by Avalyn Hunter
On Saturday, March 29, two young horses captured an initial graded stakes win at Gulfstream Park and marked themselves as potential elites among the sophomores of 2008. Everyone, of course, by now has heard about Big Brown, runaway winner of the Florida Derby (gr. I) and now a likely favorite for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
The fact Big Brown’s romp totally overshadowed the Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. II) just one race earlier on the card says much for the electricity of his performance, for She’s All Eltish put on quite a show of her own. All she did was cruise home by six and three-quarter lengths with the whip serving solely as a reminder to stay about her business. Granted, neither her defeated field nor her final time of 1:51.80 were exceptional, but it was the manner in which the Denholtz Stables filly nailed down the win that was impressive.
Bred in Florida by Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Stud, She’s All Eltish is by Eltish, winner of the 1994 Royal Lodge Stakes (Eng-II) and Lanson Champagne Vintage Stakes (Eng-III), and runner-up in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I). Unfortunately, Eltish failed to live up to his juvenile promise and never won another stakes, though he placed in five while racing at ages 3 to 5. He retired to Live Oak Stud in 1998 and moved to New York in 2007, where he currently stands at Keane Stud Operations for $3,500.
Eltish has sired two Puerto Rican grade I winners in Kud’zu Magic and Eltish Thunder, but prior to She’s All Eltish, his top winner in the United States was Barbara O’Brien, winner of the 2003 Chaposa Springs Handicap (gr. III). From 238 foals of racing age (including 12 juveniles of 2008), Eltish has sired 135 winners (56.7%), 11 of them stakes winners (4.6%).
Eltish is by Cox’s Ridge, a multiple graded stakes-winning son of the good stallion Best Turn who had his finest racing moment in the 1978 Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I). A large, rather backwards horse like his sire, Cox’s Ridge had a solid stud career at Claiborne Farm until his death in 1998, getting 52 Northern Hemisphere stakes winners from 801 foals. Among his best were two-time champion filly Life’s Magic, champion older male Vanlandingham, and grade I winners Cardmania, Sultry Song, De Roche, Lost Mountain, Twilight Ridge, Scuffleburg, Pine Circle, Little Missouri, Dream Team, and Trapp Mountain.
The distaff side of Eltish’s pedigree is equally solid. He is one of four stakes winners produced by the winning Danzig mare Nimble Feet. The best of the others is Forest Gazelle (by Green Forest), winner of the 1995 Los Angeles Handicap (gr. III). Nimble Feet, in turn, was produced from the Cyane mare Nimble Folly, also the dam of Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes (gr. I) winner Contredance and multiple grade II winner Skimble. The latter filly also distinguished herself as the dam of two-time Pacific Classic Stakes (gr. I) winner Skimming.
A full sister to 1978 Chrysanthemum Handicap (gr. III) winner Misgivings, Nimble Folly is out of the Restless Native mare Instant Sin. Instant Sin, in turn, is out of Enchanted Eve, making her a half sister to 1959 champion handicap female Tempted (by Half Crown) and the high-class handicapper Smart (by Thinking Cap). The female line is one of the oldest in the United States, tracing back to an unnamed daughter of Cub imported to New York in the 1760s.
The dam’s side of the pedigree of She’s All Eltish is somewhat less familiar. The filly is the third foal of Shesabullwinkle, an unraced full sister to multiple listed stakes winner Wire Bound. She is by 1997 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) winner Hesabull, a son of 1990 Woodward Handicap (gr. I) winner Dispersal and the stakes-winning Tri Jet mare Proud Clarioness. She’s All Eltish is the first stakes winner as a broodmare sire for Hesabull, whose best runner on the track so far has been 2005 Sorrento Stakes (gr. III) winner Bully Bones.
Shesabullwinkle is out of Wise Woman, a stakes-placed half-sister to the multiple South African group I winner Blossoming Fields (by two-time leading South African sire Badger Land). Wise Woman herself is by 1984 Monmouth Handicap (gr. I) winner Believe the Queen (by Believe It) out of Leaf Spring, by the 1974 Paumonok Handicap (gr. III) winner Torsion. Leaf Spring, in turn, is a half-sister to multiple grade I winner Mi Selecto (by Explodent) and multiple grade II winner Bar Dexter (by True Knight). She’s All Eltish, thus, is from a female line that has had success in turning up good horses, even if some of the sires involved are not precisely household names.
At this point, the connections of She’s All Eltish appear to be leaning away from the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), less on grounds of the filly’s talent than on those of her ability to tolerate the commotion surrounding the event. Whether or not she starts in the Oaks, however, She’s All Eltish has served notice that she is likely to be a major player in this year’s sophomore filly division.