I will preface this article by saying George is my heart horse. He can do no wrong, so if you are wanting an unbiased look at his family and of him, then this is not the post for you.
Flashy King George is his registered name, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually used it for anything other than labeling his pictures, and even then, it was immediately followed by the same nickname you see in the title: Gorgeous George. As you can tell, it’s not a lie but just in case you want to add him to your virtual stables (hint hint), his registry name has been provided.
He’s a gelded son of Flashback out of an Indian Charlie mare named Female Drama. Susan Anderson is the breeder, owner, and trainer as well as the owner of his dam and breeder of any subsequent siblings.
Starting with George’s sire, Flashback is a son of the fantastic Tapit, who is well on his way to becoming a sire of sires. As a racehorse, Flashback had a campaign like most talented runners whose careers were cut short by injury: flashy albeit short. In his maiden race, he stepped out and beat Mentor Cane (remember that gorgeous face for John Shirreffs?) at the since demolished Hollywood Park and did it very easily. That was his only race at 2 for 2012 -and since it was at the very beginning of December- he went on the shelf for two months until he made his return in the Gr. II Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita in February. He drew away by better than six lengths and defeated the likes of He’s Had Enough, who was just nosed out by Shanghai Bobby in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile contested three months prior on that very surface.
From there, he had a string of very respectable runner-up efforts while still having several big names finishing behind him including Goldencents; both contested the Gr. II San Felipe. He was a hard charging second to him in the Gr. I Santa Anita Derby (video above), and it was later revealed he sustained a knee injury during the race. Flashback wouldn’t race again for seven months while he recovered, returning in the Damascus S. at Santa Anita with a strong second place finish after a slow start and a bumpy trip. He didn’t visit the winner’s circle again and finished off the board in the Gr. I Malibu five days before 2013 ended. He had another break of almost nine months, and after finishing third in the Gr. III Ack Ack Handicap, Flashback was retired.
Initially, he entered stud at Hill n’ Dale, where he was praised by John Sikura as an “…extremely athletic and smooth horse”. Bob Baffert, his trainer until retirement, touted him as a great sire prospect and his owner Gary West confirmed they’d be supporting their stallion with carefully selected mares. After experiencing good success as a freshman sire with Gr. I placed runners Boujie Girl and Tripwire adding to his tally, he was relocated to Diamond B Farm in Mohrsville, Pennsylvania, where he currently stands. It was quoted as a great opportunity for breeders in the state to enhance their choices and to take advantage of a lucrative state-bred program.
Flashback’s dam is the accomplished broodmare Rhumb Line, who’s had a total of ten listed foals, and six of them by Tapit. Five of those have made it to the races and either won or placed. To say the cross works is a bit of an understatement and as Art Princess and Zazu have proven, the success passes on. Zazu (a full-sister campaigned by the Mosses of Zenyatta and Giacomo fame) was sent to Japan and has also become a fair producer in her own right with a Gr. III performer in the country. Art Princess (a half-sister by Officer) has produced Tap That, a black-type earner of over $333,000 in Japan.
Rhumb Line’s daughters have been fiercely pursued for the Japanese breeding programs. At the 2012 Keeneland November sale, Katsumi Yoshida went to $2,100,000 for Zazu and she’s been bred to their best since then: a 2017 filly by the late Deep Impact, a 2018 filly by Daiwa Major, and a 2019 filly by Heart’s Cry. Every single one has been -you guessed it- a grey and she’s even had a black foal in 2014 who is now a broodmare herself. Yoshida also purchased her half-sister Art Princess for $400,000 that year in the January Horses of All Ages sale.
So, yeah, this family is just a little bit expensive.
We move to Female Drama, George’s dam. She raced six times and won twice: the 6f Jove S. at Belmont Park and her maiden debut in 2009. Including George, she’s only had three named foals and has a fourth at her side, a filly. She’s a calm, lovely mare with plenty of size. Like mother, like son; George is only two and sticks close to 17hh.
Drama’s dam starts a long string of mares owned by the Phillips family. Newhall Road is the first in this string, a mare with an amazing 100% named offspring to runners, and all but one mare won at least once. Female Drama was this mare’s second highest earner behind New Real Deal, who was a Gr. I winner in Argentina.
From there, we come to the second Phillips owned mare named Maiden Lane. She produced the stakes winner and producer Traipse, who raced 54 times and finished on the board in 27 races. Next in line is Regal Road, who produced Rampart Road (by Dixieland Band). He was a respectable racer before being sent to Argentina in 1992, getting as high up as 16th in their stallion rankings and was a decent broodmare sire for the region.
Though we sever our Phillips family ownership trend, it doesn’t impact the quality of who we find. On The Trail is fifth in line on the female side, and has her own claim to fame as the second dam of the great sire Dynaformer through her daughter, Andover Way (by His Majesty). This family extends out to the 2013 UAE Derby winner Lines of Battle.
One of the more historic mares in this pedigree is the great mare Golden Trail, a modern foundation mare for Darby Dan Farm. She died in 1981 and left behind 15 named foals plus a host of history shaped by her hooves. Her daughter, Outward Sunshine, went on to produce Sunshine Forever, the turf champion of 1988 that included a second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf by a head. He’s perhaps best remembered for his incredible run of four Gr. I races in six weeks: three victories, and the aforementioned placing in the Breeders’ Cup being the only “blemish” in his streak. Below is his fantastic victory in the 1988 Turf Classic at Belmont Park.
Another accomplished daughter of Golden Trail is Kelley’s Day, the dam of multiple Gr. I winner Brian’s Time. She had six offspring make greater than six figures out of her 16 total. Brian’s Time was exported to Japan and became a perennial leading sire with his most famous offspring including two horses of the year: Narita Brian (1994) and Mayano Top Gun (1995). He also sired Time Paradox, who was a fixture near the top of Japan’s racing scene for almost three years in 2004-06.
Narita Brian -Brian’s Time’s first Japanese Horse of the Year- was the 5th Triple Crown winner in their history in 1994 and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1997. As a sire, he couldn’t quite live up to his legendary race record which saw him amass ¥1,026,916,000 (in today’s conversions, roughly $9,642,587) but he was also only given two years to do so before he died. Perhaps with more time, he would prove an equal to Brian’s Time. Mayano Top Gun -the other HOY- fared much better with several of his best sons becoming multi-millionaires and most having absurdly long careers by American standards. The average number of starts between the top 14 earners is 40 a piece.
Narita Brian passed on in September 27, 1998 after devastating gastric rupture and intestinal obstruction forced his euthanization. Brian’s Time outlived his most accomplished son; euthanized on April 4, 2013 due to a paddock accident that fractured his leg. Mayano Top Gun was pensioned from stallion duty in 2014 and is still alive.
Interestingly, on both sides of his pedigree, George’s distant and immediate family have been good to Japan.
Family Number Four
An interesting find when I went back as far as 1665 is the first known record of the beginning of his genetic tree: Family Number Four, the Layton Barb mare. Families like this are split into categories (English, American, Polish, etc.) and while this one happens to be English, I will only include names with some kind of American ties or can be recognized in some way by most fans. A few very famous descendents include Cozzene (American sire), Assault (Triple Crown winner), Graustark (“another Man O’ War” who will have an article about him soon), Hail to Reason, Kincsem (the toast of Europe, perfect in 54 starts), Man O’ War, Nearco, Ribot, and Storm Bird. If I continue, I will be here until next week.
By the way, this was a two hour spelunk into record books and databases, so enjoy those Japanese and historical family sections, will ya?
As for George himself, he only recently started speed work (with his size, it’s easy to forget he’s only two) but he was feeling his oats afterward. His first recorded 3f was up at Belterra going 38.88 in a work marked as breezing but the numbers don’t tell the entire story. He bounced off his workmate in the stretch and was very green. He’s a huge, long-striding horse, so I expect him to only improve as he really starts picking up the bit. Below are a few pictures of him from his workout on Saturday, August 24!
As of September 1, he had another recorded workout and this one was markedly better:
Belterra Park, Dirt/Fast, Breezing | 37.03 (1/5)
Note: this time was 1.41 seconds faster than the next fastest horse (another unraced 2YO) and well over two seconds faster than two experienced horses who also worked that day. I’m quite proud of my Georgey.