During the dark years of World War II as wartime travel restrictions across the US took full force, Fasig-Tipton moved to alleviate the pressures faced by breeders by holding a one-off yearling sale at Keeneland racecourse. Staged in 1943 in a tent, the sale is remembered by history as the source of 1945 Kentucky Derby winner Hoop Jr. but it also included a filly by Stimulus, subsequently named Bourtai, who would go on to exert a phenomenally wide reach upon the breed.
Much has changed in the world since then but on Saturday, a gap was bridged between the two eras by the family’s latest Group 1 winner, with his arrival coming at another dark time of uncertainty for the world.
Addeybb’s victory in Saturday’s Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill for William Haggas was popular on many levels, not least because it flew the flag for Newmarket and British racing while it remains paralysed by the coronavirus pandemic. The gelding also becomes a 31st Group/Grade 1 winner for his sire Pivotal, remarkably also represented by the third home Avilius despite having never shuttled.
Veteran Pivotal is currently serving his 24th season at Cheveley Park Stud in Newmarket while his legacy grows around him; a broodmare sire extraordinaire, he also has an excellent sire son to his credit in Siyouni to complement the likes of Farhh and Kyllachy (whose own son Twilight Son comes under the microscope with his first runners this year).
As for Addeybb, the eight-time winner also counts the Rose Of Lancaster Stakes and Bet365 Mile among his victories and thereby represents the type of genuine animal that we have come to expect from his sire.
“Bourtai threw the three exceptional fillies”
Addeybb was bred in Ireland by Rabbah Bloodstock out of Bush Cat, a winning Kingmambo daughter of German Listed scorer Arbusha from the Levee branch of the Bourtai family.
Sent through that tent sale in Lexington 1943, Bourtai was bought by owner Sylvester Labrot for $5,500. She went on to run 12 times for trainer Charles Sutphin at two, winning twice and running third in the Pimlico Nursery Stakes before heading to stud at three. Her first foal of any note was her first filly Banta, a stakes-winning daughter of Some Chance foaled in 1949.
Two durable sons followed in Four To Go, the winner of 21 of 228 starts, and Sir Boss, a stakes-placed winner of 31 races, before Bourtai threw the three exceptional fillies by which she is best known: Delta, Levee and Bayou.
By that stage, Bourtai was under the ownership of Claiborne Farm, with Labrot having scaled back his bloodstock interests due to ill health.
Delta, from the first crop American crop of Nasrullah, was one of the leading American two-year-old fillies of 1954 and overall, won 16 races including the Arlington Matron Handicap and Arlington Lassie Stakes.
Next up was Levee, a 1953-foaled daughter of Hill Prince. Sold to Vernon Cardy, she also developed into a premier runner, bagging the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Beldame Stakes during an excellent three-year-old campaign overshadowed only by the fellow Claiborne-bred Doubledogdare.
Doubledogdare may have denied Levee the 1956 champion three-year-old filly title but Levee’s younger sister Bayou made family amends, landing the 1957 title following a season highlighted by victories in the Delaware Oaks, Acorn Stakes and Gazelle Handicap.
Not only that, each developed into outstanding producers.
Kentucky Broodmare of the Year Delta produced five stakes winners, including Wood Memorial winner Dike and his Grade 2-winning brother Okavango, and today is celebrated as the ancestress of fellow blue hens Alidiva, the dam of Sleepytime, Taipan and Ali-Royal, and Magnificent Style, the dam of Nathaniel, Great Heavens and Playful Act.
Meanwhile, Levee foaled Nalee, winner of the 1963 Santa Ynez and Black Eyed Susan Stakes, prior to selling to the Virginia-based breeder Whitney Stone, for whom she produced the brilliant racemare Shuvee.
By Nashua, Shuvee was crowned the champion American two-year-old filly of 1968 and champion older mare of 1970 and 1971 by virtue of wins in the Acorn Stakes, Alabama Stakes, Beldame Stakes, Coaching Club American Oaks, Cotillion Stakes, Frizette Stakes, Mother Goose Stakes and two renewals of the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (an achievement that emulated her sire Nashua).
Trained by Mike Freeman, she retired as the winner of 16 races for Stone and close to $900,000 in prize-money, then a record for a filly or mare. She also ensured that Levee was crowned the 1970 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year.
Bayou wasn’t immediately quite so successful as her siblings as the dam of a single stakes winner, Batteur. But she too forged a dynasty and today features as the ancestress of Grade 1 winners such as Slew O’Gold, Coastal, Aptitude, War Pass, Jack Milton, Slumber and Real Solution.
It would also be remiss to forget the influence of Bourtai’s first stakes-winning daughter Banta; as one example, her granddaughter Talking Picture was a champion on the track who became the bedrock of a Moyglare Stud family that has now includes Trusted Partner, Free Eagle, Dress To Thrill and last year’s Irish St Leger heroine Search For A Song.
It is Levee’s family, however, that takes the credit for Addeybb.
“Prior to Addeybb, Bush Cat’s best foal was her first Meer Kat”
Shuvee had a productive if not wildly successful career at stud that consisted of three stakes winners. They included the talented Irish colt Benefice, who was sent out by Vincent O’Brien to win the Group 3 Ashford Castle Stakes at the Curragh on his debut as a two-year-old in 1980. That proved to be his only start and the son of Damascus later became a successful sire in South America.
However, in this instance the plaudits belong to Shuvee’s sister, the appropriately named Sister Shu.
Sister Shu failed to win on the track but proved more effective at stud, foaling the American Graded stakes winners Shudanz and Nordance. By that stage, Henry de Kwiatkowski had bought into the family with the purchase of Sister Shu’s daughter Lulu Mon Amour, by Tom Rolfe, for $375,000 as a yearling and although she didn’t gain black-type, she did foal 13 winners for de Kwiatkowski, then at the helm of Calumet Farm.
One of them turned out to be German Group 2 winner Nicholas (perhaps better known as the horse who gave Lester Piggott his first comeback winner at Chepstow in October 1990) while another was German Listed winner Arbusha; appropriately, both were by one of de Kwiatkowski’s most memorable runners, Danzig.
Arbusha headed out of Calumet ownership in 2003 when sold for $50,000 to Centennial Farms (only three years later, she sold for a paltry $3,500) but not before she had produced Bush Cat. Darley Stud paid $100,000 for the Kingmambo filly as a yearling – a small figure considering her sire was then at the peak of his powers – on behalf of Saeed Manana and sent her to Clive Brittain, who saddled her to win second time out as a two-year-old at Folkestone. Campaigned thereafter in an ambitious manner typical of her trainer, she also ran fourth in the Cheshire Oaks the following spring.
Prior to Addeybb, Bush Cat’s best foal was her first Meer Kat, a son of Red Ransom who was Grade 3-placed in the US. Addeybb, who was knocked down to Shadwell Estate Company for 200,000gns as a Tattersalls yearling, is the mare’s eighth foal and was born prior to her sale for €31,000 to Paul Nataf on behalf of Claudio Marzocco at the 2015 Goffs February Sale.
Her 2015 Dawn Approach colt, Al Modajal, has brought the mare’s tally of winners to six since then and she now also has a two-year-old colt by the underrated Literato and yearling filly by Dream Ahead to run for her.