By Andrew Caulfield
At a recent Juddmonte function, a fellow guest asked me whether there were any stallions whose sons and daughters enjoyed a markedly different level of success. The answer, of course, is that there are some notable examples and the one I cited was Spendthrift’s veteran Malibu Moon, whose daughters outnumber the sons by almost two to one (27 to 14 to be exact) among his 41 graded stakes winners. I could just as easily have mentioned the excellent Montjeu, who had only five fillies among his 26 Northern-Hemisphere-sired Group 1 winners. I added, though, that in some instances these sex biases have a way of leveling out.
I was reminded of all this by the weekend’s Grade I juvenile events in the U.S. When Free Drop Billy decisively won the GI Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity he became the first Union Rags colt to win a graded stakes, following four fillies from Union Rags’s first crop (the Grade I winners Paradise Woods, Union Strike and Dancing Rags and Grade II scorer Tequilita). The fillies lead five to three among Union Rags’s eight black-type winners, but this could be a bias which will eventually even out. His one-eyed son Patch was third in the GI Belmont S., while another colt, No Dozing, is a graded-placed black-type winner. That said, Union Rags is a grandson of Dixieland Band, who had six fillies among his nine Grade I winners.
Malibu Moon has been doing his best this year to level the sex bias, with his sons Gormley and Ransom the Moon staging an admirable rear-guard action with their respective Grade I victories in the Santa Anita Derby and the Bing Crosby S. No doubt their efforts helped Malibu Moon’s colts at the 2017 yearling sales, where they sold for such prices as $700,000, $650,000, $625,000 and, $480,000. Yet the best price for a filly was $500,000.
Even so, Gormley and Ransom the Moon’s female counterparts have been more than holding their own. Malibu Moon already has a potential winner of the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in the undefeated Moonshine Memories, who last month added the GI Chandelier S. to her victory in the GI Del Mar Debutante.
Then, over the weekend, we saw two other possible Malibu Moon contenders in action. Firstly the progressive Heavenly Love landed the GI Darley Alcibiades S. by more than five lengths on only her third appearance. Then Maya Malibu followed up her good second in the GI Spinaway S. with a less-pleasing third behind old rival Separationofpowers in the GI Frizette S.
Whatever their fate at Del Mar next month, the chances are that Moonshine Memories and Heavenly Love have plenty to offer their connections as 3-year-olds. Of Malibu Moon’s previous graded stakes-winning juvenile fillies, Carina Mia went on to win the GI Acorn S. and Devil May Care both the GI Mother Goose and the GI CCA Oaks. Kauai Katie, Sara Louise and Farrell all scored at Grade II level.
Malibu Moon’s 2017 juveniles were conceived in 2014, a year after his son Orb had won the GI Florida Derby and GI Kentucky Derby. As Orb is inbred 3 x 4 to Mr. Prospector, it is hardly surprising that both these Grade I-winning fillies have a second line to Mr. Prospector.
And bearing in mind that Malibu Moon’s fee in 2014 was $95,000, up from $70,000, it is hardly surprising that both fillies have illustrious pedigrees. Moonshine Memories is out of a half-sister to Favorite Trick, who took not only the title of champion 2-year-old male in 1997 but also the Horse of the Year award.
Heavenly Love, for her part, is also out of a half-sister to a Horse of the Year, but a very different one in the Japanese star Zenno Rob Roy. This son of Sunday Silence owed his award to victories in the Tenno Sho, Japan Cup and Arima Kinen, and he failed by only a neck to take the G1 Juddmonte International when sent to England the following year.
However, Heavenly Love’s background is very much North American. Her dam Darling My Darling was the second of three foals produced by Roamin Rachel before this daughter of Mining was sold to Japan for $750,000 at Keeneland in 1998. Mining had also been sold to Japan three years earlier, after seven years at Glencrest Farm. With Mr. Prospector as his sire and a Buckpasser mare as his dam, Mining was bred to the same pattern as Seeking the Gold, Woodman and Miswaki. When Mining defeated Gulch in the GI Vosburgh S. over seven furlongs in the October of his 4-year-old season, he was winning for the sixth time in six starts. However, he could finish only 10th behind Gulch when favorite for the GI Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Mining had sired eight stakes winners from three crops of racing age by the time he was sold, his only Grade I winner being Roamin Rachel. This fast filly had the proud record of having won nine of her 13 starts over sprint distances, including the GI Ballerina H. over seven furlongs.
Roamin Rachel passed on plenty of her speed to Heavenly Love’s dam Darling My Darling. This daughter of Deputy Minister was also a Grade I performer as a juvenile, going down by only three-parts of a length in the GI Matron S. and by only a head to that very good filly Surfside in the GI Frizette S. She then contested a very hot Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, finishing fifth behind Cash Run, Chilukki, Surfside and Spain. Darling My Darling went on to win the Raven Run S. and Doubledogdare S., so she was well worth the $300,000 she had cost as a yearling.
Heavenly Love is her second graded winner and her Alcibiades winner is closely related to her Grade II winner Forever Darling. This winner of the Santa Ynez S. is a daughter of Congrats, who ranks alongside Malibu Moon, Pulpit, Mineshaft and Flatter as one of the successful stallions sired by A.P. Indy from Mr. Prospector mares.