In what’s now more than 40 years of looking at Thoroughbred pedigrees, we’ve never ceased to be intrigued by how often the best winner by a sire is the result of what appears to be a very deliberately and cleverly constructed pedigree. This is particularly marked when we’re dealing with horses that are not established, proven top-class sires, and where “class” or the ability to transmit it plays a far more significant role.
We had another excellent example of the phenomenon on Champions Day in England, when 3-year-old filly Madame Chiang, making only her fifth career start, convincingly defeated her elders to take the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Eng-I). From the first crop of her sire, Archipenko, Madame Chiang is one of four stakes winners for the sophomore sire, and is his first group or graded winner.
If North American readers recall Archipenko at all, it’s probably for his three-quarter-length second to upset winner Spirit One in the 2008 Arlington Million Stakes (gr. IT). However, despite his defeat as a short-priced favorite on that occasion, Archipenko was a highly successful international campaigner, who won group or graded stakes in four different countries, running up earnings of $2,401,963.
Successful in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes (Ire-II) over 10 furlongs at 3, Archipenko hit his peak at 4. In addition to his second at Arlington Park, he took the Plymouth Gin Summer Mile Stakes (Eng-II) at Ascot in England; the Commercial Bank of Dubai Al Fahidi Fort (UAE-II) in Dubai; and the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (HK-I) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong.
Remaining in training after those exploits, Archipenko started just three times the following season, adding a victory in the Meydan Zabeel Mile (UAE-III) at Meydan on his first outing of the year. He now stands at Lanwades Stud, Newmarket, England, and his fee for the most recent season was £6,000.
If Archipenko isn’t particularly familiar on this side of the Atlantic, his pedigree certainly will be. A son of Kingmambo, one of the most internationally important sons of Mr. Prospector, he is out of the Nijinsky II mare Bound, who also produced stakes winner and graded stakes producer Limit, but who would be better known through her stakes-placed daughter Liable (by Seeking the Gold), a Kentucky Broodmare of the Year, who is the dam of champion older male Blame .
A stakes winner and multiple graded-placed, including a third in the Acorn Stakes (gr. I), Bound is by a son of Northern Dancer out of the mare Special, which means she is a three-quarters sister to the immortal Sadler's Wells and his champion sire brother Fairy King (both by Northern Dancer out of Special), and to Nureyev (by Northern Dancer out of Special). Those with an interest in pedigrees will probably have recalled by now Kingmambo is out of a Nureyev mare, which means Archipenko has the half brother and sister Nureyev and Bound 3x1 (or if you prefer, Northern Dancer 4x3 and Special 4x2).
Madame Chiang’s dam, Robe Chinoise, is a winning daughter of the Roberto stallion Robellino. Her second dam, Kiliniski, was a high-class middle-distance runner in England who won the Marley Roof Tile Oaks Trial Stakes (Eng-III) and took second in the Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I) and fourth in the Gold Seal English Oaks (Eng-I). Four of Kiliniski’s foals were winners, most notably Kiswahili, a black-type scorer in Germany, who is also the dam of the stakes-winning and group-placed daughter Kinetica, by Stormy Atlantic .
Two other daughters of Kiliniski, Kimono and Iberian, produced stakes winners. Kiliniski’s dam, Kilavea—by South African-bred champion turf horse Hawaii—is mainly otherwise most notable as the granddam of Bienamado, who won three grade I events including the San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap (gr. IT), and who was rated top long-distance older horse of 2001 on the International Classifications.
Where things get really interesting is when we realize that Kilavea is a daughter of Special, who as we’ve said also appears in Archipenko’s pedigree as the dam of Nureyev and of Bound, one by Northern Dancer and the other by a son of Northern Dancer (Nijinsky II). Since Madame Chiang’s granddam, Kiliniski, is by a son of Nijinsky II, she’s also closely related to Nureyev and Bound. Thus, Madame Chiang has individuals combining Northern Dancer and Special twice in the second and once in the fourth generation of her pedigree.