s daughter and grandaughter, exposed to the blood of Col. Bradley’s sires and trained in the U. S., that revitalized the clan. And though the family has, of course, gone through many revisions over the years, it is odd to think how stoutly Padua was bred and how very fast Raise A Native’s descendents are today.
Perhaps the best news is that the various branches of Padua blend well and do not cause any regression in speed. Meadowlake and Vigors proved this and the further inbreeding of Free House establishes it once and for all.
So with yet another tip of the hat to Col. E. R. Bradley, we name the following new Reines-de-Course: Padua; Vaila; Blind Date and Raise You.