Bloodlines Presented By Mill Ridge Farm: Ce Ce And The History Of ‘Magical Maiden’

Sometimes, all it takes is one good mare.

For Clement Hirsch, businessman and co-founder of the Oak Tree Racing Association, that mare was Magical Maiden (by Lord Avie). First involved in racing back in the 1940s, Hirsch won the 1969 Hollywood Gold Cup with the Argentine import Figonero and raced a successful stable decade after decade. In 1991, Hirsch bought the dark brown mare at the March 2-year-olds in training sale in California for $26,000.

That was no great expense, and adviser Kathy Berkey noted that “prices today are much the same as when I started doing business in horses about 40 years ago, maybe even higher back then, but the costs to produce racing stock have continued to climb.”

Price was no object to Hirsch, however, who made and sold companies, as well as racehorses. And Magical Maiden became a Grade 1 winner for Hirsch with victories in the Hollywood Starlet at 2, then the Las Virgenes Stakes at 3 in 1992.

The mare continued to race well and win stakes through her 5-year-old season, then became a foundation mare for Hirsch’s breeding program. Hirsch also had acquired Magical Maiden’s half-sister, the Miswaki mare Magical Flash, and the latter became as prolific a source of stakes winners as Magical Maiden had been a source of stakes victories.

Magical Flash produced six stakes winners, plus a pair of stakes-placed horses, and “we bred several of Magical Flash’s first stakes horses, then after Clement’s death in 2000, sold Magical Flash because she was about 13, and Bo Hirsch’s goal was to keep providing racing stock for [Hirsch family trainer] Warren Stute.”

As part of that plan, the estate sold some of the valuable mares, and Bo Hirsch purchased racehorses. Berkey said, “To stock the racing stable, we bought a couple of fillies at the track from the estate, plus a weanling, a yearling, and a 2-year-old. The weanling I picked out was Miss Houdini, and the yearling was a colt named Hot War,” who was out of Magical Flash and became a stakes winner at 3.

Miss Houdini was the fourth foal out of Magical Maiden and became the mare’s first important racer. From a pair of starts at 2, Miss Houdini won both, including the G1 Del Mar Debutante.

With that kind of start, the younger Hirsch must have thought the game was easy.

Unlike her dam, Miss Houdini raced only twice more, unsuccessfully, before becoming a broodmare, and she is a blocky, powerful mare, rather than having the taller and rangier build of her dam, a daughter of champion Lord Avie.

“The body and power in Miss Houdini came from Belong to Me,” Berkey noted, “and my own personal opinion is that it’s a fallacy that you shouldn’t breed to older stallions. I believe the perceived decline in success among older stallions is a function of the commercial market, with the better younger mares chasing the new stallions.

“I’m very glad now that we went to Elusive Quality late in his career,” Berkey said, “and we got two stakes horses,” the stakes-placed Stradella Road and her year-younger full sister Ce Ce. “Elusive Quality was a good cross for Miss Houdini and a good physical for her, adding size and scope and conformational correctness.”

A son of the excellent Mr. Prospector stallion Gone West, Elusive Quality was an exceptionally fast racehorse who became an immediate success with his offspring, including his second-crop star Smarty Jones, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

A sire of championship-level performers in Europe, South America, and Australia, as well as the States, Elusive Quality was a first-class sire who fell out of favor later in his career, when the value-seeking Berkey and breeder Hirsch took the opportunity to capitalize on that excellence.

And the result is the third-generation G1 winner Ce Ce, now a winner in three of her five starts. And for the Hirsch family, this is a family that has made the game all the more glorious.

Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is chief of biomechanics for DataTrack International and is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in Central Kentucky. Check out Frank’s lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.

The post Bloodlines Presented By Mill Ridge Farm: Ce Ce And The History Of ‘Magical Maiden’ appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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