Porter on Pedigrees: Woodbine Turf Wonders
The North American racing spotlight was recently on Woodbine, where the E. P. Taylor Stakes and the Pattison Canadian International (both gr. I) saw a pair of high-class fields compete Oct. 21 for a total of $3 million in purse money.
The results offered something of a contrast, the E. P. Taylor seeing a battle of international classic form between the favorites, with Prix Vermeille Lucien Barriere (Fr-I) heroine Mrs. Lindsay catching Canadian Triple Tiara victress Sealy Hill in the last half-furlong. However, in the International, the overseas invaders were narrowly rebuffed by 7-year-old gelding Cloudy’s Knight.
Pennsylvania-bred Mrs. Lindsay has firmly established herself as one of the best fillies in France this year, and in addition to her victory in the Vermeille, took second in the Prix de Diane Hermes-French Oaks (FR-I) (in which she was narrowly beaten by West Wind (GB), a defeat that she avenged in the Vermeille), and won the Prix Penelope (FR-III).
Mrs. Lindsay is a member of the sixteenth crop sired by Theatrical (IRE), a Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I) winner and champion older horse and turf horse. Theatrical has long been one of the world’s most reliable sources of top-class turf horses and has sired at least 21 other group or grade I winners, including European stars Madeleine’s Dream, Zagreb, Marchand de Sable, and Royal Anthem. On this side of the Atlantic, he has been represented by grade I winners Shakespeare (who won the Woodbine Mile (gr. I) the same day Mrs. Lindsay took the Prix Vermeille, but who has since been forced into retirement by an injury), as well as Royal Anthem, Geri, Astra, Auntie Mame, Duda, Vaudeville, Broadway Flyer, Pharma, Golden Treat, Dahlia’s Dreamer, Startac, and Run Man Run.
Mrs. Lindsay’s dam, Vole Vole Monamour, won just once, breaking her maiden in France as a 3-year-old, but she is by the very good broodmare sire, Woodman, out of the French listed winner, A Votre Sante. That daughter of Irish River (FR) -- half-sister to 1995 Whitney Handicap (gr. I) victor, Unaccounted For -- was out of Mrs. Jenney, a daughter of classic winners The Minstrel and Mrs. Penny. A very versatile and tough individual, Mrs. Penny was a champion in England at 2 and 3, and had high-class form from five furlongs to 1 1/2 miles. Winner of the William Hill Cheveley Park Stakes (ENG-I), Lowther Stakes (ENG-III), and Cherry Hinton Stakes (ENG-III) at 2, Mrs. Penny won the French grade I races Prix de Diane de Revlon-French Oaks and Prix Vermeille (27 years prior to her great-great-grandaughter) and was second against colts in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (Eng-I) at 3. Racing in the U.S. at 4, Mrs. Penny won the Queen Charlotte Handicap (gr. III). Incidentally, Mrs. Penny was bred in Pennsylvania by the late Marshall Jenney, in whose colors she ran, and Mrs. Lindsay races for Jenney’s widow, Bettina Jenney.
Bred on the same Theatrical/Mr. Prospector cross that produced earlier grade I winners Startac and Geri, Mrs. Lindsay is inbred 3 x 5 to Northern Dancer. This is particularly noteworthy as Mrs. Penny, her fourth dam, is by Great Nephew, whose granddam is a three-parts sister to Northern Dancer’s sire, Nearctic.
The International winner Cloudy’s Knight had been a stakes winner at 4 and 5, and then, after failing to collect a black type win at 6, came back this year better than ever, snaring a first graded stakes in the Fair Grounds Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. III). In the International he benefited from a slow pace to produce the performance of his life, holding off English challenger Ask by a nose, with German-trained Quijano third.
Like Mrs. Lindsay, Cloudy’s Knight is by a veteran sire, as he is a son of the now-retired Lord Avie. The U.S. champion 2-year-old of 1980, Lord Avie also won the Florida Derby (gr. I) at 3. Although he never established himself as a top-echelon commercial sire, Lord Avie proved a consistent provider of stakes horses, represented by 84 stakes winners from 21 crops. They include previous grade I winners Metamorphose, Magical Maiden, and Fly for Avie (who preceded Cloudy’s Knight as a grade I winner on International Day with a win in the 2000 E. P. Taylor Stakes).
Cloudy’s Knight’s owner/breeder, Jerrold Schwartz, acquired the horse’s dam, Cloudy Spot, for $3,800 at the 1989 Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners sale of 2-year-olds in training and horses of racing age. Cloudy Spot raced four years, winning nine of 37 starts and earning $51,947. She is also the dam of multiple stakes winner Stormy Impact (by Major Impact). Cloudy Spot was sired by the twice-raced Solar City, a son of Northern Dancer and Solar, who was also a three-parts brother to champions El Gran Senor and Try My Best.
Cloudy’s Knight’s second dam, Gladwewin – by Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap winner Gladwin – was unraced, and bred three minor winners from five runners and eight named foals. She was half-sister to the New Mexico stakes winner Prince Papule. The family gets a lot classier with Gladwewin’s granddam, Grass Shack. By Polynesian out of Good Example (which made her a close relative to leading sire Exclusive Native, who was by Polynesian’s grandson Raise a Native out of a daughter of Good Example), Grass Shack never ran, but she became a tremendously important foundation mare and is ancestress of champion and leading sire Deputy Minister; Horse of the Year Charismatic; and grade I winners Collect the Cash, D’Wildcat, Knight’s Baroness (GB), and Millennium Wind.
Cloudy’s Knight has three crosses of Turn-to (GB), which appear 4 x 6 x 5 in his pedigree. The pedigree also contains Ambiorix (FR), a half-brother to the dam of Turn-to (creating linebreeding to the outstanding mare Lavendula (FR)), and three crosses of Mahmoud (FR) (along with one of his three-parts sister Mah Iran), a three-parts brother to Mumtaz Begum (FR), the granddam of Turn-to’s sire, Royal Charger.
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