Thursday, January 31, 2013

Macoumba and Malibu Moon

Macoumba on a gray summer day in 2010.
This entry is on a personal favorite mare, Macoumba, who has exerted a great influence on modern racing despite not producing a stakes winner -- although there is still time for that to happen.

Macoumba raced exclusively in France, where in two starts at two she broke her maiden and won the Prix Marcel Boussac Criterium des Pouliches-G1, both at Longchamp, for trainer Criquette Head-Maarek. As a three-year-old, she hit the board once, winning the black-type Prix Imprudence, in four starts. At the conclusion of her racing career in July, 1995, the de Chambure family’s Haras d’Etreham sold her privately to B. Wayne Hughes.

The bay filly was imported to the United States and she began her broodmare career at Walmac Int’l. As Group 1 winner by Mr. Prospector and a half-sister to Septieme Ciel -- a stallion standing at Walmac at the time -- Macoumba was ridiculously well bred but she wasn’t the easiest of horses to fool around with. Like many graded stakes-winning fillies, she could be tough. As I got to know her better, I loved to go into the field and wait for her to come to me -- she always did -- for a head scratch. I had to hold my hand out for Macoumba to use as a scratching post. If I didn’t, she would halfway knock me down rubbing her head on my arm, shoulder, back, face -- wherever Her Majesty pleased. She lived at Walmac until Hughes bought Spendthrift Farm and moved his stock there.

There wouldn’t be many racemares successful at the top level who are better bred than Macoumba. One of 45 Grade/Group 1 winners for Mr. Prospector, she was the seventh of thirteen foals out of her dam Maximova (Fr), a Group 1 winner against colts in France and classic-placed (against fillies) in Ireland (second in the Irish One Thousand Guineas) and France (third in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches - French One Thousand Guineas). Like Macoumba, she was trained by Criquette Head-Maarek. At stud, the 1980-foaled daughter of Green Dancer had five stakes winners: Septieme Ciel-G1 (by Seattle Slew); Macoumba-G1; Maxigroom-G3 (Blushing Groom); Balchaia (Nureyev); and Manureva (Nureyev), later the dam of G1 winner/millionaire Riviera.

Macoumba's half-brother Septieme Ciel in 1995 (the date on the scanned photo is wrong).
Septieme Ciel was Maximova’s leading runner. He won five races, most notably the Prix de la Foret-G1, Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte-G2, Prix Thomas Bryon-G3, and Prix Messidor-G3, under the tutelage Criquette Head. He also finished second by a head to Itsallgreektome in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in 1990, despite being bumped twice in the stretch. Septieme Ciel stood at Walmac in Kentucky until moving to Haras d’Etreham in France in 1998, and he was later sold to Dairy House Stud in England. As far as I know, he’s still there, alive and kicking at the age of 26. The best of his 24 stakes winners are Oak Leaf Stakes-G1 winner Vivid Angel and American Gipsy, a multiple Group 1 winner in Brazil. Among seven Grade 1 winners out of Septieme Ciel mares are Cirrus des Aigles (three Group 1 wins through 2012); Happy Ticket; and Officer and Proud Accolade, both of whom won the Champagne Stakes at Belmont.

But it is Septieme Ciel’s half-sister Macoumba whose accomplishments have kept this family relevant in the 2000s. Here is her produce record:

~1997 Malibu Moon (c. by A.P. Indy). Winner in 2 starts at 2, $33,840.
~1998 Somethingdangerous (g. by Danzig). 14 wins, 4 to 11, $304,431.
~1999 Curriculum (f. by Danzig). Unraced.
~2000 Parker’s Storm Cat (c. by Storm Cat). Winner at 3, $40,800.
~2001 Lady Nichola (f. by A.P. Indy). Placed in 1 start at 2, $9,800.
~2002 dead foal (by A.P. Indy)
~2003 no report
~2004 British Medium (c. by Storm Cat). 2 wins at 4, $52,802.
~2005 Patricias Prospect (f. by A.P. Indy). Unraced.
~2006 Malvinia (f. by A.P. Indy). Placed at 4, $5,440.
~2007 Mutually Benefit (f. by Dynaformer). 3 wins at 4, $146,289, 3rd CTT and Thoroughbred Owners of California H. [L].
~2008 Messner (c. by Bernardini). Unplaced in 2 starts at 2.
~2009 barren (to Bernardini)
~2010 Positively (c. by Distorted Humor). Winner at 2, 2012, $86,515, 2nd Iroquois S.-G3, Bashford Manor S.-G3.
~2011 Fiji Moon (f. by Indian Charlie). Sold to Solis Bloodstock for $650,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale.
~2012 Unnamed (c. by Indian Charlie).
~2013 (bred to Tizway)

Macoumba as a younger broodmare, in 1999.
Her first foal, Malibu Moon (whose sire A.P. Indy is a son of Septieme Ciel’s sire Seattle Slew), had a freak injury as a weanling, breaking two sesamoids when he was running and slid in the mud. After months of stall rest, the regally bred colt was physically backward compared to his contemporaries. But when he went into training with Mel Stute, he soon showed his connections that he was fast. Very fast. The Hughes homebred was tearing up the Southern California racetracks in the mornings and went off the favorite in both his starts, maiden special weights at Hollywood, where he was second on April 30, 1999, and won (he paid $2.80) on May 31.

Macoumba's first foal, an A.P. Indy colt born on February 23, 1997 -- leading sire Malibu Moon. I have a better picture, somewhere. Somewhere...
Handsome little guy.
Injury cut short his career before he could run again, but Malibu Moon was given a chance at stud. He started out at Country Life Farm in Maryland for $3,000. When his first crop yielded Perfect Moon, who won the Best Pal Stakes-G2 and the Hollywood Juvenile Championship-G2 at two in 2003, Malibu Moon’s ticket to Kentucky was booked for the 2004 season. At $10,000, his fee was modest while he had to prove he belonged in the Kentucky market. He was raised to $17,500 after coming up with champion two-year-old Declan’s Moon in his second crop. Today, Malibu Moon is one of the most sought-after sires in the industry, standing for $70,000 at his owner’s historic Spendthrift. 

"All growed up" -- Malibu Moon in January, 2013. A plate bearing the name of his grandsire Seattle Slew, who once stood at Spendthrift, is on the door behind him.
Malibu Moon’s graded stakes winners to date are:

~Declans Moon-G1 (2002; out of Vee Vee Star, by Norquestor): champion 2-year-old
~Ask the Moon-G1 (2005; Always Asking, Valid Appeal)
~Devil May Care-G1 (2007; Kellis Ransom, Red Ransom) *died of lymphosarcoma in 2011
~Edens Moon-G1 (2009; Eden’s Causeway, Giant’s Causeway)
~Funny Moon-G1 (2006; Fun Crowd, Easy Goer)
~Life At Ten-G1 (2005; Rahrahsixboombah, Rahy): millionaire
~Malibu Mint-G1 (2002; Ivory Mint, Key to the Mint)
~Malibu Prayer-G1 (2006; Grand Prayer, Grand Slam)
~Kauai Katie-G2 (2010; More Than Pretty, More Than Ready)
~Luna Vega-G2 (2005; Donnavega, Rock Royalty)
~Malibu Pier-G2 (2007; Blue Moon, Lomitas)
~Moon Catcher-G2 (2004; Smartster, Smarten)
~More Chocolate-G2 (2009; Little Treasure, Night Shift)
~Perfect Moon-G2 (2001; Perfectly, Parfaitement)
~Prospective-G2 (2009; Spirited Away, Awesome Again)
~Raw Silk-G2 (2005; Silken Sash, Danehill)
~Sara Louise-G2 (2006; Kings Lynn, Mt. Livermore)
~Sweet August Moon-G2 (2005; Silent Academy, Royal Academy)
~Ah Day-G3 (2003; Endette, Thirty Eight Paces)
~Bobina-G3 (2009; Maliziosa, Dynaformer)
~Hot Summer-G3 (2008; Summer Delight, Quiet American)
~Moonwalk-G3 (2010; Lucinda K, Red Ransom)
~Oydsseus-G3 (2007; Persimmon Hill, Conquistador Cielo) *died of laminitis after contracting colitis in 2010
~Rodman-G3 (2005; Crystal Gem, Affirmed) *died early in his first season at stud
~Winding Way-G3 (2009; More Than Pretty, More Than Ready)

full siblings

Known, as you can see, for his fillies, Malibu Moon is overdue for a big colt. Perhaps three-year-old Orb, who recently won at Gulfstream Park and was profiled by Sid Fernando on his blog, will be the one who steps up to the plate. But his star so far in 2013 is three-year-old Kauai Katie, already winner of the Forward Gal Stakes-G2 and the Old Hat Stakes-G3 in 2013 and of two Grade 2s -- the Matron Stakes and Adirondack Stakes -- last year. Her only career loss is a fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies-G1.

Eden’s Moon (there’s a photo here) was sold as a racing or broodmare prospect to Mandore International Agency for $1,525,000 at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton November sale, while Prospective, featured in a post last spring, won five stakes races at three and ran in the Kentucky Derby (as did the filly Devil May Care in 2010). In off-track news, Declan’s Moon is participating in the Retired Racehorse Retraining Project 100 Day Thoroughbred Challenge.

A Malibu Moon filly out of More Than Pretty breezing at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale in March, 2012. Better known now as Kauai Katie, she won her first start by 12 lengths at Saratoga and has three Grade 2 wins and one Grade 3.
Back to Macoumba, of her other foals, three-year-old colt Positively was multiple graded stakes-placed in 2012; Mutually Benefit is stakes-placed; and Parker’s Storm Cat is standing stud at Gibson Thoroughbred Farm in Washington (after also beginning his career at Country Life) and has sired millionaire/Grade 3 winner Ben’s Cat. Messner, by A.P. Indy’s son Bernardini and thus bred similarly to Malibu Moon, is at Penn Ridge Farms in Pennsylvania for his first breeding season, covering on a $1,500 fee.

Curriculum as a foal in 1999, with her dam Macoumba in the background.
Daughters of Macoumba have made a good start to their broodmare careers. Curriculum’s second foal is Grade 3 winner Temple City (by Dynaformer), who is standing his third season at stud, breeding for $5,000 at Spendthrift alongside his close relative Malibu Moon. Temple City has a two-year-old full brother named Box Score, and their dam was bred to Tiz Wonderful in 2012. Another Macoumba daughter, Lady Nichola, is represented by Grade 3 winner Worth Repeating, by Giant’s Causeway, and was bred to Tizway for her 2013 foal.

Curriculum's son Temple City at Spendthrift Farm in January, 2013.
Mutually Benefit just had her first foal, a colt by Tapit (a grandson of A.P. Indy) born on January 27. Malibu Moon’s full sister Patricias Prospect (whose oldest foal is four) also has a January foal, a filly by Eskendereya -- this in addition to a yearling filly by Warrior’s Reward and a two-year-old by Tiz Wonderful (named All for Us). Malvinia, the other full sister, has no surviving foals yet but was bred to Giant’s Causeway for this year.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bullet Train at Wintergreen

Here is Group 3 winner, and a Sadler’s Wells three-quarters brother to champion Frankel (by Galileo; both Juddmonte homebreds are out of Danehill’s stakes-winning daughter Kind). The six-year-old is at Wintergreen Stallion Station, standing his first season at stud in 2013 for $7,500. Not the best pictures -- it was very cold and windy!

If you want to read about Bullet Train, my friend Sid Fernando posted a blog entry (with a video) just this morning.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bayakoa in Chinatown Redux; or My Mother, My Daughter

It’s going to take some doing to knock the great racemare and producer Personal Ensign off the pedestal as the female with most clout at the Breeders’ Cup -- she, of course, won the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, her daughter My Flag won the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and granddaughter (out of My Flag) Storm Flag Flying won the 2002 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Primal Force has done okay at the Breeders’ Cup as well, with two winners, Awesome Again in the 1998 Classic and Macho Uno in the 2000 Juvenile.

But when Fort Larned won the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic, I made note of an interesting singularity: a mare named Arlucea was now the dam of two Breeders’ Cup winners. Of course, it is not the same Arlucea, but they are granddam/granddaughter: the first was a 1974 Argentine model by Good Manners (a son of Nashua) who won a Listed race and was second in a Group 3 in Argentina; and the second -- Fort Larned’s dam -- is a 1997 daughter of Broad Brush. The link between Arlucea (Arg) and Arlucea is the former’s daughter and the latter’s dam, champion Bayakoa (Arg).

Straight outta Chinatown, no?

Sired by the Bold Bidder horse Consultant’s Bid, Bayakoa was born on October 10, 1984, and was trained in South America by Jorge Machado and started eight times at two and three (in Southern Hemisphere time, that was the 1986/1987 and 1987/1988 seasons), winning three races. Her lone stakes win (and indeed, her only win at three) came against colts in the Group 1 Premio Palermo -- she won by 12 lengths -- and she was second in both the Polla de Potrancas-Argentine One Thousand Guineas-G1 and the Gran Premio San Isidro-G1. Americans Janis and Frank Whitham purchased her for about $300,000 and imported her to the California barn of legendary trainer Ron McAnally.

The bay debuted with an allowance victory in May, 1988, at Hollywood Park, after which she was vanned off due to heat prostration. Her next two starts, a sixth in the Lady Canterbury Handicap at Canterbury and a fifth in Del Mar’s Osunitas Handicap, didn’t foreshadow what a monster she was to become. On her next outing, she took the June Darling Stakes, also at Del Mar, in September, but failed to reach the winner’s circle again in three subsequent starts to close out the year.

In 24 more career starts, she was only to finish out of the top two four times.

Bayakoa opened her account in 1989 with an 12-length allowance win and a second (after breaking through the gate prior to the start) in the Santa Maria Handicap-G2, both at Santa Anita in January. She followed up with five consecutive wins: Santa Margarita Invitational H.-G1, Apple Blossom H.-G1, Hawthorne H.-G2, Milady H.-G1, and Vanity H.-G1, before a sixth in the Grade 2 Chula Vista H. The mare resumed her winning ways for her final three starts of the season, winning three Grade 1s -- the Ruffian H. (at Belmont in New York), Spinster S. (at Keeneland in Kentucky) by 11 1/2 lengths, and Breeders’ Cup Distaff (at Gulfstream Park in Florida). Among the vanquished in the Distaff were 1988 Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors, 1988 Kentucky Oaks winner Goodbye Halo (who had beaten Bayakoa in the Chula Vista), 1989 Filly Triple Crown winner Open Mind, and Gorgeous.

It goes without saying that Bayakoa was voted 1989 champion female in the U.S.

She began 1990 where 1989 had left off, with firsts in the Grade 1 Santa Maria and Santa Margarita Handicaps. She disappointed in her next, against males in the Santa Anita Handicap, coming in tenth. In her next start, she was second to Gorgeous (second to Bayakoa in the 1989 Breeders’ Cup Distaff) by 2 3/4 lengths in the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn. Two more wins -- in the Hawthorne H.-G2 and Milady H.-G1 -- followed a second to males in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap in August. Bayakoa toted 122 pounds in that race, versus 116 to 111 for her rivals, including 115 for winner Quiet American, who was about two lengths ahead at the wire.

Bayakoa rebounded with three wins in her next three starts, the Grade 2 Chula Vista and two Grade 1s: the Spinster (over Gorgeous) and the gruesome, tragedy-marred Breeders’ Cup Distaff, during which three-year-old Go for Wand broke a leg while duking it out with Bayakoa on Belmont’s homestretch.

The Whithams’ mare retained her Eclipse title as the nation’s champion female.

She continued to race in 1991. In three starts, she was fourth of four in the Santa Maria-G1, second in the Santa Margarita-G1, and sixth of sixth in the Apple Blossom on April 19th, after which she was retired.

In all, Bayakoa won 21 of 39 races and ran second nine times, earning $2,861,701, and was at her optimum over a distance of 9 furlongs. Among her 13 Grade 1 victories were back-to-back runnings of four prestigious events: the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Santa Margarita, Spinster, and Milady. She was ridden regularly by Laffitt Pincay Jr., although Chris McCarron deputized on several occasions.

Bayakoa was not an easy horse. She was high-strung, which often worked against her and affected her performance. In addition to being a nervous wreck, she was severely parrot-mouthed (Google a picture, like this one of her winning the Ruffian Handicap!) and crooked-legged. Odds were stacked against her to become a good broodmare, and she certainly didn’t.

Her first foal was the unraced Trinity Place, a chestnut daughter of Strawberry Road born on April 22, 1992, almost a year to the day of Bayakoa’s final race.

A date with Seattle Slew produced the colt De Sarmiento in 1993. Trained by McAnally, he made just one start, at three, and came in tenth.

Bayakoa with her 1993 Seattle Slew colt. This photo was published in the now-defunct Thoroughbred Times.
Bayakoa was barren to Nureyev in 1994 and had an unraced filly, Morocha, by Kris S. in 1995. She aborted a Seattle Slew foal in 1996 and foundered after delivering her last foal, Arlucea, on May 7, 1997. Five weeks later -- on June 14th -- Bayakoa passed away, a year before her induction in the Hall of Fame. She’s interred at Pennbrook Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, which is also the final resting place of Au Printemps, whose son Success Express won the 1997 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Arlucea was the only produce out of her dam to win a race, taking a maiden special weight at Santa Anita as a three-year-old for the Janis Whitham and McAnally team. She failed to hit the board again in six subsequent starts.

But as is so often the case with great racemares, despite a dismal produce record, Bayakoa’s influence did not die with her. Trinity Place later became the dam of four-time Grade 1 winner Affluent, a 1998 daughter of Affirmed owned by Whitham and trained by McAnally. Among other wins, she won the Queen Elizabeth Invitational Challenge Cup-G1, John C. Mabee/Ramona Handicap-G1, La Brea Stakes-G1, and the Santa Monica Handicap-G1, and earned just short of $1.5 million. Affluent even finished second to another great racemare, Azeri, in a race her granddam had won, the Apple Blossom.

Arlucea is the dam of Fort Larned, a five-year-old son of E Dubai, who was runner up (by a tally of 139 votes to 109) last night for the 2012 Eclipse Award as champion older male. He races for Whitham but, unlike the other top horses in the family, is trained by Ian Wilkes. His eight wins in 19 starts to date include last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Whitney Handicap, two of the most celebrated Grade 1s in N.A., and he set a 1 3/16-mile track record of 1:53.92 last year at Gulfstream Park. His earnings to date exceed $3.6 million.

Arlucea has two other stakes horses: Izarra (a filly by Distorted Humor), who ran second in the Oak Leaf S.-G1 and third in the Del Mar Debutante-G1, both in 2007; and Moonport, a gelded son of Cape Canaveral. (As a sidenote to the Arlucea (Arg)/Arlucea connection, the 1964-foaled Izarra, by Right of Way, is granddam of Arlucea (Arg) and therefore fifth dam of the Arlucea’s daughter Izarra.)

Morocha didn’t produce any foals, while Bayakoa’s one son, De Sarmiento, sired one crop (of 25 foals) before his death in 1999. One of these, Bayakoa’s Image, won five stakes in Restricted company.

Fort Larned remains in training in 2013. He has an unraced three-year-old, Lent, by Pulpit, and Fort Wallace, a two-year-old by Bernardini, to follow. Their half-sister Izarra has two foals: Hike (2011 filly by Stroll) and a yearling filly by Sky Mesa. She was bred to Mineshaft for 2013. (All three of her foals 

Affluent is the only daughter of Trinity Place, who died in 2008, and has yet to produce any stakes horses. Her three-year-old is a gelded and unnamed son of Giant’s Causeway. She has a two-year-old by Pulpit and was bred to Lonhro for her foal of 2013.

Bayakoa has two races named in her honor -- a Listed race, the Clasico Bayakoa, at San Isidro in Argentina; and from 1994 to date, the Bayakoa Handicap, a Grade 2 at Hollywood Park. Previous winners of the Bayakoa include three who’ve won it twice: Manistique and Starrer (both back-to-back), and Star Parade. Sharp Cat and Hollywood Story also have the Bayakoa on their resumes.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hunter's January Highlights: Keertana and Snow Top Mountain

Snow Top Mountain (left) with Four Star's own, and Brownwood advisor, Tony Lacy and Keertana, held by Brownwood manager Darrell Curry.  The half-sisters sold for $950,000 and $1,000,000, respectively.
It has been an unseasonably warm January, which is always appreciated during horse sales, when buyers, consignors, and sales help spend eight-to-twelve hours working outside. Still, we were too busy showing horses to have much time to either complain about or enjoy the weather.

Tony playing with Snow Top Mountain while she waited to be inspected.
Following the passing of Ms. Barbara Hunter of Brownwood Farm in November, Four Star Sales’ Keeneland January consignment included Hunter’s multiple Grade 3-winning, Tom Proctor-trained half-sisters Keertana (who aborted her first foal, a colt by Arch, in December) and Snow Top Mountain (carrying her first foal, by Blame), as well as a yearling Hard Spun filly out of Whitefish (a half-sister to Keertana and Snow Top Mountain).

[I posted a blog from a visit to Keertana and Snow Top Mountain and their dam Motokiks at Brownwood in July.]

Keertana getting tidied up for a potential purchaser.
Having these two standout mares and a number of good foals (I especially liked our fillies by Hard Spun, Harlan’s Holiday, Tale of Ekati, and Flatter) in the barn kept us on our feet -- to the tune of 902 shows on our first day at Keeneland. Yep...nine hundred and two shows in one day.

The Brownwood legacy, based on more than half a century of building upon Hunter’s founding female families (with no infusion of new blood) and breeding to mostly modest stallions -- selling the colts and keeping the fillies -- produced the top two most sought-after broodmares at this sale, both fourth-generation homebreds. Millionaire Keertana sold to Craig Bandoroff as agent for $1,000,000. A short while later, Snow Top Mountain found a new home at Virginia’s Audley Farm on a final bid of $950,000 (making her the second most expensive broodmare in the Keeneland January catalogue). The Hard Spun yearling also sold well, going to chef and restaurateur Bobby Flay for $140,000. (Perhaps he liked her dam’s name, Whitefish?)

The $140,000 Hard Spun - Whitefish filly whose dam is a half-sister to Keertana and Snow Top Mountain.
Before and after the five-day sales stretch at Keeneland, I was able to attend a few open houses at stud farms -- a rare treat to visit stallions, including two that Four Star had sold as youngsters: champion Uncle Mo (sold as a yearling) and Grade 2 winner Munnings (led out unsold as a weanling, sold as a yearling); and one, Malibu Moon, I had known as a foal during my time at Walmac Farm.

Below are some of the photos from those visits:

Darley's Hard Spun, sire of the Whitefish filly.
Australian Horse of the Year Lonhro, at Darley. (I love this gorgeous horse.)
Lonhro floats over the ground when he moves.
Classic winner and leading sire A.P. Indy, now a 24-year-old pensioner at Lane's End Farm.
A.P. Indy's son Malibu Moon at Spendthrift.
Another son of A.P. Indy: champion Bernardini at Darley.
Bernardini's Grade 1-winning son Stay Thirsty at Ashford.
A.P. Indy's champion great-grandson Hansen (by Tapit) at Ashford.
2000 Horse of the Year Tiznow at WinStar.
WinStar's Colonel John, a Grade 1 winner by Tiznow.
Gemologist, another Grade 1 winner by Tiznow at WinStar.
Medaglia d'Oro (by El Prado), sire of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, at Darley.
El Prado's Grade 1-winning son Paddy O'Prado at Spendthrift.
Darley's Street Cry, sire of 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta.
Uncle Mo, 2010 champion 2-year-old, at Ashford.