Runaway Groom

Ellen Parker

 A Line To Hold Onto

It’s funny how one falls in love with a certain horse.  Maybe it’s his pedigree, his presence, even a single race in which he showed the most rare kind of courage.  Runaway Groom was all those things to us.  And when we wrote about him in 2007 we hoped he would establish a line of the Red God/Blushing Groom branch of *Nasrullah that would establish his identity.  That he has done – and more.

One thing is certain about U. S. breeders – they know more about how to not appreciate a good horse than just about anybody around.   Give them a hard-knocking sire like Lord Avie or Air Forbes Won or Island Whirl or Slew City Slew and often as not instead of singing his praises then send him off to Siberia to stand.

Runaway Groom died in 2007 at the age of 28, having left 72 stakes winners (and 57 more out of his daughters as of this writing, plus 70 more which are stakes placed.)  But most of all, he left us Cherokee Run which is something of a miracle considering how often he was moved around.

Wasted a bit – he shuttled and his Southern Hemisphere get are difficult to judge, as are his Puerto Rican offspring.  Yet in spite of being moved around and never getting either enormous books or superior matrons, he still achieved his biological imperative in leaving behind a really fine son.

There is little doubt that Runaway Groom made his biggest splash at the races when he defeated eventual Horse of the Year Conquistador Cielo in the 1982 Grade 1 Travers at Saratoga.   Earlier in the year, Runaway Groom had won two-thirds of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Prince of Wales and Breeders Stakes and had run second in the third leg, the Queen’s Plate

.The grey son of Blushing Groom began his stud career at El Rancho Murietta in California in 1984 then moved to Double Diamond Farm in Ocala, Florida in 1985, where he remained through 1991.   In 1992, he moved to Vinery near Lexington, Kentucky where he lived out his life.

Runaway Groom had a fascinating pedigree.   He descends from Artful (a full sister to Artless), family 4-R.   This female line has also produced such good horses as Home At Last, Darby Creek Road, Sunshine Forever, Brian’s Time, Legendra, Mrs. Warren, Ganges, Mrs. Peterkin and Shareef Dancer.

His pedigree composition contains four Lady Josephine lines – a 5 x 5 cross of half sisters Sansonnet and Jurisdiction and a 4 x 4 cross of three-quarter siblings Mumtaz Begum and *Mahmoud.   He has three Selene lines (*Pharamond II/Hyperion x2).   Plus Peter Pan and Teddy are both 6 x 6 and balanced and Fairway/Pharos are 5 x 5.

Among the Reine-de-Course lines in his lineage are Alcibiades, Eclair, Baba Kenny, *La Troienne and of course Lady Josephine.   He was, therefore, very versatile.

Runaway Groom had three well-bred sons at stud:  Cherokee Run, Down the Aisle and Wekiva Springs.  Only Cherokee Run really succeeded, for the most part due to limited opportunities.  Wekiva Springs is a particular shame as he was linebred to Bathing Girl and his dam to Eight Thirty/Buffet Supper.

Cherokee Run was a champion sprinter and Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner from the 15-C (Meadow Maid) family and after our original analysis of him the family blossomed to include two more (full sibling) Breeders’ Cup winners in Sweet Catomine and Life Is Sweet (by Storm Cat).  Sad to say, neither has proven a success as a broodmare.

But Cherokee Run was proof that Storm Cat did not make this family.  He had eight Lady Josephine lines and was a wonderful source of  much sounder speed, since he also possesses four *Bull Dog crosses.

In addition, Cherokee Run wqs inbred to *La Troienne (5 x 5 to Bimelech and Big Event) and had a cross of similarly-bred Spring Run/Tom Fool (Menow/*Bull Dog).

*Nasrullah-line sires are precious to us at this point in the history of breeding.   Grey Sovereign has had a rebirth thanks to In Excess-Indian Charlie-Uncle Mo.  But Fleet Nasrullah, T. V. Lark, Nashua, Never Bend and Naskra are hanging on by their fingernails.

Bold Ruler’s Seattle Slew line is alive and well, but it is almost 100% A. P. Indy and has narrowed even further due to Tapit who looks less like Seattle Slew than even A. P. Indy did.  Capote, Swale and Slew City Slew, not to mention Vindication, all were more like their sire in color, size and scope.

Thanks mostly to Cherokee Run, the following are still with us:  G2 winner During from Barbaro’s family is in West Virginia and has a hot runner in G2 winner Lucy N Ethel this year.  He has also gotten the $473K winner Su Casa G Casa.  G2 winner, G1 placed Kafwain started out at (Jonabell) Darley and was reportedly a ‘shy’ breeder.  Relocated to California he has proven popular and has gotten G1 stakes winners Daisy Devine and Let Faith Arise.

Nationhood is in Washington.  He is a non-graded stakes winner from Pretty Jo’s family.  Revolutionary by the ill-fated War Pass is from *La Troienne’s family and since he stands at Winstar he likely will get every chance.  Ditto Run Away and Hide who is at Darby Dan.  A G2 winner who is inbred to Blushing Groom, he is by City Zip out of a Runaway Groom mare.

Runaway Groom never got the credit he deserved and as a result had to do his work with lesser mares (a 1.42 CI).   But not only did he move them up to a 1.76 AEI, he left Cherokee Run, who moved his 1.63 mares up to 1.87.  That meant the line was improving.

And this was not done with books of 100 mares – Runaway Groom had as many as 98 mares only once, Cherokee Run’s books averaged about 40 mares.

The daughters of Runaway Groom and Cherokee Run have therefore had to fight the uphill battle of overcoming lesser family lines.  They have not done too badly.  Runaway Groom’s daughters have foaled 57 stakes winners and 70 more stakes placed.

Among the best of Runaway Groom’s daughters’ produce are Bel Air Sizzle (stakes winner, G2 placed by Unusual Heat), Arkansas Derby second and listed stakes winner Jamaican Rum by Exemplary Leader, and $637K winner You Go West Girl, a filly by Mr. Greeley who was another New York-bred stakes winner, G3 placed.

Due to his age, Cherokee Run has fewer numbers (1166 foals of racing age out of his daughters vs. 2100 for his sire).  To date, his daughters have foaled 28 stakes winners and 39 more stakes placed .

Run Kate Run may be his best U. S. based daughter.  She is the dam of $478K earner Kid Kate by Lemon Drop Kid who is a New York-bred stakes winner, but G2 placed as well as Amie’s Dini by Bandini who was also G2 placed but a listed stakes winner.

The overall complexion of offspring of Runaway Groom’s daughters is of regional, hard-knockers.  There is nothing wrong with that, but it will not win championships nor will it assure a male of this ilk a chance to carry on the line.

At the end of the day, the line is still with us – for now.  We like it as much as we always have.  These are very good horses and an alternate to other Blushing Groom lines like the more expensive Animal Kingdom. Thus, if you’re lucky enough to have some of this bloodline give it a chance.   Work it properly and do your part to keep it alive.   It’s really pretty precious stuff.