Friday, April 22, 2011

Pattern for Success

Last weekend’s $1,000,000, Grade 1 Arkansas Derby winner Archarcharch (Arch – Woodman’s Dancer, by Woodman) has arrived at Churchill Downs ahead of a planned start in the Kentucky Derby on May 7. His popular trainer “Jinks” Fires hopes to pull off a huge score with Robert and Loval Yagos’s colt, who despite a third (albeit distant) in the Grade 2 Rebel and a win in the Grade 3 Southwest, Archarcharch paid more than $50 to win the Arkansas Derby. 

Archarcharch is familiar with the track at Churchill, where in late November he made his first start, running second in a maiden special weight before shipping to warmer climates for the winter and spring racing seasons. 

Churchill is also, of course, the scene of the thrilling 2010 Breeder’s Cup Classic won by Blame three weeks before Archarcharch’s debut, as well as where Pine Island broke down during the 2006 Distaff. Besides being by Arch, Blame and Pine Island have something else in common with Archarcharch: damsires by sons of Mr. Prospector out of daughters of Buckpasser. Historically, Roberto and Mr. Prospector nick well in pedigrees together, but these three are the only Grade 1 winners to have emerged to date through Arch. 

Arch, sire of Archarcharch (obviously!).
Blame and Pine Island are out of mares by Seeking the Gold, while Archarcharch’s broodmare sire is Woodman. (Seeking the Gold and Woodman are both from Phipps female families as well.) Another of Arch’s stakes winners, Arch Mistress (a Group 3 filly in South Africa), is out of a mare by Black Tie Affair (Ire), whose sire Miswaki is another representative of the Mr. Prospector/Buckpasser cross. 

But Blame and Archarcharch have a deeper connection, and not just that the sires of their second dams (Nijinsky II for Blame and Nureyev for Archarcharch) are sons of Northern Dancer: Blame’s granddam Bound is a three-parts sister to Archarcharch’s great-grandsire Nureyev, putting the mare Special in the third generation of Blame and fourth of Archarcharch. 

What is also interesting (well, least to me) is that Nureyev appears in three other stakes winners sired by Arch. Two of these – Irish Group 3 winner Arch Swing and Arch Rebel (also in Ireland, a 16-furlong, Group 2 winner over hurdles and later a three-time Listed winner from a mile to 10 furlongs on the flat) – are, coincidentally (?!), closely related to Archarcharch through their second dam, Pattern Step

Pattern Step in early 2006, before foaling her last known foal, a winning colt by Vindication.
Trained by Charlie Whittingham for owner/breeder Nelson Bunker Hunt (of Dahlia fame), this daughter of Nureyev won 5-of-12 starts and finished second four times at two and three, all while racing exclusively in California. She won the Hollywood Oaks-G1 on the dirt (a very rare Grade 1 winner on that surface for turfy sire Nureyev) and the Listed Providencia Stakes (on turf), and placed in the Grade 3 Honeymoon Handicap, Santa Ysabel Stakes, and Senorita Stakes. (Her dam, the *Commanding II mare Tipping Time, had also won the 1969 Hollywood Oaks.) 

As a broodmare, Pattern Step foaled two minor stakes winners (Seattle Pattern, by Seattle Slew; and Total Bull, by Fusaichi Pegasus) from 13 foals, but as a graded stakes-winning daughter of the great broodmare sire Nureyev, her produce record is disappointing. 

Pattern Step has, however, come good through her daughters, especially when Arch is involved. Three individual daughters – Gold Pattern (winner; by Slew o’ Gold, whose dam is, like Woodman, out of a Buckpasser mare), Sheba’s Step (unraced; by Alysheba and therefore linebred to the Rough Shod family), and Woodman’s Step (Grade 2 stakes-placed; by Woodman) – are responsible for three of Arch’s 26 stakes winners. (Another daughter, the Mr. Prospector mare Nortena, is dam of a stakes winner by Arch’s sire Kris S.)

It’s fair to suggest that Archarcharch owes his existence to the previous success of Arch Swing, who in addition to being a Group 3 winner was second in the Irish 1,000 Guineas-G1, and Arch Rebel. The three-year-old has already surpassed his cousins, and whether or not he wins the Kentucky Derby in two weeks, one could say that the pattern for success is in his genes. 

Pattern Step

1 comment:

  1. Frances,

    This is an interesting take on the pedigree factors behind Archarcharch, who shapes up as a pretty nice dark horse for the Derby.

    When I was writing about Vinery's breeding the colt, I wondered about Hunt and Pattern Step but didn't have time to investigate that part of the story.

    I'm glad you did!