An "Apple" (Or Two) A Day
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
Courtesy of Ren Carothers
On Saturday, trainer Charles Appleby sent Godolphin’s Yibir to victory under Jamie Spencer in Belmont’s Jockey Club Derby Invitational, a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Longines Turf. Across the border in Canada, Appleby and Godolphin, teamed with Lanfranco “Frankie” Dettori, collected Woodbine’s G1 Pattison Canadian International with Walton Street. The road to Future Stars Friday went through Toronto the following day, berths into the Juvenile Turf and Juvenile Fillies Turf respectively up for grabs in the Summer and Natalma Stakes, both G1, turf mile contests. It surprised no one to see Appleby, Godolphin, and Dettori land the juvenile stakes double in dominating fashion, both charges crossing the wire 2-1/4 lengths the better of their competitors.
Wild Beauty’s final time of 1:35.08 in the Natalma did come back faster than Albahr’s 1:35.77 in the Summer, and adding to the applause-worthiness of her performance was the start she had to overcome. She exited the gate a bit askew and was subsequently, and dramatically, ping-ponged back and forth, sending her to the back of the pack. Yet, she overcame such travails professionally under her superstar pilot to extend her record to three wins in six starts. In second was Fastnet Rock scion Pizza Bianca, owned by Bobby Flay, whose mother is a three-quarter sister to Epsom Derby winner Pour Moi.
As for Wild Beauty’s pedigree, as one would expect, it reflects depth. Her undefeated, greatly celebrated sire, Frankel, holds the top Timeform ranking of all-time at 147 and represents the Northern Dancer patriarchal line. Additionally, Frankel’s dam, Kind, is a daughter of Danehill, another sire tracing to Northern Dancer. Furthermore, Wild Beauty is out of Tulips, a stakes-scoring mare whose father, Pivotal, hails from the famed stallion. Even more, Wild Beauty’s third dam, multiple Gr1-winning sprinter, Cherokee Rose, is by a Northern Dancer tail-male descendant in Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe hero, Dancing Brave. Fitting to see so much influence, as Natalma, for whom the race is named, is best known as Northern Dancer’s dam.
Northern Dancer has always been a potent cross with Mr. Prospector, and Wild Beauty’s second dam, Hint of Spring, is by his son, Seeking the Gold. Seeking the Gold was a G1 winner and while he had to settle for 2nd to Alysheba in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Classic, he did go on to sire Breeders’ Cup champions in Flanders (JF, 1994), Cash Run (JF, 1999), and Pleasant Home (Distaff, 2005). Also worthy of note is that Hint of Spring is a half-sister to Gr3W/Gr1P Bowman, and is also a half-sister to Moyesii, the dam of two Gr1Ws in Kirklees, champion two-year-old in Italy, and Mastery (the GB-bred Mastery), whose wins include the St Leger Stakes and Hong Kong Vase.
Albahr, whose name means “the sea” in Arabic, is impressively bred, as well. It was undoubtedly a tough decision to geld such a rising star. He came into the Summer on a three-race winning streak, including the Irish Champions EBF Stonehenge Stakes at Salisbury. In fact, his only loss was on debut, in which he finished third, beaten 2-1/2 lengths at York. Dettori had been aboard Albahr once before, in the British Stallion Studs EBF at Haydock, where they finished 4-3/4 lengths the best. That was his first start as a gelding, and the pair went straight for the lead that day. They had to adjust style-wise in the Summer, as Albahr hopped out of the blocks, leaving him to travel mid-pack. He got into gear at the top of the turn for home, angled out, went wide, and then, on the wrong lead, powered home impressively to score by open lengths. In second, in his second career start and first on turf, was the Mark Casse trained Grafton Street, a son of War Front out of Lahinch Classics, a Gr2 placed, three-quarter sister to Liscanna. Liscanna is the dam of Gr1 winners Brave Anna, and 2015’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf champ, Hit it a Bomb -both progeny of War Front themselves.
Albahr, meanwhile, is a son of the brilliant and potent Dubawi, a multiple Gr1 winner and paternal grandson of the aforementioned Seeking the Gold. Dubawi is the sire of a Breeders’ Cup champion in 2017’s Filly and Mare Turf victress, Wuheida, who was also trained by Charles Appleby for Godolphin. Albahr’s dam, UAE Oaks winner Falls of Lora, is a daughter of the late Street Cry. Street Cry ran third in the 2000 BC Juvenile before developing into a multiple G1 athlete (among those wins the Dubai World Cup), and potent sire, represented by the likes of Hall of Famer Zenyatta, who, in 2009, became the only female to ever win the Classic. Turning attention back to Albahr’s dam, Falls of Lora was already a G1 producer, as the gelding’s half-brother, multi-millionaire Cascadian, won the Doncaster Mile for Godolphin.
One may also take notice that Albahr’s maternal grandmother, stakes winner Firth of Lorne, who was second in the Gr1 French One Thousand Guineas, is a daughter of Danehill and, on a cover of Albahr’s own sire, Dubawi, produced Master of the Seas. He, too, is trained by Appleby for Godolphin, and won the Gr2 Superlative Stakes as a juvenile, the Gr3 Craven Stakes at Newmarket earlier this year and, most recently, nearly became a Gr1 winner, just getting edged by Poetic Flare in the QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas.
Like the affinity found in their horses’ pedigrees, Appleby and Godolphin have proven a potent combination. To win three G1 North American races in just two days, two of them back-to-back, is an impressive feat, to be sure, and one not to forget. They say an apple a day keeps the dentist away. Come the Breeders’ Cup November 5th and 6th, remember… an Appleby entered those days are ones you probably should include in all of your plays.
- October 24, 2021
“We were very saddened to learn today of the passing of Bob Neumeier. Bob was a big part of the NBC Breeders’ Cup World Championships broadcasts for many years as a handicapper, reporter and analyst. Bob brought his expertise of Thoroughbred racing and a great sense of humor to every show. We extend our sincere condolences to Bob’s wife Michele and to his extended family.”
- October 22, 2021
For good reason, much of the attention on the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) will be on the international runners who come to Del Mar for the 12-furlong contest. In the last decade, just three winners have hailed from the United States, with the other seven coming from Europe. Since 2000, that split is 16 Europe, six for America.
- October 22, 2021
Breeders' Cup Pre-Entry Announcement to be Televised Live on TVG and Streamed Live on Breederscup.com on Wednesday, October 27
Pre-entered fields for the 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be announced live on TVG along with the Breeders’ Cup website, Official Mobile App, and Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 8:30 a.m. PT/11:30 a.m. ET.