By Frank Mitchell
With an impressive victory in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland on Saturday, Kentucky-bred Harmonious won a race at the premier level for the second time in six starts. That victory emphatically confirms the high ranking of Harmonious among this year's 3-year-old fillies. And she is, furthermore, one of 16 winners at the G1 level internationally for her sire Dynaformer.
The stallion is the active star of the Three Chimneys Farm breeding operation, and the 25-year-old is the last surviving top-tier son of Roberto at stud. Epsom Derby winner Roberto, in turn, was a son of champion juvenile Hail to Reason, and both were sires of immense international import.
Dynaformer has followed the same course.
Although Dynaformer went to stud in 1990 and his first crop was born in 1991, at the pit of the first great bloodstock depression, the 17-hand son of Roberto climbed the heights of stallion success by siring classic horses and high-class graded or group stakes performers.
Now standing for $150,000 live foal, Dynaformer is one of the most expensive and sought-after stallions in the world.
His 2-year-old daughter White Moonstone recently won the G1 Fillies Mile at Ascot, and the unbeaten filly ranks as one of the top juveniles of her sex in England. She is expected to improve next season, as is typical of the Dynaformer stock, and may be Godolphin's best chance at a filly classic next year.
Improvement with maturity and distance, allied with a general inclination for racing on turf, have been the hallmarks of Dynaformer's stock from the beginning of his career. That would tend to describe the massive horse himself, although he also showed good form on dirt, and his best offspring was Barbaro, one of the best Kentucky Derby winners of the past 20 years.
Harmonious is typical of her sire's offspring: good-sized, scopy individuals with the big stride capacity expected from their framework. Like many of them, Harmonious needed to develop muscle and strength in proportion to her size so that she can rattle around the course.
Given plenty of time by breeders Martin and Pam Wygod, Harmonious has won four of her six starts and was second in her previous race, the G1 Del Mar Oaks.
The Wygods have been closely associated with breeding at the top level in California through their operation at River Edge Farm, but they have been in the process of dispersing their California stock and relocating their stallions from that operation this year.
Ric Waldman, bloodstock adviser to the Wygods for 15 years or more, said the change “represents only a de-emphasizing of their California breeding program. The Wygods have had a fair-sized broodmare band in Kentucky for several years and were breeding to Storm Cat in numbers even before the production of Sweet Catomine,” the champion 2-year-old filly of 2004 (and therefore a mating of 2001).
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Sweet Catomine won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Del Mar Debutante, and Oak Leaf Stakes during her championship season.
Sweet Catomine and other highly pedigreed stock are among the “25 to 30 mares that the Wygods will breed in Kentucky next year,” Waldman said. The Wygods keep their stock at Lane's End Farm outside Versailles, Ky.
Another of the mares the Wygods will breed is Jade Tree, the dam of Harmonious. From the Wygods' foal crop of 2001, Jade Tree is a Storm Cat who wasn't faintly as successful on the racetrack as Sweet Catomine. Jade Tree was unraced but managed to produce a G1 winner in Harmonious as her third foal.
Jade Tree's two subsequent foals are a chestnut yearling filly by Unbridled's Song and a bay weanling filly by Candy Ride.
Jade Tree is out of the Jade Hunter mare Jade Flush, who won the Rare Perfume, ran second in the Spinster, and was second or third in five other graded stakes. She produced listed winner Megantic (by Theatrical) and Jade Queen (Giant's Causeway), who was stakes-placed in both the G1 Flower Bowl and the Garden City.
Jade Flush was a product of Allen Paulson's Brookside Farm and was acquired by the Wygods, who bred Jade Tree. Paulson had purchased the dam of Jade Flush, the unraced Royal Strait Flush (Seattle Slew) as a yearling. The mare was the only full sister to champion Landaluce and produced three stakes winners for Brookside.
Copyright © 2010, Frank Mitchell
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