Rachel Alexandra

Am I the only one who does not want to see Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta meet? Am I the only one who really does not want to see either of them come in second to the other? Am I the only one who would love to debate the merits of each individual with the proverbial ending sentence, “well I guess we’ll never know…see ya next week, first beer is on me…”

Since my fantasy won’t last, and they are bound to meet at least once during 2010, I will go out on a limb and proclaim: Rachel Alexandra will be dubbed a ‘superhorse’. She will change the breed as we know it, because once her pedigree is understood, everybody will want one.

That doesn’t mean full siblings or even offspring. That means…well let me tell you in a phrase:

Colossal power.

The best bet from here on in would be to pull up Rachel’s pedigree on pedigreequery.com. If you have never used it before, once the site loads, type Rachel Alexandra in the input box labeled ‘Horse’, and press the Search button.

This analysis is intended to evaluate the presence of the large heart gene commonly referred to as the X-factor, in Rachel Alexandra’s pedigree.

So. Let’s talk mares: shall we?

Natalma. Beginning with Northern Dancer positioned in gen4 of Rachel’s sireline, a preliminary and simple pattern is established through his [Northern’Dancer’s] dam Natalma. Although this position in the pedigree does not (theoretically) pass the large heart on from sire to son, it may serve an important purpose for the expression of the large heart gene. In other words, Natalma at the top of the pedigree may serve as a hitching post for her second position farther down in the pedigree, sitting nicely in an x-position. Like grabbing someone’s hand while they are on ice skates, and then giving them a shove so that they enjoy more speed; Natalma’s positioning may help the delivery of her own qualities into a future generation….

Natalma was by Native Dancer. This was her first dose of the large heart blood. Her second dose of large heart came from her dam’s sire Mahmoud, thus making her a ‘double-copy mare’. This is a special distinction. However, in this case it is an ‘uber’ distinction due to the interplay of (at least three) horses: Hamburg, Americus, and Domino. Here, a very dynamic nick is compiled and dancing at center stage.

Not too far off Natalma’s chart through her sire’s broodmare sire, looming in gen7 is Hamburg. Hamburg has been described as an extremely fast starter, and can be thought of as a champion handicap horse as well. He was a successful racehorse, particularly at distance, and a very successful sire. Hamburg was out of Lady Reel, a mare that offers a Lexington/Glencoe nick in an x position, a Lexington x, a Lexington non-x, and three more instances of Glencoe [daughters] in x positions. He appears again in gen6 of Discovery’s pedigree as Chicle’s broodmare sire, who also sports St. Simon as his 2nd broodmare sire. St. Simon is contributory because he brings in another Glencoe daughter (Pocahontas 1837) line in an x position.

Note: many of the large heart attributes in modern Thoroughbreds have been ascribed to Pocahontas 1837 due to the merging of the Eclipse x line from Glencoe, and her own tail female Eclipse x line.

Natalma’s sire Native Dancer’s tail female line brings in Sweep, whose broodmare sire Domino sports a heavy dosage of Glencoe daughters, a Lexington daughter, and another Lexington/Glencoe nick.

Natalma’s dam sire, Mahmoud, brings in a tail female line that builds the [nick] tremolo with Lady Josephine, a granddaughter of Americus.

Want to make your head swim? Compare the Hamburg and Domino pedigrees…

Anyway, Sweep (of Native Dancer’s line) is combined with John P Grier [in Miyako], who brings in another Domino x line. It is a heavy hittin’ large heart line up, and these lines are full of the most explosive nick in modern Thoroughbreds: the Lexington/Glencoe nick…

There is a 5S x 5D appearance of Sir Gaylord in the pedigree of Rachel Alexandra. He is not located in any of the x positions, but it is of note to remember that he is half brother to Secretariat: out of the same mare, Somethingroyal. Somethingroyal was out of Imperatrice, a mare present in Rachel’s pedigree in gen6 as the dam of Speedwell (2nd dam of Cure the Blues). Speedwell was by Bold Ruler. And of course, I don’t mind mentioning that this brings in another Discovery line in the X. Oh yeah, and another Lexington/Glencoe nick through his [Bold Ruler’s] tail female line Sweep Out…

You know, as an X-factor enthusiast, this is plenty to get excited about. But, believe me. It is just a primer for the epic tale of large hearts in Rachel Alexandra’s pedigree.

Cora Deans, the dam of Royal Vale [gen5 sire side], is just off the pedigree in gen6, and has the first x position that contributes directly to the large heart tally. She contributes: 3 Hermit, 6 Pocahontas, 1 Bend Or/Macaroni nick in x positions.

Cycle: Second mare on the top side of the pedigree (in gen5) that could actually deliver the large heart gene (in an x position). How might she contribute to the ‘buildup’ of nicks and singular x lines? Let’s say that Natalma lays a foundation, and how do the similarities stack up? Are we going to see any more of the specialty blood of Natalma? What kind of concentration does the Lexington/Glencoe nick need to make a genetic power play?

In addition to this nick, we are looking at the buildup of individual lines…The question becomes, do the individual lines have to be identical; that is represented by the same horse (for example Princiquillo), or are we looking for any known large heart horse, piling on the probability of expression because of the accumulation of the gene?

In any case, we don’t have to look far. Cycle’s 5th dam is Frizette, by Hamburg, and out of Ondulee, a triple play of heart: Hermit, Bend Or, and St. Simon. Cycle’s 3rd broodmare sire is another large heart horse, Man O’ War. We know that he sports a Lexington/Glencoe nick, however not in an x position. This ‘nick’ is delivered through his great grandsire, Spendthrift which may have contributed to speed and weight carrying ability. Right. And distance. Don’t forget Man O’ War’s performance at the Lawrence Realization Stakes; estimated win by 100 lengths over a distance of 1 and 5/8 miles. The great three are there: Hermit, St. Simon, and Bend Or. The third of the mentioned the only of the three not in position to deliver the large heart to Man O’ War… Why Hermit? Ask me again sometime. Why St. Simon? Because of Pocahontas. Why Bend Or? Traditionally, because of the Eclipse x coming through the Skyscraper mare line, but in my opinion because of the Prunella-Lisette-Alexander Mare [2-n]-Hyaena, Pipylina Corporation.

In addition to the Hamburg contribution, Cycle delivers at least 15 additional lines of Eclipse blood through Pocahontas, an Eclipse line through Plucky Liege, the dam of Sir Gallahad, and three Hermit lines; all in x positions.

Another non-x notable: the sire of Silent Screen (gen4 of sire side) Prince John. By the famous large heart sire Princequillo, and out of Not Afraid, who is by large heart sire Count Fleet, Prince John’s 2nd dam was Banish Fear by the large heart sire Blue Larkspur. All Silent Screen needs is the bling of more large heart stuff…which he gets from…

Prayer Bell: Take a deep breath, and count to ten. This is a great trip, and I hope it never ends. Prayer Bell concentrates large heart blood like it was going out of style. First up: War Admiral, known large heart horse. By Man O’ War, and out of Brushup, a daughter of Sweep (if that is ringing a bell, it should! It was mentioned that Sweep was in the pedigree of Native Dancer (sire of Natalma), and Sweep Out brought a Lexington/Glencoe nick to Bold Ruler through his tail female line…).

Brushup’s granddam also adds another direct line to Eclipse through Spearmint’s dam Maid of the Mint via Fravolina…

Baba Kenny, the second dam of Better Self (Prayer Bell’s sire), brings in a nice dose of Pocahontas blood to cross with War Admiral.

Prayer Bell’s dam, Sunday Evening is by Eight Thirty, who is out of Dinner Time. If that doesn’t sound like some kind of a date, I don’t know what does…But really, it is time for a seat belt because Seaplane, the dam of Dinner Time is by Man O’ War and out of Bathing Girl, the 3rd dam of War Admiral, and the line mentioned earlier that leads directly to Eclipse through Spearmint…and Bathing Girl takes more than just a little dip into the Pocahontas well. Out of 11 crosses, 2 are in x positions. An additional Glencoe daughter, Glencoe Mare3, is in an x position as well.

Dinner Time’s sire is High Time. And just so you know…High Time’s broodmare sire is none other than Domino…Doesn’t that just make you giggle? (Xdominant)

Here’s just another image to think of. If you were to draw a line on a piece of paper, every time you counted a significant heart line in Rachel’s pedigree, it would be getting dark and thick by now.

There’s more, but I really am trying to make this simple. St. Germans is worth a mention as Prayer Bell’s 3rd broodmare sire. There is a nice buildup of Pocahontas x and Hermit blood, as well as a complimentary Bend Or/Macaroni nick serving well in an x position.

Just below St. Germans lies Idle Dell. Oh for crying out loud. Do I have to do all the work? Idle Dell at first blush brings in the Glencoe mare, Eagless. But. Look below Eagless, and you’ll see Bend Or, and Blue Rose. More, more more. Ben Brush is worth a click. A Lexington non-x, a Lexington/Glencoe nick with Glencoe in an x position, plus Stockwell (Pocahontas), and Knight of Kars(Pocahontas). Noteworthy foundation for Madaglia Doro…

Society Singer: Worth a listen…Let’s go from the bottom up this time, and sing the scales. First thing that jumps out at me any way is 3rd dam in the tail female line…Sunday Evening! Again! In an x position! Just so, I don’t have to go through all that again…just scribble a bunch more lines on top of the ones that have already been drawn…

Darker and thicker.

Royal Charger, Society Singer’s 2nd broodmare sire: Out of Sun Princess and by Nearco. As far as Nearco goes, I’ll just say; Spearmint, and Maiden. But, since he’s a non-x, he’s extra gravy and expresses the talent. Sun Princess descends directly from a mare mentioned earlier: Lady Josephine. Oh God. Please see above…[Mahmoud in Natalma’s description], and Ribot, Society Singer’s broodmare sire brings in plenty of Pocahontas in x positions, and while we are on that note, I’ll mention Cyllene and St. Simon, oh, and Hermit.

Society Singer’s sire is Restless Wind, out of a mare named Lump Sugar who is out of Sugar Run. A few more for the show, St. Germans, and at least 6 more Pocahontas (x) and a least one Lexington non x, and a Bend Or (x). La, La, La.

Restless Wind’s broodmare sire, the one that counts toward x positions, is Bull Lea. Bull Lea is by Bull Dog, who is out of Plucky Liege (Spearmint) out of Concertina (St. Simon), and oh, how I would love to talk about Banter [14-a], but I can’t. We have ventured into non x territory. Suffice to say that Petrarch, Bull Dog’s 3rd broodmare sire, is a direct descendant of Glencoe Mare1…

Bull Lea was out of Rose Leaves, a mare whose 3rd broodmare sire is Hermit, and whose sire Ballot ushers in a nice Pocahontas line.

Prayer Bell’s Sunday Evening ties in with Society Singer’s Sunday Evening, and makes Dubbed In, Medaglia Doro’s 2nd dam of specific interest…We are talking big buildup here, in the way of Lexington/Glencoe, Pocahontas, War Admiral and Man O’ War. They are working their way toward ‘solid’ from fluid…

Now for the distaff side: mares in x positions

Wild Applause: I can’t tell you how much I would have laughed if this mare was in the tail female line, and the last one to talk about! It is still great fun to know that she was by Northern Dancer, and therefore the beneficiary and torch bearer of Natalma; the location referred to in the beginning of this article.

Wild Applause’s dam, Glowing Tribute is by Graustark and out of Admiring…How about I just do this; list the names.

On Graustark’s side (please hold your applause until all the names have been mentioned):

15 Pocahontas, 2 Hermit, 1 Mahmoud (Lady Josephine)

On Admiring’s side:

War Admiral, Man O’ War twice, High Time, Plucky Liege, St. Germans, 3 more St. Simons, another Hermit, Ben Brush, 2 Bend Or/Macaroni nicks, and 11 additional Pocahontas (x) lines.

Quick Cure: Out of Speedwell [Bold Ruler x Imperatrice] mentioned above, and by Dr. Fager. Dr. Fager’s broodmare sire is Better Self (see Prayer Bell), also already mentioned above…so there’s no need to repeat myself. [Hope you got that joke…I have been repeating myself many times already, and to say that Rachel’s pedigree is pretty spicy is now an understatement. It’s now a degree of picante…

Dr. Fager is out of Aspidistra, who is herself out of Tilly Rose. Déjà vu all over again…Bull Brier, Tilly Rose’s sire rakes in another Hamburg as his 3rd broodmare sire. Adding to that, McGee as 2nd broodmare sire, and that is a new one…Just checking if you are still with me…McGee’s broodmare sire was Hermit, but it might be fun to remember ‘Old Bones’, the great racehorse Exterminator; by McGee and recipient of plenty of Lexington and Glencoe close up, and winner of 50 out of 100 races. Yep. 100 races.

Eternal, the broodmare sire of Bull Brier is by Sweep (non x), and out of Hazel Burke who adds another Pocahontas (x). The tail female line of Bull Brier brings in the Glencoe daughter Magnolia, and War Dance: by Lexington, and out of Reel, who was probably comparable to Rachel in a way. Reel was an outstanding racehorse, competing in four mile heats winning 7 of 8 career races…

Tilly Kate is the dam of Tilly Rose, and might I say, adds more power to the punch. Through Tilly Kate’s dam Teak, more of that peppery Lexington/Glencoe nick is ushered in…

Adding up the lines, it comes to 8 Lexingtons, of those 5 are in x positions, and of those five, 2 are Glencoe nicks (of course through Hamburg’s daughter Frizette – see Cycle. No joke…). Additional Glencoe (non x) equals 7, and Pocahontas is present 9 times in non x positions and twice in x positions…Once again, add that to Speedwell, resulting in the dam of Cure the Blues, Quick Cure.

And finally…

Early Decision: Oh go ahead. Just guess. There’s not a name here that you haven’t heard before. I’ll just go for the jugular…all x blood now: Man O’ War twice, Spearmint (Yep, your right, Plucky Liege), St. Simon, (yep, same instance of Plucky Liege), Hastings (Man O’ War’s grandsire) with a non x Lexington/Glencoe nick, Petrarch (x), a double dose of Pocahontas, with another 2 Hermit, Sweep, Domino, 2Cyllene, another Petrarch, St. Simon, another Spearmint, Princequillo (oh please, just look at the Natalma pattern in Rachel’s pedigree and compare it to the Princequillo pattern in Early Decision’s pedigree), Domino from Running Stream through Case Ace in Raise a Native, and 4 more Glencoe (x), 1 Lexington (x), and a Bend Or Macaroni nick.

And now, for the tail female line. Early Decision’s 3rd dam is Ro Dear (the 2nd dam: Native Go Go by Raise a Native, and her dam: Biscayne Missy by Chieftain out of Pocahontas 1955 out of How by Princequillo). Ro Dear by Colonel Mike, and let’s just suffice to say High Time – pop quiz-try to remember High Time’s broodmare sire…

Yep. Domino.

Out of Ellen’s Best who is by War Relic (if you’re not feeling the crescendo, I’m sorry), who is of course by Man O’ War (non x) and out of Friars Carse, and if you want to cut to the quick quickly after six pages of verbiage, than all right. Fine. Ellen’s Best’s 3rd dam is Speed Boat, a full sister to War Relic, and gets the job done with Man O’ War as Rachel Alexandra’s 10th broodmare sire! Friars Carse is no slouch as she has 2 Bend Or instances, Hermit, and just what you always knew, she is a direct descendant of War Reel by War Dance by Lexington, and out of Reel. Phew. Oh, did I mention that Friar Carse’s 3rd broodmare sire Himyar yields another Lexington (x)? And that through Superman, her dam sire adds a couple more Pocahontas (the Glencoe daughter) lines?

So, after the longest spiel on heart lines that I have ever composed, I just have this to say: Rachel Alexandra has the possibly the tightest knit genetic sweater I have ever seen (in modern Thoroughbreds), and that includes the impressive and incomparable Secretariat. [Secretariat’s sire side — stacked with Lexington/Glencoe nicks, as well as Pocahontas – was crossed with classic Pocahontas lines from Great Britain through his dam’s side: a great many of them]. It never lets up. There’s not one lull in the x story of her life.

Rachel’s pedigree is very consistent throughout, and is neatly woven in its entirety with these specialty colors. If it’s all about buildup, which I believe it is, then Rachel’s pedigree is the apex of accumulation for her generation.

Although Natalma may have acted alone, or in concert with Admiring, Graustark, Speedwell and Aspidistra; it may indeed be the Man O’ War buildup in Dubbed In and Early Decision that serve as the tie that binds in Rachel’s genes.