Argentina may only have one overseas black-type score under her girth, but the 5-year-old mare's multiple on-the-board efforts have spoken volumes of her potential as she heads toward the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT).
Bred in Ireland, the daughter of Sadler's Wells won her first two starts in France for the Wildenstein family, including a listed stakes contest, after which she placed in three other group outings, two of which were group I.
Shipped to North America and placed under the care of Bobby Frankel for her 4-year-old season, it didn't take long before Argentina caught the eye of Stonerside racing and bloodstock manager John Adger.
"I just loved the filly," said Adger. "I had been looking at her through an agent, Eugenio Columbo, after she came to the United States and was in Bobby Frankel's barn."
After Argentina placed in four North American graded stakes, including the 2006 Gamely Breeders' Cup at Hollywood Park and the Diana Stakes (both gr. IT) at Saratoga, Adger asked the Wildensteins about acquiring her on behalf of Robert and Janice McNair's Stonerside.
"The timing was right, and we were able to make a deal, so we purchased her primarily for a future broodmare," said Adger. "I've always been a big fan of that female family."
Argentina is out of the stakes winning Woodman mare Airline, who is a half-sister to three other stakes victors. Argentina's third dam, Allez France (by Sea Bird), was also a millionaire and a multiple champion in France.
Adger said one of Stonerside's first horses, the group II-winning Riverman horse Android, had the same female bloodlines as Argentina. The operation had also privately purchased that horse from the Wildensteins in 1997.
The McNairs established their racing and breeding operation in 1994. Stonerside, which encompasses more than 1,500 acres near Paris, Ky., is home to dozens of broodmares and 14 stallions. Robert McNair, who founded a power cogeneration business in 1999, now owns the NFL team the Houston Texans, which is his principle business outside racing.
When asked about the decision to send Argentina to the Breeders' Cup, Adger said it was mainly Frankel's call.
"He had the last word," Adger explained. "He feels that she'll be competitive in there, so we're going to take a chance. She's a lovely filly–she has an impeccable pedigree, and we'd love for her to be a graded stakes winner before she's retired."
Argentina, who ran second in the July 28 Diana for Stonerside, will enter the Filly and Mare Turf off a fifth in the Sept. 29 Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park. In her final workout before the Breeders' Cup, Argentina completed six furlongs in 1:17.04 over the boggy turf Oct. 21.
"About once a year, Stonerside will try and buy a nice female racemare from a bloodline we don't yet have–one that fits into our broodmare band," said Adger to further explain the purchase of Argentina. "She'll be retired for next year and will be bred to someone special."