Clyde Van Dusen, Swaps, Iron Liege, Kauai King, and California Chrome

The 2014 Triple Crown campaign reminded me very much of the 1966 version. This year California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and finished fourth (dead heat) as the favorite in the Belmont. In 1966 Kauai King won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and finished fourth as the favorite in the Belmont.

I see some other similarities (or maybe potential similarities) between the two campaigns, but I will not delve into that subject matter right now.

It has been documented that California Chrome comes from the same female family as Kentucky Derby winners Swaps and Iron Liege. All three of those Derby winners trace in the female line to Betty Derr. She was the second dam of Iron Liege, the third dam of Swaps, and the eighth dam of California Chrome.

I have also seen it mentioned that 1929 Derby winner Clyde Van Dusen (Man o’ War out of Uncle’s Lassie) is from this same female family. Betty Derr was by Sir Gallahad III out of Uncle’s Lassie.

I have not seen it mentioned that Kauai King is also from this same female family. Kauai King was by Native Dancer out of Sweep In, by Blenheim II. The fifth dam of Sweep In was Wanda (1882). Wanda was also the third dam of Uncle’s Lassie. So all five of these Derby winners belong to the same female family (designated A4 in the Bruce Lowe Figure System).

If you are not familiar with the Bruce Lowe Figure System, do not lose any sleep over it. It is a theory that was popular early in the 20th century but has long since been discredited. See Chapter 14 of Racehorse Breeding Theories if you are that interested in the arcane.

In the course of my own peregrinations through pedigrees a few months ago I noticed that one of the three main sources of pedigrees still listed Bruce Lowe female family numbers. I was surprised and amused. The former because I did not think anyone paid any attention to those numbers at all anymore (although evidently I was wrong about that).

The latter because if one of the pedigree services still lists those numbers, someone must believe in them. Which makes them fair game, in my opinion. And it is always amusing to examine a theory (even a long discredited theory) and show how it actually works in reality (as opposed to theory).

And I admit that I have always been somewhat fascinated by the concept of female families (which does NOT mean that I attach undue importance to them). So I decided to have some fun with the Bruce Lowe female family numbers.

Listed below are the Bruce Lowe female families I examined, using sales foals of 2003-2007 as usual. I specified a minimum of ten stakes winners and 1,000 foals in order to examine a family individually. Everything else I lumped into “all others.”

The first problem I perceived is identifying the families. I decided to do so by listing some of the important (in a historical sense) broodmares representing each family number. I listed the broodmares alphabetically under each family number (thusly avoiding questions of precedence). The discussion resumes after the lists below.

Family Number 1–Aspidistra, Courtesy, Evilone, Friar’s Carse, Ghazni, Hail to Beauty, La Troienne, Nato II, Parlo, Persian Maid, Square Generation, Warrior Lass.

2–Almahmoud, Bellesoeur, Cool Mood, Fast Line, Imperatrice, Key Bridge, Knight’s Daughter, Little Hut, Scotch Verdict, Up the Hill.

3–Beaver Street, Dunce Cap II, Missy Baba, Orchestra, Stepping Stone, Tenez.

4–Alablue, Boudoir II, Enchanted Eve, Golden Trail, Hillbrook, Igual, Legendra, Libra, Ole Liz, Portage, Queen Nasra.

5–Broadway, Crawfish, Geisha, Grey Flight, Quick Touch, Rough Shod II, Wavy Navy.

6–Bravura, Fair Freedom, My Bupers, Sail Navy, Selene.

7–Easy Lass, Native Partner, Pat’s Irish.

8–Alcibiades, Best in Show, Crimson Saint, Flaming Page, High Voltage, Kerala, Lady Be Good, Miss Brief, Miss Disco, Rare Perfume, Shenanigans, T . C. Kitten.

9–Albania, Blue Delight, Bourtai, Dame Fritchie, Hildene, Kankakee Miss, Nellie Flag, Pandora, Recess, Romanita, Sunday Evening, The Squaw II.

10–Barely Even, Fleur (1932), Good Example, Victoriana.

11–Bebopper, Dinner Time, Itsabet, Miss Grillo, Tularia.

12–Bleebok, Justakiss, Old Bess, Soaring, Swoon.

13–Glad Rags II, Monade, Myrtlewood, Vagrancy.

14–Arachne, Banish Fear, Boat, Elpis, Fool-Me-Not, Nangela, Sister Sarah, Where You Lead.

16–Banquet Bell, Cequillo, Judy O’Grady, Lea Lark, Secret Meeting.

19–Barbarika, Bloodroot, Forest Song.

20–Blinking Owl, Haze, Neriad, Rock Drill.

21–Dog Blessed, Hail to the Queen, Hidden Talent, Iltis, Shy Dancer.

22–Eclair, Evening Belle, Olympia Dell, Loudrangle, Milan Mill, Quadruple, Qui Blink, Royal Statute.

23–Draeh, Golden Apple, Irish Jay, Juliets Nurse, Miss Carmie, Native Gal, No Class, Twilight Tear.

I hope you find the listings above somewhat amusing. I was impressed by how many important mares belonged to the same family (particularly numbers one and five, the latter having both Rough Shod II and Grey Flight). Having perused these lists, you are cordially invited to submit opinions as to which families were the most expensive, the most successful, or some combination thereof, if you feel so inclined.

The actual results will begin in my next post.

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4 Responses to Clyde Van Dusen, Swaps, Iron Liege, Kauai King, and California Chrome

  1. ned williams says:

    Purely on names on a page, I am going with Family 8 for cost and success. No research here, just a quick guess. I am sure others, far wiser than I, will have much more informed opinions.
    best,
    Ned

  2. mattdjebel says:

    I think people use the Bruce Lowe family numbers for ease of reference. i doubt they believe in the theory.

  3. vineyridge says:

    You left out Lady Josephine and her descendants, which are listed as part of family 9, but don’t seem to be 9-c per MtDNA analysis. The tail female, which is basically the Lowe system, IS important because the MtDNA is passed purely through the female line and is the DNA which controls the way energy is produced for use by the cells.

    My favorite tail female line is 2; in particular the branches of 2 which trace back to the Alexander Mare of 1790. But I’m primarily interested in jumping lines in TBs. Family 5 is the family of the most important TB show jumping mare in US history–Bonne Cause.

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