by Alan Porter
One wouldn’t normally expect a runner by a stallion that scored his most prestigious victory at nine furlongs and out of a mare by a grade I winner at 1 3/4 miles to claim speed as her most dangerous weapon. But this is the formula responsible for Briecat, a 3-year-old filly who set swift fractions of :46.01 and 1:09.79 on her way to defeating a field of her elders for the Bayakoa Handicap (gr. II) Dec. 7. For good measure, Briecat’s final time of 1:40.38 for the 8 1/2 furlongs was just 0.04 seconds outside of the Cushion track record set by Slew’s Tiznow.
Briecat’s dam, Silk Briefcase, was unraced, as was her dam, Briefcase, but if we continue down the female line for one more generation, a potential source of Briecat’s pace becomes apparent. Her third dam, Klassy Briefcase, certainly was fast — on occasions, shatteringly so. Bred in New Jersey by Harry Minassian, Klassy Briefcase ran 42 times from 2 to 6, won 18 times, and captured eight stakes events. She was a stakes winner every year from 3 onwards, but despite making 36 starts in the previous three seasons, actually peaked at the end of her 6-year-old campaign. One reason for her particularly good form that year was that her activities were limited to racing over five furlongs on turf, a combination of distance and surface that suited her perfectly. She kicked off the year with a win in an allowance event at Garden State, but was then unplaced in the non-black type Catalina Stakes at the same venue. Back in action just 12 days later in an allowance race at Monmouth Park, Klassy Briefcase rocketed through fractions of :20.87; and :43.30, before crossing the line 7 1/2 lengths clear while stopping the clock at :54.97, a new world record. Her next start, the Nauvoo Stakes, witnessed an effort that was only slightly less spectacular, as she zipped through an opening quarter in :20.80, and a half in :43.62, for a final clocking of :55.81. Klassy Briefcase completed a hat trick in the West Long Branch Stakes, which she took in a fairly modest, by her standards anyway, :56.3. Sent to England for the Keeneland Nunthorpe Stakes (Eng-II), Klassy Briefcase showed her customary speed, but this time could not break away. Headed by Paris House (a 2-year-old to whom she was conceding 18 lbs.) after a furlong and a half, she faded to the rear of the nine-horse field. Sheikh Albadou, who was destined to take that year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I), ran down the juvenile for a three-length win.
Klassy Briefcase’s pedigree was a pretty eclectic one. Her sire, Medieval Man, was a son of the Australian star Noholme II (by Star Kingdom (IRE)), and it is to Medieval Man that Klassy Briefcase owes her speed. He demonstrated quickness on the track, taking the 5 1/2-furlong Youthful Stakes at 2, and the six-furlong Select and Philmont Handicaps at 3. At stud Medieval Man proved able to transmit that pace, as his 35 stakes winners also include champion sprinter Not Surprising, and he also appears as broodmare sire of champion 2-year-old and Horse of the Year Favorite Trick. Klassy Briefcase’s broodmare sire, The Pruner, was a son of Prix du Jockey Club winner Herbager, from the family of Never Bend and No Robbery, and won such contests as the American Derby and Camino Real Handicaps. Behind this, Klassy Briefcase’s immediate female line was not an outstanding one. Her third dam, the English-bred Amy’s Pet, was another course record-breaker, although in her case the feat was achieved over two miles and 70 yards at Rockingham Park. Eventually as in most cases, as we go back, we do hit some more quality. Amy’s Pet’s granddam, Nottingham (GB) the fifth dam of Klassy Briefcase) was a sister to the imported King’s Abbey, winner of the Jerome Handicap, and to Blessed Isle, the granddam of a tough customer called Biggs, who won 18 of 72 starts, and took the Californian Stakes at 7, and the San Luis Rey and San Marcos Handicaps at 8.
At stud, Klassy Briefcase handed on a fair measure of her speed. Her first foal, Stu’s Choice, a son of Afleet, won the John McSorley Stakes at his dam’s old stamping ground at Monmouth, and set a new five-furlong track record while taking the Mercer Raceabout Stakes at the Meadowlands. Klassy Briefcase produced another stakes winner with her sixth foal, Mr. Miesque (by Miesque’s Son), winner of the Frank Arsenault Memorial Breeders’ Cup Stakes, and runner-up in the El Joven Stakes and Black Gold Handicap.
Briecat’s granddam, Briefcase, was Klassy Briefcase’s second foal, and although she never faced the starter, she was certainly bred to be quick as she was by Rubiano, a champion sprinter who avenged Klassy Briefcase’s honor by defeating Sheikh Albadou for the 1992 renewal of the Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I). Briefcase has produced only three foals of racing age. The first of these, Classy Number (by Numerous) was a winner and black type-placed. Her second foal is Briecat’s dam, Silk Briefcase. That mare is by Marlin, a son of the Nijinsky II stallion Sword Dance (IRE), which means that she is inbred 3 x 4 to Nijinsky II, who also appears as broodmare sire of Rubiano.
Briecat’s sire, Adcat, is a son of Storm Cat and was bred by Gallagher’s Stud in New York. He won five of 28 starts and $435,597, recording his most prestigious victory as a 4-year-old in the New Hampshire Sweepstakes (gr. III) over nine furlongs on turf. Retired to stud in Florida (although he has since been exported to Korea), Adcat has sired five crops of racing age in the U.S. and has three other black-type winners, although Briecat is his first graded winner.
Briecat owns a rather interesting pedigree structure. Her paternal grandsire, Storm Cat, is by a son of Northern Dancer out of a mare by Secretariat, as is Sword Dance, the grandsire of her dam. In addition, the Northern Dancer strains come through Storm Bird and Nijinsky II, who themselves are bred on similar crosses. The pattern of duplicating the Northern Dancer/Secretariat cross appears in at least 18 other stakes winners, 10 of them by Storm Cat-line stallions.