Racing up the rail as swift and slick as a greased pig through a chute, Sir Anthony (by Mineshaft) won the Grade 3 Harlan’s Holiday Handicap at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 15 under a gifted ride by jockey Brian Hernandez and defeated the odds-on favorite Audible (Into Mischief) by a half-length. Sir Anthony created the upset of the week and paid $53.80 to win.
The Harlan’s Holiday was the fourth victory in a row for the chestnut son of Horse of the Year Mineshaft (A.P. Indy). Sir Anthony’s first stakes success came in the Bruce D. Memorial on Aug. 11 at Arlington, then a pair of allowances prepped the ridgling for his graded stakes debut but apparently led the bettors into believing Sir Anthony had no hope against G1 winner Audible.
Unraced from the May 5 Kentucky Derby, when third, until a comeback victory in the Cherokee Run Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3, Audible was expected to demonstrate a major leap forward in fitness with the Harlan’s Holiday and confirm his role as a most serious challenger to champion pro-tem Accelerate (Lookin at Lucky) in the Pegasus in January.
The Harlan’s Holiday result, however, threw a wrench in those expectations. Not only did the 1-10 favorite lose, but 20-1 Apostle finished third, only a length behind Audible, and second-favorite Village King was a neck back in fourth.
Although the form took a beating, Sir Anthony did not, and he is now a winner of five races with lifetime earnings of $202,220.
Bred in Illinois by owner Richard Otto Stables, the 3-year-old Sir Anthony is one of nearly four dozen stakes winner by champion Mineshaft, an elegant and scopy bay who improved with age and became Horse of the Year as a 4-year-old. From 12 crops of racing age, Mineshaft has sired 47 stakes winners, with total progeny earnings to date of more than $60 million. The stallion’s most noted performers have been Effinex (G1 Clark Handicap), Dialed In (G1 Florida Derby), and It’s Tricky (G1 Acorn).
Sir Richard is the first foal out of the stakes-placed Smart Strike mare Mourette, who showed her stakes form at 4 and 5 with a second in the Indian Maid at Hawthorne as a 4-year-old, then a third in the Illini Princess the following year.
The year after producing Sir Anthony, Mourette and her weanling colt by Arch were sent through the 2016 Keeneland November sale. The mare sold for $85,000, and her weanling brought $90,000. The price of the mare was significantly lowered because she was not bred and therefore not in foal at the time of sale. Sold to Dennis Yokum, agent, Mourette produced a chestnut filly by the California-based sire Smiling Tiger (Hold That Tiger) earlier this year.
Mourette is one of three stakes horses from six foals out of Amourette, a stakes-winning daughter of the classic winner and all-around “gargous harse” El Gran Senor (Northern Dancer). One of the most talented sons of his great sire, El Gran Senor was a good sire of agonizingly marginal fertility. From 16 crops, the delightful bay beast sired 396 foals. From these, 316 (80 percent) started, 228 (72 percent) won, and 55 (17 percent) were stakes winners.
And El Gran Senor produced those results with books of mares of lesser quality than would have been his if not for the horse’s erratic fertility.
Amourette was one of her sire’s 55 stakes winners, and she produced stakes winner Alette and G3 stakes-placed Lemonade Kid (both by Lemon Drop Kid).
And this brings us to a trivia question of some interest. What do Horse of the Year California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) and Sir Anthony share beside the A.P. Indy – Seattle Slew male line?
Well, just in time to help celebrate California Chrome’s return from Southern Hemisphere stud duty in Chile at Haras Sumaya, Sir Anthony brought another graded stakes success to the same female family as the chestnut champion. The two share the same third dam, the stakes-winning Sir Ivor mare Chase the Dream. A winner of the East View Stakes and Sag Harbor Stakes at Aqueduct, Chase the Dream was a thoroughly useful racehorse. In addition to her stakes-winning daughter Amourette, Chase the Dream produced the winning Chase it Down (Polish Numbers), who in turn produced the winning Love the Chase (Not for Love), the dam of California Chrome.
If this trend toward graded quality continues, what grand compliments will we find to praise this little-loved female family.