Pedigree notebook: An Eclipse Awards triple for Curlin

January 31st, 2023

There’s a lot of pedigree coverage for contenders on the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail, but what about all the other divisions in Thoroughbred racing? This is a space to highlight a wider range of pedigree musings.

Malathaat, Nest, Elite Power — 2022 Eclipse Awards

Hall of Famer Curlin added to his historic resume by siring an extraordinary three individual champions of 2022Malathaat (older dirt female), Nest (three-year-old filly), and Elite Power (male sprinter). Although you can find precedents further back in American racing history, this is the first time that a stallion was responsible for three different champions, in a single season, since the Eclipse Awards era began a half-century ago.

Curlin is expanding upon his own rich genetic heritage. His sire Smart Strike, grandsire Mr. Prospector, and broodmare sire Deputy Minister are all among the influential stallions who have sired two divisional Eclipse champions in a single year. Curlin was part of Smart Strike’s dynamic double along with English Channel in 2007.

Sires with two or more individual Eclipse winners in same year (since 1971)

Sire (Year)
Mr. Prospector (1982)
Conquistador Cielo, Gold Beauty
Seattle Slew (1984)
Slew O' Gold, Swale
Cox's Ridge (1985)
Vanlandingham, Life's Magic
Nureyev (1987)
Theatrical, Miesque
Alydar (1988)
Alysheba, Easy Goer
Deputy Minister (1989)
Open Mind, Go For Wand
Seeking the Gold (1994)
Heavenly Prize, Flanders
Irish River (1994)
Paradise Creek, Hatoof
Cee's Tizzy (2001)
Tiznow, Gourmet Girl
Sadler's Wells (2003)
High Chaparral, Islington
Saint Ballado (2005)
Saint Liam, Ashado
Smart Strike (2007)
Curlin, English Channel
City Zip (2014)
Work All Week, Dayatthespa
Quality Road (2017)
Abel Tasman, Caledonia Road
Into Mischief (2020)
Authentic, Gamine
Curlin (2022)
Malathaat, Nest, Elite Power

A 'Slew' of similar patterns

Malathaat, who had also reigned as the champion three-year-old filly of 2021, was one of Curlin’s four prior Eclipse honorees. Vino Rosso was voted champion older dirt male for 2019, Good Magic clinched the 2017 champion two-year-old male crown, and Stellar Wind won the three-year-old filly title in 2015.

Interestingly, like Stellar Wind, all three of his 2022 champions are out of Seattle Slew-line mares. Malathaat and Nest are bred very similarly. Both of their dams are by Slew’s Hall of Fame son A.P. Indy.

Malathaat is a third-generation Grade 1 winner in her female line. Her dam, Dreaming of Julia, captured the 2012 Frizette (G1), and Dreaming of Julia’s dam, Dream Rush, turned the Prioress (G1)/Test (G1) double in 2007. Malathaat’s three-year-old full sister, Julia Shining, aims to maintain the family tradition. Currently the unbeaten Demoiselle (G2) winner, Julia Shining hopes to emulate Malathaat by taking the Kentucky Oaks (G1).

Nest is herself a full sister to Idol, the 2021 Santa Anita H. (G1) winner. Their dam, the stakes-winning Marion Ravenwood, is out of Grade 2 heroine Andujar, who was also multiple Grade 1-placed. This is the family of Kentucky Derby and Preakness (G1) heroes Majestic Prince (1969) and Real Quiet (1998), both denied the Triple Crown in the Belmont (G1).

Curlin's champion daughters Malathaat (inside) and Nest work in company at Keeneland ahead of the 2022 Breeders' Cup Distaff (Photo by Coady Photography)

Elite Power’s dam, Broadway’s Alibi, is by Vindication, the unbeaten Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) victor of 2002 and the final champion sired by Seattle Slew. (Also out of a Vindication mare is Curlin’s 2016 Preakness winner, Exaggerator). Broadway’s Alibi scored her biggest win in the Forward Gal (G2), but she might be best remembered for her gallant second in the 2012 Kentucky Oaks. Descending from Eliza, the champion two-year-old filly of 1992, Elite Power hails from the family of 2011 Florida Derby (G1) winner and sire Dialed In.

The Curlin/Seattle Slew cross is attested in a wide array of major winners. Indeed, a couple of other 2022 Eclipse finalists are bred on similar patterns, sired by Curlin from mares by A.P. Indy-line stallions. Malathaat’s familiar foe Clairiere is out of a mare by Bernardini, and Cody’s Wish, edged by Elite Power in the voting for the sprint title, is out of a mare by Tapit. Promising sophomore Lord Miles, who runs in Saturday’s Holy Bull (G3), echoes the theme since his broodmare sire is Majestic Warrior.

While Malathaat has retired following her epic Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) verdict, Clairiere stays in training to pursue that prize for the third straight year. Nest will likewise return, as will Elite Power and Cody’s Wish, the respective winners of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and Dirt Mile (G1). With such older stars back in action, and up-and-coming youngsters, Curlin could add to his Eclipse laurels in 2023.