a.p. indy, aladancer, bold ruler, claiborne farm, devil may care, diamond a racing, international thoroughbred, Kentucky Derby, keswick stables, longchamp racecourse, malibu moon, nashua, nasrullah, nijinsky, northern dancer, Seattle Slew, trade in thoroughbreds
Originally published at www.paulickreport.com earlier this week.
Following the game decision to enter the high-class filly Devil May Care in the Kentucky Derby, she became the object of considerable media attention attention this week, as the bay attempts to become only the fourth filly to win the Run for the Roses. (She would also be the first bay. Both Regret and Genuine Risk were chestnuts; Winning Colors was a gray.)
Far more than her color, the filly’s pedigree deserves attention for its classic quality and international appeal.
Bred in Kentucky by Diamond A Racing, the powerful bay filly is by Malibu Moon out of Kelli’s Ransom, by Red Ransom, and the branches of her pedigree reach across oceans and national boundaries.
The diversity within Devil May Care’s pedigree is typical of what came to be called the “international Thoroughbred” during the 1980s. This was an important concept in discussing the pedigrees of racehorses as the bloodstock of many countries began to mix, especially on the racecourses of Europe.
In reality, of course, the trade in Thoroughbreds has always been international, but for generations, the traffic was almost exclusively one-way: from England to Europe, the Americas, and the Southern Hemisphere.
Following World War II, however, the quality of the bloodstock in the “destination” breeding centers reached such a quality that those countries’ homebred horses began to be exported and raced successfully back in England, as well as in the premium events in Europe.
One of the stallion importations that made American bloodlines the equal to or superior of those abroad was Nasrullah, who was imported in 1950 to stand at Claiborne Farm for the 1951 breeding season. The stallion sired Preakness and Belmont winner Nashua in his first American crop and Preakness winner Bold Ruler in his third.
Both Nashua and Bold Ruler are present in the pedigree of Devil May Care. Bold Ruler is especially prominent as the filly’s male-line ancestor through Boldnesian, Bold Reasoning, Seattle Slew, and A.P. Indy.
Malibu Moon, the sire of Devil May Care, is a son of America’s leading classic sire, A.P. Indy, out of French-raced Group 1 winner Macoumba, winner of the Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp racecourse near Paris. Macoumba is by the leading American sire Mr. Prospector (whose broodmare sire is Nashua) and is out of French-bred highweight Maximova.
A foal of 1980, Maximova is one of the international Thoroughbreds from that peak of bloodline mixing three decades ago. She won the Group 1 Prix de la Salamandre at 2, was second in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, third in the French counterpart.
Maximova was a top-class daughter of Green Dancer (winner of the French 2,000 Guineas and bred in Kentucky) out of Baracala, by Kentucky Derby winner Swaps (a son of the English-bred stallion Khaled).
If the gentle reader’s head is spinning a bit from all the countries and classics, here’s the gist. Thoroughbred pedigrees from the 1970s onward have become similar to an omelet: everything can be in there, and it might come from anywhere, but the more class a breeder can pack in, the better.
For instance, with regard to the pedigree of Maximova, her sire, classic winner Green Dancer, was from the first crop by the Canadian-bred Nijinsky, the only English Triple Crown winner in the last 75 years and the racehorse who made Northern Dancer (also Canadian-bred) the most sought-after stallion in the international market.
And Northern Dancer earned his ticket to stud by winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. So in the first three generations of Maximova’s pedigree are seven horses who won a classic race in the US, England, France, or Canada.
Northern Dancer’s trump in matings was that he brought both speed and stamina. Furthermore, his offspring were very well-suited to the training methods in Europe and their principal racing surface of turf.
Northern Dancer also managed to sire some good racehorses on dirt in the States, including Aladancer, the fourth dam of Devil May Care. Aladancer was bred in Virginia by Keswick Stables, won the California Oaks and Firenze Handicap, then produced two stakes winners, as well as Ballerina Princess (by Mr. Prospector), the third dam of Devil May Care.
Aladancer’s stakes winners were Viscosity (by English 2,000 Guineas and Derby winner Sir Ivor) and Vigliotto (by French-bred classic winner Blushing Groom). Maintaining the international theme, Vigliotto won a Group 1 in South Africa.
Musical Minister (by Deputy Minister) was the first foal of Ballerina Princess and has produced Minister Eric (winner of the San Fernando and second in the BC Juvenile), as well as Devil May Care’s dam, Kelli’s Ransom. Devil May Care is the mare’s fourth foal.