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Homeracing

Secretariat's 10 Best Broodmares

Profile Picture: Jennifer Kelly

February 25th, 2022

American Pharoah and Justify have more than just Triple Crown wins in common. Each also boasts more than one Triple Crown winner in their pedigrees, including Secretariat, who set records in each of his classic victories. Big Red’s influence comes not so much from his sons, but from his daughters. Here are 10 of Secretariat’s best, including two names that you will find in the bloodlines of our two more recent champions.

Ball Chairman

Charles Fipke fell for Secretariat when he saw the big red colt win the 1973 Belmont Stakes by thirty-one lengths. When the geologist turned horse breeder wanted to add to his broodmare band, he went to the Fasig-Tipton sale looking for a Secretariat mare. Enter Ball Chairman, who Fipke sent to Ireland and the court of Sadler’s Wells. With that leading sire, Ball Chairman produced Perfect Soul and Canadian sire Not Impossible. Additionally, Ball Chairman foaled a movie star: her daughter Dimontina played the role of Secretariat’s dam Somethingroyal in Disney’s Secretariat.

Celtic Assembly

Celtic Assembly won a minor stakes in England but had more impact after her time on the racetrack. Her third foal Volksraad was a son of Green Desert, winner of England’s July Cup. Volksraad raced only three times, winning two stakes for Darley and trainer Sir Henry Cecil. Imported to New Zealand for stud duty, Volksraad was an eight-time leading sire there, producing 14 Group 1 stakes winners. Celtic Assembly also produced Cherokee Rose, a Group 1 winner in England and France.

L’On Vite

L’On Vite, a daughter of Secretariat and Canadian champion Fanfreluche, never raced, but added to the Triple Crown winner’s resume as a broodmare sire with the foals she produced, including Australian stakes winner Milanova and the multiple Group 1 winner Holy Roman Emperor. After winning the Phoenix Stakes in England and the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at two, Holy Roman Emperor was retired to stand at Coolmore in Ireland and Australia, siring horses like Designs On Rome, Mongolian Khan, Rockemperor, and Glorious Empire.

Lady Winborne

Priceless Gem defeated Buckpasser in the 1965 Futurity Stakes, carrying over her excellence as a racehorse into her role as a broodmare. Her daughter Lady Winborne flashed similar talent on the racetrack, and she carried on that same quality that many mares by Secretariat have demonstrated. Lady Winborne produced 15 foals, 13 of which started and won at least one race, a remarkable number. Included in those 13 are Al Mamoon, a multiple graded stakes winner and La Gueriere, a graded stakes winner and prolific broodmare.

Sister Dot

This daughter of Secretariat was a fair racehorse herself, most of her starts coming in the Mid-Atlantic circuit, but as a broodmare, she went on to produce the excellent sire Dehere. Sired by Canadian champion Deputy Minister, Dehere was the champion two-year-old colt of 1993, winning the Hopeful and Champagne Stakes, and then defeating eventual Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin in the Fountain of Youth Stakes. After an injury ended his career, Dehere became a stallion for Coolmore, standing at Ashford Stud. He sired Take Charge Lady, dam of Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy and Travers Stakes winner Will Take Charge.

Betty’s Secret

Betty’s Secret might be the best broodmare sired by the Triple Crown winner that you have never heard of. She never raced, but, boy, could her foals run: Secreto, her foal by Northern Dancer, won the Epsom Derby over El Gran Senor; and the champion jump racer Istabraq. Sired by Sadler’s Wells, Istabraq was a disappointment over the flat, but is regarded in Europe as one of the greatest hurdlers ever, winning 23 of his 29 starts.

Six Crowns

Six Crowns was the product of royalty herself, as the daughter of Secretariat and Triple Tiara winner Chris Evert. She passed on those royal genes to her 14 foals, including Chief’s Crown and Classic Crown. Chief’s Crown won the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at two and then the Travers Stakes at three while Classic Crown won the Frizette at two and the Gazelle at three.

Terlingua

This consistent sprinter was fast on the racetrack and prolific as a broodmare. Terlingua was a multiple graded stakes winner who produced 11 foals, including Chapel of Dreams and Storm Cat. Chapel of Dreams won both the Palomar and Wilshire Handicaps and then became a good broodmare herself. Storm Cat, though, was a fair racehorse, but an outstanding sire, twice leading the general sire list as the producer of horses like Tabasco Cat, Giant’s Causeway, and Tale of the Cat.


Secrettame

Like many daughters of the Triple Crown winner, Secrettame showed just enough on the racetrack to predict what she would do as a broodmare. This graded stakes placed mare produced Japanese stakes winner Lord Ultima; Lion Cavern, a group stakes winner in Europe and a graded stakes winner in the United States; and Gone West, sire of Da Hoss, Elusive Quality, and Speightstown.

Weekend Surprise

It follows that a two-time Horse of the Year would sire a Kentucky Broodmare of the Year in Weekend Surprise. This daughter of Secretariat was a hard-tryer on the racetrack, a stakes winner who passed on the genes of her great sire to the 14 foals she produced. Not only did she give us A.P. Indy and Summer Squall, but also sires Tiger Ridge and Honor Grades.

Hopes are high whenever a Triple Crown winner enters the breeding shed after a racing career that has put them in elite company. The pressure is on as we hope that each can produce a foal that will continue achieving at that level. Sometimes, those hopes are realized not only on the racetrack, but also in the breeding shed, as these mares by Secretariat demonstrated. They passed on the dominance and excellence that Big Red demonstrated to their own foals, giving us even more great horses to cheer on long after Secretariat exited the racetrack.

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