Affluent: Legacy of Affirmed and Bayakoa
By Frank Mitchell
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Following her victory in Santa Anita’s La Brea Stakes, Affluent has now won a Grade 1 stakes on turf (the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland) and on dirt. If this isn’t enough to make the chestnut daughter of Affirmed a special filly, she is also the best descendant of champion Bayakoa yet to race.
Bayakoa, who was twice the Eclipse Award winner as champion older mare, won a dozen Grade 1 stakes in the U.S., as well as another in her homeland, Argentina. In all, Bayakoa won 21 races and more than $2.8 million, most of it for Frank and Janis Whitham, who purchased her and brought her to race in America with trainer Ron McAnally.
When Bayakoa retired, she went to live in Kentucky at Frank Penn’s Pennbrook Farm outside Lexington. Penn recalled that “Bayakoa was a typical tough racemare. She’d run herself fit in the paddock, and she never really let down the way you’d expect with a broodmare. She wasn’t mean or anything, but she had a mind of her own, and we adjusted to her, rather than trying to make her fit our way of doing things.”
Her determined attitude didn’t stop Bayakoa from having nice foals, and Trinity Place was her first offspring. The champion produced four foals at Pennbrook before her death due to laminitis. In addition to Trinity Place, Whitham has Bayakoa’s last foal, the Broad Brush mare Arlucea, as a broodmare at Pennbrook. Penn said that Whitham “has quietly been developing a very good broodmare band. We have a good bunch of 2-year-olds and yearlings by sires like Pulpit and Kingmambo. And in addition to the Bayakoa family, the Whithams also have a top Secretariat mare named Listen Well.”
Just now, however, the stars are the two daughters of Bayakoa, and of course, her granddaughter Affluent. Janis Whitham is the owner and breeder of Affluent, the first foal out of Bayakoa’s unraced daughter Trinity Place, by Strawberry Road. Penn noted that “people have been trying to buy Affluent ever since she won the Queen Elizabeth, but when you can win Grade 1s on dirt and turf, it’s hard to let one go. The Whithams are a wonderful Kansas ranching family. They’re very low-key but real sportsmen. Mrs. Whitham sure enjoys her horses, and it’s not very often you get one like Affluent.”
The two Grade 1 successes by Affluent have made Trinity Place that much more special. A chestnut daughter of two bays, Trinity Place “looks more like Strawberry Road than Bayakoa,” Penn said. “Trinity Place is probably a little shorter than Bayakoa but has the same rear end.” Trinity Place also showed some ability in training with McAnally, but a training injury sent her home to be a broodmare.
In that role she has done her relations proud, producing a multiple Grade 1 winner as her first foal. The 10-year-old Trinity Place also has a 3-year-old at the track with McAnally. Named Sunset Place, the colt is by Gilded Time and has run second in his only start to date. Penn said, “He’s a good colt. He and the yearling colt by Quiet American are both good-looking horses.” Trinity Place doesn’t have a 2-year-old, but she is in foal on a May 7 cover to Honour and Glory, the leading freshman sire last year when his first crop included the champion 2-year-old filly Caressing. Trinity Place is booked to Thunder Gulch for this year.
The Whithams breed to race, as some of their matings with Bayakoa clearly indicate. Strawberry Road was never a commercial sire with a lot of hype, but he did quite well with the mares provided to him by Allen Paulson and other breeders interested in breeding to a tough, sound racehorse. He repaid their confidence with such champions as Escena and Ajina, as well as the Whithams’ high-class racer Mud Route, and Trinity Place is yet another recommendation for the policy of trying to breed solid racehorses.
Not only were Strawberry Road and Bayakoa tough as boot leather, but their daughter Trinity Place was then bred to another multiple champion in Affirmed. A winner of 22 races and three championships over three years of campaigning, Affirmed was twice Horse of the Year and won the Triple Crown in 1978. At stud he has sired 78 stakes winners, and although he died last year, his story is not over.
With such good racers as Affluent to carry the torch, the great old names will live for generations to come.
Airdrie stallions You and I, Siphon have success
By Frank Mitchell
LEXINGTON, Ky. — You’s victory in the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes at Belmont last weekend made her the favorite for both the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and for the 2-year-old filly championship. And the victory of Siphonic in the Grade 2 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland stamped the son of Siphon as a contender for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
These results provoked cheering at the Airdrie Stud of Brereton and Libby Jones, since the sires of both these graded winners stand at their farm, as well as Silver Hawk, who also had a Group 2 winner in France over the weekend. You is the best racer yet sired by the Kris S. stallion You and I, a winner of the Metropolitan Handicap, and Brereton Jones noted that “with six stakes winners this year, You and I is certainly doing more than holding his own and is getting noticed. He puts a good shoulder, head, and neck on his offspring, which makes them attractive yearlings.”
You was bred in Kentucky by Dolphus Morrison, who sold the filly to Edmund Gann before she had earned black type. She did that in her next start, the Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga, and in the Frizette, You proved beyond any doubt that she is a very talented filly.
With Siphonic, Airdrie’s freshman sire Siphon got his first graded stakes winner, and he has Jones feeling very optimistic. Although a Brazilian-bred horse with one of the least familiar pedigrees possible, Siphon was a hit with Kentucky breeders and buyers, averaging $98,692 for his first weanlings and $128,210 for his first-crop yearlings.
Part of the reason for Siphon’s popularity is that he is a much-needed outcross for essentially any line in American breeding. And a second reason for breeders’ interest in Siphon is that he is such an impressive animal. A big bay with a blaze down his face, Siphon is a brawny beast. He has the length and bone and muscle mass that distinguishes a horse of immense power, and he used his power for impressive shows of speed on the racetrack. Like the best horses, he could carry his speed a distance, winning the Hollywood Gold Cup and Santa Anita Handicap at 10 furlongs.
And in fact, he was the horse who “beat” Cigar in the Pacific Classic and ended that champion’s string of victories. In that race, Siphon set the pace and then ran with Cigar through a mile in 1:33 3/5. Dare and Go passed them both in a final quarter of :26 1/5, because the top pair had expended too much energy on each other to cope with another challenge in the stretch.
Jones was there for that race, but his interest in Siphon had begun much earlier. He recalled, “I was so taken with Siphon after a race at Hollywood that I went back to the barn with him. And before he had a Grade 1 victory here, I was able to acquire a right of first refusal on the stallion rights to Siphon from his breeder, Mr. Linneo Eduardo de Paula Machado.”
Subsequently, Siphon proceeded to win at the Grade 1 level and prove himself one of the most durable and competitive horses of the late 1990s. Jones said, “After that, a lot of people were wanting to stand him, but Mr. Paula Machado honored his commitment, which was only a verbal agreement. He wanted to keep the Southern Hemisphere rights to the horse and sold only the Northern Hemisphere rights.”
This posed a modest problem for Jones because “I don’t like shuttling stallions, but I was able to persuade him that we should postpone the shuttling until Kentucky breeders got familiar with Siphon. So he didn’t shuttle the first two years, after which he was supposed to shuttle down to South America. But then Mr. Paula Machado sold half of all his horse interests to Dee Hubbard, including half of that interest in Siphon.”
This didn’t entirely eliminate the question of shuttling, but it offered a possible solution. Jones said, “By this time, I was so high on Siphon from what I’d seen from this horse that I just had to keep him here if possible. Then the other syndicate members and I were able to step up and buy the Southern Hemisphere rights to Siphon. We didn’t buy them to use but to keep him here.”
As a result, Siphon has never shuttled. Jones also revealed that the syndicate had received another offer that would have taken Siphon out of the country for a year-long lease, but that too was declined. Breeders like the horse, and access to him is somewhat limited, but a season to Siphon will be auctioned for charity on Oct. 18.