Uganda

When we wrote about the great mare Quiver in last month’s issue, it was with a promise to return to her family in order to tell the story of her great descendent Uganda.  As one of the Aga Khan’s foundation matrons, Uganda is doubly important, for great producers from His Highnesses’ stud are always worth an in-depth look.

Uganda was a daughter of Bridaine out of Hush by the St. Simon horse St. Serf and she did not race in the Aga Khan’s colors, but rather in those of her breeder Mr. Edouard Kann.  When Kann died, The Aga Khan was encouraged by his bloodstock adviser Lt. Col. Vuillier to purchase Uganda for the broodmare band he was beginning to put together and which would ultimately contain such storied matrons as  Mumtaz Mahal, Cos, Friar’s Daughter, Teresina and others of note.  In that she was purchased after her racing days were over, Uganda proved an exception, for most of The Aga Khan’s foundation mares were acquired as a yearlings.

There was, however, a problem with her acquisition.  Apart from Uganda and one other good runner named Pomare, the Kann stud possessed nothing of note.  But the executors of his estate demanded that anyone seeking to purchase Uganda had to buy all the horses as well as a stud farm in Normandy.  Determined to get the filly, His Highness bought the lot, retaining only the farm, Uganda and Pomare.  Pomare became a minor stakes producer but it was Uganda, as was originally suspected, that made the deal worthwhile.

Naturally her pedigree was part of the attraction.  Uganda was an attractive bay filly by the good stayer Bridaine.  History books of the time relate that Bridaine might well have written his name alongside the greatest French runners of all time save for his having been born in 1914 as World War I was beginning on the continent.

For all that, Bridaine won seven of 13 races and ran second in five others, finishing off his career with a win in the Prix du Cadran at about 2 1/2 miles.  His pedigree was strong as well.  Sired by English Two Thousand Guineas winner Gorgos, a Hampton-line horse, Bridaine was sex-balance inbred to St. Simon and carried three lines of Pocahontas.

Hush, the dam of Uganda, was bred on a very similar pattern to Bridaine, being sex-balance inbred to St. Simon with three more Pocahontas lines.  Uganda was bred by the Duke of Portland was sold as a three-year-old to Mr. Kann in whose silks she won the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) and Prix Royal Oak (French St. Leger) and was beaten only a half length in the Grand Prix de Paris.

Uganda’s first two foals were by the incomparable Ksar, twice winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, victor of the French Derby and Prix Royal Oak and a great sire of stayers.

From these two matches came two stakes winners, the filly Ukrania, a winner of the Prix de Diane, and Ut Majeur, a colt who won the Caesarewitch Stakes and ran second in the Liverpool St. Leger.  Ukrania did not run in the Aga Khan’s colors, because he had a practice of selling his French-bred yearlings at Deauville.  It is interesting to note that since Ukrania, despite her excellent pedigree and obvious racing class, did not return to the Aga Khan’s broodmare band, she produced nothing of note.

Udaipur was Uganda’s next foal and is her most lasting legacy.  By the great classic sire Blandford, Udaipur was unraced at two, but came to hand just in time to win the Epsom Oaks.  Upon her classic success, Udaipur was described thusly:

“At this stage of her career Udaipur was of greatly attractive appearance, with exceptional length from hip to hock.  Apparently she had taken so little out of herself at Epsom that it was decided she should take a chance in the Coronation Stakes at Ascot.”

In due course, Udaipur won the Coronation Stakes, then ran a good fourth in the St. Leger and finished out her career with a win in the Newmarket Oaks and a fourth in the Atalanta Stakes at Sandown.  She then took up her place in the Aga Khan’s stud where she would ultimately become the ancestress of four classic horses as well as several champions and many group winners.

The year after Udaipur was born, Uganda foaled a grey filly by Tetratema named Una.  Generally regarded as a disappointment, Una nevertheless was hampered by a split pastern she suffered as a two year old.  In an article about Quiver in the Aug. 1952  British Racehorse, Nesbit Waddington reported that Una at one point showed that she possessed more ability than she was generally thought to own:

“However, she sometimes showed her ability at home, as I remember (trainer) Frank Buters telling me of a gallop before the Newmarket Second Spring Meeting which she did with Young Lover and Felicitation, two very useful horses, ” he wrote.

“It was a misty morning and only the last furlong of the gallop could be seen, so that Frank Butters was very astonished to see the grey filly emerge from the mist several lengths in front of the two colts.  Thinking that there must have been some muddle at the start of the gallop, he rode over rather irately to ask the riders what had happened and was even more astonished to hear that Una had won the gallop on her merits.”

Uganda’s last foal, Umidwar, was sadly her last.  The full brother to Udiapur won the Champion and Jockey Club Stakes and became a leading broodmare sire in England prior to his exportation to South America.  He is seen frequently in the farther removes of pedigrees today and closer up via the great producer Uvira II, ancestress of A. P. Indy among others, and in all Blushing Groom relations who gain a cross of him via Emali, third dam of the great sire, and a daughter of Umidwar.

Palestine and Kisaki and even Khorassan II are sometimes still found in American pedigrees, and the half brothers Wajima and Naskra do descend from another branche of Quiver, but there is little doubt about who is Uganda’s most famous tail-female relation to race – or stand at stud – in the U. S. and that is Wild Again, winner of the first Breeders’ Cup Classic.  Wild Again, whose fifth dam is Uganda, happened to be born in America because of Rex Ellsworth’s penchant for acquiring the cast-off stock of the Aga Khan.

Although Ellsworth sometimes was pleasantly surprised with horses like *Khaled, who became a fine sire, and Olden Times, whom he bought in utero, Ellsworth also got his fair share of mediocre horses from the Aga Khan.  For a time, it seemed that a mare named Dama II, a daughter of Dante out of Uganda’s granddaughter Clovelly, was one of them.

Dama II was bred exclusively to Ellsworth’s *Khaled, producing two stakes winners, Free Copy and Bushel-N-Peck, and two stakes placed horses, Times Ace and Eight Ball from seven named foals.  Which sound pretty good until one realizes the horses were not breeding on.

None of Dama II’s sons became good sires, and her three daughters were equally problematic.  Agamantha, a non-winner, has no listed foals. Plenty Baby, a winner of five of 41 starts, foaled San Jacinto Handicap winner Plenty Old by Olden Times, but her only daughter did not produce any foals and Plenty Old did nothing at stud.

Finally there was Bushel-N-Peck, a pretty smart racemare who won the Cinema Handicap, the Honeymoon Stakes and placed in the Hollywood Oaks, Hollywood Derby and Milady Handicap.  Her foals, however, were not much and Ellsworth finally sold her in 1973 for $30,500.

She did no better for her new owner, Paul Little, despite being bred to such good horses as Dr. Fager, Icecapade and Key to The Kingdom.  When Bushel-N-Beck died at the age of 22 in 1982, she seemed destined for obscurity.

However, Bushel-N-Peck had a remarkable posthumous surprise in store for the racing world.  Two years after her death her last foal, an almost black son of Icecapade named Wild Again, upset Slew O’ Gold in the first Breeders’ Cup Classic, probably costing that son of Seattle Slew a Horse of the year Title.  Wild Again continued to run through his five year old year and was retired with earnings of more than $2.2 million.

He has proved a pleasant surprise at stud, siring more than 40 stakes winners to date and he currently commands a $45,000 stud fee.  Ironically enough, that is considerably higher than the $12,500 for which Slew O’ Gold, now his barn mate at Three Chimneys Farm, stands.

In essence, then, Wild Again – and in turn Uganda, got the last laugh.  Which is ironic in light of something Nesbitt Waddington wrote in his 1954 article on the Aga Khan’s foundation mares, “Thoroughbred families rise and fall in a manner difficult to explain,” he warned, “and it is unwise for any stud to become too dependent upon a number of lines.  These may all fall simultaneously, leaving the stud in a serious decline.”

How amusing it is to look at the lines Mr. Waddington was discussing at the time with the benefit of hindsight:  Teresina, Uganda, Qurrat-Al-Ain, Mumtaz Mahal, Friar’s Daughter and Cos.  Only Cos can be said to be in any kind of a serious decline and then only if one does not consider racing in Europe.

Uganda, while not as familiar as Mumtaz Mahal, has in her own way just as large an impact when one considers that she appears in the names of so many major sires today, both here and abroad.  She also has a relatively strong daughter grouping in the U. S. via Belle Noel (sixth dam Uganda, fifth dam Udaipur), dam of Grade I winner Ms. Eloise (herself the dam of two minor stakes winners); minor stakes winner Belle Nuit (by Dr. Carter) and Belleofbasinstreet, a stakes placed daughter of Dixieland Band.  A portion of Una’s line still exists in America also via the ancestors of Gypsy Life (1960) as well.  In other words, the blood is available if you’ve a mind to look for it.

Thus, for the true classic stamina she represents and to complete naming the Reines-de-Course from the great family of Quiver, new Reines from Uganda’s sub-branch are:  Uganda, Udaipur and Clovelly.

Family 3-E