The Fappiano-Unbridled branch of Mr. Prospector produced yet another classic winner when American Pharoah (by Pioneerof the Nile) sailed home a winner in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes. In the male-line race for the Kentucky Derby, it was a clear victory for Mr. P over Northern Dancer, who had the second, Firing Line (Line of David) through Storm Cat, and third, Dortmund (Big Brown) through Danzig. And the A.P. Indy line of Bold Ruler got a tremendous late run out of Frosted (Tapit), who was fourth.
The male-line contest is entertaining, but a quick glance through American Pharoah’s pedigree, or that of any other horse, will show a mix of influences that come together in producing the qualities of the horse in question.
With American Pharoah, he is a colt of classic scope and type, but he also welds uncommon speed onto the framework as our current classic winner. The origins of some of that speed may be found in the Derby winner’s female family. American Pharoah is out of Littleprincessemma, a daughter of the Storm Cat stallion Yankee Gentleman.
Littleprincessemma was not a winner in her brief exposure to racing, but American Pharoah is the mare’s second foal and second winner. With American Pharoah already on the page as a G1 stakes winner, Littleprincessemma went through Fasig-Tipton’s November sale last year, selling for $2.1 million to Summer Wind Farm and was back in foal to American Pharoah’s sire, Pioneerof the Nile.
Without a race record to tell us anything of her own aptitude or racing character, Littleprincessemma nonetheless reveals some things of interest in her pedigree. Her sire, Yankee Gentleman, was a sprinter who won four of 10 starts, and the most important of his victories was the restricted Pirate’s Bounty Stakes at Del Mar, with earnings of $202,547. Those are not usually the credentials to get a horse a place at stud in Kentucky, but the blocky bay was a son of leading sire Storm Cat, whose name at the time was magic to the ears of breeders.
In addition, Yankee Gentleman is out of G1 winner Key Phrase, by the good sire Flying Paster. This is a quick set of horses cultivated by Pam and Marty Wygod, who bred Yankee Gentleman and his dam.
At stud in Kentucky at Airdrie, Yankee Gentleman sired some productive racehorses, with the most talented surely being Golden Yank, who won the Oklahoma Derby and Zia Park Derby and gleaned earnings of $936,584. When the world economy went in the tank, stallions on the margin like Yankee Gentleman were relocated to regional markets, and he stands today in Louisiana for $3,500 live foal.
The dam of Littleprincessemma was a minor stakes winner named Exclusive Rosette, by the Exclusive Native horse Ecliptical. A half-brother to high-class performers Eminency, Katonka, and Barrera, Ecliptical won a single race but greatly eclipsed that at stud, with his best performer being G2 winner Exclusive Praline.
Although Ecliptical’s daughter Exclusive Rosette accomplished much less on the racetrack, a single stakes victory in the restricted Florida Thoro’bred Charities Stakes, Exclusive Rosette had good speed and was a good producer. Eight of her 10 foals to race were winners, and two were stakes winners.
Even more importantly, the stakes winners were both successful at the graded level. Full siblings by the former Airdrie Stud stallion Stormin Fever, Storm Wolf won the G2 Laz Barrera Stakes, and Misty Rosette won the G3 Old Hat Stakes and was third in the G1 Test Stakes at Saratoga.
Those stakes-winning siblings were the first signs that high class was reappearing in this female line, which extends back several generations in the stud of famed Florida Thoroughbred breeder Fred Hooper.
Neither of the Hooper-bred third and fourth dams, the Tri Jet mare Zetta Jet, and the Crozier mare Queen Zetta, would raise a dust on the racetrack and neither even placed in a race.
Hooper, however, was an old-school breeder who would persevere with a family that had been good to him, and the fifth dam, Miami Mood (Greek Game), had been very good to Hooper. On the racetrack, Miami Mood won the Jasmine Stakes and was second in the Mimosa at 3, won the Four Winds Handicap and was second in the Columbiana at 4.
Miami Mood was a typical Hooper stakes winner. She was quick and consistent, sound and persistent. Then she became a good producer. She foaled two stakes winners, Mia Mood and Miami Sun, as well as the stakes-placed Miami Game. All were by Crozier, like their sibling Queen Zetta.
So Hooper could be expected to hold hopes of good things to come from this line of mares.
Furthermore, the first Hooper-bred mare in this family was the sixth dam, Miami Mood’s dam Hoop Mood, by Kentucky Derby winner Hoop Jr. The latter was the first racer in the Kentucky Derby for Hooper, who had bought the colt at auction, and Hoop Jr. provided Hooper with his only success in the Kentucky classic.
Six generations later, the family is back in the winner’s circle with the garland of roses.