Continuing to make history with his first crop of racers, Gun Runner (by Candy Ride) picked up a sixth Grade 1 winner on Sept. 24, when he had a total of five stakes winners on the day. Among those five were Taiba, who won the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby, and Society, who became a Grade 1 winner with victory in the Cotillion.
Foaled in Kentucky, Society is bred and raced by Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds LLC. Blum also bred but sold Authentic (Into Mischief), who won the 2020 Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic. Based on those achievements, Authentic was named 2020 Horse of the Year.
A summertime development after her seasonal debut in May, Society propelled herself to a ranking among the elite fillies of 2022 with her Cotillion success, and among those behind her were Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath (Arrogate); stakes winner Green Up (Upstart), unbeaten this year until the Cotillion; Monmouth Oaks winner Shahama (Munnings); Adare Manor (Uncle Mo), winner of the Las Virgenes earlier this year; and Mother Goose Stakes winner Gerrymander (Into Mischief).
With five victories from six starts to date and a Grade 1 success, Society would also rank as the best racer in some time from her branch of this illustrious family tracing back to Missy Baba (My Baby) and Uvira (Umidwar).
Blum bred not only Society but also her dam Etiquette (Tapit). Now 10, Etiquette might have been a slow learner. In her first seven starts, she was four times second or third. In the eighth start, however, the chestnut filly read the script and won off by 10 lengths as the favorite. The filly was twice second in her remaining three starts, earning $89,177.
Sent to stud, Etiquette has done much better.
The mare’s first foal was a colt by Quality Road (Elusive Quality) who sold for $500,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of select yearlings, and Society is the second foal from Etiquette.
Blum bred Etiquette from the Pleasant Tap mare Archduchess, who is a half-sister to three stakes winners, including Rookie Sensation (Unbridled’s Song), winner of the G2 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita, and Mark One (Alphabet Soup), winner of the G3 Eclipse Handicap at Woodbine.
Archduchess was a product of the Adena Springs breeding program, where she produced a good horse – Pleasant Prince (Indy King), winner of the G3 Ohio Derby and listed Oklahoma Derby, as well as second in the G1 Florida Derby.
The dam of Archduchess and her stakes-winning siblings was the stakes winner My Marchesa (Stately Don), who was one of two stakes winners out of Sooni (Buckpasser). Michael Phipps, cousin of Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps, bred Sooni and some of her celebrated siblings from Missy Baba, whom Phipps had bred from Uvira.
This is where we find other racers of similar merit to Society. Bred in Ireland by the Aga Khan, Uvira, for instance, won the Irish Oaks, was imported to the States, and changed hands a couple more times before coming to rest at Claiborne among the broodmares of Michael Phipps.
A quality racemare, Uvira was a good producer of five stakes winners. Her daughter Missy Baba was a moderate racer but perhaps an even better producer. In all, Missy Baba produced a half-dozen stakes winners, and a pair of stakes-placed racers, including Sooni, who was third in the G3 Seashore Handicap.
Missy Baba produced the next high-class racer in the family, foaling Gay Missile in 1967, and that daughter of Sir Gaylord went on to win the 1970 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland. Gay Missile’s branch of this female line is the one that has brought it the greatest acclaim with Horse of the Year A.P. Indy, classic winner Summer Squall (Storm Bird), Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid (Kingmambo), all of whom became sires of significance.
In addition to Sooni and Gay Missile, Phipps had bred a pair of Bold Ruler colts from Missy Baba, and both of them became stakes winners. Master Bold won the 1968 Dade Metropolitan and was second in the Fountain of Youth; he proved a fairish sort of sire.
The other Bold Ruler colt was foaled in 1968 and named Raja Baba. The handsome bay won a stakes at two, a pair of them at three, and retired with seven victories from 41 starts. He was more effective as a sprinter and had the build of a very strong, very fast horse.
A son of the most important sire of the time in Bold Ruler and from a distinguished family, Raja Baba found a home in Kentucky at Hermitage Farm. At a time when there was a son of Bold Ruler under every cabbage leaf, however, not a great deal was expected from Raja Baba.
So, the handsome bay made everyone who believed in him look really smart.
With his first crop to the races in 1976 (Seattle Slew’s juvenile season), Raja Baba rocketed to the top of the freshman sire list over Bold Reasoning (Slew’s sire), and such was his dominance that he led the juvenile sire list, as well, by both gross earnings and races won. Raja Baba’s leading earner that season was Royal Ski, winner of the Remsen.
In 1980, Raja Baba led the general sire list and was leading juvenile sire a second time. He sired 62 stakes winners (10.5 percent from foals), including 1987 champion 3-year-old filly Sacahuista, Canadian champion Summer Mood, and 1988 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Is It True.
From a family of depth and significance, Society has added a new luster to her branch of the old line.