By Frank Mitchell
Saturday's Kentucky Derby winner, Super Saver, is from the next-to-last crop of champion Maria's Mon and was produced by a mare descending from the First Family of American Thoroughbred Breeding, the imported French-bred mare La Troienne.
Those are serious pedigree credentials, although nothing too unusual for the stock produced annually at WinStar Farm, which prides itself for being one of the premium producers of classic-quality Thoroughbreds in the country.
As such, Maria's Mon would naturally be one of the stallions used by the farm because the gray son of Wavering Monarch had already sired the 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos. Also a winner of the Florida Derby, Monarchos possessed the same closing strength going a distance of ground that we saw bring Super Saver to victory in the mud and muck at Churchill Downs.
Few stallions sire even one classic winner, and the ones who sire two are rare, special animals, indeed. Although bred for the classics, Maria's Mon did not start in them. He won the 2-year-old championship in 1995 following victories in the Champagne, Futurity, and Sanford. But the gray horse's “3-year-old season never really got off the ground due to an injury,” said Clifford Barry, farm manager for Josephine Abercrombie's Pin Oak Stud, which stood the horse his entire career.
“Regardless of getting two classic winners, he was a special horse to be around on a daily basis,” Barry continued. “He was smart and very personable, not a mean or rough bone in his body. We were fortunate to be around him for the time we had him.”
The gray son of Wavering Monarch went to stud in 1997 at a time when the stallion market was not thriving widely, and Pin Oak started Maria's Mon for $7,500 because “Mrs. Abercrombie wanted to set the stud fee right and attract the kind of mares who help the horse, because that was the goal at the end of the day,” Barry said.
The approach worked, and by the time of his death at age 14 on Sept. 14, 2007, Maria's Mon was attracting “incredible mares,” Barry said, “from the kind of breeders you hope will come to patronize your horse.”
One of those high-powered mares being mated with Maria's Mon was Supercharger, the A.P. Indy mare who is the dam of Super Saver.
And WinStar bought the mare out of the 2006 Keeneland November breeding stock sale carrying the future Kentucky Derby winner. Consigned by Lane's End, agent, Supercharger sold to B.T.A. Stable for $160,000, which looks like an awfully good price in hindsight. Supercharger was owned by the Phipps Stable of Ogden Mills Phipps and family, which planned the mating to Maria's Mon, but sold her later that year while in foal.
Among WinStar's large broodmare band is a full sister to Supercharger called She's a Winner. Doug Cauthen, president of WinStar Farm, said the farm purchased She's a Winner “very early in her career, and she has repaid us in spades, fulfilling the legacy of that Phipps family.”
She's a Winner had produced two graded stakes winners for WinStar that were racing in 2005, and the younger of those, the Storm Cat racer Bluegrass Cat, won the Haskell Invitational and ran second in both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes in 2006.
Later that year, Cauthen noted, “when Supercharger was in the sale, we had a natural affinity to take a look at her, and we also liked A.P. Indy mares, which had produced Any Given Saturday, for Distorted Humor. We bought her with all that in mind, and Super Saver was icing on the cake.”
The icing took the cake on Saturday, and Super Saver has made his dam an extremely valuable animal, as well as raising the prospects for his siblings.
Since joining the WinStar broodmare band, Supercharger has produced the Kentucky Derby winner, a 2-year-old colt by Distorted Humor, a yearling filly by Awesome Again, and a colt of 2010 at side by Medaglia d'Oro. The mare is currently counting days on a cover to Tiznow.
Now 15, Supercharger is a year older than her sister She's a Winner. Both are out of the Mr. Prospector mare Get Lucky, who has produced three graded stakes-winning full siblings to Supercharger and She's a Winner: Daydreaming, Girolamo, and Accelerator. The mare's fourth stakes winner, Harborage, is a son of Monarchos, the Kentucky Derby winner who put Maria's Mon in the limelight as a sire.
This is one of the premier Phipps families tracing back to La Troienne, which the late Ogden Phipps acquired back in the 1940s as his portion of the bloodstock from E.R. Bradley's Idle Hour Stock Farm that Greentree Farm, King Ranch, and Phipps purchased in its entirety.
The best racer from the family for Phipps was Super Saver's fourth dam, champion 2-year-old filly Numbered Account (by Buckpasser), who also became a very important producer for the Phipps stable.
Numbered Account produced Private Account (by Damascus), the sire of unbeaten Personal Ensign, and the major stakes winner Dance Number (by Northern Dancer), who became the dam of champion juvenile Rhythm and his full sister, Get Lucky, the second dam of Super Saver.
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 a private consultant to breeders on pedigrees, matings, and conformation. He is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in central Kentucky.
Copyright © 2010, Frank Mitchell
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