Porter on Pedigrees
By Alan Porter
We frequently find that horses that outrun their pedigrees have clever pedigree patterns. We were reminded again of that fact when Georgie Boy – a son of rising California stallion star, Tribal Rule – captured the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) on Sept. 5. The race marked an advance in form for the youngster, who broke his maiden in the restricted Graduation Stakes on his third outing, and then took second to the Futurity runner-up, Salute the Sarge, in the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II).
Tribal Rule was pretty unheralded until last year, when he emerged as California’s leading freshman sire, but a look at his race record and pedigree does show that he had enough tools to make the possibility of a breakout realistic. Owned and bred by Marty and Pam Wygod, Tribal Rule didn’t reach the races until November of his 4-year-old season, finishing second in a Santa Anita maiden in his only start that season. Tribal Rule’s 5-year-old campaign was a longer one, but only just! On Aug. 4, he ran off with a Del Mar maiden event, scoring by eight lengths while running the six furlongs in 1:08.4. Back in action three weeks later over the same course and distance, Tribal Rule took an allowance event by five lengths, with subsequent graded stakes winner and grade I performer Hombre Rapido back in third. Those two efforts were followed by another long hiatus, which saw Tribal Rule make a final return to the races in July of his 6-year-old season for a six furlong allowance contest at Hollywood Park. The favorite, as he had been in his three previous starts, he set blistering fractions of :21.3; :43.3; and :55.3, before yielding by half a length to Mighty David.
Retired to River Edge Farm in Buellton, Calif., Tribal Rule owned a very useful pedigree to go with his obvious speed. A son of Storm Cat out of the Grenfall mare Sown, he is a half-brother to the Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) heroine Key Phrase. It’s worth noting that when that mare was mated to Storm Cat, she produced Tribal Rule’s three-parts brother Yankee Gentleman (winner of the Pirate’s Bounty Handicap in 1:07.4, before retiring to Airdrie Stud in Midway, Ky., and is now represented by his first crop of 2-year-olds) and his three-parts sister Zing (dam of Half Ours, winner of the Three Chimneys Juvenile Stakes at 2 and the Richter Scale Sprint Championship Handicap (gr. II) at 4, and slated to stand at Taylor Made Stallions in Nicholasville, Ky., for 2008).
Tribal Rule’s first crop reached the track last year, and he was represented by 10 winners and two stakes winners – Half Famous, who took the Lost in the Fog Juvenile Stakes (and who also took third in the San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) this year at 3), and Mexican stakes winner Mexican Loop. This year that crop has yielded two new stakes winners with Rush With Thunder capturing the El Cajon Stakes, and Rockella the Palo Alto Handicap. In addition to Georgie Boy, Tribal Rule’s second crop also includes the Yavapai Downs Futurity winner Rule by Force.
Georgie Boy is the first foal from Ippodamia, a stakes winner and twice stakes-placed in restricted Washington-bred company. Ippodamia was a daughter of the well-bred Peterhof – by The Minstrel, out of a half-sister to Mill Reef – a group II- and group III-winner sprinting at 2 in Ireland. Georgie Boy’s second and third dams, Timely Bet and Missa Bet, who are daughters of Just the Time and Captain Courageous, respectively, were both also minor stakes winners. The family does gain a little more luster when one arrives at the fourth dam, Fool’s Miss. She failed to win, and was a daughter of Saltville – a name rarely seen in pedigrees of major winners – but was inbred 3 x 5 x 5 to English Derby winner Blenheim II. Fool’s Miss subsequently became a much more significant producer than either her race record or immediate pedigree would have caused one to expect. She appears as dam of two stakes winners, Georgie Boy’s third dam, Missa Bet, and Delicate Vine. An outstanding juvenile, Delicate Vine, a daughter of Washington sire Knight’s Choice, won four of five starts, including the Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes (gr. I), Sorority Stakes (gr. II), and Landaluce Stakes (gr. III), suffering her only loss when third in the Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I). At stud, Delicate Vine went on to become dam of the grade II winner Altazarr, and stakes winner Rayelle, and granddam of House of Fortune, winner of the Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) and Hollywood Breeder’s Cup Oaks (gr. II). Fool’s Miss had three other daughters who produced stakes winners, the most notable of which was the Desert Wine mare Ballynaugh, the dam of Humana Distaff Handicap (gr. I) victress, Celtic Melody.
I mention in the introduction to this article that the upgrading in the pedigree – Georgie Boy is the first graded performer in the first three generations of his female family – may well owe itself to a clever pedigree pattern. The "clever" here comes in the shape of the combination of Storm Cat’s sire, Storm Bird, with The Minstrel, the grandsire of Georgie Boy’s dam. Both Storm Bird and The Minstrel are by Northern Dancer, and Storm Bird’s dam is by a son of Bull Page, out of a mare by Chop Chop, where the dam of The Minstrel is by a son of Chop Chop, out of a mare by Bull Page. In the case of Storm Cat and Peterhof, the background is even more similar as Storm Cat’s dam is by Secretariat (by Bold Ruler, out of a Princequillo mare), while Peterhof’s dam is by a son of Bold Ruler, out of a mare by Princequillo.
This is not the first time that Storm Cat and The Minstrel have profitably combined. Other notable performers by sons of Storm Cat out of mares by sons of The Minstrel include grade I winner Stormy Pick (from the first crop of another relatively inexpensive Storm Cat son, Storm Creek, and again out of a mare by Peterhof), Irish group winner Cat Belling, and New Zealand grade II winner Falkirk. Storm Bird and The Minstrel appear together in the pedigrees of several other stakes winners, the most distinguished of which is champion 2-year-old filly Storm Song.