Iron Mares: Simply Lovely

March 21, 2021

Lovely Nurse’s son, Gander, winning the 2002 Empire Classic (Adam Coglianese)

By Maribeth Kalinich and Rachel Humphrey

Lovely Nurse was an iron racemare who became a superb broodmare. Bred in New York by Sea Spray Farms, Lovely Nurse had 101 starts. Too many you say? When you hear of her breeding career you might say she fared well.

Foaled in April 24,1981, her last trainer of record was Anthony R. Margotta, Jr. The daughter of Sawbones (The Axe) finished with a record of 14 firsts, 10 seconds and 20 thirds with $164,346 in earnings, the hard way. She ran her last 77 races at the claiming level. 

Placing third in her first start, Lovely Nurse broker her maiden on second asking at Suffolk Downs on Aug. 19, 1983, and won her next start at the allowance level. At the allowance level she hit a third place and some mediocre results until she hit back-to-back wins at Rockingham and then hit the board at Suffolk Downs in an allowance and the Broadway Lullaby Handicap, and then at Rockingham, again, in an allowance. 

The mare bounced back and forth between the allowance and claiming ranks winning one of each, hitting the board in a few and struggling in others. She came in seventh in the Sickle’s Image Handicap at Suffolk Downs and went back down in class to allowance and then claimers for her career. 

Lovely Nurse would race at Monmouth Park, Belmont Aqueduct, Saratoga and the old Philadelphia Park now Parx as well as the now gone Garden State and Atlantic City racetracks. Out of her 101 starts she hit the board 44 times including 31 times in her last claiming races.

Lovely Nurse was offered at the Fasig-Tipton New York bred preferred September 1982 and May 1983 Two-year-olds in training auctions but failed to sell. She sold to Norman E. Casse for Cardinal Hill Farm for $10,000 at the March 1983 Ocala Breeders’ Sale Spring Two-year-olds in training. Her last owner of record is Listo Patsy.

The lovely gray mare retired to her second career as a brood mare after her last race July 26, 1989 in Atlantic City. She finished ninth. Two weeks before she had finished fourth. 

There is little info on Lovely Nurse’s racing career online. Equibase had no charts posted and Google was little help. However, her breeding career is another story. And her pedigree is a story all in and of itself. 

A Stellar Pedigree to Pass on to Generations: New York Native Son, Gander

Given the strong female influence in Lovely Nurse’s pedigree, it’s hardly a surprise when the foal Lovely Nurse delivered at Sea Spray Farm in the Spring of 1996, was something special. Sired by multiple Graded winner Cormorant (His Majesty), who also sired Kentucky Derby winner, Go For Gin, he would be named Gander

A bit of an iron horse himself, he certainly inherited his dam’s toughness as Gander boasted 60 starts over a career that spanned six years. His career began as a two-year-old, and he would compete at the highest level until he was an eight-year-old. Trained by John Terranova II, Gander finished his career with 15 firsts, 10 seconds and 9 thirds with earnings of $1,824,011, ten times what his dam earned. 

Gander accomplished wins in the Meadowlands Cup Handicap (G2), Empire Classic Handicap, Evan Shipman Handicap and Kings point Handicap and was also Grade 1 placed on four occasions. 

The gray gelding even had a dubious highlight in the 2002 Saratoga Breeders Cup Handicap, where after he stumbled, rolled head over hooves and jockey Mike Smith ate dirt. Gander took off anyway without missing a stride, and “won” the race in convincing style from Evening Attire (Black Tie Affair). Given his blistering pace and professionalism, Gander probably should have been awarded the race, rather than disqualified for finishing riderless. 

Evening Attire won by default, but Gander ran a game race, albeit, alone.

For his noble efforts, Gander was crowned 1999 New York’s Champion 3-Year-Old; in 2000 New York Horse of the Year and from 2000-02, New York’s Champion Older Horse. A race was named in his honor. 

The Gander Stakes is for New York breds, three-year-olds and older and has been run at Belmont Park or at Aqueduct Racetrack. Inaugurated in 2005 the race is set at one mile and offers a purse of $100,000. It did not run from 2009 to 2015. The Gander Stakes has been run at Aqueduct Racetrack since 2016.

Gander, campaigned on the track by Gastas Thoroughbreds, retired to Runnymede Stables in North Hampton, New Hampshire in 2004. He was relocated to Stone Bridge Farm, New York, in 2013. He is 25 years old.

Lovely Nurse

By Sawbones (The Axe II – Bebopper)

Out of Price Fixing (Time Tested – Pricelyn)

Lovely Nurse’s sire Sawbones had a very promising pedigree; he was a son of The Axe II, who beat some very good horses in his day, like Kelso in the 1962 Man o’ War Stakes, Champion Two-Year-old colt (and eventual sire) Never Bend and 1961 Champion Male horse, T.V Lark. Aside from the fact The Axe II was by the great French stallion Mamoud, his distaff side set him up for success; he as four continuous generations back of invaluable mares, beginning with blue hen mare, Helene de Troie, the dam of Reine de Course mare La Troienne, who of course needs no introduction, herself being responsible for more than 800 Stakes winners and more than 30 Champions.

Sawbones’ dam, Bebopper (Tom Fool – Bebop {FR}), was a wonderful producer, being the dam of Grade 1 winner and sire, Hatchet Man and of course, Stop The Music, who could have been a truly great racehorse, if he didn’t have the misfortune of lining up against the likes of Forego and Secretariat. Her daughters were handy mares, among them were Crazy Music (Hail To Reason) dam of Grade 3 winner Crazy Moon (Stage Door Johnny), Boasting, the granddam of Champion Three Year Old Filly, Yanks Music; Slewbopper (Seattle Slew) and Flag Waver (Hoist The Flag) who both produced a number of winners.

Maternal Line

Price Fixing (Time Tested – Pricelyn)

Time Tested was an excellent stakes winner, who was also the sire of Don’t Be Late Jim, Grade 3 winner, Fair Test and multiple Grade 2 winner, Az Agazi. Time Tested also traces to La Troienne via his sire, Better Self).

Price Fixing’s dam, Pricelyn (Joe Price), is another again, who traces to La Troienne and another great mare, Grey Flight, an outstanding producer, who was the dam What A Pleasure (North American Leading Sire in 1975 & 1976, and sire of Foolish Pleasure – Kentucky Derby Winner & U.S. Champion Two Year Old Colt 1974); dual Grade Three winner, Formal Dinner, Bold Princess and 1963 Broodmare of the year, Misty Morn.

Pricelyn’s dam Carolyn’s World, was the dam of Carolerno, Grade Two placed dam of Believablee, who wound up in Australia and New Zealand and produced Stakes Placed Olympic Journey (Olympio) and Sir Tiff (Sunny’s Halo).

Her other daughters, Carol’s Dawn (Grey Dawn) was the dam of Italian Grade Two winner, Dyreen (Isopach), Miss Delta Dawn (Thirty Six Red), who has had 7 earners in some capacity and Shandon Star (Buckfinder), dam of Stakes placed, De Magic Moment (De Niro), Hagley’s World (Hagley), whose branch of the family has a steady stream of earners; 

Mrs Roberts (Singh) who is the grand dam of Russian Graded Stakes winner, Brave Moon (Malibu Moon) and Louisiana Breeders Oaks winner, Madam Vilzak (Vilzak) and Stakes producing Worldy Reason (Limit To Reason). 

Carolyn’s World is also the grand dam of sires of Baron Van Tap (Pleasant Tap) and Carry My Colors (Roanoke) via her daughter, The Madams Sister (Singh).

Pricelyn has three recorded filly foals and while two of them didn’t produce any offspring of note, the influential females of the past were bound to make their presence felt at some point in this family’s evolution. 

This presence evolved from Lovely Nurse, passed down to Pricelyn’s 1977 filly.

Contributing Authors

MariBeth Kalinich, Senior Editor, Past the Wire

Maribeth Kalinich, Senior Editor, Graphic Designer

Maribeth Kalinich grew up in a family with a love for horses, a passion for Thoroughbred horse racing and a taste for playing the ponies....

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