Day At The Track

Establishing an Elite Broodmare category

06:31 PM 19 Mar 2008 NZDT
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Albaquel USTA Photo Lismore USTA Photo
Albaquel USTA Photo - Had a dozen foals and half of them earned $250,000 or more
Lismore USTA Photo - Had a whopping 19 foals and got six $250,000-plus winners

Consistency is the mark of a great broodmare, as long as she’s consistently producing superior performers. That’s why I think that to fairly evaluate a mare you need to look at her overall production rather than concentrating on one or two outstanding performers.

Take Voodoo Hanover, for example. She produced a great horse in Albatross. She also produced another dozen performers and only one earned more than $11,000 in its career. Great broodmare? I think not.

Or Nan Cam, the dam of Cam Fella. He won 61 races and $2 million, but Nan Cam’s other nine foals won a total of 24 races and none earned more than $16,000. Great broodmare? Again, I think not.

Both Voodoo Hanover and Nan Cam produced a great horse, but didn’t produce outstanding performers consistently.

A few years back I set an arbitrary standard of four winners of $250,000 or more to establish an Elite Broodmare category as a way of honoring mares that consistently produced top horses.

That standard is not only arbitrary but it’s also inadequate in some cases. For example, I would argue that Amour Angus is the most influential broodmare today, but she falls just short of having four $250,000 winners. Certainly there is no way to deny the success -- on the track and in the stud barn -- of her sons Conway, Angus, and Andover, all with the surname Hall.

Still, I think that this standard does allow us to recognize mares that achieve excellence. You can never truly factor out all the components that affect a broodmare’s success. How many foals did she have? To what stallions was she mated? Were her foals mostly fillies that retired early or geldings that kept racing forever?

Having said all that, I’d like to list the Elite Broodmares as of today. I am listing them by gait with the number of their $250,000-plus winners.

Pacers:

Six: Albaquel, Lismore

Five: Caressable, Dateable, I’m No Fool, Matt’s Sunshine, Rich N Elegant

Four: Adiana Hanover, Adios Scarlet, Adored Yankee, Ariel Lobell, Cathedra, Color Trend, Enroute, In Your Dreams, JEFs Magic Trick, Larjon Heather, Liberated Angel, Misty Bretta, Open Book, Perogative, Pleasure Jet, Prelude Lobell, Razzle Hanover, Romola Hanover, Sampson’s Lady, Suave Almahurst, Tiffy Time, Tinsel, Town Sweetheart, Tracy Blue Chip

Trotters

Four: BJ’s Pleasure, Crown Starlet, Descent, Victorious Tail

The pacing mares Albaquel and Lismore clearly stand out for their remarkable accomplishments, but there are some differences between them worth noting.

Albaquel had a dozen foals and half of her foals earned $250,000 or more. By contrast, Lismore had a whopping 19 foals and got six $250,000-plus winners. If you want to do a batting average for both mares, Albaquel hit .500 while Lismore batted .316.

Albaquel’s six were by five different stallions: Justin Passing, On The Road Again, Direct Scooter, Cam Fella, and Abercrombie.

Lismore’s six were by two different stallions. Five were by Abercrombie and one by Big Towner.

There are 35 Elite Broodmares and ten of them have produced a millionaire or two along the way.

Those mares would be Lismore (Albert Albert), Dateable (Historic), I’m No Fool (I Am A Fool), Rich N Elegant (Rocknroll Hanover and Royalflush Hanover), B J’s Pleasure (American Winner), Cathedra (Cathedra Dot Com and Cabrini Hanover), Color Trend (Color Me Best), Descent (Davidia Hanover), JEFs Magic Trick (Cam’s Card Shark), and Liberated Angel (Leah Almhurst).

Special credit must be given to Romola Hanover, who produced all of her $250,000 winners in the 1960s when purses were much smaller. Her quartet consisted of Romeo Hanover, Romulus Hanover, Romaline Hanover, and Dexter Hanover.

Adios Scarlet produced a pair of her credits -- Isle Of Wight and Nansemond -- in the 1960s and two more -- Richmond and Scarlet Skipper -- in the 1970s.

Suave Almahurst produced her first $250,000 winner in 1979 when she foaled Woodrow Wilson runner-up Lon Todd Hanover and produced her final credit 18 years later in Ain’t No Stopn Him.

No arbitrary standard will ever be wholly satisfactory in evaluating a broodmare, but you can be assured that the Elite Broodmares on this list were pretty special.

by Dean A. Hoffman

ourtesy of The US Trotting Association Web Newsroom

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