Carly Silver

Carly Silver

Lion Heart's Pedigree Full of Classic Influences

By Carly Silver
When horsemen predict the outcome of a mating, they look at specific qualities in both the mare and the stallion that would make each suitable for the other. One of the most sought after characteristics in a racehorse is determination.

Lion Heart, a chestnut son of Tale of the Cat, has proved, by his game second to Smarty Jones in the 2004 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), that he is a gritty, hard-trying horse worthy of capturing a classic race. Lion Heart also has a first-class pedigree, filled with classic influences. Founded on his superior pedigree, Lion Heart is an extremely eligible contender for the second and third jewels of the Triple Crown.

The sire of Lion Heart is Tale of the Cat. Tale of the Cat's major win came in the grade II King's Bishop Stakes, and he has proved a successful young sire, coming up with such good winners as Be Gentle, Feline Story, and My Trusty Cat, in addition to Lion Heat. Tale of the Cat is by the first-rate sire Storm Cat. Storm Cat has become an international sire success for Overbrook Farm, siring such progeny as 2000 European Horse of the Year Giant's Causeway, champion Storm Flag Flying, and multiple grade I winner Sharp Cat.

Tale of the Cat is out of Yarn, also dam of European champion Minardi, and Myth, the dam of champion juvenile Johannesburg. Yarn is by the great Mr. Prospector, out of Narrate, by Honest Pleasure. Narrarate was a grade III winner, and is the dam of Preach, a grade I winner and dam of Pulpit, a grade II winner and sire of two grade I winners in 2004. Narrate is out of the Nijinsky II mare State, dam of multiple graded stakes victor Announce. State was also the second dam of the $729,885-earner Northcote Road.

State's dam was Monarchy, who captured the Arlington-Lassie Stakes, and was a full sister to the great racer and sire Round Table, being by Princequillo out of Knight's Daughter, by Sir Cosmo. Princequillo and Round Table were excellent stayers and sires of stayers. Monarchy was the dam of grade II winner Fabled Monarch and stakes winner Title, dam of the stakes-winning Riva Ridge mare Caption. Monarchy was out of Knight's Daughter, a stakes winner, and dam of several other stakes winners. Knight's Daughter's dam was the classic-placed Feola, dam of Yorkshire Oaks winner Angelola, in turn dam of Aureole, winner of the Coronation Cup. She was also the dam of One Thousand Guineas winner Hypericum, and another Yorkshire Oaks victress in Above Board. This line traces back to Alope, dam of Ascot Gold Cup winner Foxlaw, and thence back to Arachne, ancestress of Oaks winners Industry, Butterfly, and Lady Evelyn, and Epsom Derby winner Sainfoin.

Lion Heart's dam is Satin Sunrise, a stakes winner and also the dam of grade III winner French Satin. Satin Sunrise is by the Hail to Reason horse Mr. Leader, out of stakes winner Logic. Logic is out of the Bold Reason mare Bactu Reason, making Satin Sunrise inbred 3x4 to the classic sire Hail to Reason. Bactu Reason is the ancestress of stakes winners La Reason and Reason to Talk. Bactu Reason was out of Bacchian, a cleverly-named daughter of Ashland S. winner Insouciant, and Olympia. Bacchian, in turn, was out of Galla Belle. Galla Belle was the dam of stakes winner Alabama, and Washington Park Futurity winner Revoked. Gala Belle's dam was Bel Tempo, second dam of Lincoln Handicap winner Brolite. Bel Tempo was by the highly-inbred High Time. Bel Tempo's dam, Belvale, was a stakes winner, and the ancestress of Santa Anita H. winner Bay View.

The best mare of all so far in this lineage is Belvale's great dam, Beldame. Beldame was a champion 3-year-old, and defeated colts on numerous occasions, including a victory in the lengthy Saratoga Cup. Belvale's sire was Preakness victor Watervale. The dam of Beldame, Bella Donna, was the dam of four stakes winners, including Preakness victor Don Enrique. She was by the great Hermit out of Bonnie Doon, second dam of Prince of Wales's Stakes winner Watercress. Bonnie Doon was also the ancestress of the very good sire Black Toney, and Bonnie Mary, winner of the Fashion S., and ancestress of Junior Champion Stakes winner Bonnie Maginn and Louisiana Derby winner Quatrain. Bonnie Doon's daughter, Bonnie Gal, was also the dam of Jockey Club Stakes winner Disguise. Bonnie Doon was the daughter of the fabulous mare Queen Mary, dam of the durable Haricot, St. Leger victress Caller Ou, Stirling S. winner Braxey, Doncaster Stakes victor Balrownie, the great sire Bonnie Scotland, and Epsom Derby and Oaks victress Blink Bonny (dam of English Triple Crown winner Blair Athol).

As you can see, based on his pedigree, Lion Heart, although a front-running speedster, can get the distance of a classic race.