Mahubah's Corner: What a Pear

Mahubah's Corner: What a Pear
Photo: Coglianese Photos
What a Pear

There is no question that 2008 champion juvenile filly Stardom Bound is the pro tem leader among this year’s sophomore fillies, given her solid season opener Feb. 7 in the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I). But don’t hand her the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) trophy just yet. Even if the brilliant gray doesn’t tackle males in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Tri-Bone Stable’s What a Pear has just served notice that Stardom Bound may have some competition in her own division with an eye-popping 10-length-plus victory in the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct. Granted, the competition wasn’t stellar and the time for the 8.5 furlongs – 1:45.17 – wasn’t spectacular. But toss in a pedigree from one of the best families in the American Stud Book to go with a 4-for-4 record, with the latest and most important victory being the easiest, and the logical conclusion is that What a Pear is a filly to watch.

What a Pear hails from the family of 1982 Broodmare of the Year Best in Show, which has been in the headlines in recent years thanks to the exploits of 2006 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Jazil (Seeking the Gold-Better Than Honour, by Deputy Minister), 2007 champion 3-year-old filly Rags to Riches (A.P. Indy-Better Than Honour), 2007 European champion 3-year-old filly Peeping Fawn (Danehill-Maryinsky (IRE), by Sadler’s Wells), and 2007 Criterium International (Fr-I) winner Thewayyouare (Kingmambo-Maryinsky). All of these horses descend from Best in Show through Blush With Pride (by Blushing Groom (FR)), winner of the 1982 Kentucky Oaks.

Perfect Isn’t Easy (Saratoga Six–Best in Show, by Traffic Judge) was not nearly as talented as her half-sister, going unplaced in four starts. Despite assignations with a solid collection of stallions, she has not lived up to her pedigree as a broodmare either. To date, from 10 named foals of racing age, she has produced just two winners, neither of any great significance.

Perfect Pear, her first daughter, wasn’t one of those winners. A daughter of 1992 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Pine Bluff, she made only one start, finishing unplaced. Prior to What a Pear, she had produced the winner A Perfect Wood (by Marquetry) and Blood Park (by Ecton Park), a filly that was exported to South Korea as an unraced 2-year-old in 2007. Perfect Pear produced an as yet unnamed filly by Strategic Mission in 2007.

Like Jazil and Thewayyouare, What a Pear is by a son of Mr. Prospector with a strong family behind him. In her case, the sire is E Dubai, whose career was highlighted by victories in the 2001 Dwyer Stakes and the 2002 Suburban Handicap (both gr. II). Unquestionably a fast horse (he won his edition of the Dwyer in a swift 1:40.38 for the 8 1/2 furlongs), E Dubai was genuine at up to 10 furlongs and in 2001 was second in both the Travers Stakes and the Super Derby (both gr. I).

E Dubai comes from a solid family that took a step up in 2008. He is out of the Lord At War (ARG) mare Words of War, a multiple listed stakes winner who had previously produced 2000 Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) winner No Matter What to the cover of Nureyev. Sent to Dynaformer in 2005, No Matter What produced Rainbow View the following spring. Although bred for stamina, Rainbow View proved quick and precocious enough to go 4-for-4 as a juvenile in 2008 and earn a title as Europe’s champion 2-year-old filly.

E Dubai’s family was also helped by 1996 Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT) winner Ascutney, a full sister to Words of War. Already the dam of 2006 Miami Mile Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) Gigawatt (by Wild Again), Ascutney hit the big time with her 2005 colt by Elusive Quality  , Raven's Pass. Always highly regarded, the colt suffered tough losses to Henrythenavigator in the St. James’s Palace Stakes and the BGC Sussex Stakes (both Eng-I) but turned the tables on that rival in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I) and the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), upsetting U.S. Horse of the Year Curlin   in the latter.

E Dubai has had an uneven beginning to his stud career, getting just 11 stakes winners from the 215 named Northern Hemisphere foals in his first three crops of racing age, but he is off to a good start for 2009. In addition to What a Pear, he has been represented by 2008 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Desert Code, winner of the Daytona Handicap (gr. IIIT) in his 2009 debut. He is also the sire of Mr. Fantasy, a highly regarded half-brother to 2008 Indiana Derby (gr. II) winner Tin Cup Chalice (by Crusader Sword). A colt who combines power with the fluid, quick stride of his elder half-sibling, Mr. Fantasy has impressed a good many observers with his first two races (scoring by a combined 19 lengths at Aqueduct) and is slated to test deeper waters in what is shaping up to be a highly competitive field for the Mar. 7 Gotham Stakes (gr. III).

Like Mr. Fantasy, What a Pear has yet to face top competition, but she has done everything asked of her and appears to be improving with each start. Should she successfully take the next step up in the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) as currently scheduled, look for her to be a contender when Oaks Day rolls around.

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