Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Frenchie and Lulu

Lulu nuzzling Frenchie.
I was treated by Jen Roytz, marketing and communications director at Three Chimneys, to a pasture visit with the retired broodmares at the Midway, Kentucky, farm yesterday. There are some prominent broodmares pensioned there -- including 31-year-old Albertine -- who are more than worthy of a blog post...however, as someone who is obsessed with Nureyev, my primary interest was in meeting the stallion’s 27-year-old daughter Action Francaise and 26-year-old daughter Louveterie, so for today, I will concentrate on these old gals.

(Incidentally, I met Louveterie many years ago when I was at Three Chimneys to see Kentucky Derby winner Genuine Risk and was inexplicably drawn to a random chestnut mare poking her head over the fence. Im not too embarrassed to admit that I threw my arms around Louveterie’s neck after I read her nameplate, and that I was more excited to meet her than I was Genuine Risk.)

I was happy -- more than happy -- to observe that Action Francaise (or “Frenchie,” as she is known around the farm) and Louveterie (a.k.a. “Lulu”) are best buds. Frenchie efficiently and rather impolitely, to my amusement, chased away every mare who got near her who wasn’t Lulu. Both Nureyev mares are kind and curious, and appreciative of scratches (and carrots). Action Francaise resembles her sire quite a bit, especially around her head and eye, so I was immediately in love.

Action Francaise (Frenchie)
But Action Francaise is more than just Nureyev’s daughter. Shes also the only stakes winner produced from 1974 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Allez France, a daughter of Arc winner *Sea-Bird out of Priceless Gem, who was a great-granddaughter of La Troienne, one of the most influential broodmares in racing history.

French Art dealer Daniel Wildenstein purchased Allez France as a youngster and named her thus, if memory serves, to get a kick out of hearing announcers call her name, which translates to “Go France.” She was a Group 1 winner and champion in France each season she raced -- from two to five -- earning a Horse of the Year title at four. In addition to the Arc, she won seven Group 1s, two of which -- the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and the Prix de Diane (over subsequent English Horse of the Year, and eventual U.S. champion, Dahlia) -- were classics, and she placed second to Rheingold in the 1973 Arc.

Brought to the U.S. in 1975 and retired after one unsuccessful start, Allez France presumably experienced fertility woes, because she had just four foals, in 1980, 1984, 1985, and 1988. If that’s the case, then it’s almost a miracle that she was able to get in foal to Nureyev, a sub-fertile stallion.

Although by far the most accomplished of her dam’s offspring -- only one of the other four was a winner -- Action Francaise did not prove to have anything near the racecourse ability of her dam. In five starts (four in France, one in England) at two and three, she won twice, including the Group 3 Prix de Sandringham -- her only black-type -- and placed once.

She did, however, surpass Allez France as a broodmare.

Action Francaise is the dam of 15 foals, nine of them winners including five at stakes level:

~1993 ANDROID (c. by Riverman). Group 3 winner, Group 1 placed; sire.
~1995 ASTORG (f. by Lear Fan). Listed stakes winner; stakes producer.
~1997 AIRLINE (f. by Woodman). Listed stakes winner; stakes producer.
~2000 ART MODERNE (c. by Woodman). Stakes winner, Group 3 placed.
~2006 ARTICLE RARE (f. by El Prado). Group 3 winner.

Airline’s Sadler’s Wells daughter Argentina (Ire) never won more than a Listed race, but placed second or third in five G1s, including a second in the Prix de Diane and a second and a third in the Diana Stakes in the U.S. Astorg’s Asti (also by Sadler’s Wells) has a similar story, with one Listed stakes win at Belmont and multiple Graded/Group placings, including a second in the Prix Saint-Alary-G1. Two other daughters of Action Francaise -- Aventuriere (by Alysheba) and Astina (Slew o’ Gold) -- are dams of stakes winners in India.

Article Rare, the final foal from Action Francaise, is at the start of her breeding career and carries high hopes to contribute further black-type to this family. Her first foal -- a son of Dalakhani -- is a yearling, and she has a 2012 colt by Oasis Dream.

Action Francaise’s classic-placed pasture-mate and fellow Nureyev daughter Louveterie (bred and owned by the Wildenstein family, too) was also lightly raced, making only four starts at two and three, with two wins and two seconds. At three in 1989, she won the Prix Vanteaux-G3 and placed in the Prix de Diane-G1 (a race that her granddam had won) and Prix Saint-Alary-G1.

Louveterie (Lulu)
Whereas Allez France had a ready-made pedigree, *Lupe II -- Louveterie’s dam -- was more obscurely bred, by Primera (a dual Princess of Wales’s Stakes winner who was second in the St. Leger) out of the Alycidon mare Alcoa. Primera sired 16 stakes winners, the best of which was champion Lupe, who won the Oaks, Coronation Cup-G1, Yorkshire Oaks, Cheshire Oaks, and Princess of Wales Stakes-G3 in 1970.

Lupe foaled five Group stakes winners, all for Wildenstein: Lascaux-G2 (c. by Irish River; sire of one stakes winner); Legend of France-G3 (c. by Lyphard; sire of seven stakes winners); Leonardo da Vinci-G3 (c. by Brigadier Gerard); L’Ile du Reve-G3 (f. by Bold Lad; like her dam, she won the Cheshire Oaks); and Louveterie-G3. Two of her daughters -- stakes-placed Louve Bleue (by Irish River, dam of Listed winner Louve Mysterieuse) and Louveterie -- became stakes producers.

As Action Francaise was the one to enhance Allez France’s line, so Louveterie did for Lupe. From 11 foals, Louveterie is represented by five stakes horses:

~1993 LOUP SOLITAIRE (c. by Lear Fan). French champion, Group 1 winner; sire.
~1994 LOUP SAUVAGE (c. by Riverman). French highweight, Group 1 winner; sire.
~1995 Loudeac (c. by Riverman). Group 2-placed winner; sire.
~1996 LOUVE (f. by Irish River). Group 3 winner; stakes producer.
~1999 Louveteau (c. by Bahri). Group 2-placed winner; sire.

Daughter Louve is the dam of Loup Breton, a Grade 2 winner in the U.S. and a Group 2 winner in France who is Group 1 placed in both countries, by Anabaa; and Louve Royale, a Listed winner who was multiple Grade 3 placed, by Peintre Celebre (an Arc-winning son of Nureyev for the Wildensteins). Another daughter, Louve Sacree (by Seeking the Gold), produced French stakes winner Lungwa, by One Cool Cat.

Loup Solitaire has sired 11 stakes winners, including Gentoo, who has two French Group 1 wins to his credit. Loup Sauvage has three stakes winners, two Group 3. One of these, Love and Bubbles, is the dam of 2012 Tokyo Yushun-G1 (Japanese Derby) winner Deep Brillante.

Louveterie’s last foal is a three-year-old War Chant filly named Licorne Bleue. She is unplaced in two starts to date, racing in France for Ecurie Wildenstein and trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre.

Now, I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t point out that a number of the stakes winners under Action Francaise and Louveterie are inbred to Nureyev’s female family: Article Rare, Astorg, Asti, and Argentina for Action Francaise, and Louve Solitaire and Louve Royale for Louveterie.

Many thanks to Jen and Three Chimneys for a memorable afternoon.

Action Francaise hot on my trail and too close for a photo, looking more for another headscratch than a carrot, though she gracefully accepted both.


  1. Thanks for such a delightful post. It warms my heart to learn that these retired broodmares are given such a good life of ease in their retirment from their reproductive values. Thanks to Three Chimneys. Thank you!

  2. Loved the article about two of the ladies. They are both some amazing mares and I am glad you came to visit them. Thank you for what you do!

  3. Celeste,

    Yes, in this day and age, it's nice to be reminded that there are people who value their horses past the point where they are able to generate money for them.

    I always appreciate your comments, you are very kind!


  4. And thank you, Cher, for taking such great care of all the old gals! I'm glad I came to visit them, too; it put a big smile on my face and I think they all (except perhaps Bertie, who said, rather amusingly, "No way are you going to catch me!") enjoyed the scratches, carrots, and Jen's peppermints.