PORTER ON PEDIGREES by Alan Porter Following the Breeders' Cup World Championships each year, a major focus for race fans is the game of "spot the classic candidate," with bragging rights for the earliest identification of a future star. Colonel John was added to several lists when the youngster scored an impressive victory in a seven-furlong maiden at the Oak Tree-at-Santa Anita meet, and in all probability he has now moved several places up those lists following a decisive win in the Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood Park, an effort which may have earned him a tilt at the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I).
Porter on Pedigrees Several state-bred fillies have taken advantage of restricted programs to run up some impressive win streaks in recent years. Louisiana-bred Hallowed Dreams won her first 16 starts, 10 of which came in events contested only by state-breds. Another Louisiana-bred " Happy Ticket, foaled four years after Hallowed Dreams " took nine straight, the first seven against state-breds. Now we have Peppers Pride, who has taken her record to a perfect 13, so far.
One of the great charms of Thoroughbred racing is that it has always been possible for a good horse to emerge from almost anywhere. The diminishing gap between the best and rest, however, will probably make this an increasingly likely occurence. One example is Rolling Sea, who won the Chilukki Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3. She is by a sire who stands for $2,500 and is out of mare who finished fourth in a $6,500 claimer in her final race.
At the end of a rain-soaked Breeders' Cup meeting, the Mr. Prospector line drowned all other sire lines, having be represented by six of the 11 winners. The Northern Dancer line scored twice, while three other lines tallied one apiece: Caro (IRE), Blushing Groom (FR), and Seattle Slew. Three of the winners were inbred within four generations to Northern Dancer (two of them) and Raise a Native, and four winners were inbred within five generations to Raise a Native.
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.
With the Breeders' Cup only days away, the American racing front has been relatively quiet. Still, this does give us the opportunity to turn the spotlight on a filly that appears to be a rising star, and in doing so, pay tribute to her recently deceased sire, Maria's Mon.
Until recently, Bear Now seems ideally suited for racing and Canada and only a marginally successful runner in the United States. Well, the Fitz Dixon Cotillion Handicap (gr. II) changed everything. At Philadelphia Park in the Cotillion, Bear Now took command from the start, turned back a challenge from Octave " arguably the leading active member of the division in the absence of her stable companion Rags to Riches " and drew away again for a two lengths tally. As it turns out, this filly's family is full of surprises.
Juvenile racing in New York treated us to Tale of Ekati and Proud Spell, a pair of 2-year-old stakes winners Sept. 15, with intriguing, and somewhat linked, pedigrees.
I am not convinced that the basic constitution of the Thoroughbred has changed as much as the decline in starts since 1960 would indicate. That said, the attempt to give information with regard to the soundness of individual stallions is a laudable one, highlighting an area that is generally not given as much attention as it deserves.
The Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) wasn't the most prestigious race run in the U.S. over Labor Day weekend in terms of graded standing, but with a $1 million purse, it certainly was the richest. In a close finish, the race went to Timber Reserve, who emerged as another notable "second season" 3-year-old by equaling the stakes record.
Apart from the talent displayed in recent graded stakes, Street Sense and La Traviata have something else in common as they are both from the first crop of what appears to be a very promising group of second-season sires. Leading the ranks by earnings are Street Sense and Johannesburg, but the top 10 in this sire class are producing runners rich in class.
Orientate offspring Lady Joanne has developed into one of the best fillies of her crop. Successful in the Dogwood Stakes (gr. III) in the spring, she narrowly lost out to Octave in the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I), and then, after a prep in the restricted Banshee Breeze Stakes, returned to take a game victory over a tough field in the 10-furlong Alabama Stakes (gr. I).
Hennessy had on Aug. 9 died of apparent heart failure at Haras La Mission in Argentina while preparing for the Southern Hemisphere season. The 14-year-old son of Storm Cat out of Island Kitty, by Hawaii, has so far sired 57 stakes winners from 1,057 foals of racing age, for earnings of nearly $54 million. While it is somewhat early to appraise his impact on the breed, one can at least recognize Hennessy as having what we might term an important "sociological" legacy. Hennessy was, in short, the first son of Storm Cat to show he had real potential as a sire of top-class horses.
Three Chimneys Farm has announced that pedigree analyst Anne Peters will join its staff as the farm's new Seasons and Matings Advisor beginning in August.
Seth Hancock, Alan Porter, John Veitch, and Ric Waldman are constantly asked for their opinions on Thoroughbreds and breeding. On March 6 they shared those opinions with the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club in Lexington. About 280 members and their guests listened to the visitors and panel moderator Ed Bowen.
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