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NEST Racehorse

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NEST wins the Beldame by a lot

Rinaldo Del Gallo, III

Rinaldo Del Gallo, III

By: Rinaldo Del Gallo, III

From a bloodline point of view, it was great to see NEST   (USA) b. F, 2019 {4-d} win the Beldame Stakes, a race run at Belmont since 1939.  According to Wikipedia, the Beldame “is named for the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame mare Beldame who raced between 1903 and 1905. During the 1904 season, she won 12 of 14 starts, beating the best colts of her time, and was voted the Horse of the Year honors. As shall be explained, Nest has the blood of Beldame, which most horses of today do not.

NEST Racehorse

NEST Racehorse
Photo Credit: Adam Coglianese/ NYRA

Though Beldame was a great racehorse, her offspring, born from 1907-1920, were not great runners as far as I can see on pedigree query dot com.  Also, according to that source, all seven of her offspring started with the letter “B,” and all but the first had names starting with “Bel.”  She was mated to the best of sires (most of the time) but had no immediate success.  (Rock Sand twice, Hastings once, Watervale once, Fair Play once, and Meddler once.)

While the winners of the Peter Pan will always have Peter Pan blood because he is in literally every modern, registered thoroughbred, and the same can be said of Man O’War, Beldame is far from such a case.

But in a few horses, Beldame in their pedigree, such as LION HEART (USA) ch. H, 2001 {10-c}. Beldame is Lion Heart’s 9th dam.

Beldame had a daughter BELVALE  (USA) b. M, 1915 {10-c}, a mixture of the “Bel” from “Beldame” and the “vale” from her sire Preakness winner WATERVALE (USA) b. H, 1908 {4-r}.  It is a tad bit ironic that the offspring from the less accomplished sire (though he had two stakes winners) would be the daughter that would find a mark in the breed.

Belvale was mated to HIGH TIME   (USA) ch. H, 1916 {1-h} to produce BEL TEMPO (USA) ch. M, 1930 {10-c}—you get it, keep the “Bel” part from the dam and getting “tempo” as a derivative from the “time” in High Time.  While we are on the subject of bloodlines, check out the pedigree of High Time—one incredibly inbred horse.  He was 3s x 3s x 2d Domino (meaning on his sire’s side he was twice in the 3rd generation and on his dam side once in the second generation).  Through these 3 appearances of Domino, High Time was literally 50% Domino.  Did this inbreeding make High Time a bad sire?  Well, according to pedigree query dot come, High Time was the “leading US sire by progeny earnings in 1928 and ranked in the top 20 on 12 occasions.”  High Time was also the leading U.S. broodmare sire in 1936 & 1940, according to the same source.  High Time won the Hudson Stakes at two (the year before Man O’ War won the same race) and was third in the Great American Stakes.

By far, High Times greatest exploit at stud was being the sire of the great SARAZEN   (USA) ch. G, 1921 {20}, an inductee to the inaugural class of the Hall of Fame.  Sarazan was the 1924 U.S. Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old, the 1925 U.S. Horse of the Year & Champion Handicap Horse and the 1926 U.S. Champion Handicap Horse.  Amazingly, though he won all ten of his starts as a two-year-old, Sarazen did not win end of the year honors for his two-year-old campaign. He even beat older horses in the Pimlico Serial Weight-For-Age at 2 going 6 furlongs. Sarazen had an intact brother MIRAFEL  (USA) b. H, 1924 {20} who is in the pedigree of Sunday Silence.

Bel Tempo was mated to legendary sire SIR GALLAHAD   (FR) b. H, 1920 {16-a} to get GALA BELLE  (USA) b. M, 1937 {10-c}.  The “gala” was from “Gallahad” of her sire, and “Belle” was a morphing of “Bel” from “Bel Tempo.”  Gala Belle was second in a relatively minor stakes race at Narragansett Park at age 2 against the boys in a race called the Old Colony Stakes. Gala Belle had at least four stakes winning offspring.  Gala Belle’s daughter INSOUCIANT  (USA) b. M, 1952 {10-c}won the 1st: Ashland S. (Kee,6f), Coronet S. (Was,6f), Modesty Handicap, all at age 3, and other races of considerable note. Insouciant is the 5th dam of Lion Heart.  “Insouciant” means, by the way, “free from concern, worry, or anxiety; carefree; nonchalant. Maybe you can get that from Gala Belle (a belle at a gala may be “insouciant”), but it’s a bit of a stretch.

It is through Gala Belle’s son REVOKED   (USA) b. H, 1943 {10-c} that Beldame ends up in pedigrees in modern horses.   Revoked won the 1945 Washington Park Futurity, then a big race. Revoked placed in other stakes races. Revoked was a good sire and one of his sons was a multiple stakes winner and often stakes placed horse by the name of RENEGED   (USA) b. H, 1953 {1-n}, which I occasionally see in pedigrees.

Curlin’s fourth dam JUNGLE WAR  (USA) b. M, 1964 {19-c} was sired by BATTLE JOINED  (USA) b. H, 1959 {4-r}.  Jungle War’s big claim to fame was siring Ack Ack, a Hall of Fame horse who kept the Domino sire line going.

Battle Joined’s dam was ETHEL WALKER  (USA) b. M, 1953 {4-r}, and Ethel Walker was sired by REVOKED   (USA) b. H, 1943 {10-c}.  As stated Revoked’s 5th dam was Beldame. ACK ACK   (USA) br. H, 1966 {9-h} and his son BROAD BRUSH   (USA) b. H, 1983 {21-a} are therefore sources of Beldame in modern pedigrees through Battle Joined, Battle Joined’s damsire being Revoked, who descends in tail female from Beldame.

Because Nest’s sire is Curlin, she has Beldame blood!  Usually, the winner of the Beldame does not have Beldame blood.  And since 2022 second place Beldame finisher FIRST TO ACT   (USA) ch. F, 2018 {16-g} also has Curlin for a sire, the same can be said of her.

Some other pedigree notes should be made.  Beldame’s dam was BELLA DONNA  (GB) b. M, 1885 {10-c}, who was impregnated by the British stallion Uncas and sent to the United States to have her first child.  Bella Donna was a great stakes producer; Bella Donna’s son DON ENRIQUE  (USA) b. G, 1904 {10-c} won the Preakness and four other stakes races. Her gelded son DON DIEGO  (USA) ch. G, 1903 {10-c} won the Neptune stakes at 2 and was 3rd in the Carter at 4.  The intact horse DON DE ORO  (USA) ch. H, 1894 {10-c} won the Eclipse S., Tremont S., Carlton S., Kenner S., Boulevard H., Morris Park H., Belmont Park Autumn Weight-For-Age H., Brookdale H., Parkway H. and sired a few stakes winners himself.  But Bella Donna had a daughter DONNA MIA  (USA) b. M, 1892 {10-c} who had two stakes winners but was the ancestress of VICTORIA PARK  (CAN) b. H, 1957 {10-c}, VICE REGENT   (CAN) ch. H, 1967 {10-c} and VICEREGAL  (CAN) ch. H, 1966 {10-c}.  These horses have had a big impact on the breed.

Curlin is a heck of a sire and is likely to be entrenched in the breed in years to come.  Maybe as time progresses, more winners of the Beldame will have Beldame’s blood like Nest.

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