The family that produced the 2023 Preakness Stakes winner National Treasure has been owned by breeder Peter Blum since Moses was wearing diapers.
Over the past seven generations of this family, from sixth dam Mono (by Better Self) to breeding and selling the Preakness winner through the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale consignment of Bridie Harrison, whose family farm operation foaled and raised the colt, Blum has concentrated on quality. Quality and classic athleticism.
But the mare that began this saga and that Peter Blum acquired a while back was the Better Self mare Mono, out of Sin Igual. Mono was a good-looking mare, and this is a family with good looks and attractive physicality. Broad and thick-bodied, Mono wasn’t the very best racing type, not being especially tall and scopey, but she was much better than average as a producer, and her family continues on to the present with such as this year’s Preakness winner.
Bred in Kentucky by King Ranch, Mono proved a winner and was six times second or third from 14 starts, earning $3,752. Judged surplus to requirements for King Ranch, Mono went on to produce three stakes winners, including Rare Performer (by Mr. Prospector) for Blum, and the bay son of Mr. Prospector went to stud in Kentucky at Murty Farm, then moved to Prestonwood Farm (now WinStar) in the late 1980s.
Rare Performer was a fast son of Mr. Prospector who sired a powerful, chunky type in the mold of this family. And Blum bred a full sister to Rare Performer whose physique followed the family type (just a bit chubby) but whose racing success was limited.
Like her dam, Mine Only proved a winner on the racetrack but a dazzling success as a broodmare. That has been the common thread among the broodmares of this line that Blum has retained. Only one has done more than win a maiden, National Treasure’s second dam Proposal (Mt. Livermore), who won at two and four and placed in a stakes.
Retired to stud, Proposal produced four stakes winners. Each of the dams tracing backward, even beyond the ownership of Blum, show a perplexing laxity on the point of racing performance, but they are dynamite broodmares.
Each has produced at least one stakes winner; most went for multiples. For instance, third dam Lady of Choice (Storm Bird) only placed on the track but foaled Proposal and her full brother G3 stakes winner Multiple Choice. Fourth dam Chosen Lady (Secretariat) also only placed on the track but produced G1 winner Well Chosen (Deputy Minister), winner of the Ashland Stakes, and G3 winner In Contention (Devil’s Bag). A full sister to G2 Manhattan Handicap winner Academy Award, Chosen Lady was a half-sister to G3 winners Good Mood (Devil’s Bag) and Statuette (Pancho Villa); these are all out of Mono’s daughter Mine Only, a full sister to Rare Performer.
Another facet to the breeding story of National Treasure is the repeated addition of classic quality to these rugged, fast, strong mares. In particular, the sire and broodmare sire of National Treasure, Quality Road and Medaglia d’Oro, are dominant for adding scope and classic stamina to pedigrees; their addition to this fast, sturdy family resulted in National Treasure. Last season, the bay colt could fairly have been called the third-best juvenile after a second-place finish to Cave Rock (Arrogate) in the American Pharoah and then a third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind Forte (Violence) and Cave Rock again.
Thus, the step forward to compete in the classics was not a long one from National Treasure’s standing at two, although his level of success was a major elevation for his dam, the Medaglia d’Oro mare Treasure. She placed six times from seven starts, earning $63,180, and the Preakness winner is her fourth foal.
In addition to the current Preakness winner, this is the family line of the 1946 Preakness (and Triple Crown) winner Assault (Bold Venture), and National Treasure’s seventh dam is Sin Igual (Bold Venture), a full sister to Assault foaled in 1952. They are both out of the unraced Equipoise mare Igual.
As a mate for Bold Venture, Igual delivered for King Ranch, getting a Triple Crown winner and other talented racers. Bold Venture, whom King Ranch had acquired after his racing career was finished, proved a mixed blessing for the breeding operation. The 1936 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner sired a Triple Crown winner for them, plus Middleground, who won the 1950 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes.
In the loss column, however, Bold Venture wasn’t the most fertile stallion, and his sons were somewhat worse. Assault was effectively sterile, and Middleground was noted as a “patchy foal-getter.”
That doesn’t seem to have been a problem with the fillies in the family, however, and the line continued on.
Nor are Assault and his sire the only other Preakness winners related to this distinguished family. Igual’s dam is the Chicle mare Incandescent, bred in Kentucky by C.V. Whitney and a minor stakes winner out of the Fair Play mare Masda. The latter is the elder full sister to 1920 Preakness winner Man o’ War.
If you breed to real quality, it keeps coming back.