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Saturday, June 7, 2008

We Are Family

Reminiscent of last year’s Belmont Stakes victory by Rags to Riches, I watched with great excitement in the wee hours of Saturday morning (1:15 a.m. EDT) as the 3-year-old filly Riva San won the 12-furlong G1 Queensland Derby—exactly 7 days after winning the 12-furlong G1 Queensland Oaks! It was also her fourth graded stakes race over 9 furlongs since May 3. Trained by Peter Moody, the dark brown filly—a granddaughter of Sunday Silence, through his son (and her sire) Any Given Sunday—defeated 17 colts and two other fillies, becoming the fourth filly to accomplish the Oaks/Derby double since 1973. You can check out the race replay over at the TBA video vault.

Something also caught my attention when reading about Look Here, recent winner of the G1 English Oaks, namely that she is out of the Rainbow Quest mare Last Look. I’ve been running across that name Rainbow Quest quite a bit lately—as the sire of G1 Manhattan contender Stream of Gold, and as the grand-dam sire of Belmont maiden Guadalcanal. Of course, Rainbow Quest is a son of Blushing Groom, and that’s when it clicked.

While all ten (now nine) Belmont Stakes runners trace their bloodline back to the Italian-bred Nearco—either through his sons Nearctic (and Northern Dancer) or Nasrullah (and Bold Ruler)—four of them share a more minor connection. They can also trace their ancestry to another son of Nasrullah—Red God and his son Blushing Groom.

In addition to the aforementioned Guadalcanal (Graeme Hall-Bessette, by Quest for Fame), Blushing Groom is the sire of Primal Force, the dam of Macho Uno, who is represented in the Belmont by Macho Again (Macho Uno-Go Donna Go, by Wild Again). Icabad Crane (Jump Start-Adorahy, by Rahy) and the now-scratched Casino Drive (Mineshaft-Better Than Honour, by Deputy Minister) are both are by sons of A.P. Indy, but on the dam side, they share connections to Blushing Groom—Rahy’s sire is Blushing Groom, while Better Than Honour’s dam Blush with Pride is by Blushing Groom. And, thus brings us back full-circle to Rags to Riches.

What a shame Casino Drive is out with a stone bruise, as I truly felt destiny was on his side. Alas, it was not. His connections had planned to ship back to Japan immediately following the race; we can only hope the game plan has changed, and he will have a chance to run against Big Brown at Saratoga...if BB isn't retired before then.