A Pedigree Analysis: Into Mischief

October 3, 2019

In horse racing results today and racehorse breeding in general, the name Into Mischief denotes an ‘A’ list sire with sturdy stud fees well worth every penny of $175,000, increasing to $200,000 for 2020. A relatively young sire with a resume that boasts 57 black type winners, including Grade 1 winners Covfefe and Mia Mischief, plus a promising sire-of-sire prognosis with Goldencents.  Into Mischief was the most popular stallion of 2018 with a book of 245 mares while standing at Spendthrift Farm. He currently stands atop the 2019 Leading Sires list with over $12 million in progeny earnings. As a runner, Into Mischief was never worse than second in six starts. He won the Cashcall Futurity (Grade 1) at Hollywood Park as a two year-old and ran second in the prestigious Malibu Stakes (Grade 1) at Santa Anita as a three year-old. With additional stakes tallied to his ledger, Into Mischief retired with earnings in excess of $590,000. The list of stakes winners he sired thus far includes: Audible, Practical Joke, Mia Mischief, Covfefe, plus afore mentioned young sire, Goldencents. 

From a breeding approach, Into Mischief is an exceptionally well-bred individual defined from the fine female forces assembled in his background. The female family line (femline) originates from 23-b and a younger half-sister by Henny Hughes, Beholder, became a champion of high substance. Her on-track performance is forever etched in the minds of fervent racing fans. In the 2015 edition of the Pacific Classic Beholder’s beachside frolic was a beauty to behold as she whizzed by the quarter pole with jet stream efficiency while giving the boys a whipping. As if bursting bubbles in the kiddies pool, she coasted and ran them ragged, waltzing home by more than eight lengths eventually stopping the clock in 1:59.77 for the mile and a quarter distance. At year’s end, in the Breeder’s Cup Classic, misfortune struck as she was scratched from the big race, much to the glowing satisfaction and sigh of relief of trainer Bob Baffert who had the race favorite American Pharoah. Another half sibling of Into Mischief, Mendelssohn, a smart looking son of Scat Daddy, went on to win the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf in 2017 at Del Mar. These examples emphasize the family strength of 23-b.

It was only a matter of time before the powerful forces within femline 23-b revved its V-12 turbine engine once again just as it did with Domino, “The Black Whirlwind”. That fabled speed-ball graced the racing backdrop in the 1890s, and ever since, family 23-b has enhanced the racehorse breed with championship runners akin to four-legged Lamborghinis. In horse racing results today, this femline continues to excite us at every level of racing. The long list of championship honors from 23-b keeps rolling in. It already includes six Kentucky Derby winners: Tim Tam, Affirmed, Winning Colors, Lil E. Tee, Mine That Bird and I’ll have Another. Other champions that are descendants from broodmares of subject family 23-b are listed below:

Champion Sprinter:  Exceed and Excel, Big Drama

Champion 2yo Colt:  Domino, Hamburg, Regal Classic, Chief’s Crown, Grey Classic

Champion 2yo Filly:  Queen Empress, Pleasant Stage, Hello Seattle, Miss Secreto, Special Duty, Beholder

Champion 3yo Filly:  Twilight Tear, Two Lea, Chris Evert, Dance Smartly, Winning Colors, Beholder, Classy’nSmart

Champion 3yo Colt:  Tim Tam, Electrocutionist

Champion Turf Male:  Sky Classic, Hasten to Add

Champion Mare:  Beholder, Jewel Princess 

Champion Turf Mare:  Estrapade

Horse of the Year:   Discovery, Twilight Tear, Criminal Type, Ghostzapper

Champion Older Male: Discovery, Ardross, Criminal Type, Ghostzapper

Champion Sire:  Smart Strike, Exceed and Excel

Future Leading Sire:  Into Mischief, I’ll Have Another, Carpe Diem

So how does 23-b explain Into Mischief’s sire dominance when a multitude of other failed sires traced their lineage back to this same femline? The answer is a pedigree principle called Numerical Nicks. Pedigree hobbyist would be hard pressed to grasp the meteoric rise of Into Mischief’s ancestry without the assistance of Numerical Nicks. The virtuous discovery of this pedigree axiom advocates how certain female families when combined generate an assortment of speed. Careful classification of these family lines forms the basis of identifying racehorse quality. Therefore each unique sequence of femline formations facilitates bloodstock evaluation, helps predict racehorse on track performance and pinpoints breeding prepotency. Into Mischief’s dam, Leslie’s Lady, unveils various viable patterns invisibly woven into a very rich web of her lineage. That exact established pattern found in the pedigree of Leslie’s Lady also shows up in the lineage of Harlan’s Holiday. So when Numerical Nicks highlights the driving forces that propel precocious brilliance burning bright twice within the genetics of Into Mischief, they are the pathways to personal fulfillment in the art of breeding million dollar racehorses. 

Emblems of praise bestowed upon Mendelssohn, Beholder and Into Mischief are on full display as traditional nicking fans grow wild with excitement and for good reason. Since nicking supporters see the Storm Cat line successfully nicked with Tricky Creek’s mare, it is easy to believe the effect of speed and class within these three racehorses are directly attributed to matching of sire line to broodmare sire. You must respect their creed. However, we warmly embrace our approach more closely as it teaches how individual talents are deeply influenced by Numerical Nicks regardless of generations. Specific broodmare sires and sire lines will vacate the charts but formidable numbers remain constant.  Neither Miss Disco nor Discovery is visible in today’s pedigree profiles but the same Numerical Nicks they uncovered is still alive and well in today’s, tomorrow’s and future champions.   

Bold Ruler (8-d) was a scintillating racehorse and an incredible stallion at Clairborne where he achieved leading sire status seven successive years. His family line came from female line 8-d and a fifth generation chart shows his ancestry rich in family number 8. The presence of Sweep (8-c), Sun Briar (8-c), Light Brigade (8-g) and Havresac (8-h) are over powering. Now shift focus to Bold Ruler’s broodmare sire, Discovery (23-b). Notice how Discovery had two broodmare sires with links to 23-b very close up in his female family: His Majesty (23-b), a foal of 1910, and Hamburg (23-b), champion racer and champion sire. Discovery became a phenomenal asset in bloodlines that still echoes in modern pedigree.

Triple Crown winner Affirmed (23-b) also had the same profile with multiple links to femline 8 that helped explain his explosiveness. This is how horses with seemingly no pedigree rise to stardom. It is understandable when Affirmed is combined with multiples of family 8 type bloodlines the result yields the likes of Flawlessly and Wise Dan. Such is the reverse case with Hennessy (8-c) who inherits family 8-c from both parents sire Storm Cat (8-c) and dam T C Kitten (8-c). Mix Hennessy with femline 23-b and we get champion 2 year-old filly, Special Duty and ill-fated Grade 1 mare Madcap Escapade. Some other notable horses with this Numerical Nick are Intentionally, Native Dancer, Raise A Native, Alydar, Danzig, Wise Dan, Affirmed, Curlin, Ghostzapper, City Zip, American Pharoah and others. In summation, the five generation set of family numbers includes at least one occurrence of family 23 with multiple appearances of family 8. It must be emphasized that female line 23-b was already great, well before crossing the intersection of family 8 and the plateau of multi-million dollar yearlings. Family 8 simply provides a unique and enhanced level of speed.

Memoirs of Estrapade, a free running daughter of Vaguely Noble and Klepto, was a descendant from another branch of female line 23-b, a line that confirms stark affinity for all distances on any surface. Unfortunately, Estrapade was short of family 8 in her five generation chart. While that omission did not bother her much in races, it probably stymied Estrapade’s breeding output. On the other hand, Leslie’s Lady has flourished. Perhaps Leslie’s Lady’s five generation chart that includes Menow (8-g), Nijinsky II (8-f) and Icecapade (8-c) made her rich in family 8 and essentially a vibrant, impressive broodmare when mixed with her own 23-b female line.

The Numerical Nicks layout for each of the three black types produced by Leslie’s Lady is shown below:

Into Mischief (23-b) his sire, Harlan’s Holiday, adds Storm Cat (8-c); Crafty Admiral (8-c); Raise A Native (8-f). 

Beholder (23-b) her sire, Henny Hughes, adds Hennessy (8-c)(8-c) twice and Raise A Native (8-f). 

Mendelssohn (23-b) his sire, Scat Daddy, adds Hennessy (8-c); Damascus (8-h); Raise A Native (8-f) Nijinsky II (8-f). 

Leslie’s Lady (23-b) her sire, Tricky Creek, adds Icecapade (8-c) and Nijinksy II (8-f), her dam, Crystal Lady, adds Menow (8-g). 

The family of 23-b is the main engine where class and power accumulates. Perennial sires like Smart Strike, Ghostzapper, City Zip, Exceed And Excel and now Into Mischief and later Carpe Diem have established family line 23-b as significant sire power appeal especially when merged with speedy female lines of 8. The continued production of quality, class and speed found in these sires are testament to the fact that female line 23-b is still strong, vibrant and has been enduring high quality speed well beyond middle distance ever since Domino streaked across the pages of racing history. 

Into Mischief’s siring success can thus be attributed to the double formation of the same Numerical Nicks found in both parents as Harlan’s Holiday and Leslie’s Lady were both bred with the graces of family 23 combined with multiple traces of family 8. 

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