To the Dams
Written with help from Kathy Barrett Deeds
“When it comes to breeding, there is no shortage of articles about the stallions, whether it's statistics about their offspring, details of their racing careers, analysis of their pedigree or just bits of trivia about their personality. But the same information is rarely as easy to come by for the mares, even those that were champions on the track. It's unusual to find even a few sentences on the ladies going to visit the top stallions, other than perhaps a word or two designating her a stakes winner or stakes producer. In an effort to remedy that in a small way, here's a bit of info on some of the mares who have visited American Pharoah and given us some of his first phoals.” Kathy Barrett Deeds
Starting with the Take Charge Lady. A dazzling bay mare by Dehere. She holds a racing record of 22: 11-7-0 with earnings of $2,480,377 and winning the award for Top Kentucky-based filly or mare, consecutively, in 2002 and 2003. She is also an influential broodmare. Best known for being the dam of 2013 Three-Year-Old Male Champion Will Take Charge, who earned her the title of 2013 Broodmare of the year. She is also the second dam of multiple graded stakes winner Omaha Beach, and second dam of the first winner of the spilt 2019 Rebel Stakes, Long Range Toddy. Her last foal is by American Pharoah, and named, As Time Goes By.
“Take Charge Lady is remarkable for her stamina, courage and heart, qualities she has passed on to her young. But a Great One — a lady who only knows how to do her very best and does it with class every time — has a way of bringing language to heel.” (The Vault: horse racing past and present, Dec. 16th, 2014, She’s just Magic: Take Charge Lady)
Kakadu, a beautiful bay mare by Tizway. While she doesn’t have a dazzling race record, with just one race, finishing 8th, she did grab the nation’s attention by having the first reported foal by American Pharoah, the aptly named, First Pharoah. Unfortunately, she had a reproductive tear after having First Pharoah, and though it was repaired, she could never be bred again, and given another career. While First Pharoah didn’t show much promise in his training and was retired as well, never making it to the track.
“A quick study, Kakadu understood longeing right away and did her first round of jumps within a month. She was showing over a hunter course just a few months later.” (The Chronicle of the Horse: Dec 17th, 2019, Two amateurs are preparing American Pharoah’s first colt for a new career, by Camilla Mortensen.)
Untouched Talent, best known as the dam of Bodemeister, runner up in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and sire of the 2017 Kentucky Derby winner. She had the first Pharoah foal to sell for a million dollars, the un-raced three-year-old filly, Himiko.
According to Kathy Barrett Deeds, her favorite treats are oranges.
Keertana, not only boasts a race record of 29: 11-6-8, and earnings of slightly over a million, but is also a multiple graded stakes winner. Now, most people think her best race was finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Fillies and Mares Turf, but I think her best, was beating the boys in the Louisville Handicap.
“It was a great race,” Lezcano, her jockey for that race, said. “I wanted to take her to the outside because I thought that would be best for her. The grass was softer on the hedge and I wanted her to go outside, but I really didn’t have a choice and had to go up the inside. When we hit the wire, I didn’t know if she won, or finished second, or finished third. I didn’t know we won until they put it up on the screen. I’m very happy. She’s a nice mare.” (Churchill Downs article, May 28th, 2011, Keertana Makes History in Three-Horse Louisville Finish, by, Darren Rogers)
“I’m just tickled for her,” Proctor, her trainer, said. “She’s a neat mare and I’m just happy to ride on her coattails. Once horses like her leave the barn, you can’t replace them. That’s already her third graded-stakes win of the year. That’s a hell of a year!” (Churchill Downs article, May 28th, 2011, Keertana Makes History in Three-Horse Louisville Finish, by, Darren Rogers)
Along with that bragging right, Keertana also has a stakes race named after her at Chruchill Downs.
“(Keertana) is big; she’s pretty,” Brandoff, Vice President of Denali Stud, said. “It’s not a strong, strong family, but she can run; her sister can run. She ticked off two of the three boxes. Hopefully she’ll throw it all.” (Denali Stud website news)
Leslie’s Lady, with a race record of 28: 5-3-2, is best known as the dam of champion mare Beholder, 2019 leading sire Into Mischief, and the globe-trotting Mendelssohn. She won Broodmare of the year in 2016, and has a yearling filly by American Pharoah, who sold for a record $8,200,000 and has been named America’s Joy.
She is reportedly a loving mother but doesn't take a lot of aggravation from her babies, giving them a good push with her body if they get out of line. (Clarkland Farm update)
Miss Sky Warrior, “She stood out,” Breen, her trainer, said. “When something glows, it’s easy to detect. I really loved this filly from the first time I saw her. You could Google ‘poetry in motion’ and you might find Miss Sky Warrior because that’s what I called her. As soon as I saw her, I thought this filly is poetry in motion and I usually don’t make those claims. I’m very reserved in saying that a horse is really nice at a young age.”
Multiple graded stakes winner, winning, all four in a row. Her most impressive performance, in the Grade II Gazelle Stakes, winning by 13 lengths.
“This is the sharpest I've ever seen her going into a race,” Breen said of Miss Sky Warrior. “It had me a little nervous actually. When she was walking over here she was striking at the groom, she was trying to buck a little bit in the post parade, so it was a good energy that she had. The rest of the race to me, you just say 'wow.' It was really a powerful performance. I try not to get in Paco's head too much. I told him if somebody else goes, you can let her go. She's rated kindly before and she broke super sharp. He even said that when he came off that she broke really sharp. He said, 'I had to go.' She relaxed for him and really put up a powerful performance.” (Paulick Report, April 8th, 2017, Miss Sky Warrior Wins Gazelle In A Laugher, by Paulick Report Staff)
Unfortunately, that victory would be her last. She raced four more times before being retired, with a record of ten starts, five firsts, and one third (no seconds).
Judy the Beauty, a chestnut beauty out of Ghostzapper, boosts a lovely career, with a record of 22: 9-9-2, and earnings just shy of the two million mark. She also won the 2014 American Champion Female Sprint Horse and was inducted to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2018.
In doing so, “Judy the Beauty turned out to be more than a “beauty.” (Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, Judy the Beauty, Hall of Fame Inductee, 2018.)
Sacre Coeur, a lightly raced mare from Great Britain, is best known as the dam of the, “Miracle Mare,” Lady Eli. Lady Eli, being a multiple graded stakes winner, earning just shy of three million dollars, and not only survived her year long fight with laminitis, but had a successful comeback. Sacre Coeur has had two foals by Pharoah, the filly named, Princesa Caroline.
"Sacre Coeur has a mind of her own—she is just strong willed," said Brutus Clay, Chief Executive Officer of Runnymede Farm, said.
The characteristics that have made Sacre Coeur our very own broodmare of the year, and which she has transferred on to her foals including Bizzy Caroline and Lady Eli, are "desire, heart and a competitive nature," Clay said. "Certainly Sacre Coeur has instilled those qualities in her offspring. It’s not only their strong physical makeup, but it’s also that spirit, that heart, that make them so special," he said. “For everything she has given us, including the first Breeders’ Cup winner raised on our fields, we salute Sacre Coeur and look forward to many more generations of winners from this family that has meant so much to Runnymede.” (Runnymede Farm, July 28th, 2016, Sacre Coeur: Our Broodmare of the Year. By, “Bizzy Caroline.)
Peppers Pride, an undefeated mare in her native New Mexico, winning all nineteen of her races, and earning just a smidge over a million dollars. She also won the Overachiever of the Year 2008 Insider Award, New Mexico-Bred Champion Older Mare back to back (2007-2008), and has a race named in her honor. The Pepper’s Pride Handicap at Sunland Park. Unfortunately, she lost her life to laminitis in 2019.
“She’s really a classy mare to be around.” (Frank Taylor, Vice President of Boarding Operations said. Daily Racing Form, Jun 23rd, 2013, Catching up with Peppers Pride: Unbeaten mare still shows class in retirement, article by, Nicole Russo.)
“She just does everything right.” (Frank Taylor, Vice President of Boarding Operations said. Daily Racing Form, Jun 23rd, 2013, Catching up with Peppers Pride: Unbeaten mare still shows class in retirement, article by, Nicole Russo.)
“She’s just really easy to get along with and never causes any problems. She fits right in.” (Frank Taylor, Vice President of Boarding Operations said. Daily Racing Form, Jun 23rd, 2013, Catching up with Peppers Pride: Unbeaten mare still shows class in retirement, article by, Nicole Russo.)
“She was a tremendous athlete, not only physically, but mentally,” said Joel Marr, who trained Peppers Pride for owner and breeder Joe Allen. “You don’t do that by just getting lucky 19 times in a row, obviously, or it would be done all the time. She had that sense that most horses probably don’t have – she knew how to win. She had that ability and that sense and that determination. She knew exactly what she was doing.” (Daily Racing Form, Jun 23rd, 2013, Catching up with Peppers Pride: Unbeaten mare still shows class in retirement, article by, Nicole Russo.)
Iotapa, boasts a career of 14: 6-4-3, and earning a little over a million.
“Iotapa shares her name with various Aegean queens and princesses who lived between the second century B.C. and the second century, but her beginnings were anything but regal. The dark bay multiple graded stakes-winning filly, now a 4-year-old, was claimed for what turned out to be the bargain basement price of $50,000 in her debut race in June 2012. Although she was graded stakes placed four times in her career, 2014 has proved to be her breakout year. After a strong second in the Santa Monica Stakes-G2 in January, Iotapa earned her first graded stakes trophy for owners Hronis Racing in the Santa Maria Stakes-G2 in February. When she suffered a hoof injury in the Humana Distaff-G1 at Churchill Downs in May and finished sixth with an excuse, trainer John Sadler gave her a well needed break. She rewarded his faith by coming back to win the Vanity Stakes-G1 by a dazzling 10 ¼ lengths in June. Next she added her second Grade 1 score in the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes in August and secured an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff-G1 through the “Win and You’re In” challenge series. The daughter of Afleet Alex, who won the final two legs of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, as well as champion 3-Year-Old Male honors in 2005, has plenty of early speed and likes to race on or near the pace. Iotapa has shown a lot of heart in her efforts and is a model of consistency. Even though she has been competing against top class competition on the tough Southern California circuit, she almost always shines through with an impressive effort.” Breeders’ Cup website update.
Evening Jewel, a multiple graded stakes winner, with a record of 19: 7-6-2, and earning a little over a million. She was a winner on synthetic, and turf, and lost her only dirt start, the Kentucky Oaks, by a nose. She and American Pharoah, share Victor Espinoza, as their jockey. Though, he was only Evening Jewel’s regular jockey (being on her for 13 of her races. Whereas, he was Pharoah’s jockey, for all but his debut race).
Evening Jewel's owner, Tom Braly, called her "heaven sent" and credited her with keeping him going and keeping him looking forward to another day during his battle with cancer. He said, “she always tried her best,” almost as if she knew she was keeping him alive. (Kathy Barrett Deeds)
Halljoy (IRE /pictured, sent by Mr. Nothhaft), has a race record of 15: 1-3-5, was purchased in her three-year-old year, by Hank Nothhaft while she was still in the UK.
“Was GS placed as a 2yo. Bought with two partners and imported her from UK to CA. I did this a few times including Living the Life (IRE). After she won an allowance at Del Mar, partners wanted to sell. I bought them out as I wanted to continue to race. Ended up Stakes placed in US to compliment GS placed in UK. Retired sound.”
Halljoy, a new dam, is already showing herself to be a nice producer.
Her Pharaoh foal, Envied, showed her pedigree by being Pharoah’s first winner at two turns, winning her debut going a mile.
Halljoy’s second foal, another filly by Verrazano, is athletic and precocious. She has been named Smartly and will also be raced by Mr. Nothhaft.
A producer of girls, her third foal is a filly by Connect, and fourth, by More Than Ready.
“Halljoy as an easy keeper, statuesque, two turn mare.” Mr. Nothhaft.
Last, but never least, Kindle (pictured, sent by Mr. Nothhaft), a sprint mare, with a race record of 11: 4-4-1, sold for $500,000 during the 2009 Keeneland Yearling Sale.
According to Mr. Nothhaft, he was able to purchase her for the price, because of her, “Diminutive height.”
Unfortunately, Kindle had, “a hard to diagnose soreness in her hindlegs,” which kept her from racing at two, however, late into her three-year-old career, she won on her debut.
Her next two outs were a second, “to Include Me Out, multiple grade 1 winner on the dirt main track at Santa Anita,” followed by a win.
Her last two out before a well-deserved break, she drew the rail, and finished off the board each time, with those being the only times she did.
Maturing during her break, she came back strong to win a stakes race, wire to wire. Followed up by winning the, “Cool Air Stakes,” in a, “scintillating performance where she earned an impressive 100 Beyer number (Turf).”
Next, she was barely bested in the Ken Maddy Stakes, “then going up against Mizdirection, world champion sprinter in the Monrovia Grade 2, she was beaten by a neck at the wire in a real heartbreaker.” To then finish third over, “a wet/sticky track.”
Unfortunately Kindle had a share of minor issues, her final start after a brief break was once more, finishing second in the Monrovia.
She won on all three surfaces during her career.
Mr. Nothhaft attended all of her races in person, and said, “Kindle is the kindest mare ever and we visited her frequently which was great for us.”
She has produced thee foals, Made In America (Tiznow) a survivor of the San Luis Ray Downs fire, Confidential Act (American Pharoah) who was purchased for $2.2 million by Godolphin, and an un-named colt by Pioneer of The Nile.
She did not have a foal in 2019, and had a colt buy Into Mischief this year, with plans to be bred back to American Pharoah.
While it isn’t possible to highlight every mare, who has had a foal by American Pharoah, I hope this article brought a little light, love, and hopefully, more attention to the dams.