Bloodstock

Why Not Forgive: A Leap of Faith

Her sire Kitten’s Joy (left) and Why Not Forgive (right) share many qualities // Photo Credit: Patrycja Szpyra

Why not forgive? It’s a beautiful and powerful sentiment; release the anger so that you can find peace. Well, this filly has the looks to match her lovely name but she’s done everything right so far. No apologies required for her!

As one of three Pocket Aces yearlings (the Myntz Connection colt was the subject of my last article) and the first to get a name, she’s the only filly in a group of boys this year. I’ve been out to visit her and you’d never know: she’s got the attitude and the action of a nice horse. Touted as one of the most comfortable to ride, she sports a long, fluid stride that draws the eye to her even more than her looks already do. The daughter of America’s premier grass sire was a flashy $130,000 purchase from Keeneland September in partnership with Somewhere Stables; the same auction as recently crowned Cartier Horse of the Year in Europe, Roaring Lion. Genetically, they are half siblings but for our purposes, they are not considered such unless they share a dam.

Technicalities aside, it does stir the imagination on what this filly could do as she progresses in her training. Her physical stature impressed from day one and so did that cocky attitude; knowing when you’re the It girl is never a bad thing. Marc Wampler, the racing manager and bloodstock expert for Pocket Aces, spoke on some of the boxes that the filly check-marked that other runners by her sire didn’t necessarily fulfill.

Kitten’s Joy has a reputation (and deservedly so) of throwing knees that are significantly offset, however, hers were as close to ideal conformationally as I had seen on a Kitten’s Joy. She tracked well through her fore limbs and she was correct from the ankle down…As this filly walked around me, she put her head down and went right about her business. Always moving forward, nothing bothering her.

The comforting praise of a horse with a good mind. Bliss.

As is par for me, I’ve gone back into her family tree and found a very interesting historical pedigree. We start with her dam: Out of My Dreams. She may as well have walked right out of your dreams because she’s already produced black-type earning runners by sires that didn’t have the quality of Kitten’s Joy. For me, the most interesting part of Why’s pedigree is the granddam, Fairy Song (IRE). She is by the full-brother to Sadler’s Wells, Fairy King and those genetics are found on both sides through Why’s sire and dam! Kitten’s Joy brings Sadler’s Wells and Out Of My Dreams brings Fairy King. Though he wasn’t as accomplished as his brother, it is very cool to find two strains of the genetics that made horses like Galileo and Frankel possible in her family tree.

On both sides through those stallions, we also find the legendary Claiborne family hailing from the great mare, Special. She was the dam of Nureyev and Fairy Bridge, who produced the full-brothers. When she was euthanized on December 28, 1999 at the grand old age of 30, the most common recollection of the mare was how kind and loving she had been. She lived up to her name at every second of her storied life.

We return back to Why’s dam side from that lovely detour and find a mare named Arcade. Arcade was primarily known for her prowess as broodmare over her racing abilities (only making four starts and finishing on the board in half) but she did produce a stakes winner and stakes-placed racer. From here, the pedigree leans heavily toward the turf. We branch back into the very early days of racing and we find Darcy’s Oldest Royal Mare as the root of this tree. She hails from the strain labeled as “Family Number Seven” and it’s one of the oldest in the world to run continuously.

Kitten’s Joy @ Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm // Photo Credit: Patrycja Szpyra

For his half of Why’s genetics, Kitten’s Joy brings potent talent that’s proven to manifest whether your runner is a filly or a colt. He’s been the leading turf sire in the states for the last six years in a row and he’s averaging 19 (yes, you read that correctly) stakes winners a year for the last five years. If you look at a list of his highest earning progeny, it’s a who’s-who of horses that have been in the public eye the last few years:

Hawkbill $4,777,480
Stephanie’s Kitten $4,292,904
Roaring Lion $3,575,197
Big Blue Kitten $2,983,350
Oscar Performance $2,345,696
Sadler’s Joy $2,150,288

That is an impressive list, especially since most of these horses have enjoyed prolonged campaigns and a strong career that included appearances in the Breeders’ Cup on both surfaces. I’ve been fortunate enough to see Oscar Performance in person and he’s got the same personality as Why: hot stuff and he knows it. He was only too happy to pose for every single picture I took and for the next person behind me as well. Being a ham runs in the family, it seems.

Roaring Lion made the trip back to his home country after tearing through Europe in an unstoppable campaign and bravely took on the Classic at Churchill Downs. It wasn’t his surface and he finished last, but the connections had thought so highly of him (it also helped that his dam was a Street Sense mare) that they were willing to try something outside his comfort zone. But, to stay in our apples-to-apples comparison, here’s a video of one of Roaring Lion’s most impressive performances, the 2018 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes:

Even if he had retired after that race and never come to America to try his fortunes, Roaring Lion had Horse of the Year wrapped up in Europe. He’s been retired since and settled down at his new home for his second career, but his talent was undeniable. It’s a very exciting thought when I process all the similarities between Why and other successful Kitten’s Joy runners; the praise from the farm only strengthens my belief that she’ll be something special for her partners.

Now, if I’ve gotten your interest, know that this little lady has very limited availability left! Unlike Myntz, she might not make it to Christmas with only 1/4 of a share left (roughly 2.5%). The link to her page is here and it’ll include how you can get ahold of that last little bit for yourself. Run, don’t walk! Don’t miss out on your chance to have one of those Kittens that everyone keeps talking about!

Why Not Forgive in training @ Margaux Farm // Photo Credit: Patrycja Szpyra