Posts Tagged ‘Adios’

Looking for ‘clicks’ in a new sire can be dangerous.  And even hindsight can be tricky with established sires. Mainly because we focus our analysis of the pedigrees on a sire’s top foals rather than say 20 of his average foals or perhaps his bottom 20 foals that never succeeded as racehorses.  It’s something I’d like to do one day.  Or if it has been done, i.e. a sort of “control group’ experiment, I’d be very interested to know about it.

But having said that, I’m going to focus on the pedigree of Shadow Play’s American winners in this blog.

Richard, one of my blog friends, has been conversing with me about Shadow Play. This is a sire that is making a bold debut in North America and has a pedigree that could match well with some of our mares.  I’ve been seriously considering him for my Grinfromeartoear mare, and Richard is doing the same for his Bettor’s Delight mare.

I’ve looked at the pedigrees of 17 of Shadow Play’s American winners to date. I haven’t done detailed analysis, just a quick look to see if there anything that stands out. (Note: Names and some additional information on these foals has been added to the bottom of this blog, 30 July)

Shadow Play

Shadow Play – looking for Shadow Wave

Two things stand out for me:

  1. Of those 17 winners,  6 have Artsplace has the damsire (another 3 have Artsplace as the grandamsire). And yet I’m not sure the volume of Artsplace “nicks” tells us too much yet, after all, the proportion of Artsplace mares available to a promising sire will be high and a high speed sire from the Western Hanover line would be flagged as a good match for those breeders who want that Artsplace/Western Hanover line cross.
  2. This is one of those sires/families that loves getting “more of the same” blood and specifically an uncanny amount of doubling up with No Nukes and Shadow Wave.

It’s that 2nd point of interest I want to focus on, because it is intriguing. While Shadow Wave is an influential sire, he’s not an especially common one. In commercial families he is present usually via No Nukes/Oil Burner or Big Towner, or in the best of the Golden Miss family.

But in the pedigrees of these 17 mares, Shadow Wave comes in from a range of directions.

The total number of times Shadow Wave appears in those 17 dams’ pedigrees is 22  23 times.

10 of those are via No Nukes.

That leaves another 13 Shadow Wave connections, 4 of which are via Big Towner.

All Shadow Wave’s credits except one are as a damsire.

In 7 of those 17 dams, Shadow Wave appears TWICE in their pedigrees.

And of course that’s not counting the fact he appears twice in Shadow Play’s own pedigree. So 7 of the 17 winning foals have Shadow Wave 4 times in the first 7 generations.

What makes this unusual is that Shadow Wave is not a sire like Meadow Skipper, Cam Fella, Albatross who had much larger numbers of foals and became sires of sires which means they appear quite often in these sorts of numbers in the pedigrees of horses.  Shadow Wave was not a ‘go to’ sire. He had a total of 524 foals over 14 years at stud, many of them in his last few years.  Just to compare, Meadow Skipper had 1267, Albatross 2642, Abercrombie 1816 and Bret Hanover (like Shadow Wave a son of Adios) had 1724 foals.  Artsplace must be close to 2000. Shadow Wave left very few sons who became sires, and none were particularly successful. So he is popping up almost entirely as a damsire.

Very interesting.

The pedigrees of these 17 Shadow Play foals are packed with goodies, certainly packed with the influence of Adios through two very different sons. Shadow Wave, like Bret Hanover and Adios himself, like having ‘their best blood returned to them’, as they say.  Shadow Play seems to be carrying on that tradition.

Those of you who know my blogs will recall that I sometimes use cooking as a way of describing my approach to breeding and pedigree analysis.

In terms of recipes, I see these Shadow Play foal pedigrees as a “chicken three ways” sort of dish or a dessert that uses white chocolate mousse, dark bitter chocolate base and grated chilli chocolate on top. Initially you sort of think “oh, way too much of a good thing.” Then you start to eat it and think “Yum”.

Shadow Play’s maternal line includes Warm Breeze (Bret Hanover-Touch Of Spring) which brings in Good Time-Breath O Spring and the classic Old Maid/Spinster/Scotland connections. So does No Nukes’s maternal lines through Tar Heel and Gogo Playtime.  Shadow Play will enjoy getting those influences returned from the mares he gets – .

It works both ways – those mares with No Nukes/Oil Burner/Shadow Wave/Adios in their pedigrees seem to love getting what Shadow Play offers.

And look at the great families Shadow Play is getting to play with:

  • Two of his progeny (Shadowbriand and Shark Festival) are out of mares who are from the wonderful Rodine Hanover family (both those mares are from the No Nukes mare Romanticize).
  • Arthur Blue Chip’s dam is a grand-daughter of Tarport Cheer.
  • Shadow Place’s great grandam Loving Proof is, I think, a full sister to Camtastic.
  • Play It Again Sam – that maternal family is one I mentioned in my last blog about the Meadowlands damsires – He’s from a daughter of Orchid Island, who is a full sister to Island Fantasy and a great producer.
  • Reasonable Force – the grandam Shady Katie is a half to the great mare Shady Daisy (by Falcon Seelster).
  • Of interest to NZ breeders, Book Babe’s greatgrandam is No Secrets (Oil Burner-Treachery) who is also the greatgrandam of Attorney General, who stands at stud here, and has a very talented 2yo filly Imhisdaughter (from an Artiscape mare) starting her racing career. Attorney General is a son of Falcon Seelster. Falcon Seelster is of course by Warm Breeze, who features in Shadow Play’s maternal pedigree. Falcon Seelster also appears as Imhisdaughter’s greatgrandam. Of course Imhisdaughter’s damsire Artiscape carries Shadow Wave through Happy Motoring.
  • That’s just some of them I can spot at a glance, I will have missed others.

It sure helps if a sire can get some well bred mares that bring something to the table – especially if they come with the goodies he likes.

All of the above makes me think again about whether I can resist the match with The Blue Lotus, as that pedigree would have some of the elements I see producing good results here.

I’ll look closely at that in my next blog soon, as well as some comments from Richard “across the ditch in Australia”, and a look at the very different overall broodmare pool that Shadow Play will be accessing in New Zealand and also in Australia.

Additional information/names

The 17 winning foals of Shadow Play I looked at are: Book Babe, Shadowbriand, Alibi Seelster, Shark Festival, Reasonable Force, Brookdale Shadow, Lady Shadow (grandam is by Dallas Almahurst, a full brother to Oil Burner), Play It Again Sam, Performing Art, Shadversary, Twin B Spy, Skippin By, Shadow Place, Courageous C, , Yoselin Seelster, Nefertiti Bluechip, and Arthur Blue Chip (the only one whose dam doesn’t carry any No Nukes/Oil Burner/Shadow Wave in her pedigree).

The damsires are: Artsplace (6, plus 3 as grandamsire), Cam’s Card Shark (3), Bettor’s Delight (1), Jate Lobell (1, plus 3 as a grandamsire), Armbro Operative, Camluck, Blissful Hall, Life sign, Intrepd Seelster, Abercrombie (all 1).

No Nukes and Big Towner appear 2 times as grandamsires.

Confessions of a Shadow Wave lover. Yes, it’s true, I love this old guy. And for good reason. Check out my blog about Shadow Wave and his influence as a damsire and in my own mare’s family.

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A few blogs ago I described two vary different racehorses (later to both become very successful sires and damsires), Spencer and Scotland. Spencer was a big, lanky horse; Scotland a sleek medium sized one.

This same pattern occurs in several famous pairs of horses who later became excellent sires and damsires –

  • Tar Heel and Adios;
  • Most Happy Fella and Albatross;

In all these cases the first of the pair was a bigger, rugged type and not the smoothest gaited horse, while the second of the pair was the smaller handsome one with the gorgeous gait.

As I said in my blog about the three very different Jamaicans in the Olympic 200m final, speed and greatness can come in very different packages.

And although I often talk about the advantage of having a great gait (what I call ‘gait speed’) it’s good to be reminded of champion horses who didn’t have that advantage but delivered brilliance anyway – on the racetrack or in the siring shed or both.

In the chapter on Tar Heel in John Bradley’s “Modern Pacing Sire Lines” he describes Tar Heel like this:

A big-headed coarsely made horse who was not especially good-gaited….One of the racing scribes of his era commented on his gait by saying “It was hard to tell what he was doing, but we called it pacing.”

Adios, on the other hand was a stunningly handsome horse, medium sized with a beautiful fine head – and very good gaited. (I found this great article about Adios’s career in Sports Illustrated May 14, 1962, when he was still alive at 25 years of age.)

Of course these two horses are present in so many pedigrees – the Golden Adios/Tar Heel Cross. See this good article in Sports Horse Breeder website that looks at some of the genetic reasons this was a good combination – but just their complementary attributes and physical types must be a key factor.

Most Happy Fella – big and rugged

Most Happy Fella was a big, rugged looking colt who was bothered through his career by a hock injury, leading to a somewhat rough-gaited style of going. In fact trainer/driver Stanley Dancer is quoted as saying:

What a nasty horse he was to drive. You never knew when Most Happy Fella was going to make a break. He went with such a tight hobble, and he still felt like he was going to put in a step. I was surprised he was such a great sire. He sired some good-gaited horses.

Many of Meadow Skipper’s racing sons were big, bold horses – and Most Happy Fella also had a big dam (Laughing Girl), surprisingly a Good Time mare because Good Time was under 15h himself and often left smaller horses.

Albatross, on the other hand, was an atypical son of Meadow Skipper – he stood only 15.1h but with a long-barrel and “an unattractive head which seemed very disproportionate to the remainder of his conformation.”  He was a very well balanced horse, however, and his gait was superb.

Albatross’ hallmark, and his greatest contribution to the breed, was his gait. Dancer believes that Albatross could have raced free-legged, such was the purity of his motion. It was free-flowing, solid and allowed Albatross to carry his speed through three demanding seasons.” (John Bradley)

These four fantastic horses illustrate just how different the qualities of top horses (and top sires/damsires) can be.

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