|Reluctant Guest in the summer of 1992...|
Reluctant Guest was a Kentucky-bred foal born February 21, 1986, and sired by Nijinsky’s son Hostage, who had won the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby and was retired with a fracture before the Kentucky Derby in 1982. He stood a few seasons in Kentucky before moving to Brazil. His progeny included just eight unrestricted stakes winners but two of these (Reluctant Guest and Jackie Wackie) were Grade 1 winners in North America. Her dam Vaguely Royal (by Vaguely Noble) was unraced and had three stakes winners from seven known foals -- she was sent to Brazil at 18 and doesn’t appear to have any foals there. Dowery, her 1981 filly by Full Pocket, won the Grade 3 Cotillion Stakes at Keystone in Pennsylvania, and her 1983 Mr. Leader colt Entertain won a small stakes in Maryland and was graded placed.
She was sold by breeder Hillstead Farm to Koichiro Tanikawa for $30,000 at the 1988 Keeneland January sale. Tanikawa spun the filly months later at the May Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sale of two-year-olds in training, when Walmac’s John T.L. Jones Jr. purchased her on behalf of former Dallas, Texas, mayor Robert S. Folsom. Folsom bred multiple Grade 1 winner Some Romance -- like Reluctant Guest a foal of 1986 -- who had been sold for $500,000 to Gene Klein as a yearling.
Trained for Folsom by Richard Mandella, Reluctant Guest was unraced at two and won four of her eight starts at three, proving useful enough to win the listed Senorita Stakes at Hollywood Park.
But Reluctant Guest really found her stride at four. Following an allowance win at Santa Anita in March and an unplaced effort in a Grade 3, she went to post a longshot in the Grade 2 Wilshire Handicap on May 6 at Hollywood. Under Robbie Davis, she drew away to defeat stablemate Beautiful Melody (who, coincidentally, was a half-sister to the dam of Jeanne Jones, whose granddaughter Belle of Perintown featured in a previous post). After the race, Bob Mieszerski of the Los Angeles Times reported that Mandella said, “Her problem is just that she’s not a real strong horse. I mean, when you run her and she gives 100%, it really tires her out. She loses weight and you have to give her enough time to recuperate...I probably haven’t done it enough times with her.”
To that end, Reluctant Guest didn’t start again until June 30th, when she provided Mandella with (one of his many) memorable training feats: she and Beautiful Melody dead-heated for first in the Grade 1 Beverly Hills Handicap. If there’s been another modern-day trainer to saddle dead heat winners of a Grade 1 race, no one springs to mind.
|...and as a young broodmare in foal to Kingmambo in 1994.|
Reluctant Guest placed second to Double Wedge in the Grade 1 Ramona Handicap before shipping to Arlington Park in Illinois for the listed Beverly D. Stakes, in what would be her only race outside of California. She won, breaking Round Table’s course record for 1 3/16 miles by a fifth of a second -- her time was 1:53 1/5 -- and paying $31 under Davis. The Beverly D. has been contested as a Grade 1 race since 1991, the year after Reluctant Guest’s victory.
She didn’t win again in 1990 but had compiled a nice record for the season, with top three finishes in five graded stakes races, plus the Beverly D., in ten starts. She raced for two more years, neither running up to her four-year-old form nor disgracing herself. The only other stakes race she won was the listed Louis R. Rowan Handicap at Santa Anita -- her only black type at five. She placed third, 18 1/2 lengths behind future Eclipse champion Paseana (Arg), in the Grade 2 San Gorgonio Handicap at six on the dirt. Reluctant Guest was retired to Walmac Int’l following a last in the Buena Vista in February, 1992.
She had earned $800,975 and a date with one of the world’s leading sires, Nureyev.
|Reluctant Guest's first foal, Nikiya.|
The resulting foal was a bay filly, Nikiya, born in 1993. She was sold privately and won three of eight starts as a three-year-old in France for Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum, but has shone as a broodmare in Japan for Oiwake Farm. Her son Gold Allure (by Sunday Silence) won five stakes races at two and three, in 2002 and 2003: the February Stakes; Tokyo Daishoten; Japan Dirt Derby; Derby Grand Prix; and Antares Stakes. Gold Allure stands at Shadai Stud, from where he sired Japanese Group 1 winner Espoir City (who ran in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs). Gold Allure’s full brother Nirvana (foal of 2003) is a stakes winner, and full sister Orient Charm (2002) is stakes-placed. Other black-type produce are Group 1 stakes-placed Gorski (2007 colt by Neo Universe; still running as of 2012) and stakes-placed Nataraja (2004 colt by Dance in the Dark), both grandsons of Sunday Silence. Nikiya’s three-year-old Deep Impact colt Rigveda won a race on Saturday (hence this post; and many thanks to Twitter acquaintance @uk_maniax in Japan for the heads up), his second win from three starts.
|Nikiya with a friend, a Bering colt who was later a winner in France.|
[Below is a video of Rigveda’s 1800 meter allowance win at Hanshin on Saturday. He’s the number 2 horse.]
Reluctant Guest’s second foal, the A.P. Indy colt P. T. Indy (“P. T.” was for “Preston Trails,” a small partnership involved with Folsom in Reluctant Guest), was her only stakes winner. He won two races -- a maiden special weight and the Pirate Cove Stakes, both at Santa Anita and when trained by Richard Mandella -- and ran second in two Grade 3s, the Will Rogers and Cinema Handicaps. He sired six graded stakes winners in Brazil.
|Reluctant Guest and her A.P. Indy colt P. T. Indy having a big ol' scratch.|
Honestly Darling, the only other black-type runner out of Reluctant Guest, came along in 1998. The flashy daughter of Kingmambo was an $800,000 yearling and while she didn’t quite live up to that hype, she won four races -- including her first start, a maiden special weight on turf at Hialeah for Bill Mott -- and placed third in the 2002 Dahlia Handicap-G2 at Hollywood for Bobby Frankel. Interestingly for a daughter of a mare who dead-heated in a major race, she was close to one herself, just a neck behind dead-heaters Surya and Tout Charmant in the Dahlia. Honestly Darling went on to become the dam of a very nice horse, Irrefutable (by Unbridled’s Song), who though not a stakes winner was second as a five-year-old in the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes, the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap, and the Grade 3 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes, in which Comma to the Top (who won Saturday’s Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap) ran last. The Bob Baffert-trainee collapsed and died immediately after the Underwood. Honestly Darling is now a broodmare in Japan, where her youngest known foals are three-year-old A Shin Go Go (colt by Agnes Tachyon) and an unnamed two-year-old colt by Zenno Rob Roy -- by sons of Sunday Silence, following the pattern that has worked with Nikiya.
|Reluctant Guest's graded stakes-placed Kingmambo filly Honestly Darling (and lots of mud) in 1998.|
The placed Miswaki filly Reluctant Maggie, a foal of 1997, produced the stakes-placed Gentlemen gelding Bob O’s Boy, one of her two foals.
Other Reluctant Guest daughters are Gentle Guest (no foals); Gentlemen’s Guest (broodmare in Ireland; her most recent foal is two-year-old Rock of Gibraltar colt Strait Run); Novograd (dam of a winner plus two-year-old Rhinestone Justice, filly by Notional; yearling Fancy Justice, colt by Lantana Mob; and bred to Spanish Steps for a foal of 2013); and Where’s Mimi (bred to Misremembered for a foal of 2013, which would be her first).
Reluctant Guest resided at Walmac until the latter part of her breeding career, when she moved to the Folsom family’s spread in Texas and had two more babies. No death report is on file, so it’s possible that she’s still alive at the age of 27. (If anyone out there knows the answer, I’d love an update.) At our initial meeting, during one of my summer vacations and while she was in foal with Nikiya, she tried to run me down -- less than a minute after I snapped the picture at the top of this post, actually. In fairness to her, the object of her wrath was the farm owner’s Labrador, who I didn’t notice had followed me into the paddock. Trust me: outrunning a charging Grade 1-winning racehorse is not a simple task, and she came very close to grabbing the dog before she turned on me. After she’d had a couple of foals, she settled down enough to where she was approachable and personable. I never knew her to be mean again, but she was a bold mare and I always kept an eye on her.
Outside of Japan, the Vaguely Royal line exists primarily through Dowery, the dam of Grade 2 winner Minister Wife; and Bridal Wreath (by Stop the Music). Female-line graded winners descended from Vaguely Royal are Furthest Land-G1; Dynever-G2; Meter Maid-G3; Tessa Blue-G3; Marietta-G3; Lemon Maid-G3; and Effectual-G3.
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Reluctant Guest’s produce record:
~1993 Nikiya (f. by Nureyev). Winner. Stakes producer.
~1994 P. T. INDY (c. by A.P. Indy). Stakes winner. Sire.
~1995 Muldoon (c. by Kingmambo). Unraced. Sire.
~1996 aborted (to Storm Bird)
~1997 Reluctant Maggie (f. by Miswaki). Placed. Stakes producer.
~1998 Honestly Darling (f. by Kingmambo). Graded stakes-placed winner. Graded stakes producer.
~1999 Gentle Guest (f. by Miswaki). Unraced.
~2000 Gentlemen’s Guest (f. by Gentlemen (Arg)). Winner.
~2001 Novograd (f. by Gentlemen (Arg)). Unraced. Producer.
~2002 Donnybrook Joy (c. by Stravinsky). Winner.
~2003 Netski Alexander (c. by Minardi). Winner.
~2004 Gentleman Joe (g. by Gentlemen (Arg)). Winner.
~2005 barren (to Aptitude)
~2006 no report
~2007 Where’s Mimi (f. by Magic Cat). Winner.
~2008 Reluctant Cat (g. by Magic Cat). Unplaced.
|Reluctant Guest playing in the water tank. Making a mess!|