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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Turf Success in Progeny and Descendents of Foolish Pleasure: Dam-Sire Lines

Green Door (Circle C Stables)

While certainly not on most people’s list of favorite weekend races, the 8-furlong Firecracker Stakes over the Mountaineer turf course was an eye-opening for me. The third-choice Si Si Mon Amie won easily and the favorite Beautiful Venue came in third. However, it was the 30-1 runner-up Green Door that pleased me. Why? This 4-year-old Danzig filly is out of the Foolish Pleasure mare Too Cool to Fool, and once again the value of Foolish Pleasure’s turf lineage is validated.

I discussed previously some of his successful turf progeny, including French G1 winners Vin de France and Baiser Vole, as well as American G1 winners Kiri’s Clown and Filago, while Marshall commented on his great-grandson (by Cobra King) Lunar Sovereign, winner of the G1 Man o’ War who converted to hurdles after his flat racing career and was offered for sale a couple years ago for £6500 as an eventer/show jumper. It’s a damn shame he wasn’t able to stand at stud—his pedigree is completely devoid of Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer. Instead, he’s bred 5 x 4 to Princequillo and Knights Daughter, through their full-brother/sister progeny Round Table and Monarchy, the latter whose descendents include (among others) Pulpit, Johannesburg and Teuflesberg.

Through his daughters, Foolish Pleasure has also produced the following turf progeny:

Hasna (Snippets-They Say by Thirty Six Red). Meaning “Beautiful” in Arabic, her second dam is the Foolish Pleasure mare Americanrevelation. The 2002-2003 champion 2-year-old in Australia, this Gai Waterhouse-trainee was a multiple-G1 winner, including two of the three Australian Triple Crown races—the Sires Produce and Champagne stakes (and finished third in the G1 Golden Slipper). Now retired, her first offspring—a yearling filly by Encosta De Lago—sold for A$1.5 million at the Australian Easter Yearling Sale in April 2007. Her second offspring, a strapping colt by Rock of Gibraltar, sold this year for A$500,000 to Katsumi Yoshida, owner of powerful Shadai Farm in Japan.

Grand Couturier (Grand Lodge-Lady Elgar by Sadlers Wells). His second dam is the Foolish Pleasure mare Radiant. In 2007, he won the G1 Sword Dancer and finish 3rd in the G1 Man O’War, but out-of-the-money in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf. He’s likely for this weekend's Man O’War.

Yaqeen (Green Desert-Lady Elgar by Sadlers Wells). A half-sister to Grand Courturier, this filly broke her maiden at second asking last year at Newmarket, and then jumped into G1 company, finishing 6th of 21 in the 1000 Guineas Stakes (6-1/2 length behind Finsceal Beo). Her next outing was the G1 Coronation Stakes at Ascot, where she finished 9th of 13. Given some class relief, she won a listed race against older at Yarmouth in July; just two weeks later, she finished 7th in the G1 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood (won by Peeping Fawn). She hasn’t emerged yet this year, and she’s no longer listed among Godolphin’s runners so she’s either been sold or retired.

Morluc (Housebuster-Flashing Eyes by Time to Explode). His second dam is the Foolish Pleasure mare Foolish Miz. Most of his success came as a turf sprinter, including winning the G3 Aegon Turf Sprint, Kentucky Cup Turf Dash, Nureyev Stakes (twice), Shakertown Stakes, and twice runner-up to Australian champion sprinter Falvelon in the prestigious G2 Hong Kong Sprint—by a head, and a nose, respectively. He stands at stud for $3,500 at Buck Pond Farm in Versailles, Kentucky. He, like Lunar Sovereign, is completely without Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer blood, and instead features such stalwarts (and apparently out-of-fashion) as Black Toney, Bull Dog, Gallant Fox, and Man o’ War (go figure!).

While the above are impressive, there are two more major grass horses descended through the daughters of Foolish Pleasure: Caitano and Desert Fox.

Caitano (Niniski-Eversince by Foolish Pleasure) raced from age 2 to 8. Talk about a horse that ran every big race! Caitano began as a G1-winning 3-year-old in Germany and Italy, and ended up winning graded races in Poland and Turkey as well. But his racing was not limited to Europe. He ran three times in the G1 Hong Kong Vase (3rd in 2000, 4th in 1998), twice in the G1 Japan Cup (best finish—4th in 1997), twice in the Dubai Sheema Classic (2nd in 2000), once in the G1 Canadian International (4th in 2000), once in the G1 Arlington Million (4th in 2001), and once in the G1 Singapore Cup (2nd in 2001).

1998 was a particularly busy year for the globe-trotting Caitano. In June, he finished 9th in the Grand Premio di Milano (IT-G1); a month later, he finished 3rd in the WGZ Bank-Deutschlandpreis (GR-G1). In September, he finished 2nd in the Grosser Preis von Baden (GR-G1); in October, he finished 5th in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (FR-G1). At the beginning of November, he traveled to the U.S., finishing 8th in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf, and then he continued on to Japan where only 22 days later he finished 11th in the G1 Japan Cup. If that weren’t enough, two weeks later he ran in the G2 Hong Kong Vase International, where he finished 4th. The following March, Caitano placed 3rd in the Dubai Turf Classic—that’s 8 races (7-G1s) in 9 months, on 4 continents!

That wouldn’t be the only time Caitano endured such a high-mileage travel schedule. He began 2001 with a 2nd place finish in the Singapore Cup, and then 21 days later finished 6th in the G2 Dubai Sheema Classic. One month later he was back in Hong Kong, running 8th in the G1 QE II Cup. After two races in Germany in June and July, he set off across the Atlantic—finishing 4th in the G1 Arlington Million—and then across the Pacific, to Australia, where—just 10 days apart—he competed in the G1 Cox Plate (7th) and G1 Melbourne Cup (13th of 24). A little over one month later, he was in Hong Kong again for his third G1 Hong Kong Vase. Again, 9 races (6-G1s) in 9 months, on 4 continents!

Of course, Caitano’s sire is the 1979 G1 Irish St. Leger and G1 French Prix Royal-Oak winner—and Chef-de-Race stallion—Niniski. His second dam Eternity (by the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois and G1 Prix Lupin winner Luthier) was a stakes winner in France of nearly $400,000. By French G1 Prix Ganay winner Arctic Tern, Eternity also produced Artic Envoy who, in 1989, finished second in Italy’s G1 Gran Premio d’Italia and G1 Italian Derby. The Foolish Pleasure-Luthier cross appears to have been quite good; the unraced Luthier mare Blithe Spirit, bred to Foolish Pleasure, produced the multiple French stakes winner Bleu Roi.

Desert Fox (Sadler’s Wells-Radiant by Foolish Pleasure) is a full-brother to Lady Elgar and shares similar breeding to 2007 G1 Sword Dancer victor Grand Couturier whose dam Lady Elgar is also the product of Sadler’s Wells and the Foolish Pleasure mare Radiant. At 40-1, Desert Fox finished third in the 1998 G1 Irish Derby, behind French Derby-winner Dream Well with Cash Asmussen up and Saeed Bin Suroor-trained City Honours. It was his ninth race of the year and only second attempt against graded company. He shipped to Hong Kong following his breakout performance in the Irish Derby, but failed to impress in two races at 4 (G1 Hong Kong Derby and G2 Hong Kong Vase). In 2000, though, he came back to win the G3 Sha Tin Trophy, and finish second in the G2 Queen Mother’s Cup before being retired to stud in New Zealand where he now stands for a mere $2,000 NZ.

In addition to being a half-brother to solid G3 winner Home of the Free (Laurel Dash, Knickerbocker Handicap, Jaipur Stakes), Desert Fox is a half to turf sprinter Poolesta (by Hero’s Honor out of the Foolish Pleasure mare Radiant) who followed up good graded stakes performances in Ireland and England at 2 and 3 with victories in the U.S. at 5 in the G3 Affectionately Handicap and Interborough Handicap. Her best progeny thus far is Dragon Welds (by leading turf sire Dynaformer) who, racing in Japan, last year won the grassy 7f Freeway Stakes and 6f September Stakes, placed in the Stork Stakes, and finished third in the 7f G2 Swan Stakes at Kyoto.

Interestingly, Radiant’s dam Ivory Wand (who, incidentally, is the grand-dam of Elusive Quality) was a graded stakes winner on dirt—not surprisingly, as her dam was G1 (Alabama, Monmouth Oaks) winner and 1966 champion three-year-old filly Natashka—but her sire was champion turfer Sir Ivor. Additionally, the Elusive Quality son Smarty Jones is descended from Foolish Pleasure through his dam I'll Get Along who is a daughter of the Foolish Pleasure mare Don't Worry Bout Me. While he never ran on grass, it will be interesting to see if Smarty Jones' progeny have an affinity for turf or artificial surfaces due to his Foolish Pleasure connection.


Anonymous said...

Great article. Too bad Esther isn't around - she would have gotten a kick out of it.

Over the years I would ask how Foolish was doing and she would say, "Shooting bullets." until one year she shook her head and said, " Going down to owning a share - he's shooting blanks."

Looks like those "bullets" have had a far range !