There is a painting which hangs in our family room that is one of my proudest possessions. It brings back memories both sweet and painful, for the subject is Landaluce, the star-crossed first stakes winner from the first crop of Seattle Slew.
Landaluce would become champion two-year-old of 1982 posthumosly, and her contemporary would be the colt champion Roving Boy. The next year, attempting a successful comeback, Roving Boy won the Alibhai Handicap and shattered both hind legs just past the wire. So both 1982 juvenile champions were gone in a matter of months.
Although these two horses died of unrelated maladies, they shared an uncommon excellence of racing ability and courage. We were also anxious to see them carry on as breeding animals, for Landlauce had a rare pedigree element in a 6 x 6 x 4 cross of full brothers Blenheim II and His Grace coupled with a cross of that pair’s half brother King Salmon. Roving Boy was likewise blessed, and we considered him the potential savior of the Olden Times branch of the Man o’ War line, as he was inbred 3 x 3 to full brother and sister War Relic and War Kilt.
Roving Boy and Landaluce had a common ancestor as well, the King’s Bench mare Pange. Pange appeared as the second dam of Landaluce, while she was the dam of Prince Royal II, broodmare sire of Roving Boy. That alone was enough to pique our interest, but Pange was a whole lot more than a common bond to a two-pronged tragedy. She was the source of a singular excellence which has not always been properly appreciated in the U.S.
Pange was bred in England by Sir H. J. d’Avigdor-Goldsmith and was described as “rather small and unimpressive”. Trained at Newmarked by Frank Armstrong, Pange ran nine times at two and won two races; the Mermaid Maiden Stakes and the Diadem Nursery Handicap at the minor tracks Redcar and Manchester respectively.
The mare was considered a viable broodmare prospect, being by Middle Park and St. James Palace Stakes winner King’s Bench, a son of top sire Court Martial out of York Gala, a half sister to Cambridgeshire winner Artists Prince and dam also of stakes winner Sterope, another winner of the Cambridgeshire.
York Gala, by the Prince Palatine horse Prince Galahad, was unraced but came from a versatile family. In addition to York Gala, she produced stakes winner Wryesdale, a stakes producer; Starry Halo; and Yellow River.
York Gala descended from the excellent family of Penny Flyer, a 1915 daughter of Vamose. This family has branched out over the years to include not only Pange, but branches responsible for Eclipse S. winner Gunner B.; Prix d’Ispahan winner Mister Sic Top; Gran Criterium winner Manado; Pan American Handicap winner Iroko and Yorkshire Oaks winner Live Letters. Although nearly all of the family’s black type has been earned on the turf, Landaluce and Jade Flush prove that the family is not confined to that surface.
So Pange’s family was a good one, but she was bred on an interesting pattern as well, one that would serve her nicely as a good cross for American bloodlines. The mare possessed a 3 x 2 cross of half brothers King Salmon and His Grace (the latter a full brother to Blenheim II). King Salmon was an excellent racehorse, winning the Eclipse Stakes and Coronation Cup. His Grace was also a Coronation Cup victor.
Pange’s first foal was the Prince Chevalier filly Pang, a minor winner. Although she foaled nothing of note, her family is responsible for several good horses in Venezuela, including Grade I winner Begich and Grade I placed Coqueton.
In 1961, Pange was sold at Newmarket and exported to Italy, where she was bred to unbeaten Italian champion *Ribot. The resultant foal was bred by Mrs. Ivor Bruce and Charles Wacker III, who sold him for 3,600 guineas as a yearling at Newmarket. The buyer was George Forbes, acting on behalf of Italian veterinary Dr. Bassignema, who in turn sold a share in the horse to Dr. Berardelli.
This foal, named *Prince Royal II, “made” Pange as a broodmare. This son of *Ribot was an Italian champion, but his most important win came in France in the 1964 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at the expense of French champion and (later) major sire *Le Fabuleux; Irish champion Ragusa, another son of *Ribot; and Epsom Derby winner Santa Claus.
Prior to *Prince Royal II’s previous race, a disastrous performance in the Prix Royal Oak (the French St. Leger), his owner Dottore Beraradelli, announced that he was for sale. California horseman Rex Ellsworth, who had purchased the good European *Khaled, was in the market for a *Ribot stallion prospect and purchased the horse for 143,000 pounds. Thus *Prince Royal II won the Arc in Ellsworth’s colors and although he was invited to participate in the Washington D. C. International, Ellsworth was most anxious to retire his horse in a blaze of glory. This he accomplished, but *Prince Royal II did not cooperate at stud, failing to catch the imagination of the public and getting only a handful of good horses, the best of which was Unconscious, prior to being exported to Japan in 1973.
The same year Prince Royal II won his Arc, Pange was imported to the U.S. She left behind two daughters; *Spa II by Saint Crespin III and *Panna II by Jaddo, both of whom were later imported. *Spa II is responsible for Lancashire Oaks winner Patricia; *Panna II for City of Miami Handicap winner Sir Sir.
One of the American partners in Pange was John Gaines, and he bred the mare to his fine Bold Ruler stallion Bold Bidder. The result was a filly which Gaines sold to Spendthrift Farm and Francis Kernan at the 1968 Saratoga yearling sale for $70,000. Named Strip Poker, the filly wasn’t much use as a racehorse, but she would more than make up for it as a producer, foaling $318,100 stakes winner Clout and stakes placed In Tissar in addition to champion Landaluce.
Although Landaluce was lost to the sport, Strip Poker foaled a full sister to her the following year named Royal Strait Flush, who was unraced. Royal Strait Flush’s excellent produce record gives a tantalizing look at what Landaluce might have been as a broodmare. She has produced three stakes winners to date: Jade Flush, a Grade II winner, who is Grade I placed; Royal Danzig, a minor stakes winner; and Tenga, a stakes winner in France.
Pange hit big again in 1971 when she foaled the mare Sensibility, by Hail To Reason, this individual bred by Gaines in partnership with George Steinbrenner. Sensibility was sold to Bert and Diana Firestone in the name of Chance Hill Farm for $48,000 at the 1972 Keeneland July yearling sale and like Strip Poker before her, did not prove to be much as a runner, but just fine as a producer.
It is Sensibility’s branch which is responsible for the two American turf champions Theatrical (IRE) and Paradise Creek, as well as the classics placed Lake Champlain, a stakes winner in England, and the U.S and the top-class Japanese filly Taiki Blizzard.
Pange produced two more daughters, Reborn by *Ribot and Indefinitely by *Vaguely Noble. The former has been a total bust to date, but she has had only two filly foals, and one of them has produced a minor stakes placed horse in Peru.
Indefinitely still has a chance if she is properly bred. The sires to which she has been bred to date suggest this part of the family has found its way to California and Washington. And not a single foal from this branch of the family has been sired by a Seattle Slew, Nureyev or Irish River line horse! One can only hope that his part of the family is rescued before it is lost altogether.
In the meantime, however, both Strip Poker and Sensibility’s branches are in good hands. There are some nice young fillies from the family, by good stallions, and more will be heard from this clan as it develops young daughter branches.
Theatrical has had a strong enough impact on the breeding world that he should be in line for Chef-de-Race status. His get run well, literally, all over the world. To illustrate just how far-reaching his influence is, here are but a few of Theatrical’s international superstars: Ireland (Zagreb); Japan (Hishi Amazon); France (Madeleine’s Dream); England (Broadway Flyer); Uruguay (Modjeska); U.S. (Vaudeville).
It was unfortunate that we lost Paradise Creek to Japan, but it is little wonder in light of the family’s success there not only via Hishi Amazon but with Taiki Blizzard. Paradise Creek does have an unraced full sister named Paradise River who could still make an important contribution as a producer.
Pange’s pedigree is well worthy of mention. As previously stated, she was inbred 3 x 2 to the half brothers King Salmon and His Grace. Sire King’s Bench brings the heavy-duty stamina of a 3 x 4 cross of Hurry on, coupled with a 4 x 4 cross of Son-in-Law. This is tempered somewhat by the 5 x 5 cross of Polymelus he possessed. Polymelus was not a Chef-de-Race himself, but he sired the mighty Phalaris, whose bloodline virtually permeats the breed today.
Dam York Gala’s pedigree composition is very different, with a 4 x 5 cross of Goodwood Cup winner Martagon, a Bend Or sire. Pange’s sire and dam’s pedigrees are tied together with four crosses of Isinglass, whose sire line is pretty well dead except for a small strain in Germany, and with four crosses of the great St. Simon. This is overall a classic pedigree mix, heavy on the stamina side and it is not difficult to understand how it would take a couple of generations via Bold Bidder and Seattle Slew to produce the speed of a Landaluce.
Today, Pange’s blood can best be obtained through her smattering of female-line descendents and the blood of Theatrical. Look for those daughters in sales and breed back to the family to increase the strength, but only if the pedigree has adequate speed indicated. Bold Ruler and Hail To Reason-line horses are obviously what works best, as Strip Poker and Sensibility’s branches have so aptly demonstrated.
It is probably still a little early to put Pange in historical perspective, because so many young mares from her family are still in production. But we can try, for despite the excellent field *Prince Royal II beat in the Arc, despite the utter quality and consistency of Theatrical (IRE) and Paradise Creek as runners, we cannot help but return to Landaluce. She is the stuff of which dreams are made and so we would like to remember her here.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has sometimes been criticized for his treatment of horses, unfairly in most cases. But there is little doubt in anyone’s mind how he felt about Landaluce.
Landaluce was unbeaten in five starts, including a 21-length victory in the Hollywood Lassie that had people comparing her to Ruffian, when a Lukas assistant noticed that the filly had not cleaned up her feed. The filly was found to have a 103 temperature and her veterinary, Dr. Roy Bishop, was called immediately.
The next day, she seemed to be better, but only for a while. She began to suffer, her throat so swollen she could not take solid food, her lungs filling with fluid as her fever rose and inevitably, the dread founder arrived to visit her like a black-hooded vision of death.
Trainer Lukas suffered with her, not eating and keeping a round-the-clock vigil with his valiant team. Every heroic measure possible was taken, but it was to no avail. At one point, she gallant filly tried to catch her breath and could not. Shortly thereafter she died quietly, her head in Lukas’ arms. He left before the filly was loaded into the van to be taken to U.C. Davis for the necropsy. “I didn’t want that to be my last memory of her,” Lukas said.
When Landaluce died, we wrote the following tribute to her which not only rings as true today as it did when we lost her, but which touches on the greatness of Pange’s family. We repeat it here for that purpose:
“The light of a champion never dims, so we will go on watching for that next great one and hoping that we will see her like again. But we know better.
“We must learn to live without her now, which will not be easy. Shortly after her death, we watched a star go out in the sky. While we acknowledge that stars don’t simply “go out”, it appeared that this one did exactly that.
“And we wondered if the universe was not paying her homage as her thousands of fans once had.”
New Reines-de-Course from this family are Pange and Sensibility. We hope to return to this family very soon to add one of Strip Poker’s descendents as well, they are, after all, a rememberance of Landaluce