Horse running through field

Dayjur and his Daughters

By Roger Lyons

Although not one to beat the drum for inbreeding, I’m willing to relent on the occasion of the pensioning of Shadwell Farm’s Dayjur, a stallion that’s been very good value for breeders on a budget. Bred Danzig over Mr. Prospector, he was bound to be almost exclusively a sire of sprinters, regardless of the mares he got, but he did get some very good mares early on. That and his speed contribution probably both figure prominently in the early results of crossing his daughters and their daughters with certain Mr. Prospector-line stallions. Dayjur apparently has an uncanny ability to mediate inbreeding to Mr. Prospector. (Click here to view Dayjur’s Conformation photo, stats, etc)

Gone West provides only an inkling of that since he only had four mares with Dayjur in their ancestries. From the mare Top Order (Dayjur-Victoria Cross, by Spectacular Bid) he got the colt Top Cross, winner of the listed Lamplighter S. (9f-T), but that’s a little too close for comfort at 2×4 to Mr. Prospector. Gone West sons Elusive Quality and Mr. Greeley have done a lot better.

Elusive Quality has had foals out of ten mares with Dayjur in their ancestries, and three of those mares produced superior runners. Elusive City, out of Star of Paris (Dayjur-Liturgism, by Native Charger), picked up on the speed angle winning the 6f Prix Morny (G1). So did multiple listed stakes winner Princess Janie, out of Petite Princess (Dayjur-Classy Women, by Relaunch), winner of the Just Smashing S. and the Mongo Queen S., both at three and both at 6f, and Great Notion, out of Evening Primrose (Dayjur-Water Lily, by Riverman), winner of the Southwest S. at 8f.

That one-generation break in the distance of inbreeding makes a huge difference. Just ask Mr. Greeley. He’s had seven mares with Dayjur in their ancestries, and three of those mares have produced listed stakes winners by him. At two, the filly Foxy Danseur, out of Ravish Me (Wild Again-In Conference, by Dayjur), won the Sharp Cat S. at 8.5f and at three the Cascapedia S. at 7f. The filly Parisian Affair, out of Star of Paris (Dayjur-Liturgism, by Native Charger–same mare as above), won the Phoenix S. at five going 5f on turf. The filly Zona, out of Miss Gaily (Dayjur-Gaily Gaily, by Cure the Blues), won the 8f Premio Seregno.

Almost everything Dayjur touches turns to speed, which is not a bad limitation for an ancestor to offer, as is suggested by other stallions that have had good Mr. Prospector inbreds from mares in descent of Dayjur–and from precious little opportunity.

Awesome Again, whose second dam is by Mr. Prospector, has Everyday Heroes, out of Lucette (Dayjur-Thirty Zip, by Tri Jet), one of only two opportunities with mares in descent of Dayjur. Everyday Heroes won the 6f Hirsch Jacobs S. (G3).

From only three mares, E Dubai, by Mr. Prospector, has sired the 2005 colt Dubai Destination, out of Darlin (Dayjur-So Endearing, by Raise a Native). Dubai Destination won the Eillo S. at 6f.

Northern Afleet sired Nay’s Tap, a gelding out of Tapforaly (Pleasant Tap-Aly’s Daylite, by Dayjur) and winner of the Sophomore Sprint Championship S. at 6f, that from only two opportunities.

If the good filly Shadow Cast, by Smart Strike and out of Daily Special (Dayjur-Nafees, by Raja Baba), were the only representative of inbreeding to Mr. Prospector by way of a mare in descent of Dayjur, she would qualify as the wildest of flukes. Smart Strike hasn’t otherwise done his best work with mares in descent of Mr. Prospector, either. Shadow Cast, in fact, is the only superior runner by Smart Strike and out of a mare in any descent of Mr. Prospector from 57 chances, only four of which involved Dayjur. Nevertheless, she won six stakes, four of them graded, including the Personal Ensign S. (G1) at 10f. Not everything Dayjur touches turns to speed after all.

One case does not a pattern make, but, even though Shadow Cast truly is an outlier, the good results by a variety of stallions from very small numbers of similarly inbred foals suggest that she is nonetheless part of a pattern of uncharacteristically effective inbreeding involving Dayjur.

Tesio insisted on using close inbreeding at least once per crop although very few of his crops yielded as many as two instances. Never mind that Nearco was one of those. Don’t forget that Tesio’s number one criterion for close inbreeding was that it involve the soundest individuals, and Dayjur’s record of 78% runners and 52% winners probably weighs as much in the accounting as his speed and the quality of the families he got in his early crops.

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