Ren Carothers’ Pedigree Play at Saratoga for July 24

Horses break from the starting gate on opening day of the 2021 meet at Saratoga Race Course. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Our #Pedigeek “Term of the Week” is:


Yes, we are talking about horses, but “tail-female” is not in reference to the tail on the backside of a filly or mare. Tail-female, in relation to pedigree, simply refers to the maternal line directly descending from a prospect’s dam.

First dam = mother

Second dam = mother’s mother (grandmother)

Third dam = grandmother’s mother (great-grandmother)

… and so on.

Lines which have proven to consistently produce stakes talent are, obviously, the most sought. When you look at the pedigree of Peter Brant’s Watasha, who makes his debut in Saratoga’s sixth race on Saturday for Chad Brown, and under Irad Ortiz Jr., you can see why Demi O’Byrne signed a $450,000 ticket for him at the 2020 Keeneland September yearling sale. Being a son of Into Mischief, who commands a $225,000 stud fee at Spendthrift Farm, is certainly a factor, but so are some names you find branching off that tail-female trail.

We’ll start with mom, Alwaan, a daughter of the speedy Elusive Quality and a three-quarter-sister to 2010 Grade 1 Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile Handicap winner Jersey Town. Alwaan was unraced but produced stakes winner Our Caravan, who won his 2-year-old debut (granted, in December of that season and routing). Our Caravan went on to become a stakes winner, seizing the Calder Derby by 9 3/4 lengths. He also, at 6 years old, set a new track record of 1:40.05 for one mile and 40 yards at Finger Lakes.

Move another generation back from mom, and you see that granny is the blistering fast, multiple Grade 1 winner Jersey Girl. She just missed winning her 2-year-old debut, getting beat a neck on a track rated as good at Belmont, but came back to wire another maiden special weight field, 3 1/2 lengths in front, stopping the clock in :56.84 for the five furlongs. Jersey Girl picked up her first stakes score in her next start, the Astoria Stakes. She subsequently lost the Grade 2 Schuylerville Stakes after a bad start, but came back to wage a 3-year-old campaign in which she went undefeated, going 7-for-7, with the final three starts all being at Grade 1 level: the Acorn, Mother Goose, and Test Stakes. It is also noteworthy that in the Mother Goose she repeated a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 103.

weekend TV schedule

Wednesday, July 21: 1 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Thursday, July 22: 1 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, July 23:
1 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, July 24:
1 p.m.-7 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, July 25:
1 p.m.-2 p.m. and 3 p.m.-6:30 p.m. on FS2; 2 p.m.-3 p.m. on FS1; post time varies on TVG

Go back another generation to great-grandmother Miss Bold Appeal, a daughter of Valid Appeal. She is a full-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Valid Wager, who won the Grade 3 California Juvenile Stakes at 2 years old. Miss Bold Appeal also is a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Copelan’s Bid Gal (also a winner at 2), who is better known for being the dam of 2005 Grade 1 Cigar Mile winner Purge. Purge was a first-out winner at Saratoga at 2 years old for trainer Todd Pletcher (who has the intriguing Midnight Worker entered in this race).  

Watasha’s fourth dam, or great-great-grandmother, Bid Gal, is a half-sister to a stakes winner named Mepache. As a broodmare, Mepache went on to produce four stakes winners, each of whom first got to the winner’s circle at 2 years old and two of which became graded stakes victors in Little Sister and Valid Expectations. Additionally, Mepache foaled three stakes-placed runners, each of whom was also a winner at 2.

Now, for the really juicy bit. Watasha’s fifth dam, Nowmepache, has a pretty illustrious name connected with her own … a half-brother who earned more than a million dollars. After an undefeated juvenile season, victorious in the Dover, Tremont, Sapling, Hopeful, Cowdin and, oh yes, Champagne Stakes, this half-brother was named champion 2 year-old of 1974. He went on to win the Flamingo Stakes, Wood Memorial Stakes, and the Kentucky Derby in 1975. He also won the Donn and Suburban Handicaps at 4 and later was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame: Foolish Pleasure.


Watasha’s sire, Into Mischief, was a Grade 1 winner at 2 years old himself and is a half-brother to four-time Eclipse champion Beholder (who earned one of those awards at two after winning the 2012 Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies) as well as to Mendelssohn (2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf victor). So, those genetics, combined with Watasha’s impressive tail-female family, whose branches sport Grade 1 class, speed, precociousness, and even a Hall of Famer, could prove potent.

Saturday, July 24

Saratoga Race Course, Race 6, maiden special weight race, 2-year-olds, 6 furlongs, 3:55 p.m. ET

#7 Watasha

Owner: Peter Brant

Trainer: Chad Brown

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

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