by Ernest Newcomb ©
The 58th running of the $250,000 New York Handicap (G2), a 10 furlong turf race run at Belmont Park, proved to be a gift for owner Edouard Rothschild and trainer Christophe Clement when the imported French four-year-old filly, England's Legend, purchased for $15,000, ran to a one and a half length win with Corey Nakatani in the irons in 1:59.60. Formerly trained in France by the renown Andre Fabre, the filly, sired by Lure from his second book, put another stamp of approval on her sire's affinity for the turf.
Lure was sired by the emminent Norther Dancer son Danzig, and at two did not overly distinguish himself. Early on in his three-year-old year, he was a winner of the one mile dirt Gotham (G1), often an early prep race for horses on the Triple Crown trail. He frustrated his connections there after only managing a second place in the Lexington Stakes (G2) an 8.5 furlong dirt race, losing it by a neck. When the dirt surface tests failed expectations, Lure was sent to the turf. He won an allowance, was second in the Kelso Handicap (G3) as a high weight, and was the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) winner at age three, running the mile in a new course record time of 1:32.80, and doing it by three lengths.
Lure came back as a four-year-old with a vegeance. Running eight times, Lure won six, placed twice in seven stakes races and took a single, high weighted allowance. He was a winner of the Kelso (G3) (8f.T), righting the slight miscalculation in his try of the year before; also the Early Times Dixie Handicap (G3) (9f.T) while top weighted; the Early Times Turf Classic Handicap (G3) (9f.T), top weighted, and in new course record time of 1:46.20; the Daryl's Joy Stakes (G3) (8.5f.T), top weighted; that allowance race; and of most worthy notice, a second consecutive win of the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1). The only horse to beat Lure was Star of Cozzene, to whom Lure placed second behind in the more distanced races, Ceasar's International Handicap (G2) at 9.5 furlongs on the turf; and in the Early Times Manhattan (G2) run at mile and a quarter on the turf.
As a five-year-old, with the Ceasar's International raised to a G1 at 9.5 furlongs turf, vengence was Lure's again when he righted his loss to Star of Cozzene of the year before leaving Star of Cozzene to solace with the show. But for Lure, the star of Star of Cozzene may well have shown more brightly. At five, Lure also took the Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2) (9f.T) and the Elkhorn Stakes (G2) (9f.T). He was placed second in the Early Times Turf Classic (G2) (9f.T); and in the Kelso (G3) (8f.T). The one goal that was not accomplished with him on the turf was a third consecutive win in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1).
Lure was out of Endear who was a winner of the nine furlong dirt Hempstead Handicap (G1) as a four-year-old filly, defeating the great Lady's Secret in 1:48.60, taking full advantage of her gift of 13 pounds in that bargain. Endear also took the 8.5 furlong dirt Rampart Hancicap (G3); and not to be missed, a win as a two-year-old in the nine furlong turf Miss Grillo (G3). She was also second in the Spinster Stakes (G1); the Shuvee Handicap (G1); the Delaware Handicap (G1); and the Maskette States (G1). The death of Endear in 1990 was too soon a feature of fate for her, and so all the greater the value to breeders is her fine son and stallion at stud, Lure. He makes them proud at Ashford Stud at Versailles, Kentucky.
The value of England's Legend is no less enhanced by her broodmare sire, British-bred, Commanche Run a bay of the 1981 crop of Run The Gantlet by the great Tom Rolfe a son of Ribot; fine stakes winners all. Commanche Run was a winner of the St.Leger Stakes (G1) of 2932 meters at Doncaster, England; and the Irish Champion Stakes, also a G1. Commanche Run's second dam is by the nice French stallion Mieuxce, who was well known for passing on his professional stamina ability.
Another nice source a stamina for England's Legend comes through her second dam, Mini Luthe. It would be remiss here not to note her sire, Luthier, a fine source of classic distance and, his dam, Flute Enchante, winner of the Grand Prix de Deauville (G2) 2700m at Deauville, France.
It is interesting to note that Flute Enchante had a full brother by the name of Violoncelle (b c 1946 Cranach) who was a winner of the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud at 2500m (the race is now a G1 run at 2400m); the Prix d'Harcourt 2000m Longchamp; and the Prix du Conseil Municipal 2400m Longchamp. Oscarina (ch c 1947 Bubbles) a half brother, was a winner of the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud at 2500m. Guersant, (b c 1949 Bubbles) also a half brother to Flute Enchantee, was a winner of the Hardwicke Stakes 2414m (roughly 12 f. turf); the Poule d'Essai des Poulains 1600m Fr.; the Prix de la Foret 1400m turf; and the Prix Ganay 2100m. Further, Flute Enchantee was also the dam of Premier Violon (b c Klairon), a full brother to Luthier, and the winner of the Prix Noailles 2200m turf.
With just a touch of her pedigree we can see the fine workings of some of her base stamina influences mixing quite admirably with the speed of Lure, who may have just lacked that little extra to excell at the longer distances. England's Legend takes the challenge while racing her competition right to or near the front, showing the ability to carry speed to the American classic distance. She will be worth keeping the eye out for should she contest for longer distance on the turf.
July 22, 2001. Copyright by Ernest Newcomb 2001.