The racehorse in front of me inevitably brings to mind the elements of his pedigree that he represents in the flesh, and Hoppertunity, winner of the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn on Saturday, shares not only physical qualities with his sire, G1 Haskell winner Any Given Saturday (by Distorted Humor), but especially with his broodmare sire, Unaccounted For.
A horse of striking quality, scope, and individuality, Unaccounted For was a bay son of the important Damascus stallion Private Account and was out of Mrs. Jenney, a stakes winner who was the daughter of two classic winners: The Minstrel (English Derby and Irish Derby) and Mrs. Penny (Prix de Diane).
At the 1992 Saratoga select yearling sale, Michael Hernon spotted the striking yearling who became known as Unaccounted For in the Derry Meeting Farm consignment of Marshall Jenney and helped to facilitate the purchase of the colt through Walnut Green Bloodstock.
As a racehorse, Unaccounted For ran to his exceptional looks. Racing only at 3 and 4, Unaccounted For won the G2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga in his first season of competition, and then he returned to the Spa for his greatest triumph, a victory in the G1 Whitney Stakes, the following season, when he also ran second in the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup.
As a horse of classic pedigree and type, Unaccounted For showed his best form at nine and 10 furlongs, and he expressed that type in his own physique and in his the aptitude he passed on to his foals.
The good-sized bay went to stud in Kentucky in 1996, and before his stock had much opportunity to show their quality, he was sold to the Jockey Club of Turkey in 2001 and spent the rest of his stud career as one of the important sires in that country’s breeding and racing program.
Unaccounted For died in May 2013 at 22, but before he had left the States, Unaccounted For had sired some good performers. From his first crop, the horse got Grundlefoot, a stakes winner of more than three-quarters of a million dollars, and from his second came G3 stakes winner Quick Tip, who earned more than two-thirds of a million.
Of equal importance was another filly from the stallion’s second crop. The bay Refugee ran third in the G2 Orchid Handicap and has forged a significant role for herself as a producer through the racetrack exploits of her seventh and eighth foals.
Refugee had previously produced the restricted stakes-placed mare Profit (Not for Love), and the value and status of most broodmares has greatly diminished if they have not produced a stakes winner early in their production. But Refugee’s status as a broodmare rebounded in a strongly positive direction with the appearance of G1 winner Executiveprivilege, a daughter of First Samurai (Giant’s Causeway) who won twice at the top level as a juvenile and ran second in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Days after that effort by Executiveprivilege, then-14-year-old Refugee sold for $480,000 at the Fasig-Tipton November sale, in foal to Cowboy Cal.
Now the mare has her second graded winner in succession, and Hoppertunity gave breeders Betz/D.J. Stable/Kidder/J. Betz/Robenalt another major winner.
Despite the presence of several stakes-placed horses, Executiveprivilege and Hoppertunity are the only two first stakes winners in their direct female line from third dam Davona Dale. An outstanding champion bred by Calumet Farm, Davona Dale won five races at the top level during her championship season in 1979.
By Best Turn out of a mare by Kentucky Derby winner Tim Tam, Davona Dale and her close relations were better known for stature and scope than for massive muscling, and the same can be said about Unaccounted For.
This is one version of the “classic type” that horsemen prize because they are spare of the unnecessary bulk that will limit the distance capacity of heavier horses. Through their clean and easy action, the lighter weight horses can cover ground efficiently and with little wasted effort. Then they tire less than other racers because they aren’t hauling as much weight for their size as some of the others.
Hoppertunity is much more in this type than his half-sister, and he has the potential to be a classic-distance performer, even though he was running only his fourth race in the Rebel.
*The post above first appeared in Paulick Report last week.