by Jay Leimbach ©
The dominance of the Mr.Prospector and Northern Dancer lines is well-known to breeders, but we are now be seeing a renaissance of the once-great Nasrullah line, particularly through Seattle Slew and Blushing Groom. Last year there were 16 Nasrullah line studs among the top 100 on the General Sires List (Thoroughbred Times), led by #3 A.P.Indy (Seattle Slew), #4 Rahy (Blushing Groom), #8 Cozzene (Caro), #21 Runaway Groom (Blushing Groom), and #31 Mt.Livermore (Blushing Groom).
Nowhere was this more evident than the recent $125,000 Risen Star Stakes at The Fairgrounds on February 18th. In a battle of three-year-old Derby hopefuls, the top three finishers were all Blushing Groom line colts. The winner, Dollar Bill, is a grandson of Mt. Livermore by Peaks and Valleys, while the runner-up, Gracie's Dancer, is a son of Mt. Livermore. Third-place finisher Rahy's Secret is by Rahy--yet another son of Blushing Groom!
Dollar Bill is the first stakes winner of his young sire, Peaks and Valleys, who was Horse of the Year in Canada as a three-year-old in 1995 when he won the Molson Million (Grade 1), the Meadowlands Cup (Grade 1), and the Illinois Derby (Grade 2). He won 9 of 16 starts lifetime for just over $1.5 million.
Dollar Bill is out of Saratoga Dame (by Saratoga Six) who was a stakes winner of $140,578 in her own right. Dollar Bill is her fourth foal and first stakes winner. Most notable in his pedigree is his deep linebreeding to Nasrullah. His sire, Peaks and Valleys, is 4x5 to Nasrullah, while his broodmare-sire, Saratoga Six, is 4x4 to Nasrullah. Dollar Bill is thus linebred 5x6x6x6 to Nasrullah.
Such deep linebreding to Nasrullah has become very prominent in today's top horses, particularly between the bloodlines of Seattle Slew, Blushing Groom, and Mr.Prospector--who is out of a granddaughter of Nasrullah. Breeders' Cup winners like Capote (5x5x3x4), Bayakoa (4x4x4), A.P. Indy (5x5x4), Pilsudski (6x6x5x6), Artax (6x6x5x5x6), Daylami (4x6x6x7), and Silic (4x6x7x6) are all deeply linebred to Nasrullah. Apparently such multiple linebreeding offers the advantages of inbreeding (ingraining desirable traits), with fewer of the dangers such as lack of soundness and stamina, breathing problems, or bad temperament, etc.
There is a strong international flavor to the male line of Blushing Groom - who himself raced in Europe and began his stud career there. Several of his early sons were French champions, like Baillamont, Crystal Glitters, Groom Dancer, and Nashwan, while Rainbow Quest was champion older male in England and is still a top sire there. Japan is now a favorite home for sons of Blushing Groom with Arazi, Baillamont, Blushing John, and Crystal Glitters all standing there. And Candy Stripes was a top sire in Argentina before his recent importation to America.
Gracie's Dancer led the recent Risen Star Stakes most of the way before grudgingly surrendering the lead to Dollar Bill in mid-stretch. He is by Mt.Livermore, and likewise deeply linebred 4x6x6 to Nasrullah. His dam, Erzulie Freda, was a modest winner of only $5,720, but she is by Fappiano and is inbred 5x5 to Nasrullah. Fappiano has been the most successful son of Mr.Propsector to date, but sadly died young leaving behind sons like Unbridled, Cryptoclearance, and Quiet American--all successful studs themselves.
Third place finisher Rahy's Secret is by Rahy out of Secret Advice by Secreto--a son of Northern Dancer who won the English Derby. Secret Advice is herself 5x4x5 to Nasrullah, making Rahy's Secret 4x6x5x6 to Nasrullah. A familiar theme. Rahy's success at stud illustrates the remarkable nick between the blood of Blushing Groom and the blood of Nijinsky II - a nick so powerful it works with either line on top (sireline) and anywhere in a pedigree, not just the cross between sireline and broodmare-sire line.
Rahy's two richest sons are Fantastic Light and Hawksley Hill, both millionaires. The first is out of a Nijinsky II mare, while the second is out of a granddaughter of Nijinsky II by Caerleon. Similarly we find that Dollar Bill's sire Peaks and Valleys is out of a granddaughter of Nijinsky II by Green Dancer. Quest For Fame was an English Derby winner by Rainbow Quest out of a Green Dancer mare.
And as might be expected with Nasrullah line studs, they generally love the blood of Princequillo. The cross between Nasrullah and Princequillo not only produced Secretariat, but also Mill Reef, Riverman, Seattle Slew, and Cozzene among many others. In fact, the first three finishers in the Risen Star Stakes all had Princequillo blood on the dam's side...
Copyright by Jay Leimbach 2001