Pedigree notebook: Cornucopia of angles in Super Chow

March 21st, 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.

When speedy Super Chow was off a beat slow in Saturday’s Hutcheson S. at Gulfstream Park, the 1-5 favorite found himself in an unfamiliar spot — off the pace. But the Jorge Delgado pupil showed a new dimension to impose his authority, rack up his fourth stakes victory, and remain perfect at the six-furlong trip. His only losses have come in graded stakes going a shade farther, a distant third in last summer’s 6 1/2-furlong Saratoga Special (G2) and a gritty second in the seven-furlong Swale (G3).

Super Chow is the top performer so far by multiple Grade 1-winning sprinter Lord Nelson, who like his namesake, died too soon. The equine Lord Nelson bravely battled laminitis until he had to be euthanized in 2021, at the young age of nine.

A well-bred son of Pulpit and a Seeking the Gold mare, Lord Nelson had a pedigree that enticed occasional stretch-outs, but sprinting was his game. The Spendthrift Farm standard-bearer was unbeatable at up to six furlongs, including scores in the 2016 Bing Crosby (G1) (in stakes-record time) and Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1). While seven furlongs was just on the edge of his telescope, he managed to beat Texas Red in the 2015 San Vicente (G2) and captured the Triple Bend (G1) during his flawless four-year-old campaign.

Lord Nelson’s pedigree sported inbreeding to Mr. Prospector, like another outstanding son of Pulpit, Tapit. “Mr. P” sired Pulpit’s dam, Preach, as well as Seeking the Gold. Hall of Famer Buckpasser also turns up twice in Lord Nelson, as an ancestor of Pulpit’s sire, A.P. Indy, and as the damsire of Seeking the Gold.

Super Chow’s pedigree doubles down on Seeking the Gold — and by extension, the Mr. P and Buckpasser angles. His dam, Bonita Mia, is by Warrior’s Reward, who is himself out of a Seeking the Gold mare.

But Super Chow’s parents have an even closer genetic connection in their direct female line. Bonita Mia’s dam, Miss Simpatia, and Lord Nelson’s granddam, Miss Linda, are full sisters from Argentina. Miss Linda and Miss Simpatia are both by the influential Southern Halo and out of Group 3 winner Miss Peggy, from a prolific family.

Miss Linda, an Argentine champion, continued her career stateside and earned her signature win in the 2001 Spinster (G1). She collected several major placings, notably a third in the 2002 Apple Blossom (G1) to Hall of Famer Azeri.

Given Miss Linda’s performance on the racetrack, the fact that her full brother Mr. Nancho was also a champion in Argentina, and the deep wellsprings of black-type in their family, I’d say that inbreeding to their dam, Miss Peggy, qualifies as an example of the “Rasmussen Factor.” (The pattern of duplicating a superior female is named after the late Leon Rasmussen, the longtime Daily Racing Form pedigree maven.)

As if the repetition of Seeking the Gold and the Miss Linda/Miss Simpatia sister act weren’t enough, there was further rationale behind the breeding of Super Chow. Bonita Mia’s dam, Miss Simpatia, had exceptional success with sons of A.P. Indy.

Bred to Indygo Shiner, Miss Simpatia produced Miss Match, a Group 1 winner in Argentina who added the 2011 Santa Margarita (G1). Miss Simpatia’s filly by Malibu Moon, Spendthrift-bred millionaire Carina Mia, won the 2016 Acorn (G1) and placed in six other Grade 1s, including the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) (to champion Songbird) and the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).

Bonita Mia has furnished her own chapter through Super Chow, by the A.P. Indy-line Lord Nelson. Super Chow has a juvenile full sister, yet unnamed, but worth keeping an eye out for as a $125,000 Keeneland September purchase by St. Elias Stables.

Lord Nelson’s final salute will come from his 2022 foals, now yearlings. In the meantime, his second-crop son Super Chow is paying tribute to his sire, and to his breeder, the team at Spendthrift Farm that arranged the Lord Nelson-Bonita Mia marriage.