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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Turf Success in Progeny and Descendents of Foolish Pleasure: Part I

I have always been a bit of a pedigree geek (very much an amateur, I assure you), so when I had time off over the holidays I began to explore a fascinating aspect of my blog’s namesake—the relative success of Foolish Pleasure’s progeny and descendents while racing on turf. Looking at his own race record and at important members in his pedigree—namely, What a Pleasure, Bold Ruler and Tom Fool—not much screams “grass.” However, I’ve come to the conclusion that the key element here is his second dam, the French-bred and raced mare Cuadrilla who won the G3 Prix Quincey and placed in a number of important races including the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois and Prix La Camargo. By the G1 winning (Prix du Jockey Club, Prix Lupin) French sire Tourbillon, Cuadrilla was out of Bouillabaisse, by the Epsom Derby winner Blenheim. Cuadrilla’s only progeny by Tom Fool was Foolish Pleasure’s dam, Fool-Me-Not, but among Cuadrilla’s other offspring was Donna Rosemary, fourth dam of marathon turfer Square Cut, winner of G2 San Luis Obispo and G3 Laurel Turf Cup, and runner-up in the 1993 G1 Sword Dancer to Spectacular Tide.

Remember, this is only preliminary research and I welcome comments, corrections and additions. I suppose what I am trying to accomplish is to better understand the relevance of Foolish Pleasure in breeding terms, especially since his line has fallen out of favor in the U.S. Maybe that’s not so much the case in other countries? I’d love to hear more about that situation, if any care to contribute.

Let’s begin with some key progeny who experienced turf success—these are just the ones I have gotten to thus far. In another posting, I’ll deal with descendents in more detail. One of the most significant points is how important turf success for his progeny relied on mating with mares well-bred (and raced) on turf.

Vin de France (Foolish Pleasure-Virunga, by Sodium)

Lightly-raced Vin de France won the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois in 1985, and placed in several other graded stakes during his career. His dam Virunga was multiple G1-placed (Prix Saint-Alary, Yorkshire Oaks, Prix de Diane), and produced (in addition to the successful sire Vacarme) the unraced mare Venise—among her progeny are G2 Prix de l’Opera winner Verveine (dam of 2003 G1 Hong Kong Vase winner Vallée Enchantée) and Vallée des Rêves (dam of 2005 G1 Coronation Stakes winner Maids Causeway).

Filago (Foolish Pleasure-Derly, by Lyphard)

After racing in France, Filago came to the U.S. and won the G1 Oak Tree Invitational (now the Clement L. Hirsch Turf) in 1991, and the then-G2 Arlington Handicap. Unfortunately he fractured one of his sesamoids while running in the 1991 Breeders’ Cup Turf (won by Miss Alleged) and retired to stud in Brazil. I would love to hear more about his reputation there.

Narghile (Foolish Pleasure-Nonoalca, by Nonoalco)

A winner of over $1 million (in 43 starts!), Narghile raced mostly in France on grass from 2 to 4, with several nice stakes-placings. At 5, he came to the U.S. and won the Turf Paradise Handicap (on dirt) in a new course record time. In 1990 he was sent into stud duty in New Zealand, but I’ve been unable to find more information.

Narghile’s dam Nonoalca won several G3 races in France (Prix de la Grotte, Longchamp Prix des Reservoirs), and finished second in the G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches—French One Thousand Guineas. In addition to producing, by Gulch, the G1 Hopeful winner Great Navigator, Nonoalca also produced the Blushing John mare Sacred Promise whose most accomplished runner is turf stakes winner More Than Promised, who twice finished third in the G3 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (in 2005 and 2006).

Baiser Vole (Foolish Pleasure-River Rose, by Riverman)

In French, Baiser Vole means “stolen kiss”. She was named 1985 champion two-year-old in France after winning the G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches—French One Thousand Guineas. Baiser Vole’s dam River Rose was a stakes winner in France (Prix des Reves d'Or). (As an interesting aside, River Rose’s dam Barbarossa is the third dam of Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo!). Baiser Vole’s offspring include French graded stakes-placed Basse Besogne (who has produced U.S. turf stakes-placed Bis Repetitas) and multiple-graded French stakes winner Voleris, produced from a mating with champion European turfer Kris. Remember that...

Kiri’s Clown (Foolish Pleasure-Kiri, by Kris)

Note the aforementioned cross-breeding with Foolish Pleasure and Kris. The result here, with the Kris mare Kiri, was Kiri’s Clown. What a turf campaigner!

Courtesy of YouTube, enjoy Kiri’s Clown’s gutsy, record-setting 1995 Sword Dancer victory over his fellow Old Friends’ retiree Awad (and hang on to see the race payouts at the end!). I'll continue this by discussing Caitano, Desert Fox, and Grand Couturier (yes, he's a Foolish Pleasure descendent!) in a future post.


Sharon Crute said...

Valerie: I tagged your blog. Lucky you (sorry). It's because it's one of the few I read and enjoy. Go to mine to see what to do...

Marshall said...

Good stuff. I'm a fan of Foolish Pleasure (website and horse) and was hopeful that his line would survive through Farma Way (by Marfa who finished behind another of my favorites - Sunny's Halo) who got off to a fast start - he was the leading first crop sire of 1995 thanks to the success of Cobra King. Unfortunatly, Farma Way proved to be a mediocre sire. Cobra King sired Lunar Sovereign, the winner of the 2003 GI Man O'War at 1 3/8 on the turf. He had a swift turn of foot but turned out to be a one hit wonder. Lunar Sovereign has an awesome predigree - completely devoid of Mr. Prospector & Northern Dancer.

Mecke (by Maudlin), a full brother to champion Beautiful Pleasure, won the 1996 Arlington Million. Mecke has been a reasonably good Florida sire and his son Supah Blitz has yearlings.

Marshall said...

here is the youtube video of Lunar Sovereign's Grade I win.

Valerie said...


Thanks for the heads-up on Lunar Sovereign! I was looking at the female progeny of Foolish Pleasure first so had not been aware of him at all. Needless to say, with all these years of grad school I was pulled away from horse racing for nearly two decades so the thrill is definitely in the rediscovery. And god bless the Internet! Fascinating stuff! The turf angle must be the reason his descendents are still found in Europe and South America.