On the day after the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame initiated three worthy champion horses—Manila, Inside Information, and Ancient Title—allow me to make the case for one who undoubtedly should be welcomed into the Hall in 2009—Xtra Heat.
For those unfamiliar with her achievements, here's a short account of the premier female sprinter of her generation. When this daughter of Dixieland Heat, out of the Hatchet Man mare Begin, retired in 2003, she did so with 26 wins in 35 starts—all but one (her maiden) were stakes wins, including a record 11 graded stakes. She finished out of the money only twice: her only route attempt (2000 BC Juvenile Fillies) and the 2002 BC Sprint against males. On four other occasions she tested herself against male competition, finishing 1/2 length in second behind Squirtle Squirt in 2001 BC Sprint, third in both the 2001 G1 DeFrancis Memorial Dash and 2002 Dubai Golden Shaheen, and winning the G3 Phoenix BC by three lengths over Day Trader.
She won over 8 different race tracks—Laurel, Philly, Delaware, Belmont, Aqueduct (both inner and outer), Charles Town, Keeneland and Pimlico—and still holds the stakes-record time for the G1 Prioress at Belmont (1:08.26). She has recorded the three highest Beyer figures ever both for 3-year-old fillies and fillies in sprint races (120, 118, 117).
The 2001 Eclipse-winning champion three-year-old filly earned $2,389,635 in her career, but what’s truly amazing is what a bargain this diminutive miss was. Hip #183 at the May 2000 Fasig-Tipton Mid-Atlantic 2-year-olds sale sold for a mere $5,000. Yes, there are no zero’s missing there. $5,000. Higher-priced graduates of that sale include Hip #196 ($150,000) Honor Me who ended up earning $337,320 with 14 wins in 42 starts—mostly in the claiming ranks—and Hip #376 ($200,000) C’est La Cat who earned a paltry $20,200.
Xtra Heat was privately purchased for $1.5 million as a broodmare prospect after her racing days ended, and currently resides at Woodford Thoroughbreds in Versailles, KY. It’s still too early to know her value as a broodmare, although her first foal, the recently-retired 4-year-old Southwestern Heat, is graded stakes-placed (2nd in 2007 G3 Hirsch Jacobs), her 3-year-old colt X Rated Cat looks to move on to stakes competition after just about exhausting his allowance conditions, and her 2-year-old daughter Elusive Heat has been working well in advance of her first start.
Yet, it is for her accomplishments on the track for which Xtra Heat should be honored, and entrance into the Hall of Fame in 2009 should be a no-brainer.
Take a look for yourself: 2001 Breeders' Cup Sprint