On Sunday at Chantilly, the high-quality 3-year-old filly Senga (by Blame) became her sire’s first Group 1 winner with victory in the Prix de Diane over 2100 meters. This male line has a grand tradition of classic quality, and Blame has done his job to add another classic success with this filly who stayed on strongly to win the second French fillies classic.



Blame – champion older horse for 2010 when he won the G1 Stephen Foster, Whitney, and BC Classic – has sired his first G1 winner in French classic winner Senga. Claiborne photo.


Blame’s fourth-generation male-line ancestor Hail to Reason (Turn-to) was a champion 2-year-old in his only season of competition, but he sired winners of the Kentucky Derby (Proud Clarion), Preakness (Personality), and Belmont Stakes (Hail to All), plus champion turf horse Halo, who went on to become a major classic sire himself. In addition, Hail to Reason sired the top 2-year-old colt Roberto, who trained on the next season to win the 1972 English Derby at Epsom.

Like Hail to Reason, Roberto became a major international sire, with highweighted performers and classic stock who performed admirably. One of Roberto’s sons who was a useful performer here in the States became much more as a sire: Kris S. The stallion had five winners of Breeders’ Cup races, including champions Brocco and Hollywood Wildcat, and he also sired Kris Kin, winner of the English Derby. At stud, Kris S. had a couple of sons who became significant international influences. In Japan, Symboli Kris S. was a two-time Horse of the Year, then an important sire, and in the States, G1 winner Arch became a consistent and successful stallion at Claiborne Farm, where the stallion spent his entire career. Likewise, Claiborne, in partnership with Adele Dilschneider, bred and raced Blame to a championship and Breeders’ Cup victory, and the stallion stands at Claiborne for $25,000 live foal.

In addition to Eclipse Award winners Blame and Pine Island (Alabama), Arch sired top horses around the world like Arravale (Horse of the Year in Canada), Les Arcs (highweight sprinter in England, July Cup), Pomology (highweight older mare in England, Lancashire Oaks), and Overarching (three-time champion sprinter in South Africa).

There’s more than a hint of turf performance in the offspring by Arch and his forebears. They are confirmed switch-hitters for getting stock that performs well on dirt or turf.

Blame has continued this by getting his best offspring to date in France, racing on turf.

A promising 2-year-old, Senga appeared to have made the necessary progress for classic competition earlier this spring, and she started favorite for the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches in May. That race was a bust for the good-looking bay filly, and she finished 11th of 18. The soft going that day blunted the filly’s turn of foot, but such was not a problem in the Diane, where fast conditions prevailed, and Senga was allowed to go to post at about 22-1.

Both the trainer Pascal Bary and jockey Stephane Pesquier believed the bay daughter of Blame would do better over the longer distance, and they proved correct. Senga stayed on well to win by a length over Sistercharlie (Myboycharlie) and Terrakova (Galileo x Goldikova).

Bred in Kentucky by Flaxman Holdings, Senga is out of the A.P. Indy mare Beta Leo, who is a daughter of the Storm Cat mare Denebola. This is one of the great Niarchos families, tracing back to Coup de Folie, a daughter of Halo out of Northern Dancer’s half-sister Raise the Standard (Hoist the Flag).

Stavros Niarchos bought Coup de Folie for $825,000 as a yearling, and she became a good racehorse, winning the G3 Prix d’Aumale and finishing third in the 1984 G1 Criterium des Pouliches, but as a broodmare, she became one of the best in the breed.

Coup de Folie’s first three foals were all group stakes winners. The first was Machiavellian (Mr. Prospector), who was the best French-trained juvenile colt of 1989 when he won the G1 Prix Morny and Prix de la Salamandre, and he became a successful stallion for Darley in England. The mare’s second foal was G1 winner Exit to Nowhere (Irish River), winner of the Prix Jacques le Marois, and her third foal was G2 winner Hydro Calido (Nureyev), who was also second in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches.

Coup de Folie’s fifth foal was Coup de Genie, a full sister to Machiavellian. She was the highweight juvenile filly of her year, much like her older brother, and also won the G1 Prix Morny and Prix de la Salamandre of 1993.

As a broodmare, Coup de Genie was almost as good as her dam. She produced four stakes winners in a row, including G3 winners Snake Mountain (A.P. Indy) and Loving Kindness (Seattle Slew), plus G1 winner Denebola (Storm Cat).

The highweight juvenile filly in France of 2003, Denebola won the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac, was third in the G1 Prix Morny, and ran second in the G1 Prix de la Foret the next year.

Sent to stud, Denebola was initially mated to A.P. Indy, and her second foal was the winning filly Beta Leo, who is the dam of Senga.

Senga is the fifth generation of an illustrious family that has written a noteworthy portion of the history of the breed in Europe and the U.S. over the past half-century, and now this shapely daughter of Blame is adding her chapter to the tale for Flaxman and the Niarchos family.