With her victory in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes on Aug. 19, Elate (by Medaglia d'Oro) became the highest-profile stakes winner at Saratoga for owner-breeders Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm since their champion Blame (Arch) won the G1 Whitney in 2010 over Quality Road.
In her previous start, Elate had been a close and controversial second to Abel Tasman (Quality Road) in the Coaching Club American Oaks at the Spa.
That Elate won the Alabama in the absence of her distinguished rival is a fitting tribute to the many fine relations who succeeded at Saratoga and performed at the highest level.
First, Elate is the second consecutive winner of the Alabama Stakes by the excellent sire Medaglia d'Oro (El Prado), after champion Songbird won the race last year. Medaglia d'Oro won the 2002 Travers and 2003 Whitney. Furthermore, Medaglia d'Oro's broodmare sire Bailjumper is a useful son of Horse of the Year Damascus, who won the 1967 Travers Stakes by 22 lengths.
Bred in Kentucky by Claiborne and Adele Dilschneider, Elate is out of the Distorted Humor mare Cheery, a stakes winner of the American Beauty Stakes at Oaklawn and winner in 5 of 9 starts at 3 and 4. Cheery is a full sister to stakes-placed Shrill, and they are half-siblings to stakes-placed Chide (Blame), who ran third in the G1 Mother Goose Stakes and second in the G3 Dogwood Stakes.
Cheery and her sibs are out of the high-class A.P. Indy mare Yell, who won the G2 Davona Dale Stakes and the G3 Raven Run, plus captured a second in the G1 Mother Goose and a third in the G1 Kentucky Oaks. Yell was an elegant and talented filly and also was the fourth stakes winner out of the G2 Diana Handicap winner Wild Applause (Northern Dancer).
At the 1992 Keeneland November breeding stock sale, Claiborne acquired Wild Applause for $1,025,000 out of the dispersal of Paul Mellon's Rokeby Stables. Seth Hancock's decision to swing for the bleachers on this mare was a pragmatic decision.
On the one hand, Adele Dilschneider wanted to get into breeding and racing in a substantial way, and Wild Applause was part of that important step toward a long-term enjoyment of the sport and involvement in its many facets.
And on the other hand, Wild Applause was purely a blue chip.
A winner in half of her 10 starts, Wild Applause also won the G3 Comely, was second in the G2 Test, and third in the G1 Mother Goose. Even more to the point, she already had produced a high-class racer, the Damascus colt Eastern Echo, who won the Futurity. For Claiborne and Dilschneider, Wild Applause produced Roar (Forty Niner), winner of the G2 Jim Beam and G3 Swale Stakes, and Yell.
In between her final two stakes winners, Wild Applause produced the Mr. Prospector mare Praise, who did not earn black type but produced two sons who've become important stallions: Flatter and his full brother Congrats, both by A.P. Indy.
A full sister to G1 winner Hero's Honor (Northern Dancer), Wild Applause and her brother were half-siblings to Sea Hero (Polish Navy), winner of the 1992 Champagne Stakes and then the 1993 Kentucky Derby, and four other stakes winners.
Their dam, Glowing Tribute (Graustark), was a multiple winner at the G2 level, and she became 1993 Broodmare of the Year.
Glowing Tribute's stakes-winning dam, Admiring (Hail to Reason), was a full sister to Futurity Stakes winner Priceless Gem, dam of the Arc de Triomphe winner Allez France (Sea-Bird), and a half-sister to champion Affectionately (Swaps), dam of champion Personality (Hail to Reason). These three important mares are out of the multiple stakes winner Searching (War Admiral).
Ogden Phipps bred Searching and sold her to Hirsch Jacobs and Isidor Bieber for a reported $15,000 as a 3-year-old. Jacobs turned Searching into a stakes winner, and then she became an outstanding broodmare.
Both Priceless Gem and her full sister Admiring were by the Bieber-Jacobs stallion Hail to Reason, champion 2-year-old and winner of the Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga. At the 1966 Bieber-Jacobs reduction sale, Admiring sold for a record price of $310,000 to Paul Mellon's Rokeby Stable and Charles Engelhard's Cragwood Estates. After Engelhard died in 1971, Rokeby became sole owner of Admiring and bred all her subsequent foals.
Phipps bred Searching from Big Hurry (Black Toney), a major winner for breeder E.R. Bradley and bred at his Idle Hour Stock Farm. Bradley had imported Big Hurry's dam, the French-bred La Troienne (Teddy).
La Troienne was bred by Marcel Boussac and was highly tried, although she did not win. She became perhaps the most famous broodmare of the 20th century with such top performers as Black Helen (Florida Derby, American Derby, Coaching Club American Oaks) and champion Bimelech (Preakness, Belmont, Hopeful, Futurity). Both were by Black Toney, like their full sister Big Hurry, but her branch of the family has survived and prospered to this day.
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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