Mandaloun descends from generations of Juddmonte stars and traces to a celebrated Whitney family (Coady Photography/Churchill Downs)
As a homebred for the late Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms, Mandaloun provides a poignant storyline on the 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1) trail. His rise as a classic contender is especially meaningful, since the entire dam’s side of his pedigree is a tribute to Abdullah’s legacy as an owner/breeder of international scope.
Moreover, that maternal half supplies much-needed ballast to his leading sire, Into Mischief. Although Into Mischief established himself as a classic sire when Authentic captured the 2020 Kentucky Derby, his reputation remains more for brilliance than stamina.
From the Northern Dancer sire line via the Storm Cat branch, Into Mischief is responsible for the past two champion female sprinters, Covfefe and Gamine, as well as two-time Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Goldencents. Along with fellow first-crop son Vyjack, Goldencents contributed to Into Mischief’s profile as a sire who got winners of Derby prep races, not the main event.
Thus his progeny on the Triple Crown trail often have a distance question hanging over their heads. While Into Mischief’s son Audible offered an encouraging signal when third in the 2018 Kentucky Derby, Authentic had to answer the skepticism last year, and current favorite Life Is Good is under the microscope.
Yet Into Mischief’s own pedigree is more textured, and his signature victory in the 2007 CashCall Futurity (G1) stamped him as a Kentucky Derby hopeful before injury intervened. By $3.6 million-earner Harlan’s Holiday, seventh as the lukewarm favorite in the 2002 Derby, Into Mischief is the first major winner produced by Broodmare of the Year Leslie’s Lady. She would later become famous as the dam of four-time champion Beholder and fellow Breeders’ Cup star Mendelssohn.
The beauty of Mandaloun is that he needs only Into Mischief’s likely speed influence. His dam, Irish Group 2 winner Brooch, can supply his stamina requirements.
Brooch was trained by the legendary Dermot Weld. Unraced until a summer three-year-old, she won all three starts during her 2014 season. Brooch crushed her rivals on debut at Galway, then climbed the class ladder fast to take the Ruby at Killarney and Denny Cordell Lavarack (G3) over 1 3/16 miles at Gowran. She maintained her unbeaten record in her 2015 reappearance in the Curragh’s Lanwades Stud (G2) at a mile. Although she didn’t win in four remaining outings, Brooch placed twice including a runner-up effort in the Kilboy Estate (G2) and a third in the Dance Design (G3).
Brooch’s sire, Empire Maker, ranks as Juddmonte’s top U.S. classic performer. Second to Funny Cide as the 2003 Kentucky Derby favorite, when beset by a foot problem, Empire Maker gained revenge in the Belmont S. (G1). As a stallion, the son of 1990 Derby champ Unbridled furthered his classic appeal by siring two more Derby runners-up, Pioneerof the Nile (2009) and Bodemeister (2012), who each went on to sire Derby winners. Pioneerof the Nile has secured his place in history by getting 2015 Triple Crown sweeper American Pharoah, while Bodemeister is responsible for 2017 Derby victor Always Dreaming.
Empire Maker, whose leading daughter is Hall of Famer Royal Delta, factors as the broodmare sire of such Grade 1 winners as Arklow, Valiance, Outwork, and Separationofpowers. One who might have achieved that level was Juddmonte’s undefeated but ill-fated Taraz, bred on the same Into Mischief/Empire Maker cross as Mandaloun. Two other notable sophomores out of Empire Maker mares are unbeaten turfer Rock Your World, expected to make his dirt debut in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), and La Perouse, pro tem leader on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby.
Empire Maker was himself out of one of Juddmonte’s most celebrated blue hens, Broodmare of the Year Toussaud, by Northern Dancer’s once-beaten champion El Gran Senor. Victress of the 1993 Gamely H. (G1) as well as the American H. (G2) and Newmarket’s Criterion S. (G3) over males, Toussaud produced 2000 Arlington Million (G1) hero Chester House along with major winners Decarchy, Chiselling, and Honest Lady (herself the dam of Grade 1 scorer First Defence).
Brooch’s dam, Daring Diva, was a British homebred trained in France by Andre Fabre. Twice a winner sprinting at two, Daring Diva earned a listed score in the 2005 Criterium de Vitesse. She also produced Caponata. Like half-sister Brooch in the care of Weld, Caponata captured pair of Irish listed stakes and placed four times at Group level, including a near-miss in the 2012 Blandford (G2).
Daring Diva is by top French miler Dansili, who was a shade unlucky to finish a close third in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). The first of the series of siblings whose parents were Juddmonte powerhouses Danehill and Hasili, Dansili is a full brother to turf stars Banks Hill, Cacique, Intercontinental, and Champs Elysees. They also have a top-class half-sister in Heat Haze. Dansili’s leading offspring include Flintshire, Harbinger, The Fugue, Dank, and Queen’s Trust, and he appears as the broodmare sire of Uni, Expert Eye, and Magic Wand.
Daring Diva’s dam, Aspiring Diva, is herself by a noted Juddmonte miler in Distant View. A homebred son of Mr. Prospector and 1984 Prix Morny (G1) winner Seven Springs, Distant View scored his biggest victory in the 1994 Sussex (G1) at Glorious Goodwood.
Aspiring Diva didn’t manage to win, but she placed third in the 2000 Prix Herod. She was much more successful as a broodmare with Emulous, the Irish highweight older mare who earned her marquee win in the 2011 Matron (G1); First Sitting, a French Group 3 victor after leaving the Juddmonte fold; and Awe Struck, also sold on, but later the dam of globetrotter Alounak, runner-up in 2019 Canadian International (G1) and last summer’s Hardwicke (G2) at Royal Ascot.
Aspiring Diva is out of Queen of Song, the 1984 Shuvee H. (G2) winner who won or placed in 19 stakes over a 58-race career. Queen of Song is a full sister to Cormorant, the 1977 Jersey Derby (G1), Gotham (G2), and Bay Shore (G3) winner best remembered now as the sire of 1994 Kentucky Derby upsetter Go for Gin.
Cormorant and Queen of Song are grandchildren of two of Europe’s most celebrated postwar performers, unbeaten phenom *Ribot and brilliant miler *Tudor Minstrel. They are by *Ribot’s son His Majesty, sire of 1981 Derby and Preakness champion Pleasant Colony. His Majesty is also the broodmare sire of Danehill, so Daring Diva is inbred to him. Mandaloun inherits another cross of His Majesty from sire Into Mischief as well.
Queen of Song and Cormorant’s dam is the *Tudor Minstrel mare Song Sparrow
, runner-up in the 1969 Alcibiades. From a maternal line cultivated by C.V. Whitney and father H.P. Whitney for generations, Song Sparrow is a half to 1973 Kentucky Oaks (G2) winner Bag of Tunes. Their dam, Swoon’s Tune, is a stakes-winning daughter of Hall of Famer Swoon’s Son
and Recess, by 1943 Triple Crown legend Count Fleet
. Recess placed in a pair of stakes, including the 1951 Spinaway, and she is the ancestress of 1985 Fillies’ Triple Crown sweeper Mom’s Command.
Recess was out of multiple stakes scorer Recce, by record-setting 1936 Derby winner *Mahmoud. Recce counts minor awards in the Acorn and Pimlico Futurity among her stakes placings. Her descendants include Quicken Tree, a stalwart of the 1967-1970 handicap division who won or placed in 30 stakes, with major wins in Jockey Club Gold Cup, Santa Anita H., and San Juan Capistrano.
After an amazing sequence of eight generations of dams with black-type, from Brooch through Recce, the streak finally ends with Mandaloun’s ninth dam, the unraced Schwester. But the quality doesn’t end at all.
The well-named Schwester – German for “sister” – alludes to the fact she’s a full sibling to the great Equipoise
. A fan favorite dubbed the “Chocolate Soldier,” Equipoise was plagued by foot problems but overcame them to compile a Hall of Fame career, earning championship honors as a juvenile as well as three straight years as an older horse.
Schwester and Equipoise were Whitney homebreds by Pennant
out of Swinging
, whose stakes placings included the 1924 Matron and Demoiselle. Pennant hailed from the sire line of the blazing fast Domino
, while Swinging was by 1904 Travers winner Broomstick
, an influential son of 1896 Derby hero Ben Brush
. That Domino-Ben Brush cross was American pedigree gold for the early 20th century.
Swinging’s dam, *Balancoire II, was a stakes winner in her native France who left an enduring legacy stateside. Aside from her high-profile descendants via Swinging and Schwester, *Balancoire II factors as the great-granddam of Hall of Famer Seabiscuit. That Seabiscuit branch of the female line is also responsible for Determine, the 1954 Kentucky Derby winner, and only one so far belonging to the family labeled 5-j.
*Balancoire II was produced by a smart racemare herself, *Ballantrae, who beat males in Newmarket’s time-honored Cambridgeshire H. in 1902.