Each year, we’re always happy to partner with the Retired Racehorse Project to spotlight the versatile, sporty Thoroughbreds that are so adored as eventing partners. EN breeding columnist Amanda Chance checks in with her observations on the Thoroughbred influence found in this year’s field for the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. Be sure to stop and say hello to RRP at the LRK3DE Trade Fair!
While the full Thoroughbred doesn’t quite dominate upper-level eventing the way it did in the days of the long format, the importance of Thoroughbred blood and the ability of the full Thoroughbred to still compete amongst the world’s elite is undeniable. That includes, of course, the field at this year’s Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by MARS Equestrian.
As of publication, the field for the 5* is 46-strong, including eight full Thoroughbreds and an additional nine horses who have one full Thoroughbred parent. The eight full Thoroughbred entrants are as follows:
Bogue Sound – bred in KY by James Herbener
Bloodlines: Crafty Shaw (Crafty Prospector) x Carolina Blue (Victory Gallop)
Race record and earnings: 7-1-1-1, $11,358
Sea of Clouds – bred in KY by Betz Thoroughbreds
Bloodlines: Malibu Moon (AP Indy) x Winner’s Ticket (Jolie’s Halo)
Race record and earnings: 2-0-0-0, $200
Let it be Lee (JC: Leerider) – bred in KY by Nursery Place & Partners
Bloodlines: Bernstein (Storm Cat) x Sugaree (Broad Brush)
Race record and earnings: 12-1-2-1, $12,913
AP Prime – bred in KY by Dixiana Stables
Bloodlines: Aptitude (AP Indy) x Czarina Kate (The Prime Minister)
Race record and earnings: 31-2-4-5, $20,175
Sorocaima – bred in KY by Machmer Hall & Poindexter Thoroughbreds
Bloodlines: Rock Hard Ten (Kris S) x Sankobasi (Pulpit)
Race record and earnings: 43-4-8-2, $82,396
Palm Crescent – bred in NY by Eugene Melnyk
Bloodlines: Quiet American (Fappiano) x Edey’s Village (Silver Deputy)
Race record and earnings: 12-1-0-0, $9,462
Wabbit (JC: Molinaro Kissing)– bred in Ontario, Canada by Molinaro Stable
Bloodlines: Line of Departure (AP Indy) x No Kissing (Great Gladiator)
Race Record and earnings: 5-0-0-0 $2,217
Steady Eddie (JC: Big Jet) – bred in New Zealand by Seven Creeks Estate
Bloodlines: Jet Ball (Marscay) x Tuonela (Chief’s Crown)
Race Record and earnings: 36-7-2-3, $30,352
Among these full Thoroughbreds we see some sires with multiple representations within the first few generations of the entrants’ pedigrees, most notably with three of the eight horses having been sired by different sons of AP Indy. We also see another AP Indy representation in Sorocaima via his damsire Pulpit, meaning that half of the full Thoroughbred entrants in this LRK3DE field have AP Indy within the first few generations.
While AP Indy is quite prevalent in a lot of Thoroughbred pedigrees these days, other stallions who are just as prevalent (such as Storm Cat) do not have as many representations in this field as AP Indy does. The other stallion seen on repeat relatively close-up in the pedigree is Deputy Minister, who is the sire of two of the entrants’ damsires: AP Prime’s The Prime Minister and Palm Crescent’s Silver Deputy.
Of the nine entrants with one full Thoroughbred parent, seven of those are out of full Thoroughbred mares. These horses include Jollybo, Paper Jam, Covert Rights, Honor Me, Harbour Pilot, Landmark’s Monte Carlo, and Quantum Leap. Jollybo was bred in Ireland, Honor Me was bred in Canada, and the other five were all bred in the United States.
Among these full Thoroughbred dams, we have a few that have already made their mark as notable producers. Landmark’s Monte Carlo’s dam Glamour (by Flash Tycoon) has also produced a 4*L horse in Landmark’s Monaco, a full brother to Landmark’s Monte Carlo who competes at the 4* level with Kimmy Cecere. Quantum Leap’s dam Report to Sloopy (by Corporate Report) has also produced a Grand Prix showjumper. Honor Me’s dam Dream Contessa (by Royal Chocolate) has also produced a 4* horse, Smart Moves, a full sibling to Honor Me.
Additionally, Paper Jam’s dam Reely Jamin had a long racing career of her own before becoming a broodmare, with 62 starts to her name including 11 wins and $62,014 in earnings. Covert Rights’ dam Let’s Get It Right made three starts on the track, and Landmark Monte Carlo’s dam Glamour made six starts in Australia before retiring from racing and being imported to the U.S. Quantum Leap’s dam Report to Sloopy was technically a racehorse as well, having made one start.
This leaves two entrants with a full Thoroughbred sire: Majas Hope and Galloway Sunrise. Majas Hope is by racing stallion Porter Rhodes, who is by Hawaii, a name that some of you may remember as the sire of Dorothy Crowell’s great 4* horse and USEA Hall of Fame Inductee Molokai. Like his sire, Porter Rhodes has proven to be a good sport producer in his own right, with several top-level eventers and Grand Prix showjumpers to his name. Galloway Sunrise is by Kentucky-bred stallion Duty Officer (by Polish Navy).
In addition to those horses, if we go one generation further back in the pedigrees there are also seven more LRK3DE entrants with a full Thoroughbred damsire: Vandiver, Morswood, Capitol HIM, Millfield Lancando, C’est la Vie 135, Calmaro, and Fischerchipmunk FRH. There are also three others with a full Thoroughbred second sire: Voltaire de Tre, Landmark’s Monte Carlo, and Maybach. Some Thoroughbred sires we see in the pedigrees of the warmblood and sporthorse entrants are Heraldik, Hand in Glove, Laudanum, and Mytens.
Basically, it’s pretty common to see a full Thoroughbred within the first few generations of a top-level event horse’s pedigree. But if these aren’t enough to convince you of the continued relevance of the Thoroughbred in modern eventing, let’s take a look at the rest of the field.
One of the hottest topics with both event breeders and riders alike is blood percentage, especially with regards to determining the right or necessary blood percentage for an upper-level event horse.
What do we mean when we say “blood percentage”? The modern warmblood descended originally from farm horses, cart horses, etc. mixed with blood horses (often from racing breeding) to create something more athletic, sportier, and more suitable for riding. In simplest possible terms, “blood percentage” means the amount of “blood” (usually via Thoroughbred, sometimes via French Anglo Arab or Arabian) in a warmblood or sporthorse.
Think of it a bit like the horse version of Ancestry.com. This percentage is determined by the accumulation of all the horses throughout the entire pedigree. Many believe that a higher blood percentage equals more stamina, more speed, better agility, etc – all the things a Thoroughbred is typically known for. Others will argue that different factors come into play just as much as the blood percentage.
As far as how much blood is the necessary amount…ask five different people and you’ll probably get 10 different answers. That hotly contested topic is a discussion for another day. In reality, it depends on a lot of things, but what we do know for sure is that having blood in the pedigree seems to be key in a sport that involves galloping and jumping.
If we look at this LRK3DE field in particular, the overall average blood percentage of all the entrants is 64%. If we exclude all the full Thoroughbreds (which are of course 100% blood) the average blood percentage of the field is still about 55%, although keep in mind that this number is likely a bit lower than reality due to a few horses having unrecorded parts of their pedigree. So the average non-Thoroughbred horse in the field is still more than half “blood”. We do have some extremes at both ends, too, ranging from 33.98% (5* first-timer Fortuna) to 88.5% (the typically fairly speedy Landmark’s Monte Carlo).
Whether you’re sat on a full Thoroughbred or not, the influence of the Thoroughbred in eventing, and especially in this field here at LRK3DE in 2022, is certainly alive and well in every horse.