Iridessa’s Stunning Win in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf

Given her three Group One wins in Ireland, Iridessa seemed a huge price in the Filly and Mare Turf-G1. Then again she was up against one of the horses, along with Midnight Bisou and Omaha Beach - Sistercharlie, who seemed a mortal lock to close out her unbeaten season with a win, even with the loss of her scratched rabbit, Thais. Iridessa, along with her young trainer Joseph O’Brien and her jockey Wayne Lordan, had other ideas.

Iridessa is from the first crop of Ruler of the World, who stands at Coolmore Ireland for a mere 8,000 Euros. Perhaps a surfeit of sons of Galileo dictated this paltry price, because Ruler won over a million pounds, was Champion Three-Year-Old Colt in Europe and Top Rated Older Horse in Ireland at four. He won the Group One Investec Derby at Epsom, and also took the Group Two Qatar Prix Foy at Lomgchamp and the Group Three Chester Vase. He is also a half-brother to Champion and successful sire Duke of Marmalade. A very un-Galileo-looking stallion, he is small, stout, short-backed and chestnut.

Ruler of the World’s pedigree, however, is enormous. His dam, Love Me True, is by Kingmambo, featuring, of course, the stellar Breeders’ Cup winning mare Miesque, who provides tail female Rough Shod II through Nureyev’s dam Special, who also appears in Galileo’s pedigree through her daughter, Galileo’s dam, Fairy Bridge, making the young stud inbred to Special/Rough Shod II on the zigzag. Miesque also features a dose of Graustark, twinned with his full brother, His Majesty, in Iridessa’s dams’ side, a wonderful stamina influence.

Love Me True’s dam is Lassie’s Lady, from the same tail-female family that created A.P. Indy. Lassie’s Lady provides Buckpasser, complementing the same stallion in Urban Sea’s pedigree in Galileo, and a dose of My Babu, which reaches out to the multiple doses of Hail to Reason/Turn-to in Iridessa’s pedigree. It must also be noted that Ruler is inbred to Mr. Prospector on the zigzag, through Urban Sea, a granddaughter, and Kingmambo, a son. Add to that Alydar, like Mr. P a son of Raise a Native, and a strong North American influence can be seen.

The dams’ side of Iridessa’s pedigree may be every bit as potent as her sire’s side. Her dam, Senta’s Dream, is by Danehill, whose dam, Razyana, provides riches in the form of the aforementioned His Majesty, another dose of Buckpasser to match the two in Ruler, and tail-female Natalma, the dam of Northern Dancer, this time through her daughter Spring Adieu. Inbreeding to Northern Dancer, through Sadler’s Wells, Nureyev, Danzig, and Nureyev’s son Theatrical make this pedigree a wealth of Northern Dancer blood, and of Natalma influence. The top and bottom inbreeding to Nureyev (5 x 5) is unusual, but, as we see so often in this pedigree, works because it too is on the zigzag, through a daughter and a son. This also provides another dose of Special/Rough Shod II on Iridessa’s dams’ side.

Finally, one more zigzag—Caro, through his daughter, Brorita, and his son, Kaldoun, through the filly’s second dam, Starine. And we can’t forget the cameo appearance, in the sixth position, of Somethingroyal, through her son Sir Gaylord. By Princequillo, and surely one of the most influential mares of the twentieth century as she is also the dam of Secretariat, Somethingroyal’s Princequillo reaches out to the Princequillo mare Rose Bower in Urban Sea’s pedigree.

The mare power in Iridessa’s pedigree is amazing. Adding to it are the multiple appearances of the Spearmint mare Plucky Liege, five times through her son Bull Dog, and once through her less known son Bois Roussel. The combination of sons and daughters of Plucky Liege strengthens any pedigree, and is common in North American pedigrees.

With Iridessa, Joseph O’Brien becomes the youngest trainer ever to win a Breeders’ Cup race, just as he was the youngest jockey ever to do so. It also puts him in the stellar company of Freddie Head as the only other person to win Breeder’ Cup races as both jockey and trainer. Talk about pedigree: Joseph O’Brien is, of course, the son of longtime Coolmore trainer Aiden O’Brien, a sire line as potent as Galileo’s.

-- Roberta Smoodin


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