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Back to the Future: Instagrand

Courtesy of Ren Carothers (@RenCarothers)

With only four other foes to face in the G2 Best Pal Stakes, odds are in favor of Instagrand taking the victor’s share of the purse in just over a minute’s time, which amounts to 10% of his $1.2 million purchase price. The son of sensational sire Into Mischief already collected a $24,000 check in :56 seconds, winning his debut at Los Alamitos by ten lengths with Drayden Van Dyke in the irons for OXO Equine and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Instagrand’s dam, Assets of War, is a daughter of Lawyer Ron, who won the G1 Whitney by 4-3/4 lengths in a track record time of 1:46.64 and followed that up with an 8-1/4 lengths romp in the G1 Woodward, which led him to being named Eclipse Champion Older Horse eleven years ago. Sadly, Lawyer Ron only sired two crops of foals before succumbing to the complications of colic at the young age of six, among them, another winner of the Woodward, millionaire Itsmyluckyday.

Going further back in the pedigree, Instagrand’s second dam (aka maternal grandmother) is multiple stakes winner Added Asset (by Santa Anita Handicap winner Lord at War), whose scores include the G3 Arlington Heights Oaks, which she won by 6-1/2 lengths. His third dam, Added Elegance, is also a G3 winner, with the Forward Gal Stakes on her résumé. Adding further class and intrigue to the pedigree, Added Elegance shows up in the third generation of G1 winner Book Review, who seized the La Brea over the speedy Reneesgotzip, and 2011’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner and Eclipse Champion 2-Year-Old Filly, My Miss Aurelia.

Rev up the DeLorean to head back through the generations of Instagrand’s female family and, eventually, you’ll come upon his twelfth dam, the storied Pretty Polly. Though not considered to be fashionably bred, she was undefeated in all nine starts at two-years-old, collecting victories in the 1903 editions of the Champagne at Doncaster, and the Chevely Park and Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket. She won the English Fillies’ Triple Crown in 1904, stringing together the One Thousand Guineas, Epsom Oaks, and beating males in the St.Leger. Claiming victory in the latter, she also denied the talented St. Amant, bred and owned by Leopold de Rothschild, his own Triple Crown bid. By the end of her illustrious career, she racked up 22 wins in 24 starts, including the Jockey Club Cup, Champion Stakes, and back-to-back victories in the Coronation Cup. As a broodmare, she did not recreate herself, but through her four daughters, the family tree branched and blossomed, claiming among its members one of Britain’s most celebrated runners, Brigadier Gerard, whose only defeat in eighteen starts was to Roberto.

While the connection Pretty Polly has to Instagrand might only be a faint echo in the passage of time, it is fun to point out the legendary roots from which he springs. He has a beautiful pedigree, expressing precocity that can develop into class with maturation, and the ability to carry speed. This is only the beginning of Instagrand’s journey, but who knows how it may progress? There’s no instant gratification in racing, but it’s worth remembering that, in 2015, the Best Pal was won by Nyquist, who then picked up the Del Mar Futurity and FrontRunner Stakes on his way to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and, later, the Kentucky Derby.

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