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The following article was published earlier this week at Paulick Report.

There are always stallions lost relatively young, who in the years after their deaths repeatedly offer reminders of what is gone. One such stallion is Maria’s Mon, a handsome and talented gray son of Wavering Monarch and the Caro mare Carlotta Maria.

A champion juvenile who was denied a chance at the Triple Crown by injury, Maria’s Mon became one of the most reliable sires of performers with class and the capacity to race two turns with consistency.

The sire of two winners of the Kentucky Derby (Monarchos and Super Saver), Maria’s Mon also has sired such good graded winners as champion Wait a While, Latent Heat (Malibu), Monba (Blue Grass), Monzante (Eddie Read), High Limit (Louisiana Derby), Strong Contender (Super Derby), Expansion (Red Smith), Well Monied (Honeymoon), and Mint Lane (Dwyer).

With the exception of Latent Heat, all showed their best form racing past a mile, and we are left in hindsight to wonder what might have been if Maria’s Mon had been able to challenge for the classics.

Still, his contributions to racing through his sons and daughters are now legion, and one of the best showed her finest form in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park on Saturday when Awesome Maria, out of the Awesome Again mare Discreetly Awesome, won convincingly by three lengths.

The lovely gray filly is another quality example of the modeled beauty so often found among the stock of Maria’s Mon. They tend to possess good size and scope, quality and strength, and a balanced look that contributes to their athleticism.

Furthermore, Awesome Maria is the latest outstanding performer from the most successful family developed by the breeding and racing stable of Paul Robsham. It’s a story that began more than 20 years ago, and like many good bloodstock stories, it started at the plush Keeneland July auction.

Finney Bloodstock, as agent, purchased the lovely Believe It filly out of the Tom Rolfe mare Bury the Hatchet for $125,000 at the Keeneland July sale in 1989. One of the attractions of this filly is that she was a full sister to 1987 Kentucky Oaks winner Buryyourbelief. Later named Pretty Persuasive, the July sale filly was the highest-selling yearling by the good In Reality stallion Believe It that year by a margin of $50,000.

As a racehorse, Pretty Persuasive made one start, ran unplaced, and went to the breeding shed as a 3-year-old. As a broodmare, she produced only two foals.

If this is beginning to sound like a recipe for a bad souffle, the cook isn’t done.

The first foal out of Pretty Persuasive was Pretty Discreet (by Private Account), and that has made all the difference.

A foal of 1992, Pretty Discreet won the G1 Alabama, ran second in the G1 Matron, third in the G1 Frizette. She was a heck of a racehorse, and she has been even better as a broodmare.

She has produced G1 winner Discreetly Mine (Mineshaft), winner of the King’s Bishop and second in the Champagne; G1 winner Discreet Cat (Forestry), winner of the Cigar Mile and third in the Vosburgh; and stakes winner Pretty Wild (Wild Again), second in the G1 Hopeful.

Each of Pretty Discreet’s three daughters old enough to have produced runners is the dam of a stakes winner, and the best winner of the group is Awesome Maria.

The good-looking gray has made a dozen starts in three seasons of racing and is a stakes winner each year. As a juvenile, she won the G2 Matron, ran second for the G1 Frizette. At 3, she won only the listed Riskaverse, was second in the G1 Gazelle.

This year, Awesome Maria has been awesome. Unbeaten in four starts, she has staked a claim to being the best in the division, but that is something to savor as the season progresses through Saratoga and Del Mar in the summer, then Belmont and Keeneland and Oak Tree in the fall.

Awesome Maria is the fourth winner at the highest level from three generations descending from Pretty Persuasive, and nary a one has gone through an auction ring.

Awesome Maria is the first foal from Discreetly Awesome, who does not have a 3-year-old. The mare’s 2-year is the El Corredor colt Yes I’m Awesome, and she has a filly of 2011 by Street Cry.

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