Verne Winchell's Fleet Renee is one of the few, the proud. Her sire, Seattle Slew, hit the centennial mark by getting his 100th stakes winner the weekend of Oct. 13. While being a stakes-winning daughter of the 1977 Triple Crown might be exclusive enough, she is also one of 28 group/grade I winners for the Slew crew.
Seattle Slew is also the sire of the two-time grade I-winning Flute, Fleet Renee's arch rival among 3-year-old fillies in 2001. They met only once, with Flute getting the upper hand in a convincing Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) triumph on Kentucky Derby eve. As a sire of Breeders' Cup horses, Seattle Slew ranks fifth among all sires in Breeders' Cup earnings. He represented with a pair of winners on racing's biggest day: A.P. Indy, Classsic (gr. I) winner and 1992 Horse of the Year; and Capote, Juvenile (gr. I) winner of 1986. His offspring have finished second in four Breeders' Cup races.
However, Fleet Renee doesn't get all her pedigree punch from her sire line. Her dam was more than hearty in her own right. Darien Miss was as hard-knocking as they come in her days on the track in the late 1980s. Campaigning mainly in the Midwest for Taylor Asbury, Darien Miss won nine of 20 starts and earned $600,409. Her biggest wins came in the 1988 Churchill Downs Budweiser Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) and the 1989 Louisville Budweiser Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) the day before Sunday Silence won the Derby.
Trained by "Rusty" Arnold, Darien Miss won three other stakes at Churchill Downs and in all won or placed in 12 added-money events. Following her racing career, she was sold for $325,000 at the 1990 Keeneland November breeding stock sale in foal to Forty Niner by the Asbury family's Forest Retreat Farm. Signing the ticket was David Fiske, agent. Fiske has been involved with Winchell and his horse operation for more than two decades. Fiske is currently manager of Winchell's Oakwind Farm near Lexington.
As a broodmare, Darien Miss has been a hit. Her second foal, Future Quest (by Relaunch) won the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) and Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) in 1995. He did not compete in that year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) run back East at Belmont Park. He was sent to Korea for stud duty in 1997.
Her third foal, also by Seattle Slew and thus a full sister to Fleet Renee, is Alzora. Alzora raced 23 times in three years of racing and won five times, including a victory in the Churchill Belle Maryland Million Stakes. She placed in seven other stakes and earned $254,943.
Fleet Renee's second dam, Gronas, was a stakes winner also bred by Forest Retreat Farm, campaigned by Taylor Asbury and trained by Arnold. A five-time winner, Gronas produced another stakes winner in addition to Darien Miss, and that was Andover Man (by Mr. Redoy), who won the Fairmount Derby in 1989. Andover Man earned 4210,959 and also finished third in that year's Sheridan Stakes at Arlington Park.
Gronas, who died in 1992, was by Groton. A winning son of Nashua foaled in 1962, Groton sired 32 stakes winners while standing at Forest Retreat.