The victory by Chasing Yesterday (by Tapit) in the Grade 1 Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos on Dec. 8 brings up an interesting point of reference from earlier this summer at Saratoga. The Spa's leading race for juvenile fillies, the G1 Spinaway Stakes, was won by Sippican Harbor (Orb), and behind her that day were 10 other fillies, including the favored Chasing Yesterday.
Of those 10 fillies, two are now graded stakes winners, two more are stakes winners, and six are stakes-placed. In order of their finish at Saratoga:
Restless Rider (Distorted Humor) won the G1 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland, was second in the G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs.
Cassie's Dreamer (Flatter) was third in the G1 Frizette, then fifth in the BC Juvenile Fillies, just ahead of Sippican Harbor.
Bella Ciao (Flatter) was third in the Hut Hut Stakes at Gulfstream on Dec. 8.
Nonna Madeline (Candy Ride) was second to Catherinethegreat in the G2 Schuylerville at Saratoga.
Reflect (Trappe Shot) was second in the G1 Alcibiades.
Chasing Yesterday is unbeaten since the Spinaway, winning in succession the Anoakia, Desi Arnaz, and Starlet.
Virginia Eloise (Curlin) was second in the G2 Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga.
Catherinethegreat (Uncaptured) won the G2 Schuylerville.
Baby Nina (Flatter) won the Miss Ohio Stakes and was third in the John W. Galbreath Memorial.
Guacamole (Flat Out) was third in the G2 Adirondack and third in the Stewart Manor Stakes.
That every filly in the race is a stakes horse is a credit to the quality of horses at the Saratoga meet, and that nine of the 11 are graded stakes horses makes the form for this race appear rather robust.
Since then, Jaywalk (Cross Traffic) has won the G1 Frizette Stakes and BC Juvenile Fillies and is a mortal lock as champion juvenile filly with a record of four victories from five starts, just like Chasing Yesterday.
But the Starlet winner has made strong and consistent progress from her much-watched debut last summer, and she holds a real chance to continue developing in such a way that she could challenge for divisional leadership next season.
Especially in light of the chestnut filly's pedigree.
Bred in Kentucky by Summer Wind Farm and racing for the breeder, Chasing Yesterday is by three-time American leading sire Tapit, whose profile as a sire is littered with numerous good 2-year-olds who improved at 3.
In addition, Chasing Yesterday is a very nice specimen of the breed, with beautiful quality and length, confidence and strength.
When I first encountered Chasing Yesterday, she was a yearling at Summer Wind, and I was on the farm to look at some other horses. But across the barn aisle was this elegant chestnut. She kept an eye on me from the cool confines of her stall and had a rather inquisitive expression that might have been interpreted as something like, “What are you up to?”
So I asked the farm assistant with me at the time, “Who's the nice-looking chestnut over there?”
“Oh, that's American Pharoah's little sister.”
One small infarction of horse envy later, I managed to croak out, “Oh, that's nice.”
Out of the star broodmare Littleprincessemma (Yankee Gentleman), Chasing Yesterday carries the chestnut color seen in her dam, as well as the beautiful proportions and quality of her famous sire. A February foal, Chasing Yesterday is coming to hand slightly later than her half-brother American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile), who won his first G1 at Del Mar during his juvenile season.
Their dam produced a pair of full siblings to the 2015 Triple Crown winner in American Cleopatra (2014), who was second in the G1 Del Mar Debutante, and St Patrick's Day (2015), who was second in the G3 Renaissance Stakes in Ireland earlier this season, in addition to being third in another stakes.
Chasing Yesterday is the mare's fifth foal and fourth consecutive black-type performer. The mare's yearling is a full brother to American Pharoah named Theprinceofthebes, and she has a full brother to Chasing Yesterday who has been named Triple Tap.
Purchased by Summer Wind at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton November sale for $2.1 million, carrying St Patrick's Day, on the strength of American Pharoah's juvenile victories, Littleprincessemma has come to look like an inspired broodmare purchase.
Every succeeding year has brought new improvements to the production record of the mare, and should American Pharoah get the results on the racetrack that are half as good as his results in the sales ring, even greater accolades lie ahead.
Although her Storm Cat sire Yankee Gentleman did not have enough success to remain in Kentucky, Littleprincessemma has become a producer of the highest significance through the consistent quality and high standard of her offspring.
Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is chief of biomechanics for DataTrack International and is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in Central Kentucky. Check out Frank's lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.
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