Thursday, October 25, 2012

Guest Blog: Pedigree Observations on New York Showcase Day

by Carly Silver

Last Saturday, I soaked in the sun and Thoroughbred stars at Belmont Park’s Showcase Day. After grabbing myself a piece of pumpkin pie from the farmer’s market, I set myself up with a Daily Racing Form at a table with several cigar-smoking handicappers, most of whom seemed to be named “Mike.” Then, I made my way to the paddock and gazed on the finest equines NY had to offer.

One of the first to catch my eye was Risky Rachel. Winner of last year’s Iroquois Stakes, Risky Rachel, set to compete in that day’s edition of the Iroquois, is no slouch in the pedigree department. Indeed, the Limehouse filly is New York-bred royalty. Her second dam, Lolli Lucka Lolli, produced state champ and millionaire Say Florida Sandy, as well as Risky Rachel’s dam, New York champion Dancin Renee.  Other close-up relatives include grade I winner Forest Danger.

The bright chestnut with a heart-shaped mark on her forehead was the aptly named Miss Valentine. The Iroquois’ second-place finisher, Miss Valentine, is a daughter of dual-classic winning champ Afleet Alex. Alex’s female line traces to Bonus, dam of 1931 Derby and Belmont victor Twenty Grand.

`Mike' was wrong: Willet looks in pretty good shape here.
NYRA Photo: Jessica Hansen
Though one fellow paddock observer noted she seemed out of shape, Willet, a four-year-old Jump Start filly, ended up taking the Iroquois. Her female family’s more recent descendants include the hardy Red Scamper, veteran of 112 starts. Another notable—albeit more distant—relative was Souepi, twice Chile’s leading sire in the 1960s, who was a son of Willet’s seventh dam, Sousse.

Unfortunately for me, I chose second-place finisher Saginaw to win the six-furlong Hudson Stakes. One of the Mikes at my table, though, selected eventually victor Mine Over Matter, who covered the distance in a quick 1:10.2. Ironically, that colt is bred to go a distance—his sire is champion older horse Mineshaft (by Belmont winner A.P. Indy), while his dam, Hansel’s Girl, is by Preakness and Belmont victor Hansel. Mine Over Matter’s second dam, Dancing Mahmoud, also foaled millionaire Guided Tour; other close-up relatives include Grade I winner (and decent sire) Yonaguska and others. More distantly, the family includes the blue hen Golden Trail, ancestress of Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos.

Mine Over Matter is bred to go the distance, but takes the
sprint here on New York Champions Day. NYRA photo
My pick—Saginaw—also has a unique pedigree. His sire, Peruvian, was a grade III winner by Conquistador Cielo; Peruvian’s third dam was a full sister to the great Round Table. Saginaw’s female family includes 1972 Preakness winner Bee Bee Bee.

Later in the day, I watched Lunar Victory take the Empire Classic. The son of sprint champ Speightstown is from an excellent female family that includes champion two-year-old filly Pleasant Stage and grade I winner Seattle Meteor.

Carly Silver is an avid racing enthusiast and devoted student of pedigrees. She graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University, in May 2012. At age thirteen, Carly analyzed Smarty Jones's pedigree and picked him as the Derby winner. As a result, she received her own column, "Teen Tracks," on, which she authored throughout 2004.

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