Handicapping The Race For Broodmare Of The Year At Its Halfway Point

The first six months of the year can do a lot to shape the Eclipse Award forecasts for several divisions, but it can also lay the foundation for strong arguments toward the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s Broodmare of the Year title.

Whoever emerges from the 2019 racing season with the award will join some of the cornerstones of the stud book and contemporary shapers of the on-track product, including the dams of Secretariat, A.P. Indy, Zenyatta, American Pharoah, and Justify.

The highly-coveted honor is open to mares who produced an offspring conceived and foaled in Kentucky that became a Grade 1 winner in the award year. Once those criteria are met, offspring who ran in previous years may be taken into account as well.

While the first half of the year features the Triple Crown races and top-dollar events like the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes, the Kentucky Broodmare of the Year honors are often swayed by late-season pushes, especially in the Breeders’ Cup. Regardless, every race has its early leaders, and these four mares hold some of the strongest hands as we pass the midway point. Contenders are listed in alphabetical order.

Dark bay or brown mare, 1997, by Ocean Crest x Excedent, by Exceller.
Dam of Bricks and Mortar and Emerald Beech

The race for Horse of the Year is still very much up in the air, but winning out and closing with a statement victory in a Breeders’ Cup race would make Bricks and Mortar hard to ignore.

The son of Giant’s Causeway has won all four of his starts this year, with G1 scores in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Turf stakes, Old Forester Turf Classic Stakes, and Manhattan Stakes, as well as the G2 Muniz Memorial Handicap. He’s currently North America’s leading earner among those still in training, with $3,941,650.

Since 2000, the dam of that season’s Horse of the Year has herself earned Broodmare of the Year honors on five occasions, making it far from a given, even if Bricks and Mortar remains on the winning track.

Other runners of note out of Beyond the Waves include G3 winner Emerald Beech, stakes winner Beyond Smart, and Irish G3-placed Sir Ector.

Chestnut mare, 2005, by Seeking the Gold x Take Charge Lady, by Dehere.
Dam of Omaha Beach and Take Charge Brandi

The past performances are strong for this mare, herself out of 2013 Broodmare of the Year Take Charge Lady.

Charming is by far the most successful heiress to her dam’s mantle, coming into the year with champion 2-year-old filly Take Charge Brandi, by Giant’s Causeway, already on her resume.

What puts her in contention for this year’s race is the early-season efforts of Omaha Beach, who was the morning line favorite for the Kentucky Derby before scratching due to an entrapped epiglottis. The War Front colt earned that position with wins in the G2 Rebel Stakes and G1 Arkansas Derby.

The pack has caught up to Omaha Beach in the 3-year-old male division following his absence in the Triple Crown, but a strong return this summer and an Eclipse-worthy fall campaign could secure titles for himself and his dam.

If Charming gets the nod, she would join Personal Ensign, out of Grecian Banner, as second-generation Broodmares of the Year.

Gray or roan mare, 2006, War Chant x Shooting Party, by Sky Classic.
Dam of Country House, Mitchell Road, and Mr. Brix

As long at the Kentucky Derby is a brass ring that breeders worldwide strive to grab, the dam of a Derby winner will always be in the discussion. Country House, by Lookin at Lucky, was promoted to first in the Derby at a huge price after crossing the wire second. Prior to the historic victory, he finished second in the G2 Risen Star Stakes and third in the G1 Arkansas Derby.

With the rest of Country House’s 3-year-old season potentially in flux due to varying ailments, the burden of building Quake Lake’s resume will fall on Mitchell Road, by English Channel. She’s undefeated in three starts this year, with wins in the G3 Gallorette Stakes and non-graded Albert M. Stall Memorial Stakes. Mr. Brix, by Flatter, has also contributed to the cause this year, winning the Caixa Eletronica Stakes in March.

While producing a Kentucky Derby winner gets a mare into the discussion, it’s hardly a slam dunk to land the title. Since 1946, just five Broodmares of the Year have been named in the same year their son won the Derby – those being the dams of Justify, American Pharoah, Sea Hero, Secretariat, and Swaps.

Bay mare, 2000, by Sadlers Wells x Imperfect Circle, by Riverman.
Dam of War of Will, Pathfork, and Tacticus

While the Derby producer has earned a same-season Broodmare of the Year title five times since the end of World War II, the dams of the Preakness winner have won under the same conditions five times since 2000 alone.

This year could add a sixth to that group, powered by Preakness winner War of Will. The War Front colt rung up wins in the G2 Risen Star Stakes and G3 LeComte Stakes earlier this year, and he appears poised to keep racing into the second half of the year.

Supporting War of Will is Pathfork, a Distorted Humor horse who made a splash in Ireland winning the G1 National Stakes and G2 Futurity Stakes earlier this decade. Distance specialist Tacticus, by A.P. Indy, (not to be confused with this year’s Triple Crown contender Tacitus) contributed a pair of stakes wins before suffering a fatal training accident in 2015.

The post Handicapping The Race For Broodmare Of The Year At Its Halfway Point appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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