Month: October 2019

Into Mischief’s Pedigree Analysis

In horse racing results today and racehorse breeding in general, the name Into Mischief denotes an ‘A’ list sire with sturdy stud fees well worth every penny of $175,000. A relatively young sire with a resume that boasts 57 black type winners, including Grade 1 winners Covfefe and Mia Mischief, plus a promising sire-of-sire prognosis with Goldencents.  Into Mischief was the most popular stallion of 2018 with a book of 245 mares while standing at Spendthrift Farm. He currently stands atop the 2019 Leading Sires list with over $12 million in progeny earnings.  As a runner, Into Mischief was never worse than second in six starts.  He won the Cashcall Futurity (Grade 1) at Hollywood Park as a two year-old and ran second in the prestigious Malibu Stakes (Grade 1) at Santa Anita as a three year-old. With additional stakes tallied to his ledger, Into Mischief retired with earnings in excess of $590,000. The list of stakes winners he sired thus far includes: Audible, Practical Joke, Mia Mischief, Covfefe, plus afore mentioned young sire, Goldencents.


From a breeding approach, Into Mischief is an exceptionally well-bred individual defined from the fine female forces assembled in his background. The female family line (femline) originates from 23-b and a younger half-sister by Henny Hughes, Beholder, became a champion of high substance. Her on-track performance is forever etched in the minds of fervent racing fans. In the 2015 edition of the Pacific Classic Beholder’s beachside frolic was a beauty to behold as she whizzed by the quarter pole with jet stream efficiency while giving the boys a whipping. As if bursting bubbles in the kiddies pool, she coasted and ran them ragged, waltzing home by more than eight lengths eventually stopping the clock in 1:59.77 for the mile and a quarter distance. At year’s end, in the Breeder’s Cup Classic, misfortune struck as she was scratched from the big race, much to the glowing satisfaction and sigh of relief of trainer Bob Baffert who had the race favorite American Pharoah. Another half sibling of Into Mischief, Mendelssohn, a smart looking son of Scat Daddy, went on to win the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf in 2017 at Del Mar. These examples emphasize the family strength of 23-b.


It was only a matter of time before the powerful forces within femline 23-b revved its V-12 turbine engine once again just as it did with Domino, “The Black Whirlwind”. That fabled speed-ball graced the racing backdrop in the 1890s, and ever since, family 23-b has enhanced the racehorse breed with championship runners akin to four-legged Lamborghinis. In horse racing results today, this femline continues to excite us at every level of racing. The long list of championship honors from 23-b keeps rolling in. It already includes six Kentucky Derby winners: Tim Tam, Affirmed, Winning Colors, Lil E. Tee, Mine That Bird and I’ll have Another. Other champions that are descendants from broodmares of subject family 23-b are listed below:

Champion Sprinter:           Exceed and Excel, Big Drama

Champion 2yo Colt:          Domino, Hamburg, Regal Classic, Chief’s Crown, Grey Classic

Champion 2yo Filly:          Queen Empress, Pleasant Stage, Hello Seattle, Miss Secreto, Special Duty, Beholder

Champion 3yo Filly:          Twilight Tear, Two Lea, Chris Evert, Dance Smartly, Winning Colors, Beholder, Classy’n Smart

Champion 3yo Colt:          Tim Tam, Electrocutionist

Champion Turf Male:        Sky Classic, Hasten to Add

Champion Mare:               Beholder, Jewel Princess

Champion Turf Mare:       Estrapade

Horse of the Year:             Discovery, Twilight Tear, Criminal Type, Ghostzapper

Champion Older Male:     Discovery, Ardross, Criminal Type, Ghostzapper

Champion Sire:                Smart Strike, Exceed and Excel

Future Leading Sire:          Into Mischief, I’ll Have Another, Carpe Diem


So how does 23-b explain Into Mischief’s sire dominance when a multitude of other failed sires traced their lineage back to this same femline? The answer is a pedigree principle called Numerical Nicks. Pedigree hobbyist would be hard pressed to grasp the meteoric rise of Into Mischief’s ancestry without the assistance of Numerical Nicks. The virtuous discovery of this pedigree axiom advocates how certain female families when combined generate an assortment of speed. Careful classification of these family lines forms the basis of identifying racehorse quality. Therefore each unique sequence of femline formations facilitates bloodstock evaluation, helps predict racehorse on track performance and pinpoints breeding prepotency. Into Mischief’s dam, Leslie’s Lady, unveils various viable patterns invisibly woven into a very rich web of her lineage. That exact established pattern found in the pedigree of Leslie’s Lady also shows up in the lineage of Harlan’s Holiday. So when Numerical Nicks highlights the driving forces that propel precocious brilliance burning bright twice within the genetics of Into Mischief, they are the pathways to personal fulfillment in the art of breeding million dollar racehorses.


Emblems of praise bestowed upon Mendelssohn, Beholder and Into Mischief are on full display as traditional nicking fans grow wild with excitement and for good reason. Since nicking supporters see the Storm Cat line successfully nicked with Tricky Creek’s mare, it is easy to believe the effect of speed and class within these three racehorses are directly attributed to matching of sire line to broodmare sire. You must respect their creed. However, we warmly embrace our approach more closely as it teaches how individual talents are deeply influenced by Numerical Nicks regardless of generations. Specific broodmare sires and sire lines will vacate the charts but formidable numbers remain constant.  Neither Miss Disco nor Discovery is visible in today’s pedigree profiles but the same Numerical Nicks they uncovered is still alive and well in today’s, tomorrow’s and future champions.


Bold Ruler (8-d) was a scintillating racehorse and an incredible stallion at Clairborne where he achieved leading sire status seven successive years. His family line came from female line 8-d and a fifth generation chart shows his ancestry rich in family number 8. The presence of Sweep (8-c), Sun Briar (8-c), Light Brigade (8-g) and Havresac (8-h) are over powering. Now shift focus to Bold Ruler’s broodmare sire, Discovery (23-b). Notice how Discovery had two broodmare sires with links to 23-b very close up in his female family: His Majesty (23-b), a foal of 1910, and Hamburg (23-b), champion racer and champion sire. Discovery became a phenomenal asset in bloodlines that still echoes in modern pedigree.


Triple Crown winner Affirmed (23-b) also had the same profile with multiple links to femline 8 that helped explain his explosiveness. This is how horses with seemingly no pedigree rise to stardom. It is understandable when Affirmed is combined with multiples of family 8 type bloodlines the result yields the likes of Flawlessly and Wise Dan. Such is the reverse case with Hennessy (8-c) who inherits family 8-c from both parents sire Storm Cat (8-c) and dam T C Kitten (8-c). Mix Hennessy with femline 23-b and we get champion 2 year-old filly, Special Duty and ill-fated Grade 1 mare Madcap Escapade. Some other notable horses with this Numerical Nick are Intentionally, Native Dancer, Raise A Native, Alydar, Danzig, Wise Dan, Affirmed, Curlin, Ghostzapper, City Zip, American Pharoah and others. In summation, the five generation set of family numbers includes at least one occurrence of family 23 with multiple appearances of family 8. It must be emphasized that female line 23-b was already great, well before crossing the intersection of family 8 and the plateau of multi-million dollar yearlings. Family 8 simply provides a unique and enhanced level of speed.


Memoirs of Estrapade, a free running daughter of Vaguely Noble and Klepto, was a descendant from another branch of female line 23-b, a line that confirms stark affinity for all distances on any surface. Unfortunately, Estrapade was short of family 8 in her five generation chart. While that omission did not bother her much in races, it probably stymied Estrapade’s breeding output. On the other hand, Leslie’s Lady has flourished. Perhaps Leslie’s Lady’s five generation chart that includes Menow (8-g), Nijinsky II (8-f) and Icecapade (8-c) made her rich in family 8 and essentially a vibrant, impressive broodmare when mixed with her own 23-b female line.

The Numerical Nicks layout for each of the three black types produced by Leslie’s Lady is shown below:

Into Mischief (23-b) his sire, Harlan’s Holiday, adds Storm Cat (8-c); Crafty Admiral (8-c); Raise A Native (8-f).

Beholder (23-b) her sire, Henny Hughes, adds Hennessy (8-c)(8-c) twice and Raise A Native (8-f).

Mendelssohn (23-b) his sire, Scat Daddy, adds Hennessy (8-c); Damascus (8-h); Raise A Native (8-f) Nijinsky II (8-f).

Leslie’s Lady (23-b) her sire, Tricky Creek, adds Icecapade (8-c) and Nijinksy II (8-f), her dam, Crystal Lady, adds Menow (8-g).


The family of 23-b is the main engine where class and power accumulates. Perennial sires like Smart Strike, Ghostzapper, City Zip, Exceed And Excel and now Into Mischief and later Carpe Diem have established family line 23-b as significant sire power appeal especially when merged with speedy female lines of 8. The continued production of quality, class and speed found in these sires are testament to the fact that female line 23-b is still strong, vibrant and has been enduring high quality speed well beyond middle distance ever since Domino streaked across the pages of racing history.


Into Mischief’s siring success can thus be attributed to the double formation of the same Numerical Nicks found in both parents as Harlan’s Holiday and Leslie’s Lady were both bred with the graces of family 23 combined with multiple traces of family 8.


Herman Lammey


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Zenyatta – Horse Racing Natural Wonder


On November 22nd, 2007 a meteor from somewhere struck down at Hollywood Park in the form of a dark bay, almost black, a filly with a blaze that streaked across her forehead. Zenyatta’s debut win was befitting of something out of this world, something that progresses with spectacular speed. It was a rather late start for a three-year-old, but this amazonian filly once unleashed upon the racing world would take it by storm. Zenyatta’s Graded Stakes launch pad came as a four-year-old in the El Encino Stake (Grade 2) at Santa Anita in January of 2008, it was only her third start. Ridden then by David Flores, the run best described by then track announcer, Trevor Denman, was rather eloquent when noted “she covered so much ground with her bounding stride”. The type of stride and running style that is becoming increasingly rare.


Three years later and undefeated, the Classic run at Churchill Downs was the last race of her glamorous career. Her customary slow start was slower than usual, her strides short and choppy as she realized the comfort of California withdrawn – synthetic track no more, instead clumps of moist clay kicked back, hitting her in the face and some swirled in the evening chill just past her nostril. Welcome to north-central Kentucky. Though he knew it was not normal, Mike Smith let her be, he watched as her ears imperceptibly twitched like robotic antennas searching for signals. Attendees in the grandstand and countless watching TV sets across the globe all collective eyes were affixed in the rear of the field. At that point, millions of fans folded their arms and held their elbows tight as if to self-comfort and avert the pain of an embarrassing loss. Everyone knew this was about to be a definite clunker. Even on the slope of the first turn, there was no sign of hope. Behind on the backstretch she was bounding along at a lonely pace, her face erased by distance stretched far back some twenty lengths down at Churchill Downs. Suddenly the normal stride was back as Mike niggled the back of her neck to get her going. Along the rail she trails all alone as the masculine field of rivals blistered upfront, splintering through the evening crisp of early November. Deficit erased and margin slimmed – they were much closer now. She was in touch with the field, at seventeen and a half hands tall she could see them all. Turning for home, heavy hooves thumped the ground and tear up soil directly in front of her, she was on the rail and on their tails desperate to find a way through. Weighing in at 1200 pounds in full motion and graceful poise she had to switch paths and did so smooth as silk. Temporarily steadied by a faltering Quality Road, she angled further out searching for space. Moving sideways, she was surrounded by a wall of horses. Ahead, Lookin At Lucky and Blame were unimpeded and overpowering flailing longshots Etched and Espoir City. With less than 24 seconds to go, she hop-scotched from path four to six with the nimbleness of a ballerina. Time was running out. Suddenly like an uncaged bird with ruffled feathers and a flurry of flight she saw daylight. Finally free, in full flight her patented move was on full display and what a run it was. This was Zenyatta, horse racing natural wonder, that the world came to see. Blame intently hidden on the inside, Lookin At Lucky on his outside, Etched in the middle, Zenyatta on the far outside two lengths behind slicing through the wind bearing down on them. She was in hot pursuit with relentless passion and dogged determination, slipping by Grade 1 winners like they were equine statues adorned in silks. The runner Etched erased, one more to Blame, Lookin At Lucky vanquished, one more to be finished. Trevor’s voice animated with excitement knowing he was about to witness unbelievable once more. The wire approaching fast, this time faster than usual with less than a few strides to go. “Zenyatta, Zenyatta, Zenyatta”, once elated sounds deflated to tearful vocals that thunder down from announcer’s booth above to the grandstand below and across the globe with the sting of a stirring sentimental sermon. Silent echoes erupted as the crowd gasped and grasped the paradox of a tarnished record gallantly fought for. She stood tall, she ran the best race of her illustrious career and came up short. She was no longer undefeated.


Zenyatta’s impact in the Sport of Kings would come in the Breeders’ Cup when she became a beacon of hope for the industry as her effect triggered an attendance crowd that ballooned well over 114,000 in 2010 and a common pool handle of more than $173 million. Yes, the $60,000 yearling with skin rash, speed suspect sire, and stone-cold late run sold out the place in a recovering economy and worldwide recession. Her presence generated the second-highest attendance since the inception of the expanded race series. Only California Chrome and Arrogate’s tussle in 2016 at Santa Anita had more attendees. Somewhat like California Chrome, Zenyatta’s Classic run went down in defeat but not in disappointment.


Zenyatta was sired by Street Cry and produced by Virtigineux, a daughter of Kris S. From his first crop Street Cry sired other good runners; Street Boss, Street Sense, and Majestic Roi. There was a recent article by Sid Fernando that highlights the potency of first-crop sires. On the dam side, Virtigineux descends from family 4-r and is considered rich in speed type. The origins of speed-class in this family go back to Artful, champion 2-year-old filly of 1904. Artful was the daughter of Hamburg, and her full sister Artless was the fourth dam of Mrs. Peterkin. Sired by Green Tree Stud leading stallion, Tom Fool,  Mrs. Peterkin became a mare of enormous importance as the 2nd dam of For The Flag, Mizzen Mast and Shareef Dancer. For The Flag, an excellent producing daughter of Forli was the 2nd dam of Zenyatta. The prestigious Fasig Tipton Keeneland September Yearling sale is well known for high priced yearlings. From the 2005 edition HIP 703 has been added to a very long list of low priced yearlings that slipped by savvy market buyers at sale venues across the world. Names like Seattle Slew, Northern Dancer, Overdose, Lady Glamour, Bonecrusher, Sincero, Polanski, Vo Rogue, Shoot Out, will forever be talked about. The hammer fell that day for a paltry $60,000 and the rest is history. Most believe the sales price as a result of a skin rash. We have noticed sales price at select yearling auctions are usually governed by speculation of precocious stallions or proven sires and the economy. Although Street Cry won impressively stateside, the buzz was alive of his would-be talent as a sire. However, he had a list of yearlings that sold low or were RNA’d. That list includes HIPs 12, 107, 284, 285, 419, 599, 667, plus the famous 703. Alternatively, there were a few high priced ones too. If we consider his dam, Helen Street, by Troy, was almost entirely of European flavor that resonates well with turf whereby their progeny screams for distance and grass. This similar divergence is found in leading sire Kitten’s Joy when the Ramseys briefly considered standing him in Europe because distance grass sires were not evaluated equitably regarding stud fees and sales ring as comparably as dirt-speed sires. Street Cry would later sire another daughter named Winx, that dominated the Australian racing scene with a familiar late run. Imagine the impact on Street Cry’s prestige if both Zenyatta and Street Sense were loaded in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby of 2007. Regardless of Zenyatta’s sire early appreciation value in North America, she squarely placed her dad front and center in breeding conversations as a sire to be reckoned with. Street Sense had already brought home championship honors at two and a classic crown at three when he won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Kentucky Derby.


The dancer, prancer super horse captured the hearts of many even in defeat and she continues to hold those hearts today as she calls Lane’s End Farm home. Zenyatta, the super horse created her superstardom, she brought smiles and tears to all who loved her and she is coveted by many. The memories of her on track appearances, be it watching patrons in the stands, moving her feet through choreographed routine or making up ground from far back as she flew with grace past her competitors will be cherished, honored, and loved by all those who had a chance to see her. Zenyatta’s collective performances reminded us of what a wonderful sport horse racing is. The highs and lows, emotional ebb and flows, thrills and goosebumps that we’ve all experienced in making the industry vibrant and thriving. Celebrating her tenth anniversary of that remarkable run with head held high, we honor and cherish the sport we love, as we seek surety of perfection just as she displayed. We are proud to be witness to her legacy. Zenyatta, in appreciation of your tenth anniversary of Breeders’ Cup accomplishment, we salute you.


Herman Lammey


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