Betty Derr Female Line (Iron Maiden)

Four tail-female descendants of La Troienne have been named Broodmares of the Year: Striking in 1961, Relaxing in 1989, Glowing Tribute in 1993, and Prospectors Delite in 2003. La Troienne was the second dam of Striking, the fourth dam of Relaxing and Glowing Tribute, and the seventh dam of Prospectors Delite (Striking is her fifth dam).

All of which is very interesting but does not necessarily mean that the name La Troienne is worth its weight in gold whenever and wherever it appears in pedigrees, as has already been demonstrated. Perhaps it does help to explain some of the illogic behind the hagiography of the name La Troienne.

You might be interested to know that three tail-female descendants of a much more obscure female name have also achieved Broodmare of the Year: Iron Reward in 1955, Track Medal in 1962, and Courtly Dee in 1983. Betty Derr is their common ancestor in the female line. Betty Derr is the second dam of Iron Reward (who is the dam of Track Medal) and the third dam of Courtly Dee.

So I decided to examine the female line of Betty Derr. That female line splits into two very distinct branches. Today we will examine Iron Maiden (dam of Iron Reward). Later we will examine the other branch exemplified by Courtly Dee.

Listed below are the seven stakes winners among sales foals of 2003-2007 tracing to Iron Maiden in their female lines. I trust that the format is familiar to you by now. Discussion resumes at the end of the list.

Askmetodance (797 Performance Points, Ghostly Moves–Askance, Irish Tower, 7th, Iron Reward, sold for $17,000 as a yearling in 2006).

Kimchi (719, Langfuhr–Alljazz, Stop the Music, 6th, Miss Grundy, sold for $70,000 as a yearling in 2004).

Calico Bay (609, Three Wonders–Countrywishingwell, Country Pine, 5th, Klondike Kate, sold for $15,000 as a weanling in 2005 and $15,000 as a two-year-old in 2007).

Quick In Deed (596, Alydeed–Quick Blush, Blushing Groom, 6th, Iron Reward, sold for $46,696 as a yearling in 2003).

Frazil (362, The Cliff’s Edge–Dance Academy, Royal Academy, 5th, Spartan Woman, sold for $50,000 as a yearling in 2007).

Fear No Evil (320, Trust N Luck–Lip Code, Lost Code, 6th, Iron Reward, sold for $15,000 as a weanling in 2005 and $15,000 as a yearling in 2006).

Open Skies (282, Defrere–Raspberry Ice, Stop the Music, 6th, Miss Grundy, sold for $44,000 as a yearling in 2006).

Note that these seven stakes winners were all relatively cheap. The most expensive (Kimchi) sold for only $70,000.

Betty Derr was a 1928 filly by Sir Gallahad III out of Uncle’s Lassie, by Uncle. Betty Derr was one of five stakes winners from 13 foals produced by Uncle’s Lassie, the best of which was 1929 Kentucky Derby winner Clyde Van Dusen (by Man o’ War). Betty Derr herself posted a record of 48-14-10-3, won four stakes, and earned $41,614 for an SSI of 8.12.

At stud Betty Derr produced eight foals, all starters, seven winners, and three stakes winners: Betty Sweep (1937 filly by Sweep All), Iron Maiden (1941 filly by War Admiral), and Judy-Rae (1944 filly by Beau Pere). Iron Maiden is the subject of this post. Judy-Rae is the connection to Courtly Dee and will be examined in the next post.

Iron Maiden posted a record of 61-12-10-10 for earnings of $52,590 and an SSI of 5.75.  She raced at two and three (1943-1944) and at six and seven (1947-1948). Iron Maiden was bred to Beau Pere in 1945 and produced a filly named Iron Reward in 1946, then went back to the track and recorded her only stakes win, against males, at age six, in the 1947 Del Mar Handicap.

Retired to stud a second time, Iron Maiden produced a total of 12 foals, ten starters, seven winners, and three stakes winners: Trentonian (1952 colt by Bull Lea), Iron Liege (1954 colt by Bull Lea), and Aczay (1964 colt by On-and-On). Note that Iron Maiden produced Aczay at the age of 23. Iron Liege of course is remembered as the winner of the 1957 Kentucky Derby over Gallant Man, Round Table, and Bold Ruler.

Iron Reward, that Beau Pere filly produced during her hiatus from the track, was unplaced in eight starts and earned $425. She went on to be Broodmare of the Year in 1955, however, as already noted. That was the year her most famous son Swaps won the Kentucky Derby over Nashua. Swaps went on to be Horse of the Year in 1956 as well.

Iron Reward produced 11 foals, nine starters, five winners, and three stakes winners (all colts by Khaled): the aforementioned Swaps (1952), Like Magic (1953), and The Shoe (1955).

Track Medal was a foal of 1950 and a full sister to this trio of stakes winners. She posted a record of 37-3-5-2 for earnings of $13,625.

Track Medal produced ten foals, eight starters, six winners, and four stakes winners: Tutankhamen (1958 colt by Nasrullah), Fool’s Gold II (1959 filly by Tom Fool),  Outing Class (1960 colt by Nasrullah), and O’Hara (1962 colt by Ballymoss). She was honored as Broodmare of the Year in 1962, as previously mentioned.

The family of Iron Maiden and Iron Reward faded away somewhat after that, at least in popular perception. It may have faded away, but it did not by any means cease.

I found 110 sales foals of 2003-2007 tracing back to Betty Derr through Iron Maiden. They ranged from the fourth through the eighth generations (Iron Maiden as their fourth through eighth dams). The seven stakes winners listed above ranged from the fifth through seventh generations (Iron Maiden as their fifth through seventh dams).

Those 110 foals sold for a gross of $4,748,732, an average of $43,170 (well below the overall average of $54,140), a maverage of 161.53 (just below the overall maverage of 163.11), and a Price Index of 0.99. So they were relatively cheap, especially by average.

Seven stakes winners from 110 foals is 6.36% (well above the overall figure of 3.40%). Those seven stakes winners averaged 526 Performance Points apiece, well below the overall average of 610.

So taking both quantity and quality of stakes winners into account, these 110 foals had a PPI (result) of 1.62, which compares quite favorably with their Price Index of 0.99. They sold for prices about 1% BELOW average and achieved results about 62% ABOVE average. In terms of a letter grade, that is an A++.

In our next post we will see how the rest of the Betty Derr female family fared.

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4 Responses to Betty Derr Female Line (Iron Maiden)

  1. jared dant says:


    What type of information do you use to compile your statistics and do research? Are you using a particular computer program? I am interested in doing my own research and am curious. Thanks.

    • ddink55 says:

      No particular program. Obviously you need five-cross pedigrees (with inbreeding denoted). Several sources are available. I have used Equine Line, BRIS, and Pedigreequery. Equine Line decided to cut me off last March for unfathomable reasons of their own. If you look up a LOT of pedigrees as I do (about 20,000 a month), they assume that you are trying to “steal” their data base. I reckon they can not even imagine that someone might want to do enough research to look up 20,000 pedigrees a month. Profit is the only thing they understand. They do not understand the concept of “research.”

      So I have been using Pedigreequery almost exclusively ever since. I think it is actually better than Equine Line in many respects. I like adding the nags that are absent from their data base as I encounter them. That pisses off The Jockey Club, and I am all for pissing off The Jockey Club, considering that they cut me off from their supposedly “free” service (Equine Line).

      You also need race records, at least at the beginning, in order to create a list of the stakes winners, and you need to update that list of stakes winners periodically, adding new ones as they qualify. BRIS is the only source that I know of for somewhat detailed race records. It is not perfect, but it is the best available of which I am aware. Pedigreequery also has some race records but they are far from complete or reliable.

      So I look up about 20,000 pedigrees a month individually, and I write down a lot of numbers (using pen and paper). Once a paper is full, I crunch the numbers and add them to a word document, keeping a running total for whatever factors I am examining.

      Once I get five years of data done and crunched, then I go back to the stakes winners and look them up for whatever factors I am examining. Once that is done, I crunch the numbers, and voila!!!!!, I have results. Once I have results, then I publish them on the blog and scribble about them, expounding upon whatever I have learned.

      Hope this reply is helpful to you. I am glad to hear that someone else is interested in doing their own research. Most people can not even IMAGINE doing so. It is not as easy as running everything through some computer program. Basically I use the computer only for mining and storing the data. All the FUN parts I do myself.

  2. David says:

    I see that California Chrome has three crosses to Betty Derr on his bottom side. I’m sure that has a lot to do with his tremendous success.

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