Tamarando's Futurity Lifts Bertrando's Legacy

Tamarando's Futurity Lifts Bertrando's Legacy
Photo: Benoit Photo
Tamarando

Bertrando was one of those horses who matched abundant ability with more than abundant misfortune. The best American-based juvenile of 1991, he ended up eating dust in Arazi's wake in that year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), grabbing a quarter in the process. In 1992, he found A.P. Indy to be a bit too much for him in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), but was unable to take advantage of that rival's absence and Arazi's failure to stay the trip in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) as he was on the sidelines himself; he didn't get back to the races until December.

As a 4-year-old, Bertrando finally put together enough of a résumé to snag an Eclipse Award as the best older male, but he was generally considered the best of a weak bunch after being run down by Arcangues in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). He raced on at 5 following arthroscopic knee surgery and a stint in the breeding shed, winning the Wickerr Stakes on grass and the Goodwood Handicap (gr. II) on dirt. After two unplaced finishes at 6, Bertrando retired having won nine of 24 starts and $3,185,610, statistics that might have been considerably better had the horse been willing to rate off the lead. But Bertrando knew only one way to run—as fast as he could, as far as he could.

By Skywalker out of the Buffalo Lark mare Gentle Hands, Bertrando lacked the pedigree to be of much interest in Kentucky and settled into the life of a regional sire in California. Even there he had his share of bad luck, developing a liver disease that nearly killed him in 2004. For a while, his connections thought he might have to be pensioned from stud duty even if he survived. Bertrando had other ideas, though, and fought through his illness with the same gameness that had characterized him as a racehorse. He covered 78 mares in 2005, resulting in 63 live foals, and continued breeding until being officially pensioned in December 2011.

While never a fashionable sire, Bertrando did reasonably well at stud, leading the California sires list in 2005 and 2007 and perennially ranking among the top 10 sires in the state. But at the time of his pensioning, it looked as though his chances of continuing his branch of the In Reality/Relaunch sire line were nil. His best entire son, 2001 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) winner Officer, started well with six juvenile stakes winners in his first crop but was never quite able to follow up on that promise afterward and was sold for export to South Korea in September 2010; his other three grade I-winning sons—Karelian, Bilo, and Unfurl the Flag—are all geldings.

But that changed on Sept. 4, when Tamarando—a member of Bertrando's next-to-last crop—powered home in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I), a race Bertrando won in 1991. Unlike Bertrando, Tamarando is content to dawdle at the back of the pack early, preferring to save his speed for the stretch. But he seems to be getting the hang of the racing game now and certainly had no trouble with seven furlongs. And he definitely has the pedigree to stretch out further.

Bred in California by his owners, Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams, Tamarando is the third stakes winner produced from Tamarack Bay, whose previous four named foals include multiple open stakes winner Luckarack (by Lucky Pulpit  ) and restricted stakes winner U'narack (by Unusual Heat). She produced full brothers to Luckarack in 2012 and 2013.

Tamarack Bay had some talent of her own, placing in five stakes including the 2002 Santa Ysabel (gr. III) and earning $218,965, but was one of those frustrating horses that seldom quite get the job done; she ended up winning only three of her 29 starts but finished second or third 14 times. She stayed well, however, winning an allowance at nine furlongs on dirt and finishing second in the 12-furlong Claire Marine Stakes at Arlington Park on grass as a 5-year-old.

Like her son, Tamarack Bay preferred coming from off the pace, a proclivity perhaps inherited from her sire, Dehere. The champion juvenile male of 1993, Dehere—a son of Deputy Minister and the Secretariat mare Sister Dot—flopped in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile after suffering pulmonary bleeding. Nonetheless, the devastating finishing kick he had shown at his best suggested that he would relish more ground at 3. After finishing second in a Gulfstream Park allowance to Ride the Rails, Dehere won the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), beating future Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin with eventual champion 3-year-old and Horse of the Year Holy Bull well back in the pack. But that was it, as a fractured right hind cannon suffered while in training ended Dehere's racing career.

Now in Turkey, Dehere had a solid stud career in the United States, Japan, and Australia without ever breaking through to the ranks of the world's top sires. His best-known runner in the United States was multiple grade I winner Take Charge Lady, now in the news again as the dam of Travers Stakes (gr. I) winner Will Take Charge, recently-retired Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Take Charge Indy  , and the $2.2 million Indian Charlie filly sold Sept. 11 at the Keeneland September yearling sale. Dehere is also broodmare sire of 2007 champion sprinter Midnight Lute  , the current leader of the second-crop sires list.

Tamarack Bay is out of the winning Slew o' Gold mare Gee Toto, a half sister to 1987 St. James's Palace Stakes (Eng-II) winner Half a Year (by Riverman); to 1993 Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) winner Winning Pact (by Alydar); and to the very fast Exceller mare Comical Cat, dam of grade III winner Cat's Career (by Mr. Prospector) and granddam of 2013 Darley Prix Morny (Fr-I) winner No Nay Never (by Scat Daddy). While Slew o' Gold tailed off badly after a good start at stud and must also be considered a disappointment as a broodmare sire, he was nonetheless a high-quality racehorse with enough consistency to earn titles as champion 3-year-old male in 1983 and champion older male in 1984. Surprisingly, given his own liking for 10 to 12 furlongs, he is best remembered today as the broodmare sire of 2000 champion sprinter Kona Gold.

Gee Toto and her siblings were produced from the Northern Dancer mare Six Months Long, a winning half sister to stakes winners Sense of Rhythm (by Native Dancer) and Sound Thinking (by Hail to Reason). Their dam, Prime Time, was a non-winning daughter of the first-rate runner and sire Eight Thirty out of multiple juvenile stakes winner Jacodema, by 1930 English champion juvenile male Jacopo. This is not a female family with a top-class record, but it is certainly quite respectable, especially compared to those of a good many of Bertrando's other mates.

Tamarando, of course, has quite a way to go before proving himself the equal of his sire as a racehorse, so speculations about him as a future stallion can wait. But he seems to be moving in the right direction, and if he can continue making progress, he will be one to watch this fall.

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