The following post first appeared earlier this week at Paulick Report.
A champion of uncommon quality, Silverbulletday was the leader of her division at 2 and 3, won five Grade 1 races, a total of 14 stakes, and earned more than $3 million.
A filly of exceptional speed, Silverbulletday was precocious enough to win the Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs in the spring of her juvenile season and progressed to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies to clinch her first Eclipse Award. The champion juvenile matured nicely at 3 to win the Kentucky Oaks, by which point she had won 11 of her 12 starts.
In fact, Silverbulletday was so highly regarded that the daughter of Silver Deputy was sent to challenge the colts in the Belmont Stakes, where she tried to lead all the way. She was still head and head with Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Charismatic after 10 furlongs but tired in the last quarter to finish unplaced.
Despite the rigors of that effort, Silverbulletday came back to win three more stakes in succession, including the G1 Alabama at 10 furlongs and the Gazelle.
The athletic dark bay was clearly one of the best racemares of her time, and the great bloodstock writer Joe Estes said that there is no “better way of calculating odds and percentages [of success in breeding] than by use of racing class” to select the best prospects for breeding the next generation.
But the statistics of breeding starkly illustrate how tricky it is for even the best racers to reproduce themselves. Overall, the breed produces a bit more than 3 percent stakes winners, and even the best racemares produce only about 10-12 percent stakes winners from foals.
So far, the now 18-year-old Silverbulletday has not bred a stakes winner.
But two of her daughters have produced graded stakes winners, and they had the distinction of foaling the first two finishers in Saturday’s G2 Strub Stakes at Santa Anita.
The winner was Shakin It Up, out of Silver Bullet Moon (by Vindication), and the second was Govenor Charlie, out of Silverbulletway (Storm Cat). Both colts are by champion sprinter Midnight Lute, who was raced in partnership by Mike Pegram, who also owned Silverbulletday and Midnight Lute’s sire, Kentucky Derby winner Real Quiet. Pegram bred the Strub exacta and their dams.
Now the dam of a Strub winner, Silver Bullet Moon is a daughter of the unbeaten champion juvenile Vindication (Seattle Slew), who died when he was only 8, and Silver Bullet Moon has produced one of the two stakes winners to date out of Vindication mares.
In addition to G3 Sunland Derby winner Govenor Charlie, Silverbulletway is also the dam of Anoakia Stakes winner Crisis of Spirit (Vindication). Neither is a G1 winner, but being the daughter of Storm Cat and Silverbulletday should get Silverbulletway every opportunity as a producer.
With two high-class producers already among her foals, Silverbulletday may prove like her distinguished fourth dam, Parlo, whose excellence bred on in what could be called a wave pattern, with a rise and fall of excellence on the racetrack.
Parlo (Heliopolis) was a very high-class racemare in the mid-1950s. At 3, Parlo won the Alabama, Delaware Oaks, and Beldame Handicap, and she was named champion 3-year-old and champion handicap filly (not “older” mare at that time). The following year, Parlo set a new track record in the Top Flight Handicap and won the Delaware Handicap, the richest race for females at the time, on the way to a second championship as top handicap filly.
At stud, Parlo produced no stakes winners, but her second foal, the Battlefield mare All Beautiful, won a maiden from her two starts, and then became a Broodmare of the Year for international sportsman Paul Mellon with racers that included the 1969 Horse of the Year Arts and Letters (Ribot), winner of the Blue Grass, Metropolitan Handicap, Belmont Stakes, Travers, Woodward, and Jockey Club Gold Cup.
One of All Beautiful’s daughters was Rokeby Venus (by Mellon’s Belmont Stakes winner Quadrangle), who produced the major stakes winner Rokeby Rose (Tom Rolfe), among others. For most of her own producing career, however, it appeared that Rokeby Rose might be like her second dam, Parlo, with a quality race record but little immediate success from her foals. Then at age 19, Rokeby Rose produced Silverbulletday as her next-to-last foal.
And a producing career that seemed marked for disappointment ended with an emphatic mark of excellence.