When we think of some of the best broodmares in history, it’s flat mares that stick in the memory as they can have much more influence through their male offspring. I have taken a look at some of the best broodmares both past and present.
There will undoubtedly be some names missing including some very good jump brood mares such as La Noire and Polly Puttens but invariably is the flat mares that prove most influence.
Beautiful Bells is the oldest horse on the list and she earned her place having been a predominant dam of speed in the nineteenth century. Of her eighteen foals, six were classic winners and 8 went on to be stallions. Another stat that makes her worthy of mention is that she was responsible for a three-year-old world champion.
We have already mentioned that eight of her sons took up duties in the breeding shed with some of the best ones being Saint Bel who was a leading sire in America in 1894 and Chimes. Not many people may have heard of Beautiful Bells but she was a fantastic broodmare.
Height Of Fashion
This mare was well and truly regally bred having been a homebred owned by the Queen out of her Guineas winner Highclere. She was unbeaten in her juvenile campaign, with the Fillies’ Mile a seasonal highlight. Although she did add the Princess of Wales’ Stakes to her cv as a three-year-old she never really hit the expected heights.
Sheik Hamdan Al Maktoum was quick to purchase her for the breeding career and who what a career it was. She was responsible for Derby & 2000 Guineas winner Nashwan, Unfuwain and the likeable if underrated sire Nayef.
In my opinion, she is the best broodmare we have seen in recent times, not only that she was a hell of a racehorse to boot. Urban Sea won the 1993 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and as a broodmare, she became only one of two mares to breed two Derby winners with Sea The Stars and Galileo.
She also sired Group 1 winner Black Sam Bellamy and of her female offspring, All Too Beautiful and My Typhoon stand out. Incredibly all of her runners were at the very least Stakes-placed and every son was retired to stud. She died at the age of 20 following foaling complications but will never be forgotten.
She didn’t hit any great heights on the racetrack, with a listed victory at Nantes as a two-year-old being the highlight. However, it was in the breeding shed where Hasili really excelled, producing five individual Group 1 winners. These included Banks Hill in the Coronation Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf and Prix Jacques le Marois; Heat Haze in the Beverly D and Matriarch Stakes; Intercontinental in the Matriarch and Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf; Cacique in the Manhattan Handicap and Man o’ War Stakes; and Champs Elysees in the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes, Hollywood Turf Cup and Canadian International.
Remarkably the best of her progeny Dansili never made the breakthrough at Group 1 level, finishing runner-up on five occasions. As a stallion, he has already produced more than 20 Group/Grade 1 winners, including Rail Link, Harbinger and The Fugue. Unfortunately, she passed away at the age of 27 but her legacy will live on.
The Roger Charlton trained Kind to win six of her thirteen starts, with the listed Flower of Scotland Stakes a particular highlight. Kind was retired to Prince Khalid Abdulla’s Juddmonte Farm and has now established herself as one the studs leading broodmares.
Given that she is responsible for the superstar Frankel is reason enough for her to be on the list but she is also responsible for Bullet Train, Noble Mission and Joyeuse. It was announced last week that the pairing with Galileo that produced the unbeaten Frankel is to be replicated this season and if he/she inherits half of the same traits then it’s something to look forward to.
She was a Group 1 winner of the Prix de Diane in her racing career but it’s in the breeding shed where Rafha has really made her mark. She is responsible for two of the best stallions in recent times; Invincible Spirit and Kodiac. Of the two Invincible Spirit was much the best on the track, winning the Haydock Sprint Cup whereas Kodiac didn’t even win a stakes race but good fortune would have it that the season Kodiac was retiring, his brother Invincible Spirit was a world record by siring 35 two-year-old winners in his freshman season.
This success coupled with his pedigree gave Tally Ho Stud the encouragement to take a chance on Kodiac. He has now been the champion sire of two-year-olds for the last two season and has gone from strength to strength in ten seasons. I would seem certain that with her progeny being so prolific, Rafha’s legacy will be a long one.
She has proven to be a source of some fantastic stallions being the grandam of Oasis Dream and Beat Hollow. Among her great-grandsons include Kingman and New Bay.
Oasis Dream who is out of Hope is still among one of the most popular stallions on the European roster and will remain so for many a year to come. Another one of Bahamian’s daughters to excel in the breeding paddock is Coraline who’s foaled three Group winners, most notably Group 1 winner Reefscape.
Even though she herself was a stoutly bred mare who stayed beyond 12 furlongs it’s evident that her lasting legacy will be an influence on speed.
Blush With Pride
This well-bred mare was a winner of the Group 1 Kentucky Oaks and although she failed to produce a Group 1 winner, she did foal three classy race mares namely Better Than Honour, Maryinsky and Smolensk. All three of these mares produced high-class offspring at stud.
Chief among these was Better Than Honour who was responsible for Belmont Stakes winners Jazil and the Rags To Riches who became the first mare to win the race in over a century in 2007. She is also the grandam of Group 1 winner Streaming.
Maryinsky who won the Fillies’ Mile in her racing days has been very successful since being retired. She has produced quadruple Group 1 winner Peeping Fawn along with Thewayouare who sire Toast Of New York but, unfortunately, passed away last year.
The Group 1 winning juvenile Fall Aspen has had one of the widest reaching effects on the breeding industry on both sides of the Atlantic. In America, she was responsible by Group 1 winners Timber Country and Northern Aspen. On European soil, she produced Elle Seule, Colorado Dancer, Hamas, Fort Wood and Bianconi.
Another generation on and Fall Aspen’s legacy is growing with Colorado Dancer foaling Dubai Millennium, who himself sired the fantastic Dubawi. Fort Wood was a very successful stallion in South Africa and Elle Seule produced another three high-class performers Mehthaaf who won the Irish 1,000 Guineas, Elnadim who won the July Cup and proved to be a good sire and Only Seule whose daughter Occupandiste is the grandam of Intello.
There are multiple reasons why Miesque has earned a place on our list, firstly due to her racing career, secondly her leading stallion offspring Kingmambo and finally the broodmare success of some of her relatives.
Miesque herself was a classic winner at 3 and a dual winner of the Breeders’ Cup Mile. She then went on to produce the aforementioned Kingmambo along with the multiple Group 1 winner East Of The Moon.
Kingmambo has been responsible for some very high-class individuals in his stallion career including Henrythenavigator, Night Shift and King’s Best to name but a few.
Dual Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Miesque earns inclusion for three reasons – her own racing career, her stallion son Kingmambo, and the broodmare prowess of some of her descendants.
The female line coming from Miesque may not quite be up to their male counterparts but have done incredibly well in their own right. Monevassia produced Group 1 winner Rumplestiltskin, who is the dam of Tapestry. There are many more mares who are still establishing them and with the likes of Moon Is Up in the pedigree, it can only be onwards and upwards for this family.