For the last three years running, and in five of the last nine racing seasons, a filly has won both the Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park and the Coaching Club American Oaks, now contested at Saratoga.
This year, undefeated Guarana (by Ghostzapper) added the Oaks to her previous blowout success in the Acorn. In winning both these races, she is succeeding divisional champions Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) and Abel Tasman (Quality Road) in 2018 and 2017. Previously, Curalina (Curlin) in 2015 and It’s Tricky (Mineshaft) in 2011 had paired the races.
To find another comparable instance, one has to look back to 1993, when multiple Grade 1 winner Sky Beauty (Blushing Groom) won both races. Although disqualified to third in the G1 Spinaway at Saratoga, Sky Beauty finished first in all five of her races at 2, including the G1 Matron and G2 Adirondack.
Sky Beauty did not race in the BC Juvenile Fillies, which was won by Eliza (Mt. Livermore), and that filly was named divisional champion. The next season, Sky Beauty won five major stakes in a row, including the Triple Tiara (Acorn, Mother Goose, CCA Oaks), Alabama, and the G2 Rare Perfume the month before the Breeders’ Cup.
In the Distaff, Sky Beauty ran unplaced for the first time and lost the Eclipse Award to her prime competitor Hollywood Wildcat (Kris S.), winner of the Distaff by a nose from Paseana, the 1992 and 1993 Eclipse Award winner as best older mare.
Sky Beauty came back at 4 to win five races in a row – the G3 Vagrancy, then the G1 Shuvee, Hempstead, Go for Wand, and Ruffian – before having the worst finish of her career (ninth) in the 1994 BC Distaff, won by One Dreamer (Relaunch), with old rival Hollywood Wildcat sixth. The Eclipse voters, however, put Sky Beauty over the top as champion older mare of 1994.
The elegant bay tried to repeat her previous season in 1995, but after victory in the Vagrancy, she finished second and third in the Shuvee and Hempstead. The winner of the Shuvee was Inside Information (Private Account), who went on to win the 1995 BC Distaff and the Eclipse Award as top older mare, and the winner of the Hempstead was Heavenly Cause (Seeking the Gold), who was second in the Distaff. Racing from 2 to 5, Sky Beauty won 15 of 21 starts, with a pair of seconds and a pair of thirds, for earnings of $1.3 million.
Bred in Kentucky by Sugar Maple Farm, Sky Beauty sold for $355,000 as a Saratoga select yearling to Georgia Hofmann, who bred and sold her dam, the Nijinsky mare Maplejinsky. Hofmann sold Maplejinsky to Susan Kaskel for $750,000 at the 1986 Keeneland July sale, and the striking bay won the G1 Alabama. Then Sugar Maple sold Maplejinsky to Osamu Yasuda for $2.7 million at the 1994 Keeneland November sale in foal to A.P. Indy.
That’s usually where the story ends for horses sold to Japanese breeders, but after a few years in Japan, Maplejinsky returned to the States. After her sale, Maplejinsky produced Lord Maple, the A.P. Indy colt she was carrying, and he won three races in Japan and earned $219, 282.
Exported to Japan in 1996, Maplejinsky produced a pair of fillies by Sunday Silence, Silence Beauty and Million Gift, plus a filly by Brian’s Time named Lady Seraphim. After being purchased in a private transaction, Maplejinsky returned to Kentucky and produced her final two foals, the Swain colt Amenable and the Rahy filly Crimson Maple, who is the dam of current multiple stakes winner Goldwood (Medaglia d’Oro).
The first of the Sunday Silence fillies, Silence Beauty, came to the States in 1998, when she sold for $1 million at the Keeneland July yearling sale to the Oaks Horse Farm Corp. and raced under the name of Thomas Liang. She made three starts, was third once. Then precious gems magnate Chuck Fipke purchased her for $525,000 at the 2004 Keeneland November sale in foal to Tale of the Cat (Storm Cat) and bred Tale of Ekati, winner of the G1 Wood Memorial and Cigar Mile, earning $1.1 million.
Nor is Silence Beauty the only other daughter of Maplejinsky to enliven American racing. The mare’s second foal, born two years after Sky Beauty, was the Pleasant Colony filly Our Country Place, who was unraced but was acquired privately by the Phipps family.
In terms of volume, Our Country Place wasn’t that big a deal, but her quality was outstanding. She had only six foals, but the first and last of those were graded stakes winners by Seeking the Gold: Country Hideaway (G2 First Flight twice, G3 Vagrancy, three times G1-placed) and Pleasant Home (G1 BC Distaff, second in both the G1 Spinster and Ballerina).
In contrast to Country Hideaway, the dam of two graded stakes winners, and their full sister Matlacha Pass, dam of two G1 winners, Pleasant Home was a disappointing broodmare, and to date has only one black-type performer, the Medaglia d’Oro gelding Hereditary, who has two seconds and a third in minor stakes.
In 2016, judged surplus to need, Pleasant Home was sold at the Keeneland November sale, and Chuck Fipke bought the 15-year-old mare for $530,000. Having purchased the mare’s unraced first foal S’ Avall (Awesome Again), Fipke bred a pair of black-type horses, Tale of S’ Avall and Pleasant Tales, both by Fipke’s stallion Tale of Ekati, who is out of a half-sister to Our Country Place.
The Phipps Stable also disposed of some of the other stock out of Pleasant Home, including her winning daughter Magical World (Distorted Humor). The latter went to Three Chimneys Farm, which bred and races the mare’s unbeaten 3-year-old Guarana, now the winner of a pair of G1s, and the 2-year-old filly out of Magical World, the unbeaten Magic Dance (More Than Ready), winner of listed Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs after winning her debut on June 7.
As hot as this family has become during the heat wave of 2019, there may be more fireworks to come.