By Frances J. Karon
When Paris Lights won the G1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga on Saturday, she became the 10th G1SW for her sire Curlin (Smart Strike). The lightly raced 3yo filly, trained by Bill Mott for WinStar Stablemates Racing, has accomplished a lot in a short period of time, having only made her first start at the end of April at Gulfstream (and getting her first win on May 31st at Churchill), and is now the winner of 3-of-4 starts.
Paris Lights is the first foal out of the winning Bernardini mare Paris Bikini, a half sister to G3SW America (by Bernardini’s sire A.P. Indy). Their dam Lacadena (Fasliyev) comes from a less-heralded line of Blush With Pride’s branch of Broodmare of the Year Best in Show’s family. Blush With Pride, fourth dam of Paris Lights, produced, among others, Broodmare of the Year Better Than Honour (Deputy Minister), a G2SW who was the dam of two Belmont Stakes winners — the filly Rags to Riches (A.P. Indy) and Jazil (Seeking the Gold); and the dam of European champion/Irish Oaks winner Peeping Fawn (Danehill). Other than Paris Lights and America, the only other SW under Lacadena’s dam Butterfly Blue (Sadler’s Wells) is G3SW Ecrivain (Lope de Vega).
Although she was just a $200,000 RNA — Curlin’s yearlings averaged nearly $440,000 that season — for breeder WinStar at the 2018 Keeneland September sale, Paris Lights was bred to be a very good one, as she’s the 13th SW sired by Curlin from a Seattle Slew-line mare, a point Curlin’s Global Campaign (dam by A.P. Indy) emphasized on the same day of the CCA Oaks when he earned the second G3 of his career in the Monmouth Cup Stakes. Both of these horses, plus seven more of the SWs bred on this cross, come through Seattle Slew’s son A.P. Indy, broodmare sire of four SWs by Curlin. A.P. Indy’s sons Bernardini (three, including Paris Lights) and Malibu Moon (one, G1SW Stellar Wind) and grandson Tapit (one, G2SW Tenfold) account for the rest of them.
This is a pattern we saw with Curlin’s sire Smart Strike, whose success with Seattle Slew-line mares (nine SWs) and especially with A.P. Indy — GSWs Centre Court-G1, Crown Queen-G1, and Teresa Z-G3 are among his five SWs produced from A.P. Indy mares — suggested that Curlin would also excel with the nick. It’s also worked with all of Smart Strike’s Northern Hemisphere-based stallion sons, as all of them good enough to have a Graded winner to their credit have sired at least one GSW on the Seattle Slew cross: besides Curlin, there’s English Channel (three GSWs from four Seattle Slew-line SWs), Lookin At Lucky (two GSWs from four SWs), and Square Eddie (one GSW from four SWs).
And while it’s early days for the next generation, Curlin’s son Palace Malice, whose oldest foals are 3yos and include five SWs, is continuing the trend; the dam of his SW Crystalle is by Flatter (A.P. Indy), while the second dam of his G2SW Mr. Monomoy is by Williamstown (Seattle Slew). He’s also got stakes-placed runners Addilyn (Malibu Moon), Spitefulness (second dam by Capote, by Seattle Slew), and Duchess of Sussex (dam by Dixie Union, who is out of a Capote mare) whose dams incorporate a strain of Seattle Slew in some form or fashion.
Keeping an eye to the future, with Curlin’s help, Butterfly Blue may be on the verge of becoming a more important branch of Blush With Pride: America, that G3-winning, G1-placed half sister to Paris Lights’ dam, has a Curlin 2yo, her first foal, named First Captain, and he was the co-sale topper (with another son of Curlin) at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale when West Point and partners purchased him for $1.5 million. America has a yearling filly by Curlin as well, while Curlin is also the sire of Rags to Riches’ yearling colt. Both America and Rags to Riches are daughters of A.P. Indy, so their Curlins are bred on the same cross as Paris Lights and from the same family. (The Curlin/Rags to Riches colt also has the huge benefit of Deputy Minister inbreeding, which has been another enormously successful pattern with Curlin.)
Curlin, sire of 67 SWs, stands for $175,000 at Hill ’n’ Dale, alongside his champion son Good Magic, who has first foals this year.