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With thousands of airline flights canceled across the country over the past holiday weekend, many would-be vacationers can identify with the subject of this week’s column: Stolen Holiday.

This highly pedigreed daughter of leading sire War Front (by Danzig), however, isn’t a taker. She’s a giver, and she gave an impressive front-running performance in the Grade 3 Eatontown Stakes at Monmouth Park on June 18. The bay 5-year-old led at every call under Jose Lezcano, and after she had set opening fractions of :25.51 and :25.10, the message was clear to those chasing her: come with your running booties on.

Stolen Holiday clearly had hers. The third and fourth quarters were raced in :23.61 and :22.37, with the final sixteenth in :05.71. In a beautifully ridden example of “waiting in front,” the Eatontown showed a pace profile very similar to a European event (steady early, fast late), and nothing got closer to Stolen Holiday than her stablemate Vigilantes Way (Medaglia d’Oro), who won this race a year ago and was a length behind at the wire this time.

Bred in Kentucky by Orpendale (one of the Coolmore associated entities), Stolen Holiday was sold for $750,000 out of the Denali Stud consignment at the 2018 Keeneland September yearling sale. The Eatontown was the mare’s first stakes victory and her fourth success from 10 starts.

Owned by Annette Allen, wife of Joe Allen, who bred and raced War Front, Stolen Holiday was unraced at two, then won a maiden from a pair of starts at three. Patience paid off, however, and the athletic filly has progressed steadily for trainer Shug McGaughey to work through some conditions, place second in the Sand Springs Stakes at Gulfstream, and now become a graded stakes winner.

That credit on her record is extremely important because Stolen Holiday is the fourth stakes winner out of her dam, the Sadler’s Wells mare Silk and Scarlet. The mare’s earlier stakes winners are Minorette (Smart Strike), winner of the G1 Belmont Oaks; Eishin Apollon (Giant’s Causeway), winner of the G1 Mile Championship in Japan; and Master of Hounds (Kingmambo), winner of the G1 Jebel Hatta in the UAE and the G2 Topkapi Trophy in Turkey.

This is a family that has shown excellence quite literally all around the world, and that is surely a good part of the reason for the strong price paid for this mare as a yearling.

The dam of this quartet of achievers is Silk and Scarlet, winner of the G2 Debutante Stakes in Ireland and currently living in Kentucky at Ashford Stud. The mare’s most recent foal is a yearling filly by Justify likely to go in the September sale, and the mare was covered by Justify for 2023.

Silk and Scarlet is one of two stakes winners out of Danilova (Lyphard), and the unraced Danilova is a daughter of Ballinderry (Irish River), winner of the G2 Ribblesdale and third in the G1 Yorkshire Oaks. Ballinderry produced a pair of stakes winners, and the better of those was Sanglamore (Sharpen Up), winner of the G1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) and second in the G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Ballinderry herself is one of five stakes winners out of the marvelous mare Miss Manon (Bon Mot). In addition to Stolen Holiday’s third dam, Miss Manon produced Lydian (Lyphard), winner of the G1 Grosser Preis von Baden and G1 Gran Premio di Milano; Sharpman (Sharpen Up), winner of the Prix Omnium, second in the G1 French 2,000 Guineas, third in the G1 French Derby; Mot d’Or (Rheingold), winner of the G2 Prix Hocquart and third in the G1 Grand Prix de Paris; and Miss Summer (Luthier), stakes winner and dam of multiple G1-placed Most Precious (Nureyev).

Stolen Holiday’s pedigree in itself is fascinating, and not least among its elements is that Northern Dancer, a foal of 1961, figures twice in her third generation. The 1964 Kentucky Derby winner is the grandsire of Stolen Holiday in the male line; he is also the sire of her broodmare sire Sadler’s Wells. Northern Dancer appears twice more in Stolen Holiday’s pedigree: in the sixth generation as the sire of Triple Crown winner Nijinsky and in the fourth generation as the sire of the second dam’s broodmare sire Lyphard.

The four presences of Northern Dancer are noteworthy, but the pair in the third generation are remarkable.

It is rare to find a horse from 60 years ago so close up in a contemporary pedigree, but Northern Dancer is no ordinary Thoroughbred. The repetition of his name in this pedigree is a reminder of the vast difference the small, Canadian-bred bay has made in the breed.

Inbreeding to a horse of lesser genetic significance would likely be discouraged but not so with the great little bay. Certainly, inbreeding to Northern Dancer 3×2, 3×3, and 3×4 has succeeded on the racetrack as seen with this mare, as well as with classic winners Enable and War of Will, G1 winners Hit It a Bomb, Brave Anna, Roly Poly, US Navy Flag, and others. The next question is whether horses with this kind of close-up inbreeding to Northern Dancer make a significant mark as breeding stock in the coming years.