Social Hour: Taking a Look at Fans' Top Broodmares of the 21st Century

Melissa Bauer-Herzog@mbauerherzogCorrespondent IJuly 25, 2012

Social Hour: Taking a Look at Fans' Top Broodmares of the 21st Century

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    In a sport where it's hard to make it to the top, many horses are lucky to even run in a graded stakes race. So when a mare throws more than one stakes performing foal, she immediately draws attention to herself.

    But while some mares seem to disappear from fans' minds, others etch their way into a spot in fans' hearts.

    Because of this, when choosing broodmares to showcase in this article, I decided to open the voting up to racing fans and posed a question on Twitter: Who are your top 10 broodmares of the last 12 years? 

    The replies were numerous and varied, with only two mares getting more than one vote. Due to this, 13 amazing mares that have proven to be nearly as valuable in the breeding shed as they are on the track are being covered in this slideshow.

    So without farther ado, here are 13 mares that immediately come to racing fans' minds when they think of broodmares of the 21st century.

    Author's Note: The criteria for who was chosen for this slideshow included if the majority of their winning foals raced after 1999 and how successful their foals have been.


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    In addition to being a great race mare, Azeri is turning out to be a good broodmare as well.

    The 2002 Horse of the Year has produced three winners out of three foals to race in the United States, including stakes placed Arienza and undefeated Take Control (two races in his career).

    The mare was sold to Japan in late 2009 for $2.25 million but her last foal born in the United States, Wine Princess, may be proving to be the best of her three U.S.-bred foals. Wine Princess has won two of her four races by a combined 7 1/2 lengths, only finishing off the board once.

Baby Zip

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    One of the more established producers on this list, Baby Zip has proven she belongs with the best on this list.

    The mare has had 13 foals hit the track, but her most known may be Horse of the Year Ghostzapper. 

    The mare's producing talent wasn't just used on one foal, however, as she also produced Grade 1 winner and successful sire City Zip.

    Overall, she has three graded stakes winners on her resume with her 2007 foal winning the G3 Durham Cup Stakes in 2011.

    Baby Zip’s lines don’t just stop as a successful dam; her daughters have produced one stakes winner and Baby Zip is the granddam to multiple horses that have won over $100,000. Her sons have also proven to possess some of her producing talent by siring multiple stakes winners as well.

    The 2005 Broodmare of the Year had her first foal in three years when she foaled an Unbridled’s Song colt in February 2012.

Better Than Honour

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    The only broodmare to get more than two Twitter mentions was the Deputy Minister mare Better Than Honour.

    The mare’s first foal, Teeming, won three of her four races. However, the filly’s best success has come in the breeding shed where she is the dam of the 2009 Glorious Song Stakes winner Cascading.

    Better Than Honour would first make it into the record books with her third foal, Jazil. The Seeking the Gold colt would win the 2006 G1 Belmont Stakes and place second in the G2 Fountain of Youth, starting a chain of successful offspring.

    Jazil’s younger sister Rags to Riches would put Better Than Honour in the Triple Crown record books a second time when she would win the 2007 Belmont Stakes only a year after her brother. Rags to Riches would win four Grade One races in a row and would only finish off the board once, winning five of her seven races.

    The 2005 Better Than Honour model would be a colt named Casino Drive. Casino Drive would have a very interesting career, traveling back and forth from the United States to Japan, pulling off a victory in the 2008 G2 Peter Pan Stakes during his tour. He would only win one other stakes race in his career, the Alexandrite Stakes in Japan, and would not return to the States after 2008.

    Better Than Honour would be missing a victory on one of the most important weekends of racing in America until her 2007 colt, Man of Iron, would travel to America from Europe for the Breeders' Cup.

    Man of Iron gave Better Than Honour her first Breeders’ Cup victory when he won the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Marathon by just a nose. The race would be his biggest victory in his 18 race career and would show that he had the grit that has become customary of Better Than Honour foals.

    Man of Iron would be the last Better Than Honour to spend time in America as her 2007 colt by Giant’s Causeway would go winless in Europe.

    The mare’s most recent foals are 2010 and 2011 fillies by Street Cry (IRE) with the 2010 model named Better Not Cry.


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    An extremely successful turf orientated broodmare, Hasili has proved to be good at throwing both colts and fillies. 

    The Kahyasi mare found a successful cross with Danehill and stuck to it, visiting the stallion five different times. But Danehill wouldn't be the only magic cross as the mare would throw winners from multiple stallions.

    The mare's success started with her first foal when she threw Dansili, a multiple group stakes winner in Europe. Dansili would also make an appearance in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Mile. He would finish third in the race.

    Dansili himself is the sire of the 2006 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Rail Link.

    Hasili continued her broodmare success with her second foal, the 1998 mare Banks Hill. Banks Hill not only won the 2001 G1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, she was also a Grade 1 winner at Deauville as well.

    Hasili’s 2000 foal, Intercontinental, followed in her sister’s hoofprints, winning the 2005 running of the same Breeders’ Cup race.

    Overall, seven of Hasili’s foals of racing age have won stakes races with the mare having an outstanding five Grade One stakes winners. She was also named the 2005 Broodmare of the Year.


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    A well bred mare, Justenuffheart isn’t only a producer, she is also the half-sister to 2004 Eclipse Champion Turf Male Kitten’s Joy.

    Justenuffheart first found success with her second foal, the 2003 Rahy stallion Lewis Michael. Lewis Michael won his second start and went on to win three stakes races, included two Grade Two races in addition to placing in many others.

    However, the mare’s most popular foal may be the 2004 mare Dreaming of Anna. Dreaming of Anna won the 2006 Eclipse award for Champion 2-Year-Old Filly and went undefeated as a two-year-old, finishing her season with a win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The chestnut filly retired in 2008 with six graded stakes victories out of 10 wins.

    Justenuffheart is also the dam of Grade Two winner Justenuffhumor. She has a 2012 Galileo (IRE) colt on the ground who was born on April 20.

Kitten's First

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    Like her daughter Justenufheart, Kitten’s First has also proven to be a producer.

    While the mare was euthanized in 2006, her influence on the breed is still felt through her foals and their progeny.

    Her shining moment in the shed was as the dam of the 2004 Champion Turf Male Kitten’s Joy and Grade One winner Precious Kitten. The two most accomplished foals of Kitten's First, the horses turned the Breeders' Cup turf races into an family affair in the mid-2000s.

    Kitten's Joy would finish second in the Breeders' Cup Turf during his Turf Male campaign, winning five other stakes races that same year. Precious Kitten would come back four years later to finish fourth in the Breeders' Cup Mile during Goldikova's first year as victor in the race.

    Like others on this list, Kitten's First has also proven to be a great granddam as well. While her foals couldn't snag her a Breeders' Cup victory, she has had two grandfoals win her juvenile Breeders' Cup races.

    Dreaming of Anna won her granddam the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies race and Stephanie's Kitten won the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf race.

Lady Shirl

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    Another blue hen mare, Lady Shirl has multiple famous foals under her name.

    The 1987 mare proved to be a long time producer with her record spanning more than a decade. Her first foal was born in 1996 while her her last foal came in 2009 (according to Equineline).

    Her first flirtation with stakes producing success came with her 1999 foal when Winning Talk placed third in the ungraded Comet Stakes in 2001.

    However, her first real success would come when she foaled a bay colt in 2001. The colt would later be named Shakespeare and come close to retiring undefeated.

    Shakespeare went 7-for-8 in his career, only losing the 2005 John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf. The stallion would win three graded stakes in his career.

    Fantastic Shirl would be Lady Shirl's next stakes winner two years later, winning the ungraded De La Rose Stakes.

    A return to Theatrical (IRE) a few years later for a full sister to Shakespeare would prove to be a good move as the chestnut Lady Shakespeare would win two graded stakes races and place in two others.

    One of Lady Shirl's last foals, Perfect Shirl, would give her a coveted Breeders’ Cup win when the mare pulled off a victory in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

    A full sister to Perfect Shirl was born in 2009 and has yet to debut.

Lotta Kim

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    A bad luck mare when it comes to producing, Lotta Kim has only had three foals, according to Equineline, and only one has reached the track out of two of racing age.

    However, that one foal has shown that Lotta Kim has more than just a little talent in the shed.

    Rachel Alexandra not only won the G1 Kentucky Oaks by 20 lengths, she also went on to be the 2009 Horse of the Year after beating males three times.

    Rachel Alexandra retired in 2010 with a record of 13 wins in 19 starts and was bred to two-time Horse of the Year Curlin in 2011 and foaled a colt in early 2012. 

    The year after Rachel Alexandra was born, Lotta Kim had her second foal, a colt by Empire Maker named Empire Ruler. However, he never made it to the track, developing Wobbler’s Syndrome and being euthanized in 2009.

    Her third foal is a full sister to Rachel Alexandra, born in 2011, named Samantha Nicole.

Madcap Escapade

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    Madcap Escapade had a short broodmare career, being euthanized due to colic after producing only six foals.

    Only two of those foals have made it to the track in that time. However, her first foal, a mare by Pulpit, shows that many of those foals should have talent.

    Mi Sueno only raced four times but in her two wins, she won a Grade 1 and Grade 3 by a combined 7 1/2 lengths.

    Madcap Escapade’s second foal to hit the track is a 2008 colt by A.P. Indy named California that has a second and third in two starts, both within about five weeks of each other in 2011.

    Her last foal is a colt by Malibu Moon born on April 9, 2012.

Mining My Own

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    Mining My Own struck gold on her first try, producing 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird.

    The gelding went on to finish second and third respectively in the other two legs of the Triple Crown. He retired with a record of 5-2-2 in 18 starts spanning three years.

    While Mining My Own's second foal didn't live up to expectations, her third foal would prove to be another talented racehorse.

    The third foal, Dullahan, would attempt to repeat his big brother’s success but would fall short by finishing third in the 2012 Kentucky Derby. However, Dullahan's resume already has two Grade One victories in less than a year of racing. He has also placed in three other stakes as well.

    His last race was seventh place finish in the G1 Belmont Stakes.


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    The 2011 Broodmare of the Year is another mare that has proven to be a blue hen mare.

    Like some others on this list, Oatsee started her winning ways early. She produced Baghdaria as her second foal, and the 2003 mare put an impressive result on Oatsee’s page, winning three graded stakes races and placing in two others.

    Oatsee’s 2004 filly would put the first Grade One victory on the mare’s production resume by winning the G1 Alabama Stakes. The mare also won two other graded stakes in her career and finished fourth in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

    The 2007 Oatsee foal, a filly named Afleeting Lady would come close to a stakes win but could never manage it, finishing second in Grade Two races two times and third one other time.

    But Oatsee’s 2008 colt would prove to be the mare’s shining jewel when he stepped on the track in 2010. Shackleford would win his second race but would go winless in stakes until the 2011 G1 Preakness Stakes.

    After the win, Shackleford would then be a constant factor in stakes races but would turn into a much better older horse, winning both the G2 Churchill Downs Stakes and G1 Metropolitan Handicap in May 2012.

    His younger half-brother by A.P. Indy would also run in a stakes race in 2012, placing second in the ungraded Count Fleet Stakes in January.

    Oatsee’s youngest foal is a 2012 colt by Elusive Quality born on March 25.

Urban Sea

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    Perhaps the best broodmare in Europe, if not the world, Urban Sea has a long record of producing outstanding offspring.

    The mare is dam to multiple famous stakes winners including the super sire Galileo (IRE), winner of many group 1 stakes races. 

    Urban Sea's success started with her first foal, a colt by Bering (GB) named Urban Ocean (FR) who won four races including a G3. Her success continued in 1997 with the filly Melikah (IRE) who placed second in the G1 Irish Oaks.

    Galileo (IRE) would bring the mare’s first big trip into the limelight, winning six of his eight races including the G1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes and the G1 Irish Derby among many others.

    The 1999 full brother to Galileo named Black Sam Bellamy (IRE) would also win multiple Group One races, with his big win being the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup.

    For the third time in four years, Urban Sea would go back to Sadler’s Wells in 2000. This time the mare would produce a filly named All Too Beautiful, who would go on to be a Group Three winner and Group One placed.

    The United States would get their first real taste of Urban Sea offspring when My Typhoon (IRE) would race exclusively in North America. The Giant’s Causeway mare would spend her career running stakes in all but one race, picking up six Graded Stakes wins from nine wins overall.

    Urban Sea’s 2006 foal, the Cape Cross colt Sea the Stars (IRE) would rival Galileo for the best foal spot on the mare’s resume when he would win eight of nine starts, only losing his debut.

    The colt would win six Group One races in his career, including the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (a race his dam won) and Juddmonte International.

    Urban Sea’s final foal would be named Born to See (IRE). The colt by Invincible Spirit (IRE) is a 2009 model and has a record of 6-1-2-0 with his last race being against the undefeated Camelot on June 30, 2012. The colt’s career has been run in all stakes races.

    Urban Sea died from foaling complications when giving birth to Born to Sea.


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    When thinking of great American mares to hit the track this century, one of the first names that usually comes to mind is Zenyatta. The brilliant mare went 19-for-20 in her career, including a Breeders’ Cup Classic win, and none of that would have been possible without Vertigineux.

    Vertigineux's biggest glory as a dam comes from Zenyatta's success over the last few years. However, Vertigineux's success didn’t only come from producing the 2010 Horse of the Year.

    In 2003, Vertigineux gave birth to a bay filly by Thunder Gulch. The filly was later named Balance and went on to win five stakes races in her 16 race career, including three Grade Ones.

    Ironically, at the beginning of Zenyatta's career, she was referred to as "Balance's little sister" but when the mare retired in 2010, the titles had been reversed.

    Overall, Vertigineux has produced four winners out of five foals to race.

    Her youngest foal is a 2011 filly by Henrythenavigator that sold at last year’s Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale for $1.5 million to Adena Springs.

    Her last foal of racing age is a three-year-old named Eblouissante that is trained by Zenyatta’s trainer John Shirreffs. Ebloussante, like her older sister in June of her three-year-old year, has not yet debuted on the track.