When A. P. Indy crossed the wire in the 1992 Belmont Stakes, he became the second classic winner foaled from the Secretariat matron Weekend Surprise. In 1991 Toll Booth, another member of the family, was named Broodmare of the Year and in 1994 yet another member of the clan, Sauce Boat, was broodmare sire of Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Tabasco Cat. All this on the heels of Raja Baba, leading sire of 1980, who had led the way for this, the family of *Uvira II, winner of the 1941 Irish Oaks.
*Uvira II was bred by the H. H. Aga Khan and was consigned by him to the 1939 Newmarket December sale where she was purchased for 510 Guineas by Gerald Wellesley for Vicomte de Fontarce. De Fontarce raced her twice as a juvenile and she failed to win.
Resold to Wellesley, who purchased her on behalf of Sir Thomas Dixon, *Uvira II won all five of her races at three in Ireland, including the Irish Oaks. She was sold to Texas oilman Emerson F. Woodward at the end of her classic season and raced four times for him in the U. S., earning only $500.
There was some explanation for *Uvira II’s sub-par showing in America. When the mare arrived at Woodward’s Valdina Farm in Texas, she had been vanned from New York after the overseas journey and arrived in terrible condition. According to Valdina farm manager Tommy Oliphant, “She was nothing but skin and bones. We just about had to carry her.” Although *Uvira II recovered, her form had been spent by the trauma and she saved the remainder of her greatness for her descendents.
Emerson Woodward and his wife were killed in a car-train accident in 1942, and an estate dispersal of their racing and breeding stock followed. Henry S. Knight of Almahurst Farm acquired the majority of the horses including *Uvira II in the spring of 1943. Knight bred *Uvira II’s first foal, the $100,000 stakes winner Colonel O’F, a colt by Teddy’s Comet.
*Uvira II was sold to Crispin Oglebay in 1944 and she produced three foals for him and one for his estate: the *Mahmoud filly Obedient, a winner and ancestress of Iron Ruler, Answer, Flying Julia and Tanque Verde; Noble Impulse, a stakes winning son of *Bull Dog who ran third in the Preakness; General Staff, a stakes winning colt by *Mahmoud who won the Pimlico Special; and Uvira’s Comet, a winner by Teddy’s Comet who is the ancestress of several minor stakes winners.
In 1949, *Uvira II changed hands again, this time for a record-breaking $61,000 at the Keeneland Fall sale. The buyer was A. B. “Bull” Hancock II of Claiborne Farm, who purchased the mare on behalf of Blenheim Farms’ John S. Phipps.
Phipps bred four foals from *Uvira II prior to his death in 1958. They were the stakes winning War Admiral colt Parnassus; the winning *Nasrullah mare Navira, ancestress of stakes winner Royal Comedian, Trokhos and Foligno; Navira’s non-winning full sister Purdah, ancestress of the prolific stakes producer Scatter Plan; and the winning Count Fleet colt Start Counting.
After Phipps’ death, ownership of *Uvira II passed to his son Michael G. Phipps. The younger Phipps bred from *Uvira II her most influential and outstanding daughter, Missy Baba, a winner by *Tulyar or *My Babu. The mixup in Missy Baba’s parentage came about when English Derby winner *Tulyar became dangerously ill after covering *Uvira II only once. Rather than take a chance on losing a year with so fine a producer, *Uvira II was covered by French Two Thousand Guineas winner *My Babu as well. Prior to the days of blood typing, it was impossible to tell for sure which of the two classic winners had begotten her outstanding daughter. But before long, Missy Baba made such a name for herself that her dubious parentage was forgotten.
To chronicle briefly the contributions of Missy Baba: leading sire Raja Baba; Lassie Dear, dam of Weekend Surprise (dam of A. P. Indy and Summer Squall); Pennyworth, dam of Wortheroatsingold; and broodmare of the year Toll Booth, dam of champion Plugged Nickle; and good broodmare sire Sauce Boat.
Prior to her death in 1964 at the age of 26, *Uvira II produced one more stakes winner, Francis U., and two more stakes producers; Blarney Bess, a winner by Tulyar who is the ancestress of a whole group of stakes horses, largely in Europe; and Oonagh, an unraced Sword Dancer filly who produced stakes winner Hunza Dancer and stakes producer Final Word.
Even Will Farish, breeder of A. P. Indy and Summer Squall, gives credit to *Uvira II and her daughters for a special prepotence not often seen in the female of the species. Speaking of Weekend Surprise, the double classic producer, Farrish said, “She is not a typical Secretariat and A. P. Indy is not as coarse as many of the Seattle Slews. Weekend Surprise is quite feminine, very racy, very attractive. To see her progeny is interesting because there’s a strong female pull coming through this whole family. I guess that has to go back to Missy Baba or *Uvira II.”
There is also an interesting phenomenon in the blood of *Uvira II. Though all her stakes winners were colts, none were especially good stalliions. Yet several good stallions, e.g. Raja Baba, A. P. Indy, Gay Mecene and Iron Ruler, have all been produced from this family.
*Uvira II’s two best producing daughters, Missy Baba and Obedient, won only five races between them and neither one so much as placed in stakes. *Uvira II in all produced seven daughters, five to race, six winners who, in a total of 71 starts, won only eight races. It would be fair, in fact, to say that as a group, daughters of *Uvira II were downright mediocre as racehorses. But *Uvira II’s own impeccible racing credentials and pedigree (she is 6 x 6 x 6 x x 6 to St. Simon, 6 x 6 x 6 x 6 to St. Simon’s sire Galopin and 5 x 5 to Black Duchess, to only touch on her inbreeding) along with the good sires (*Mahmoud, *Tulyar or *My Babu, *Nasrullah, etc) to whom she was bred were a recipe for success. That they infused some speed into her extremely stout pedigree did not harm the process.
Obedient, *Uvira II’s 1945 daughter by *Mahmoud, won four of 26 starts and $13,625. Her two stakes winners were the Never Bend colt Iron Ruler, an earner of $455,702 who counted among his more important victories the Cowdin Stakes and Jerome Handicap; and Don’t Alibi, a gelding by *Alibhai who won the San Juan Capistrano. Iron Ruler was also a pretty good stallion, siring at least 30 stakes winners, among them Preakness winner Aloma’s Ruler. Additionally, he is the broodmare sire of the good stallion Stalwart, Avie’s Copy, and Ingot’s Ruler and his full sister Ingot, who is the second dam of champion Skip Away. His daughters have produced 55 stakes winners to date.
Obedient also foaled two stakes placed horses, Blazing Count by Count Fleet, who ran second in Nashua’s Belmont Stakes, and Obey by Nashua, who placed in the Washington Park Futurity and Cowdin Stakes.
Like her dam, *Uvira II, all Obedient’s stakes horses were males. Her daughters who were successful producers are Behavior, a winner by Count Fleet who foaled Miss Proctor, second dam of GR II stakes winner Answer. Miss Proctor also foaled Sid’s Kate, dam of GR I stakes winner Flying Julia. In addition, Behavior foaled stakes producers Edie Jo and Gay Behavior.
Other stakes producing daughters of Obedient include Stately (second dam of Tara’s Joy) and New Lede, dam of European stakes winner Egmont; Sammler (Group I stakes placed in France); and stakes producers Petite Burguoise, Island Princess and Cable Censor.
Uvira’s Comet, a winning daughter of Teddy’s Comet, was a minor contributor to the *Uvira II clan. She foaled stakes placed Uninterrupted and stakes producers Globe Miss; Embassy Orb; Comet Action; and Yourgal.
The full sisters Navira and Purdah by *Nasrullah did contribute some interesting ancestors to the *Uvira II story. Navira is the dam of $220,000 stakes winner Royal Comedian; $216,000 stakes winner Chateauvira; stakes placed Minstrel King and Very Top; plus stakes producers Nambiorix and Zulu Dancer. Zulu Dancer (by Native Dancer) is the strongest branch of the family. She foaled $120,000 stakes winner Tanagra, dam of GR II placed Foolish Tanner; Zerelda, dam of Foligno, a $503,000 Grade III stakes winner; stakes placed Zulu Tom; and Lusaka, dam of French stakes winners Luynes and Trokhos (also GR III in the U. S.).
Purdah is the dam of stakes placed Double Double and Prejudice, stakes producer First Wife and the good producer Scatter Plan. Scatter Plan, a winner by Quadrangle, produced stakes winners Preemptive; Preprint; and Breech plus stakes placed For Himself and Power Plan and stakes producers Bonus Spot and Planning (dam of stakes winner Jamoke and stakes placed Conditioner). There is enough activity going on in Purdah’s branch of the family that a major winner could yet emerge given the exposure to the right stalliion.
Blarney Bess, *Uvira II’s winning daughter by *Tulyar, is the major contributor to the European ‘division’ of this group, though her offspring are hardly confined to one area.
Blarney Bess foaled only one stakes horse, the stakes placed In Reality filly Dear Colleen, who won over $91,000 while racing in minor added money events. However, five of Blarney Bess’ six daughters are stakes producers: Dear Colleen, Excursion, Coila, Windy Bess and Twaddle II. Windy Bess and Twaddle II have been the best to date.
Windy Bess is the dam of Canadian stakes winners Fighting Champ and Cardel’s Ruckus as well as stakes producer Miss Legend. Twaddle II, the most important of Blarney Bess’ producing daughters, is the dam of Italian stakes winner Sarasota Spring; French stakes winner Prattle On, also a stakes producer; English/Irish stakes winner Petipa, another stakes producer; English stakes winner Swagger, producer of three stakes placed horses in England, Ireland and Italy; and Press Luncheon, a stakes producer.
The last of *Uvira II’s minor producing daughters is Oonagh, an unraced daughter of Sword Dancer. Oonagh produced stakes winner Hunza Dancer and stakes placed Final Word, a multiple stakes producer by Minnesota Mac. Final Quote foaled stakes winner English Master; stakes placed Dad’s Last Word; and stakes producers Venus Star and Nightingale’s Song.
We now come to the crown jewel of *Uvira II’s producing daughters, Missy Baba, who has more than earned her own place on the Reine-de-Course list. Missy Baba foaled six stakes winners: Master Bold, a Bold Ruler colt who amassed $106,721 in earnings; Durazna Stakes winner Chokri, a daughter of *Herbager; minor stakes winner and leading sire Raja Baba, a son of Bold Ruler; Argentine stakes winner Dromba, a colt by Droll Role; Sauce Boat, a Key to The Mint colt who won the Arlington-Washington Futurity; and Ashland Stakes winner Gay Missile, a daughter of Sir Gaylord who has forged her own contribution to the immortality of the family name.
Missy Baba also foaled two stakes placed horses; Sooni, a daughter of Buckpasser and Babas Fables, a son of *Le Fabuleux. Just as important to Missy Baba’s story are the unraced fillies Toll Booth by Buckpasser, the 1991 Broodmare of the Year; and stakes producer Pennyworth by Key to the Mint.
Gay Missile is a notable producer in her own right. Her stakes winners include champion Gay Mecene, a son of Vaguely Noble who has been among the leading sires in France; minor stakes winner Gallapiat by Buckpasser; French stakes winner Gallanta, a daughter of Nureyev who has already produced GR II stakes winner Sportsworld; Villager Stakes winner Lassie Dear, a multiple stakes producer; stakes placed Harlem Shuffle and Brave Shot and stakes producer Dry Fly.
Lassie Dear is especially noteworthy. Her stakes winners include Spectacular Spy and Weekend Surprise (dam of A. P. Indy and Summer Squall); and stakes placed Al Mufti, Wolfhound, Lassie’s Lady (dam of GR II stakes winner Bite The Bullet), and Charming Lassie, dam of Belmont winner Lemon Drop Kid.
Missy Baba’s other major producing daughter is unraced Toll Booth. Dam of seven stakes winners, Toll Booth foaled champion sprinter Plugged Nickle by Key to the Mint; Diana Handicap winner Christiecat by Majestic Light; Weber City Miss Stakes winner Toll Fee by Topsider; Dania Handicap winner Toll Key by Nodouble; Beaugay handicap winner Key to the Bridge by Key to the Mint; Lakewood Stakes winner Idle Gossip by Lyphard, dam of stakes winner Idle Son; Starlight Stakes winner Tokens Only by Youth, dam of stakes winner Token Dance and stakes placed Token Gift and Token of Youth; Aspidistra Stakes winner Banker’s Favorite by Lyphard, dam of stakes winner Libor; and stakes placed Chicago Bound, a son of Key to the Mint.
Further, Missy Baba’s stakes placed Buckpasser filly Sooni has produced two stakes placed runners, C. Sharp and Super Sam, while unraced Pennyworth by Key to the Mint is the dam of GR II stakes winner Wortheroatsingold.
*Uvira II’s own pedigree is worthy of mention. Her sire, Champion Stakes winner Umidwar, was a useful son of Blandford and a half brother to Prix Diane winner Ukrania and Epsom Oaks winner Udaipur from Reine-de-Course Quiver’s family.
*Uvira II’s dam, the winning Lady Lawless by the great stayer Son-In-Law, produced three stakes winners, but *Uvira II was far and away the best of them and it is she who has raised this family to its current position of prominence.
As previously mentioned, *Uvira II has five crosses of the immortal St. Simon, four of his sire Galopin and two of Black Duchess 5 x 5 (and thus 6 x 6 to Galliard and Black Corrie). She actually has one more cross of Two Thousand Guineas winner Galliard in her sixth remove.
The great Australian stayer Carbine appears in *Uvira II’s pedigree 6 x 4. Pretty Polly’s sire, Gallinule, a great broodmare sire, appears 5 x 6 supported only by her sire Umidwar. *Uvira II also has a 6 x 6 x 6 cross of Derby winner Blair Athol (grandsire of Salvator) supported entirely by her dam. Umidwar contributes a 6 x 6 cross to the great stayer Isonomy and finally there is a 6 x 5 cross of Hampton, founding sire of the Son-In-Law and Hyperion lines and another great stayer.
With all the staying blood in *Uvira II’s pedigree, it should come as no surprise that she contributed considerable stoutness to her foals. Thus the addition of speedy bloodlines like *Mahmoud, *Bull Dog, *My Babu and *Nasrullah were certain to aid her offspring in fitting the American mold.
It is all too easy to overlook good branches of *Uvira II’s family, branches still capable of producing the top horse like Obedient, Navira, Purdah and Blarney Bess because of the blinding effect of Missy Baba and her enormous influence. That would be a mistake. *Uvira II contributed much more than just Missy Baba.
However, for the time being, *Uvira II, Missy Baba, Weekend Surprise and Toll Booth are all welcome additions to the Reine-de-Course list. But space is always available for future additions from this marvelous family. (Note – Subsequent to the original appearance of this article, Lassie Dear was added).