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Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Matchmaker

Every spring the best pacing mares in North America compete in the Matchmaker Series at Yonkers. The series is well named as the pedigrees of the four winners in the first leg are all great examples of Pedigree Matching in a variety of ways.

Coincidentally all four winners have Abercrombie line dams, two by Artsplace and one each by Life Sign and Artiscape and all four are by Meadow Skipper line sires so they satisfy the general rule of outcrossing on sire line. It is the maternal connections, however, that determine their greatness and the maternal breeding and X-factor doubles involved are something to see.

Angel's Delight is the least experienced of the four. Coming into the series with earnings of just over $100K she is a late bloomer whose pedigree is finally coming through. She is by Rocknroll Hanover and was bred by Lothlorien Stable in Ontario who were part owners of the stallion. Her dam, Belovedangel, was bought by Bob Mcintosh at Harrisburg as a yearling. Bob is a PM enthusiast from the early years and has been assisted by Dr Moira Gunn, formerly of Armstrong Farm, and one of my earliest PM followers. Moira and I combined forces to recommend the purchase of several mares for Lothlorien to breed to Rocknroll Hanover in his first year at stud. The highlight of that group was Kikikatie whose four breedings to Rocknroll Hanover have produced four $100K plus winners of over $2.5 million combined including first crop star Rockn Image $903,424. Belovedangel was also in that group of mares and although her five breedings to Rocknroll have been less spectacular they have produced five race starters, including a late racing two year old last year, with combined earnings approaching $500K including Audreys Dream $258K.

With an Artsplace dam that is inbred maternally to Meadow Skipper and from a mare that is also inbred to Meadow Skipper maternally, Angels Delight fit the expected profile for Rocknroll Hanover perfectly. Add to that her second dam by Matts Scooter providing a maternal double to Direct Scooter to compliment the double to Abercrombie and the success of this match was actually pretty predictable.

Summertime Lea also has a close connection to me from a pedigree matching standpoint. Her dam Donna Summer went through the New Jersey sale and I had recommended her purchase to one of my Prince Edward Island breeders. He was hesitant to pay a lot for a mare that had already produced a winner of $206K and she was in foal to Lislea for the fourth time and the first three had not been successful at the track. Two of those were colts, however, and the third was an as yet unraced yearling filly. The buyers were from Indiana and the resultant filly, Summertime Lea, ended up being trained by Ron Burke, making $553K racing in New York including the two year old NYSS championship. Genetics tells us that if you try the same breeding consistently you will get one of the four offspring that will be a top performer, 25%, and in this case it proved to be true.

Her dam is by Life Sign and as you can see from the pedigree that sire is a virtual clone of Lisheen, the dam of Lislea. The maternal sequence of both is Abercrombie - Albatross - Bret Hanover - Knight Dream with the last three sires being doubled in X-factor position. Added to this is a third dam also through Albatross making Donna Summer inbred maternally to that sire and also with an X-factor double to Bret Hanover. It helps too that Summertime Lea's second dam is a double to the X-factor pacing queen Helen Hanover.

Somwherovrtherainbow has a great mother in $1.6 million earner Rainbow Blue but even great race mares are no guarantee in the broodmare ranks unless they are bred to the right sire. After essentially failed breedings to top sires like Western Hanover, Bettors Delight and Dragon Again, she was finally paired up with Somebeachsomewhere, a sire that could take advantage of her close maternal inbreeding to Meadow Skipper. SBSW has a double Meadow Skipper dam and such sires predictably favour mares that are either linebred or inbred maternally to that sire line. Before she started racing I predicted in an earlier blog post that she would become the fastest female of all time. She certainly started out in the right direction as a two year old but struggled with health issues last year. Healthy now she is looking like this might be her year to achieve lasting greatness in the footsteps of her record setting mother.

Her dam is by Artiscape and is inbred to On The Road Again 3x2 maternally, an unusual but historically significant pattern that produced exceptional maternal influences like Helen Hanover and Margaret Parrish. Across the pedigree the X-factor highlights are Tar Heel and Bret Hanover, two individuals that show up consistently in X-factor position in great mares and for good reason as you can read in my book Queen Among Queens. Another interesting characteristic of this pedigree is the connection from Rainbow Blue to dam of the grandsire of Somwherovrtherainbow, Mach Three, where we see his maternal lines of Abercrombie and Most Happy Fella repeated. This outmatch pattern is a common feature in the best offspring by SBSW.

Yagonnakissmeornot is from the Artsplace mare Artstopper. She was bought by George Teague as a yearling and like many of his bargain purchases at Harrisburg she raced well at 2 and 3. Her four year old season was not up to par but starting her five year old campaign she now shows four wins and two seconds in her first seven starts. With $368K made she is the best of six from her dam and the only one by The Panderosa. A look at her pedigree tells you why this match worked better than the others.

Her pedigree is inbred maternally to Abercrombie and Gene Abbe and she has X-factor doubles to Tar Heel and Bret Hanover - enough said. She had a very good two year old by Always A Virgin last year and another in training this year by the same sire. Look for both of these to be prominent at the races in 2014 based on their pedigrees which feature maternal crosses to both Big Towner and Albatross.

I'm sure there will be other mares in this series that will win subsequent legs and I suspect they too will show the pedigree patterns that make for great mares.

http://www.mediafire.com/view/0m09mveyy9cd38o/Summertime_Lea.pdf
http://www.mediafire.com/view/a53sgec8y3rec8e/Yagonnakissmeornot.pdf
http://www.mediafire.com/view/k9tuyosttk48cbs/Angels_Delight.pdf
http://www.mediafire.com/view/cnyipt8r99vnjs6/Somwherovrarainbow.pdf