Irish Prize, top point earner leading up to the Breeders' Cup Mile, has earned about half what his illustrious full sister, Hatoof, did in her four-year career on the tracks of Europe and America. Their dam, Cadeaux d'Amie, finished third in a pair of Group III stakes in France and has produced eight winners from nine foals to race.
Hatoof tallied nine wins and more than $1.8 million for her owner-breeder Sheikh Maktoum al Maktoum, winning such prestigious prizes as the One Thousand Guineas and Dubai Champion Stakes in Britain, the Prix de l'Opera and Prix d'Astarte across the Channel, and in the U.S., the Beverly D. Stakes and E.P. Taylor Stakes.
Trainer Criquette Head-Maarek has sent seven horses to the Breeders' Cup over the years and got closest to the winner's circle when Hatoof finished second, beaten less than two lengths, by another French-trained runner, Tikkanen, in the 1994 Turf at Churchill Downs. Hatoof was a 12-1 chance that day after finishing fifth to Kotashaan at 15-1 the previous year at smoggy Santa Anita. (Head, and her father Alec, had recommended the Wertheimer Brothers send Kotashaan to Dick Mandella in California to be trained as a 3-year-old.)
Hatoof, a champion grass mare in the U.S., went to the breeding shed after the 1994 Turf, producing one winner from three foals to race. It was an emotional goodbye for Head and now-retired jockey Walter Swinburn. "She has such a big heart," said Head. "She ran so well that I couldn't even talk to Walter. He was in tears."
Hatoof and Irish Prize's sire, Irish River, twice a champion in France, sired another U.S. champion in Paradise Creek, but he has failed to win a World Thoroughbred Championships race from 12 starters. Paradise Creek also claimed a second from three attempts, in the 1992 Mile, so Irish Prize has some running to do to match what other family members have already accomplished at the Breeders' Cup.