Somewhere I can hear Mick Jagger singing about "useless information that's supposed to drive my imagination."
Devoting more time Saturday to horse racing and less to basketball, I might have gotten more, uh, satisfaction at the betting windows. Narrowing it further, a few minutes more handicapping two stakes races could have made the difference between the small financial bite I took and a nice gain.
The Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs and the Honeybee at Oaklawn Park finished within minutes of each other. Tacitus, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, won in Florida and Chocolate Kisses, representing Hall of Fame nominee Mark Casse, had her picture taken in Hot Springs. Don't be surprised if both pop up at Churchill Downs in early May, the colt in the Kentucky Derby and the filly in the previous day's Kentucky Oaks.
Mott, the least likely trainer you'd expect to come down with Derby fever, already had Hidden Scroll on the road to Louisville. Casse had last year's Oaks runner-up in Wonder Gadot, who later beat males in Canada's biggest race for 3-year-olds. So, no surprises there.
Nor should anyone be shocked that the Tapit colt and the Candy Ride filly, February 2016 arrivals in Kentucky, were to the manor born. Tapit, now 18 and standing for $225,000, has exceeded Smarty Jones, from the same crop, as a sire in the manner that Alydar trumped Triple Crown rival Affirmed. Candy Ride, an Argentine firecracker, never lost on the track in six starts; now 20 and standing for $80,000, he will be remembered at least for siring 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner.
Still, anyone who follows this sport to any degree knows about Tapit and Candy Ride. Less so perhaps about the mares who produced the 2019 Tampa Bay Derby and Honeybee winners, to which we turn after this lengthy preamble.
With a horse's gestation period about 11 months, a mare can only produce one foal per year. In some years, a mare is barren or, worse, loses her foal. Genuine Risk, the first Kentucky Derby-winning filly in 65 years, had problems conceiving; so, unfortunately, has the great Zenyatta.
My interest in Tacitus grew exponentially when a friend from Louisville, Ky., who works in the racing industry, went on Twitter to say "that's Close Hatches' kid." Doing some quick math, I concluded that Tacitus is the first foal of Oaklawn's 2014 Apple Blossom Handicap winner, one of five Grade 1 victories in a racing career that she bankrolled $2.7 million for Juddmonte Farms. Moving to the breeding shed, Close Hatches (also trained by Mott) was booked to the hottest sire going, Tapit, and stay tuned for further details.
Brownie Points, the homebred dam of Chocolate Kisses, earned slightly less than $1 million and never got the Grade 1 victory that would have sent her value into the stratosphere. But, Brownie Points counted Oaklawn's 2006 Martha Washington among her nine victories, and it pleased me greatly when she completed the exacta with Zenyatta in the 2008 Apple Blossom.
In the broodmare band of Josephine Abercombie's Pin Oak Stable, Brownie Points made an early impact at stud with Synchrony, a Triple Crown hopeful in 2016 before thriving on turf. Synchrony, by Tapit, and who like Brownie Points raced at Oaklawn for Donnie Von Hemel, is a half sister to Chocolate Kisses.
These family tales occur more often than you think.
* Unbridled, the 1990 Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic winner, was a full brother to 1991 Wood Memorial winner Cahill Road (Fappiano-Gana Facil, by Le Fabuleux).
* Alluvial (by Buckpasser) foaled Coastal, Spectacular Bid's upsetter in the 1979 Belmont Stakes, and champion Slew o'Gold.
* Beholder, a four-time champion and 11-time Grade 1 winner, is related to Grade 1 winners Mendelssohn and Into Mischief, the latter a top sire. Their dam, Leslie's Lady (by Tricky Creek), produced an American Pharoah filly last year; look for her on the track in 2020.
No story about breeding is complete without mentioning the broodmare Somethingroyal. Sir Gaylord, her 1959 foal, loomed as the favorite for the 1962 Kentucky Derby before sidelined by an injury. Somethingroyal, by Princequillo, delivered in 1970 a Bold Ruler colt who would become the first Triple Crown winner in a quarter century, one who made the proverbial trees sway. The world knew him as Secretariat.Sports on 03/12/2019
Print Headline: Studying bloodlines can pay off