British Idiom Overtakes Donna Veloce In The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
In the 2012 Keeneland November Sale, Katsumi Yoshida of Japan’s Northern Farm paid over $2.1 million for Zazu, a Tapit mare out of Rhumb Line. If the steep sales tag speaks to the strength of Zazu’s bloodline, it is also a testament to Japan’s continued quest to become a dominant force in international breeding. Organized horse racing in Japan is governed by the Japan Racing Association (JRA) a body that regulates major race tracks in the country. From top to bottom, JRA offers some of the highest purse structures in the world where a maiden win can garnish up to $60,000 (US) in purse money and a minimal group stakes will yield well over $800,000 (US). Japan’s racing and breeding industry was once a closed path that prevented progeny of foreign sires from competing in major races. That trend shifted in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as imported stallions from Europe and North America were finding success on the island nation.
Japan’s breeders’ acquisition of foreign sires paid off with huge dividends as new arrivals offer diversity and trendy openness for international breeders. Stallions like Tony Bin, Brian’s Time, Forty Niner and Sunday Silence found immense success away from home. Sunday Silence was exported in 1990 because interest at home was vague. When not a single stud farm in North America would afford Sunday Silence a chance to sow his seeds, nor thought much of his siring powers it begs a nagging question. How can the breeding epicenter of Thoroughbred industry in the world miss a sire of such magnitude? Thoughtful pedigree researchers in Japan thought otherwise – this was not a case of luck.
Undefeated Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies victress, British Idiom, a daughter of Flashback and out of Rose And Shine, is now the leading candidate for Champion 2-year-old filly. Flashback is a full brother to Zazu. British Idiom was purchased from Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall 2018 October Yearling Sale for a sale price of $40,000 and is owned by Michael Dubb, The Elkstone Group LLC, Madaket Stables LLC, and Bethlehem Stables LLC. It’s worth mention again that Flashback is a full sibling to Zazu. It would not be surprising if Yoshida boys come calling for Flashback.
Flashback, a stakes-winning son of Tapit out of Rhumb Line won the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (Gr2) and his full brother, Zazu was a two-time Grade 1 winner. Both Zazu and Flashback’s pedigrees while rich in class, were not truly designed for early speed. It’s almost universal knowledge that class and stamina are major portion of Tapit’s contribution, so much so that mares he’s mated with doesn’t need class nor stamina as long as there is speed. Flashback’s dam, Rhumb Line by Mr. Greeley, inherits substantial stamina and class from collective broodmare sires; Pleasant Colony, His Majesty, and Nijinsky II, plus the female line of 9-f is also female line of Distorted Humor, Bull Lea, Asterus, Prince Chevalier, Big Spruce, and other two turn sires.
Unfortunately, this two-sided stamina affected Flashback’s longterm residence at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm when Flashback was relegated to Diamond B Farm in Mohrsville, Pennsylvania and slipped from $7,500 to $3,500 stud fee. Hilll ‘n’ Dale’s decision to ship Flashback out of Kentucky is understandable when allocating stall space for quicker stallions is in tune with a need-for-speed sire market. Regardless of his stamina laden ancestry, Flashback’s bloodline has a vast quantity of class. Be mindful of his second dam Rose of Rhapsody where we find Pleasant Colony and Nijinsky II as the sire and broodmare sire respectively, however, the position they occupy is significant. Flashback is a young sire with four of his top highest earners being fillies, three of them are from family 23-b.
British Idiom’s dam, Rose And Shine was bred in Ontario, Canada by Jay Cochlin and James T. Sabiston. The mare was a stakes winner at 2, notwithstanding a deficiency of familiar big named sires in her genealogy. This fact alone would cause most pedigree professionals to simply tossed out the bloodline and categorized her as weak in substance. Using that benchmark will fail to reveal qualities of Rose And Shine’s speed, class and character. Rose And Shine is properly inbred to Secretariat on top as, Mr. Sekiguchi was sired by Storm Cat and out of Welcome Surprise, a half-sister to A P Indy. In pedigree conversations most participants can quickly recite the five major sires produced by Secretariat’s daughters; Dehere, Storm Cat, Gone West, A P Indy, and Holy Roman Emperor.
These names should be committed to memory and sensors become alarmed with excitement whenever at least two of these sires show up in a pedigree chart, especially on the dam side. Followers of Rasmussen Factor would be proud to point out that both Weekend Surprise’s son and daughter are represented in this chart. A P Indy and Welcome Surprise are prominent in Mr. Sekiguchi, an $8 million Keeneland September yearling who won 2 of 4 races. On the bottom of Rose And Shine’s ancestry chart, there’s a substantial source of stamina in Colonial Affair. Again, be mindful of Colonial Affair’s sire and broodmare sire, Pleasant Colony and Nijinsky II and the significant, precise position they occupy in Rose And Shine’s chart.
British Idiom originates from 23-b with multiple links to family 8. The female family line formation mimics Numerical Nicks found in Leslie’s Lady and documented in another article on leading sire Into Mischief. Flashback has five instances of family 8, that includes two Raise A Native (8-f); two Flaming Page (8-f); one Bold Ruler (8-d) with one Pied d’Or (23-b). Rose And Shine have nine instances of family 8, that includes two Bold Ruler (8-f); one Storm Cat (8-c); three Raise A Native (8-f); one Nijinsky II (8-f); one Bold Commander (8-c); one Conquistador Cielo (8-h) with femline of 23-b.
We’ve seen this script played out over and over at the highest level of racing as it did again in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. British Idiom is blessed with a bounty of enticing paradigms in her ancestry – numerous Numerical Nicks emphasizing Positional, Perfect and Self matches. For example, Flashback’s second dam, Rose of Rhapsody, has Pleasant Colony and Nijinsky II cross in the same column as Colonial Affair who also has Pleasant Colony and Nijinsky II cross.
Salient features and points of interest on this pedigree tour of British Idiom shows a bloodline that is heavily tilted towards longer distances with a late run style and strong finish. There’s less than half-a-year to the start of America’s premier classic races and questionable leadership in the two-year-old male division. Three-year-olds will start prepping for the classics in a few months, maybe the connection of British Idiom should be fully informed and duly noted that femline 23-b has a monopoly on the Kentucky Derby.