Jun 30, 2008


They used to say in Las Vegas casinos that, if you wanted to gamble, they would send a cab to pick you up. If you wanted to play with a system, they would send a limo.

Breeding Thoroughbreds is the greatest gambling device played outdoors. Systems abound. Me, I’m sticking with trial and error, betting real money (including some of mine) and keenly following results on the racetrack. Diligence can point the way to intuition and common sense. All that and some luck can then help you succeed

We had a hand in shaping the pedigree of last week’s Tremont at Belmont, won by Dagnabit (Freud-Cool Ghoul, by Silver Ghost). A decade ago I purchased the G 1 winner Single Blade. We could hardly contain our glee at finding a top racemare with the best conformation you could desire for $50,000. Soon thereafter her son Comeonmom won the Remsen.

Comeonmom was by Jolie’s Halo so we thought that might be a place to start looking for her next mating. Silver Ghost was going well in those days and, as a son of Mr. Prospector and a Halo mare, he fit the bill on two counts. He stood for a $l5,000 fee which fit our price range. And he was a bit on the small side and figured to benefit from the leg and bone Single Blade brought to the mating in abundance.

The resultant Silver Ghost filly brought $l35,000 at Keeneland September. She was a modest racemare but Cool Ghoul showed immediate dividends when sent to Freud for her first mating. She foaled a New York-bred stakes placed horse and followed up with Dagnabit who was aided in the Tremont when odds-on Mr. Mistoffelles had a devil of a time at the break.

By now it should be obvious that Halo interacted well with this tribe. We bred Single Blade back to Southern Halo and she produced a powerful colt who took after the dam’s robust conformation. Unfortunately he also inherited Halo’s willful temperament which prevented him from fulfilling his potential. That’s the polite version. His handlers found him often dangerous to train with his obstreperous demeanor.

Freud also carries Halo through his illustrious daughter Glorious Song. You can imagine our distress at the results of sending Single Blade twice to Street Cry on a complimentary season open to G 1 winners. She foaled a beautiful colt who happened to be riddled with OCD lesions and yet to race. Single Blade died of colic while in foal to Street Cry.

Street Cry’s sire Machiavellian was bred on the same pattern as Silver Ghost (Mr. Prospector out of a mare by Halo). Oh, what might have been!

No genius was necessary to produce such results. But we like to think that keen observation of the facts at hand were enough to produce the desired results in this family.

A footnote on Single Blade: she produced ll consecutive January foals on one cover. Surely that’s a record.