Pedigree consultant and author Edwin Anthony examines the bloodlines of Discreetly Mine, winner of the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds, in the second in a series of articles written exclusively for the Paulick Report. Click here to view last week's article, looking at the pedigree of Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth winner Eskendereya.
DISCREETLY MINE (Mineshaft—Pretty Discreet, by Private Account)
By Edwin Anthony
There's something to be said for the concept of sticking close to the most established and historically significant Thoroughbred families. The pedigree of Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra provides us with a good example of this, as her sire Medaglia d'Oro is a son of El Prado (closely related to the studs Drone and Notebook from the important Bend Or family), while Medaglia d'Oro is himself out of a mare by Bailjumper (Frizette family) and his second dam is inbred 3 x 4 to the important mare Sunday Evening (in direct female line and via champion Silent Screen) from the very productive Idle Fancy family (champions Cicada, Dark Mirage, First Landing, Hill Prince, Indian Skimmer, Speightstown, plus Dublin, Henrythenavigator, Java Gold, etc.).
On the dam side, Rachel Alexandra is out of a good racemare by Roar, who was not himself a particularly memorable racehorse (won the Grade 2 Jim Beam), but is out of a full sister to Hero's Honor (damsire of Elusive Quality) and very closely related to Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero from a very strong branch of the La Troienne family. This mare by Roar also carries inbreeding to the important mare Pocahontas (dam of Chieftain and Tom Rolfe), while her dam concentrates the genes of the Imperatrice family via Cure the Blues and Sir Gaylord (half-brother to Secretariat). Further back in her dam side, we find that Rachel Alexandra not only traces to a mare by the notable stud War Relic (3 x 3 in the pedigree of In Reality) but traces directly to War Relic's full-sister as well. This is also the family of Belmont winners Sword Dancer (sire of Damascus) and Hail to All, as well as Handicap Triple Crown winner Fit to Fight.
Thus, you can see what I'm getting at—a working knowledge of the best Thoroughbred families can pay real dividends. These families not only produce top racehorses, but genetic connections (via Bailjumper, El Prado, Roar, etc.) that can send a pedigree spinning off in a whole new direction (a very good direction), especially in combination and through inbreeding, which serves to reinforce genetic dominance in a pedigree. These genetic connections don't necessarily come via the best or most high-profile stallions from these families, although the best stallions from these families do very often combine successfully in pedigrees with their close relatives.
A skeptic can raise the legitimate point that the most resources (in stud fees and overall investment) are spent on mares from these very specific families. I can hardly argue with this point, as there is a great deal of truth to it. But that's like saying that people spend the most money on houses in the best neighborhoods and that the most investment in remodeling and landscaping is spent on these same houses. These neighborhoods are the safest place to invest your money, as long as you are spending that money on real estate.
With bloodstock, you see a similar trend, and as long as these families continue to produce results on the racetrack and in the breeding shed, breeders will continue to concentrate their assets in them and in their descendants.
Instead of fighting this trend and lamenting the fact that you can't afford to purchase a $1-million mare, use these families to your advantage. Buy fillies and mares from the edges of these families or buy fillies and mares sired by stallions from these families. Build your own family. I'm not saying that you'll be able to accomplish this task overnight, but there are too many success stories using this kind of strategy to list here. It's like buying the cheapest house in a good neighborhood and slowly adding value to it through improvements.
Of course, you're not likely to stumble across a mare like the dam of Rachel Alexandra with your first mare purchase, but you don't want to spend a mint's worth of cash to discover that your mares simply don't have the genetic wiring to produce stakes horses in the first place. You want to invest where gold and silver was mined successfully before, or at least operate in the same part of the world. There are no extra points in the horse business for finding treasure where no one has found it before (that's an uphill battle), and stallions with the most connections to these superior families are generally worth the most as breeding stock. This is where breeders will steer their best mares.
So, this background in Thoroughbred families leads us to our subject pedigree, belonging to recent Risen Star Stakes (G2) winner Discreetly Mine. He traces to the mare Risque (1928, by Stimulus), and another branch of the Risque family leads to Broodmare of the Year Key Bridge, whose sons include champion 3-year-old colt Key to the Mint (a successful sire and broodmare sire), co-Horse of the Year/champion turf horse Fort Marcy (a gelding), and Grade 1 turf winner Key to Content.
Discreetly Mine's branch of the Risque family leads to the Northern Dancer mare Christmas Wishes, who had a full-sister named Cool Mood. Cool Mood had a Buckpasser daughter named Passing Mood, who produced Belmont (G1)/Haskell (G1) winner Touch Gold (a useful sire) and With Approval (Horse of the Year in Canada).
Christmas Wishes produced a Tom Rolfe daughter named Bury the Hatchet, who in turned produced the full-sisters Buryyourbelief (G1 Kentucky Oaks winner) and Pretty Persuasive. Pretty Persuasive is the dam of Pretty Discreet (G1 Alabama winner), she being the dam of Discreetly Mine.
A closer inspection of Pretty Discreet's pedigree reveals that her sire, Private Account, carries inbreeding to La Troienne (2 crosses) and War Admiral (3 crosses) via his dam—champion 2-year-old filly Numbered Account (by Buckpasser). Buckpasser is also the damsire of Believe It (sire of Pretty Discreet's dam), meaning that Pretty Discreet carries the tremendous broodmare sire Buckpasser 3 x 4 in her pedigree.
If all of this sounds vaguely familiar, it is because Pretty Discreet has been around for quite some time and has been a very good producer. Although her first three foals by Boundary (inbred closely to Damascus) were a combined 1 for 24, Pretty Discreet's fourth foal, Pretty Wild (by Wild Again), was second in both the Hopeful (G1) and Futurity (G1) at 2. An unraced daughter of Awesome Again named Discreetly Awesome followed two foals later, and her daughter Awesome Maria (by Maria's Mon) won the G2 Matron and placed second in the Frizette (G1) in 2009. Discreet Cat (by Forestry) was Pretty Discreet's next foal, and his record is well documented, as he won his first six starts, including the Grade 1 Cigar Mile, in which he equaled Easy Goer's one-mile track record at Aqueduct.
One might point to Discreet Cat's brilliant speed over one mile and doubt the stamina of Discreetly Mine. But keep in mind that Discreet Cat is a son of Forestry (by Storm Cat) and although Forestry is out of a daughter of the stamina influence Pleasant Colony, he was a King's Bishop (G1) winner over seven furlongs and his progeny seem to favor more of the Storm Cat prototype, prospering more in the sprinter/miler realm than in classic distance events. Pretty Discreet did win the Alabama (10 furlongs), so we are starting with a foundation of stamina in the dam.
Private Account (sire of Pretty Discreet) did sire his share of horses that enjoyed a distance of ground—the full-siblings Personal Ensign and Personal Flag (by Private Account) were certainly up to the classic distance standard, and Personal Ensign's son Miner's Mark (by Mr. Prospector) won the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), while Our Emblem (a full-brother to Miner's Mark) sired Kentucky Derby (G1)/Preakness (G1) winner and champion 3-year-old colt War Emblem.
Although Pretty Discreet's damsire Believe It is a son of In Reality (not known as a classic line), he did win the Wood Memorial (G1) going two turns and was a respectable third in the Kentucky Derby to Affirmed and Alydar. The fact that Believe It was also the damsire of near-Triple Crown winner Real Quiet (lost the Belmont by a nose after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness) shows that Believe It passes forward a great deal more stamina than the typical son of In Reality.
This takes us to Discreetly Mine's sire, Mineshaft, who was American Horse of the Year at age 4 after spending the majority of his 3-year-old season racing on the turf in England and France with limited success. At 4, Mineshaft accounted for classic distance prestige events like the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1, 10 furlongs) and Suburban (G1, 10 furlongs), while also racking up wins in the Pimlico Special (G1, 9 1/2 furlongs) and Woodward (G1, 9 furlongs).
Considering that he started his career with a $100,000 stud fee and now stands for $20,000, one could rate Mineshaft a disappointment but not a flop (especially considering the wide-spread drop in stud fees the past two seasons). He is genetically loaded (by A.P. Indy/his Mr. Prospector dam was a G1 winner and all five of her foals were stakes winners), and his full sister Tomisue's Delight was not only a multiple G1 winner in New York but is a G1 producer herself (dam of Mr. Sidney).
Very often it takes a crafty mating to unlock the potential of a stallion, and we could very well have a breakthrough runner for Mineshaft in the form of Discreetly Mine. I mentioned the Grade 1-winning full siblings Personal Ensign (undefeated champion) and Personal Flag (Suburban). They were out of a mare by Hoist the Flag, and Personal Ensign produced three top runners (Miner's Mark, Our Emblem, and Traditionally) by Mr. Prospector. Mineshaft's first two dams are by none other than Mr. Prospector and Hoist the Flag.
Given the fact that A.P. Indy (sire of Mineshaft) brings in the reinforcing genes of War Admiral, La Troienne, and Buckpasser, and the fact that Hoist the Flag is out of a mare by War Admiral, you can see that Discreetly Mine's lineage replicates many of the Phipps/Claiborne pedigrees of the 1970s and '80s, stacking the genes of La Troienne, War Admiral, and their house stallions like Mr. Prospector, Hoist the Flag, Bold Ruler, Secretariat, and Believe It with remarkable success.
Discreetly Mine picks up balanced inbreeding to Tom Rolfe (through a son and a daughter) in the bargain, while Mineshaft also gets reinforcement of his inbreeding to the full sisters Glamour and So Chic (from the Baby League branch of the La Troienne family) via Private Account (a great-grandson of Glamour).
A mare like Pretty Discreet seems to have the genetic ability to make virtually any stallion look good, although this propensity for quality all begins with a good foundation in family and inbreeding to two daughters of Buckpasser, which reinforces the La Troienne/War Admiral inbreeding already found in the pedigrees of Private Account and Mineshaft.
Thus, we'll continue to follow Discreetly Mine's development as a racehorse and stallion prospect this spring with great interest. The genetic potential for achievement in distance events is obviously there, and a classic win or placing is within the realm of possibility.
Edwin Anthony was the staff pedigree consultant at Three Chimneys Farm for six years and has penned dozens of articles on pedigree research. He also published The American Thoroughbred (Volume I) in 2008 which can be ordered via the ad link on this web page or through his website at www.thoroughbredadvisor.com.
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