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Dornoch Helps Puca, Grandview Equine Make History

Puca first broodmare since Better Than Honour to produce two U.S. classic winners.

Puca is the dam of 2023 Kentucky Derby winner Mage and 2024 Belmont Stakes winner Dornoch

Puca is the dam of 2023 Kentucky Derby winner Mage and 2024 Belmont Stakes winner Dornoch

Keeneland Photo

Both breeder Robert Clay's Grandview Equine and broodmare Puca made some history June 8 when Dornoch held off Mindframe to win the Belmont Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course.

Dornoch, a son of Good Magic —Puca, by Big Brown , is a full brother to last year's Kentucky Derby (G1) winner, Mage , and Clay's Grandview Equine bred both horses.

Clay, the founder of Three Chimneys Farm in 1972, formed Grandview in 2018 with a pair of partners and after they bought three shares in Hill 'n' Dale Farms at Xalapa's young sire Good Magic—the 2017 champion 2-year-old male—they decided to purchase three mares to support those shares.

Robert Clay with Romain Malhouitre after sale of Hip 669 colt by McKinzie out of Puca at Runnymede<br>
Keeneland sales scenes on Sept. 13, 2023.
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Robert Clay at the 2023 Keeneland September Yearling Sale

One of those mares would be Puca, a grade 2-placed stakes-winning daughter of dual classic winner Big Brown. Grandview, with the help of Alex Solis II and Jason Litt, went to $475,000 for Puca at The November Sale in 2018, Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's boutique fall mixed sale where she was consigned by Denali Stud.

In supporting Good Magic, Grandview would send Puca to him in 2019 and 2020 in matings that would produce a Derby and a Belmont winner. Over his longtime involvement in racing and breeding, Clay has enjoyed many terrific achievements but breeding back-to-back classic winners has rocketed up that list.

"It would have to be right up there. Probably the day that Seattle Slew arrived at Three Chimneys would still have to be atop that list but this would be up there," Clay said. "I had bred stakes winners and graded stakes winners but until last year I'd never had a classic winner. Now to have two from the same mare, wow."

Puca becomes just the ninth mare to produce two United States classic winners and the first since Better Than Honourproduced 2006 Belmont winner Jazil and 2007 Belmont winner Rags to Riches. Before Better Than Honour, Weekend Surprise produced Summer Squall, winner of the 1990 Preakness Stakes (G1), and A.P. Indy, winner of the 1992 Belmont.

Ahead of this year's Kentucky Derby, Clay told BloodHorse that it's interesting how different all of Puca's foals have been.

"Mage and Dornoch are nothing alike," he said. "Mage was not a big, heavy horse, and Dornoch is a really nice, well-balanced horse, again not big, but strong. The McKinzie colt is a May foal but you'd never know it. He is a much bigger version of both of them. He is really doing well."

The first mare to produce two U.S. classic winners was Maggie B.B., dam of 1879 Preakness winner Harold and 1884 Belmont winner Panique. The others include: Cinderella (dam of 1896 Belmont winner Hastings and 1898 Derby winner Plaudit); Lady Margaret (1896 Preakness winner Margrave and 1902 Belmont winner Masterman); Ignite (1900 Preakness winner Hindus and 1906 Derby winner Sir Huon); Leisure (Preakness winners Royal Tourist in 1908 and Holiday in 1914); and Prudery (1927 Derby winner Whiskery and 1928 Preakness winner Victorian). 

Dornoch also is the second U.S. classic winner for Good Magic, a son of Curlin  who stands for $125,000 at Hill 'n' Dale.

On the track, Puca was campaigned by Donegal Racing. She has been sold three times since the end of her racing career, going for $275,000 at the 2017 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale before Grandview Equine purchased her.

She sold again last year, going to John Stewart's Resolute Racing for $2.9 million at Keeneland November, where she was consigned by Case Clay Thoroughbred Management. Clay said it's bittersweet that they have sold the mare but noted that's part of the business side of the game.

Hip 191 Puca consigned by Case Clay Thoroughbred Management to the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale in Lexington, Ky. on Nov. 8, 2023.
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Puca, in foal to Good Magic, sells to John Stewart for $2.9 million at the 2023 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale

Mage sold for $235,000 as a yearling and $290,000 as a 2-year-old. Oracle Bloodstock, agent, went to $325,000 to purchase Dornoch from the Runnymede Farm consignment at the 2022 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Puca also has produced Gunning, a 5-year-old stakes-placed daughter of Gun Runner ; Baeza, an unraced juvenile McKinzie  colt; and this year delivered another Good Magic colt. Resolute Bloodstock is the breeder of that colt. The mare was bred back to Good Magic.