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Pretty 'n Smart in Two Recent Juvenile Stakes Winners

Porter on Pedigrees

Carson's Run wins the Summer Stakes at Woodbine

Carson's Run wins the Summer Stakes at Woodbine

Michael Burns

The name Beau Genius may not be one that is frequently seen in pedigrees these days, but there was a point when this extremely durable racehorse was a hot young sire. By the 10-time leading Canadian sire Bold Ruckus (a son of Seattle Slew's paternal grandsire, Boldnesian), Beau Genius was foaled in Ontario in 1985. A winner of 19 of his 42 starts, Beau Genius scored in black-type company every year from 2 to 5. In his first three seasons, those wins came in relatively minor events, but at 5, his eight stakes wins that year included the Philip H. Iselin Handicap (G1) and Michigan Mile and One-Eighth Handicap (G2).

That uptick in performance was sufficient to earn Beau Genius a place at stud in Kentucky, and for the 1991 breeding season he retired to Vinery Stud. There he made an extremely promising start to his career with a first crop of 52 foals supplying 29 starters and 25 winners, five of them black-type winners, headed by Belle Genius, successful in the Moyglare Stud Stakes (G1) in Ireland, and much-traveled Gentleman Beau, whose six black-type victories included the Belmont Breeders' Cup Handicap (G3). This might have been the launching pad for a successful career, but Beau Genius was unable to build on that bright start, and from a further 703 foals, he sired only three more graded stakes winners. Oddly, after having been responsible for a grade 1 winner in his first crop, his sole other scoring at that level, Bing Crosby Handicap (G1) winner Big Macher, came from his final crop, which consisted of just two foals conceived at Ballena Vista Farms in California in 2009.

A notable feature of Big Macher's pedigree was that his third dam was by 13-time Canadian leading sire Vice Regent, a brother to Beau Genius' broodmare sire, Viceregal, a Horse of the Year in Canada at 2, but a disappointing sire. The Viceregal/Vice Regent combination appears in two other Beau Genius stakes winners, including the previously mentioned Gentleman Beau (out of a Vice Regent mare), who would count as his sire's third-best runner.

Another Beau Genius out of a Vice Regent mare was the filly Pretty 'n Smart. She was a speedy and precocious runner whose first four starts included a 6 3/4-length win on her debut, a third to Golden Ballet and Starrer in the Railbird Stakes (G2), and a third in the Manhattan Beach Stakes. As useful as she was as a runner, it's as a broodmare that Pretty 'n Smart has really made her name, and in that role she links two of the weekend's major juvenile winners.

Pretty 'n Smart is dam of four stakes winners, the best of which is Tapit's son Cupid , whose four black-type successes included the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1). Standing at Ashford Stud, Versailles, Ky., Cupid sired five stakes winners, three graded in his first crop, and from his third crop, now 2-year-olds, he is represented by Carson's Run, who on Sept. 16 captured the Summer Stakes (G1) at Woodbine.

Carson's Run is out of the Henny Hughes mare Hot n Hectic, a winning half sister to the prolific Rated R Superstar, whose eight stakes wins include three at graded level, and to the dam of stakes winner Steph'sfullasugar (by Tapiture, like Cupid a son of Tapit). The second dam, Wicked Wish, is a winning half sister to four other stakes winners, headed by Wishful Tomcat, who took the Discovery Handicap (G3). She is also half sister to Pinking, the second dam of Ashland Stakes (G1) heroine Speech, who is by another son of Pulpit, Mr Speaker .

Henny Hughes is a grandson of Storm Cat, and it's not difficult to imagine why that would be a good combination for Cupid. Firstly, Cupid's second dam, Charge d'Affaires (the dam of Pretty 'n Smart), is by a son of Northern Dancer out of a Secretariat mare, as is Storm Cat, and secondly, Pretty 'n Smart had previously demonstrated her own affinity for Storm Cat. To that horse's son, Tale of the Cat (out of Yarn, a sister to Preach, the dam of Tapit's sire, Pulpit), she came up with Ashley's Kitten, whose most notable win came in the Railbird Stakes (G3). To Lion Heart, a son of Tale of the Cat, Pretty 'n Smart produced Heart Ashley, winner of the Cicada Stakes (G3) and Miss Preakness Stakes (G3), and dam of Japanese graded winner Fiano Romano, and that one's sister, Ameristralia, the dam of Chandelier Stakes (G2) victress Ain't Easy (by Into Mischief, and so inbred to Storm Cat).

Heart Ashley's unraced sister Country Café appears as the granddam of 2023 stakes winner Opus Forty Two (by Mendelssohn , and also inbred to Storm Cat). Skipper Tale, a sister to Ashley's Kitty, won three races and just over $100,000, and through her black-type placed daughter, Quaver, appears as the second dam of Kathleen O., who took last year's Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) and Davona Dale Stakes (G2). Since Kathleen O.'s sire, Upstart , is out of a mare by a grandson of Vice Regent, he adds another cross to the Vice Regent/Viceregal combination in Pretty 'n Smart's pedigree.

Skipper Tale was also bred to Tapit—a natural move, given that the mating resulted in a three-quarter relative to Cupid named Quay—and also gives inbreeding to the sisters Preach/Yarn, something found in Justify  and among others of note. Quay didn't earn black-type, but she was a maiden special weight and allowance/optional scorer at Saratoga Race Course, and was only a half-length shy of victory when fourth in the Smart and Fancy Stakes at the same track.

Quay's 2021 foal is V V's Dream, a member of the first crop of champion sprinter Mitole . An impressive winner of her debut at Churchill Downs, she was beaten a half-length as odds-on favorite in the Ellis Park Debutante Stakes. The winner of that race, however, was Brightwork, who has since gone to the head of the division with wins in the Adirondack Stakes (G3) and Spinaway Stakes (G1). On Saturday, V V's Dream made her third start and powered clear to take the Pocahontas Stakes (G3) by 8 3/4 lengths.

V V's Dream wins the Pocahontas Stakes on Saturday, September 16, 2023 at Churchill Downs
Photo: Coady Photography
V V's Dream wins the Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs

Mitole is a Storm Cat line stallion, so giving a double of Storm Cat with the similarly bred Charge d'Affaires (her fourth dam). In addition, Mitole's sire, Eskendereya, and Quay are reverse Storm Cat/Seattle Slew crosses, and V V's Dream's dam is an extended version of that cross as she is Storm Cat/Boldnesian (whom we've mentioned as grandsire of Beau Genius).