A Delicious Set of Parents
If a mare is by an unbeaten stallion who was said to have no faults (St. Simon) and if her dam was a full sister to an Epsom Derby and St. Leger winner (Melton), then there is little doubt that she came into the world with a head start.
These were, in fact, the parents who produced Santa Brigida, which The British Bloodstock Breeders’ Review called a “treasured matron” at Lord Derby’s stud. Or, as Abram Hewitt tells us in Makers of the Modern Thoroughbred, “One other strain of long standing in the Derby stud sprang from a mare appropriately named Bridget. (The 12th Earl of Derby gave his name to the premier classic for colts and the filly equivalent was named for his Epsom house, ‘The Oaks’. He won the first Oaks in 1779 with a filly named Bridget.)
“This latter-day Bridget (the above-referenced sister to Melton) had been purchased for only 840 guineas as a six-year-old in 1894 and bred Santa Brigida, winner of the Yorkshire Oaks and third in the Epsom Oaks for the 16th Earl of Derby.”
A Broad Influence
Santa Brigida has already figured in the naming of a Reine-de-Course. She was the fourth dam of Alcibiades, the Kentucky Oaks-winning ancestress of Tom Fool’s sire Menow and Epsom Derby winner Sir Ivor.
This association is not new to Santa Brigida, which seems a dominant in tail-female as a classic influence. In fact, her descendents include Epsom Derby winner Mid-Day Sun, One Thousand Guineas winner Tide-Way, Oaks and One Thousand Guineas winner Sun Stream (a full sister to *Heliopolis), March Past (paternal grandsire of Two Thousand Guineas winner Brigadier Gerard), as well as the excellent sprinter Matador, sire of 1972 American Broodmare of the Year *Moment of Truth II (dam of Convenience, who defeated Typecast – out of a Summer Tan mare and thus also a Santa Brigida descendent – in one of the most famous Hollywood Park match races on record); and Shannon II, sire of Round Table’s conqueror Clem.
And An Inbred Influence
The great breeder Fred W. Hooper loved speed and never was his speed so eloquently expressed than via the grand runner and sire Olympia. Olympia was by *Heliopolis and was also tail-female to Santa Brigada, showing a 3 x 5 cross of half siblings Santa Cruz and Bridge of Sighs. To make things even more intriguing, Olympia carried a cross of Melton, the full brother to Santa Brigida’s dam, Bridget.
All these many years later, 2006 English Broodmare of the Year Hasili (see story in this issue) is also inbred to this family via full brothers Seven Seas and Heliopolis on a 6 x 6 cross.
Although we do not have a great deal of *Aboukir II’s blood, we have enough, because this Santa Brigada descendent is the sire of Sunda Strait. This grand old Jonabell Farm family has given us many gifts and is still in production:
High Fly, Verbality, Summing, Some Forest – graded winners all – carry a line of *Aboukir II. Just why this is important comes into focus when one considers that High Fly and Essence of Dubai (who carries a Summing cross) both stand in Florida. And what better place to look for Olympia blood than Florida where horses like Crozier and Copelan stood?
Comparing the pedigrees of *Aboukir II and Olympia gives us some unique insight into the possible creation of a Florida super-nick:
◘ Both are inbred to Santa Brigada: Olympia via Santa Cruz and Bridge of Sighs, *Aboukir II via Bridge of Earn and Brig Of Ayr.
◘ They also share a double of Illuminata via half siblings Chelandry and Gas and both are inbred to Canterbury Pilgrim via Swynford and Chaucer.
Inbreeding to Olympia alone is potent enough. It has given us two Breeders’ Cup winners in Dance Smartly and Precisionist as well as multiple G1 winner Diplomatic Jet, G1 winner Copelan and Remsen Stakes (G2) winner Rockport Harbor.
Given that all horses carrying Danzig, plus major sires like Dynaformer, Unbridled’s Song, Smart Strike – and any son of Dance Smartly – all carry Olympia lines, one can say that this alone means that Santa Brigida lives on. A lot of people were quick to criticize Fred Hooper’s sometimes unconventional means of doing things. But few breeders have been even half as successful and Olympia was one of the main reasons for that success.
Looking up the offspring of Santa Brigada (probably named for Saint Simon and the fact that Bridget is the patron saint of Sweden), one immediately notices that many are named for famous Scottish bridges: Brig of Ayr, Bridge of Earn, Bridge of Canny and Spean Bridge. Bridge of Sighs is probably the bridge in Venice so named by Lord Byron because it was the last sight many prisoners would see before being incarcerated.
Many of the descendents like Tide-Way and Sun Stream thus had ‘watery’ names, owing one assumes to the bridge reference. It’s worth a thought when naming a future foal inbred to the family.
*Heliopolis no doubt had as great an impact on American racing as any of Santa Brigida’s descendents besides Alcibiades. He was leading sire in the U. S. in 1950 and 1954.
Among his best offspring were champion fillies Aunt Jinny, Parlo, Grecian Queen and Berlo. Aunt Jinny was a half sister to champion Tom Fool, and though she was a problem mare, she did get the good full brothers Copy Chief and Grand Central. Parlo won such major races as the Beldame, and Delaware Handicaps and the Alabama Stakes and she is the second dam of Horse of the Year Arts and Letters.
Grecian Queen won the Coaching Club American Oaks and ran second in the Alabama and produced three stakes placed horses, while Berlo also won the Coaching Club American Oaks and had only three foals, one of them stakes placed Odd Dancer.
As previously stated, Olympia was the best son of *Heliopolis, but he also got the 1954 Belmont winner High Gun and the good two-year-old Summer Tan, who was unlucky enough to be born in the same year as Nashua and Swaps. Among other major runners by *Heliopolis were Globemaster, Greek Ship and Ace Admiral.
Important English Relations
In his wonderful book The Brigadier, John Hislop tells us that Brigadier Gerard’s paternal grandsire March Past might well have been gelded, but that he was the first-ever racehorse for Mrs. G. Trimmer-Thompson who had purchased him for 770 guineas at Doncaster.
March Past escaped the scalpel and though he was slow to mature, according to Hislop he, “proved himself a good, consistent courageous horse from six furlongs to a mile. ” And while it was not March Past that endeared Hislop to Queen’s Hussar, sire of Brigadier Gerard, there would have been no such remarkable miler without him.
Mid-Day Sun, winner of the 1937 Epsom Derby, was the first horse to win that classic in the silks of a woman. This was Mrs. G. B. Miller, who had up to that time had only four runners registered in her silks.
He was purchased for a mere 2,000 guineas privately after he first failed to make his reserve.
Mid-Day Sun was descended from a branch of Santa Brigada (Spean Bridge) that was culled and the truth be told got little of real importance besides Mid-Day Sun. The son of Solario went to stud down under and it is difficult to find his name in pedigrees today outside that area of the world.
Tide-Way, a Fairway half sister to *Heliopolis and Sun-Stream, won the 1936 One Thousand Guineas in Lord Derby’s, defeating 21 other fillies including none other than Feola. (Feola was also running in Lord Derby’s colors, as she had been leased from King George VI.)
The Bloodstock Breeders’ Review wrote of her triumph, “In front for most of the going, she was hand-ridden to the goal and won very comfortably and smoothly. Of medium height, Tide-way is somewhat lacking in substance, presenting a lithe appearance. ”
Tide-Way went on to produce Gulf-Stream by Hyperion (thus a three-quarter brother to *Heliopolis and Sun Stream). Gulf-Stream was a champion at two in 1945, ran second in the Epsom Derby the following season and became a leading sire in Argentina. His name appears in the pedigree of no less a giant than Sunday Silence.
Sun Stream, Tide-Way’s half sister by Hyperion, was the last foal out of Drift. In this instance, she certainly may have saved her best for last, for Sun Stream not only duplicated her half sister’s feat of taking the One Thousand Guineas, but also won the Oaks.
Prior to the Guineas, The Bloodstock Breeders’ Review wrote of her, “Paddock impressions were that Sun Stream undoubtedly dominated the field for looks. A fine, strong, well-made filly, she was perfectly cool, although for that matter this applied to most of the others.
“Though a strong challenge was thrown out by Blue Smoke in the last hundred yards, the issue was never really in doubt. It was a very stylish victory for Sun Stream.”
Sun Stream had to work harder for her Oaks: “Few finishes for the Oaks – or, for that matter, for any race – have ever ended more dramatically,” wrote the Review. “There was not any general agreement about whether Naishapur was caught by Sun Stream or vice verse. The only safe conclusion is that Lord Derby’s filly won by a short head. But what a finish!”
It would be gratifying to report that Sun Stream established a strong branch of the line, but the truth of the matter is that her bloodline is pretty well gone. She did get three stakes placed runners which are listed on the accompanying chart. The best is undoubtedly the good South African sire Herculaneum.
Herculaneum was the broodmare sire of Bold Tropic (SAf) who won the Natal Guineas in his native land, then came to the U. S. where he won five stakes including two editions of the G2 American Handicap. He stood at stud in California at Cardiff Stud and was a useful sire and one still sees his name in the occasional mare.
To be fair, it should be noted that Sun Stream was hampered by producing only one female, the stakes winner *Riviera 2nd. Unfortunately, she produced little of note to extend the family line.
Trying things like combining *Aboukir II and Olympia as well as using horses with lines of Sunday Silence (Gulf Stream), etc. are all solid ways to go to inbreed to this family. As to breeding on, there is a 2002 colt out of Borodislew named Seeking Slew that is listed as an entire horse, Convenience can still be found in pedigrees (daughters of Major Impact or Star of the Crop), and of course Proud Truth daughters are also a viable tool and are more plentiful.
Obviously, Darby Dan had a say in this family line (Summer Tan, Proud Truth, etc.) Also from this line is Our Captian Willie by Little Current and Derby and Belmont placed Sanhedrin by Good Counsel. Their blood is not plentiful, but it can be found.
New Reines-de-Course from this immediate family are War Regalia, Idle Words (AUS), Drift, and of course Santa Brigida herself. Keep in mind that Alcibiades has already been named from this family.