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Before suffering a fatal injury during the gallop out after a seven-furlong work at Santa Anita on December 19, Carlsbad had been one of the premier sprinting fillies in the country. A winner in seven of her 10 starts, Carlsbad was a very high-class filly. Yet, when I noticed her several months ago, neither her sire nor dam rang a bell. That is not a common response when I look at a stakes result, and it piqued my curiosity.

Now, in truth, curiosity is one of the great motivations to study pedigrees. And that trait sent me searching for the relations of the highly talented graded stakes winner because, on the surface, Carlsbad had one of the least familiar pedigrees among this year’s premium racers.

The dark bay filly was a foal of 2006 by the Arizona-based stallion Rocky Bar out of the mare Kits Peak, and the filly was bred and raced by Dennis Weir. A quick look at the second generation of the filly’s pedigree, however, provided some context and familiarity for the names of her sire and dam. Rocky Bar is by the important stallion In Excess out of stakes winner To the Post, by Bold Ego. Kits Peak is by Preakness Stakes winner Pine Bluff out of the Irish Tower mare Leprechaun Lyn.

A bit of study even found good-class form and sound connections for the filly’s little-known sire Rocky Bar, who was a fast stakes winner by the high-class, California-based stallion In Excess.

With five victories in 24 starts, Rocky Bar’s only black-type success was the Harry Henson Stakes, but he was second or third in a half-dozen more, including a second in the G2 Hollywood Turf Express and a third in the G3 San Simeon handicaps.

One of three stakes performers from the first four foals of his dam To the Post (one of the best daughters of Preakness second Bold Ego), Rocky Bar traces in the female line to the great American racehorse and great French-based broodmare Frizette (for whom the stakes at Belmont Park is named).

Rocky Bar was bred in Arizona by Triple AAA Ranch and entered stud in Arizona at his birthplace.

Carlsbad’s dam is the stakes-winning mare Kits Peak, a daughter of Preakness winner Pine Bluff and the Irish Tower mare Leprechaun Lyn.

Leprechaun Lyn is one of nine fillies out stakes producer Near Lyn (by Nearctic x Fast Line, by Mr. Busher). Near Lyn produced three stakes horses, including the good stakes winner Near the Limit (by Garthorn).

Fast Line produced three stakes winners, including Kentucky Oaks winner White Star Line (by Northern Dancer), Alcibiades winner Fairway Fun (by Prince John), and French highweight juvenile Filiberto (by Ribot).

This is a grand family, and Carlsbad made sure the current generation lived up to its heritage, winning at graded level and running second to Informed Decision (winner of the BC Filly Sprint) in the G2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 10. Carlsbad won six stakes in her career, including the G2 Hollywood Oaks and G3 Rancho Bernardo. Carlsbad would have been the favorite in the G1 La Brea Stakes, a seven-furlong sprint on the opening day of the Santa Anita meet, Dec. 26.

What might have been came to a sad end when Carlsbad suffered a severe fracture of her right ankle on the clubhouse turn after completing her workout and was euthanized on the racetrack.