Friday, May 9, 2014

Lex's Family Tree, Part 1

Yesterday, I wrote about how great it is to have an OTTB because they're used to traveling. Another thing to appreciate is how easy it is, if the horse has a readable tattoo, to learn all about their parentage. makes it even easier, and it's extra fun because you can see pictures of your horse's relatives, if they're up there. Lex's mom, Tampico, raced in the 1990s and is thus hard to find pictures of. But Lex has famous family members on both sides and researching her bloodlines could be an all-consuming hobby for me. I'm a historian, after all. This is kind of what I do. So my plan here is to do as much research as I can on her family. This will mostly be for my own amusement, but maybe I'll learn something useful, too. And if nothing else, we can all look at pictures of pretty, pretty thoroughbreds.

Lex's Cool Pedigree
Horse breeding in any discipline is kind of sexist and prioritizes the sire's line. This is a queer blog, so I'm going to start with her momma's side. In this post, I will talk about Lex's mom, maternal grandparents, and all four great-grandparents. Next time I'll talk about Lex's dad, paternal grandparents, and all four great-grandparents on that side. Each time, we'll move a bit further back on the dam's side, then the equivalent on the sire's side. This is the only way I can think of to stay organized. Thus, today we discuss: Tampico, The Lip, Sitzmark, Codex, Mark 'Em Lousy, Aphonia, and J.O. Tobin.

Pat Day
Tampico was a multiple graded stakes winner in the 1990s. She won 13 of her 36 starts, bringing in $459,975 or $12,77 per start. Her jockey was the legendary Pat Day, so she was in good hands on the track. Her trainer was Barclay Tagg, probably best known these days for training Funny Cide. Tampico's dam, The Lip, never raced. Tampico's sire, Sitzmark, did pretty well, although his daughter outperformed him. He won 12 of his 51 starts, for $378,380 or $7,419, and was also a multiple graded stakes winner. Unfortunately, I can't find any pictures of him, either. That said, Lex's immediate maternal line is nothing to sneeze at.

The Lip's mama was Mark 'Em Lousy. She was a stakes winner (6 out of 29 starts, $105,860 career earnings at $3,650). Her first couple races were claimers, and then she ran in a string of allowance races with a few handicaps thrown in. She won the Susquehanna Handicap in 1980.

Racing is very srs business.
 Here's where the real fun begins. The Lip's dad, Codex, was famous in the 1980s. Here he is, the horse with the star, beating 1980 Kentucky Derby-winning filly Genuine Risk in the Preakness. Codex was born in 1977 and died in 1984 when he was found paralyzed in his stall. He had only produced three crops of foals before he was euthanized. He was, it probably goes without saying, a multiple graded stakes winner, with 6 wins in 15 starts. His owner, John Nerud, believed the Triple Crown hurt horses, and thus did not nominate his talented colt for the 1980 Kentucky Derby. In fact, his nomination for the Preakness was apparently a mistake, but they went with it anyway and he blew everyone away. In a couple of posts, I'll get to his dad, Arts and Letters.

Sitzmark's dam was Aphonia, who won one of her three starts in 1965, earning just $2,605. That's still $2,605 more than Lex earned in her racing career! Sitzmark's sire, however, was J.O. Tobin, born in 1974. Not only was he a multiple graded stakes winner, he was the 1978 Eclipse Award winner for Champion Sprinter. He earned $668,159 or $31,817 per start and won 12 of his 21 starts. One of those wins was famous: he beat Seattle Slew in the 1977 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park. That was a big deal race--no Triple Crown winner had been to California since Swaps in 1955 until Seattle Slew flew out for the Swaps Stakes. People lined up to see Slew, and were rooting hard for him. But J.O. Tobin's jockey Bill Shoemaker knew that they'd have to bring something extra to beat his horse that day. And he was right: his horse won the race by 8 lengths. Slew was 16 lengths off the lead in fourth place. J.O. Tobin missed the track and world records for a mile and a quarter by two-fifths of a second.

Stay tuned next time for Afleet Alex, Northern Afleet, Maggie Hawk, Afleet, Nureyette, Hawkster, and Qualique. Yes, this might go on forever. Buckle in.