- Patricia McQueen
While Secretariat sired Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer Lady’s Secret, plus classic winner and champion Risen Star, there’s no doubt that Secretariat’s lasting legacy as a sire is through his daughters. Nearly 130 of them produced stakes winners themselves, and more than 200 Secretariat mares have stakes winners coming through their female-line descendants. All told, through the end of 2021 there were more than 1,000 stakes winners through four generations of their female lines. Those include at least 425 graded/group stakes winners and some 150 grade/group 1 winners in dozens of countries around the globe.
The most successful mare by number of stakes winners produced is Lady Winborne. A foal of 1976, she was the dam of grade 1 winners Al Mamoon and La Gueriere, grade 3 winner Lost Soldier and two other stakes winners – that total of five leads all Secretariat mares. But that wasn’t all she did. Dozens more stakes winners have come from her daughters down through the generations – she truly was the gift who kept on giving. Cinegita was another daughter of Secretariat whose female line is still producing stakes winners and even champions after all these years, such as 2017 Chilean Triple Crown winner Wow Cat.
In terms of overall impact on the breed, however, the mares who produced legendary stallions lead the way. First came Terlingua and her son Storm Cat, and they were followed by Weekend Surprise and her son A.P. Indy. Storm Cat and A.P. Indy remain two of the most important stallions in recent decades, and their male-line descendants have kept the flame burning, through leading sires Giant’s Causeway, Into Mischief and Tapit.
Secrettame was another daughter whose son has had long-term impact. While Gone West was never a leading sire himself, his son Elusive Quality did achieve that title, and his sire line includes such top current sires as Speightstown and Quality Road.
Terlingua, Weekend Surprise and Secrettame are showcased in this article and the accompanying photo gallery, but honorable mention goes to other Secretariat daughters Six Crowns and Celtic Assembly. Six Crowns’ champion son Chief’s Crown was a very good sire, and appears in both North American and European pedigrees today despite an early demise at age 15. Celtic Assembly’s son Volksraad was for many years a thoroughly dominant sire in New Zealand.
For more about any of these mares, you can find their stories in my book Secretariat’s Legacy.
Born in 1976, this flying chestnut filly helped salvage Secretariat’s sagging reputation after his lackluster first crop. Remarkably, she set stakes records in six of her seven stakes wins, and her charisma made her one of Secretariat’s most adored offspring. She retired with earnings of $423,896, and as a broodmare she single-handedly built Overbrook Farm with her second foal, Storm Cat. She also produced multiple graded stakes winner Chapel of Dreams, who did her part to carry on the family line through her daughters.
Storm Cat won the grade 1 Young America Stakes at two in 1985, and was just a nose behind winner Tasso in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile that year. As a stallion, he led the general sire list twice, the broodmare sire list three times, and earned a record seven titles as leading sire of 2-year-olds. His champion son Giant’s Causeway was the most notable of his sire sons, but Storm Cat’s male line also produced today’s sire phenomenon Into Mischief. And let’s not forget hot young sire Gun Runner, who is out of a Giant’s Causeway mare.
A foal of 1980, she was a multiple graded stakes winner at two, and as she campaigned through age four she often placed in important stakes races for fillies and mares. She earned a total of $402,892 on the racetrack, and after her retirement to the broodmare ranks she launched a breeding dynasty for Lane’s End Farm. Her first named foal, Summer Squall, was born in 1987 and won the 1990 Preakness among his many important victories. He became a good sire, with Horse of the Year Charismatic and champion 2-year-old filly Storm Song among his offspring.
Weekend Surprise’s 1988 foal was the stakes-placed Honor Grades, who ran in the 1991 Preakness, although he finished far back.
The mare made it three classic starters in a row with her 1989 foal, 1992 Belmont Stakes winner A.P. Indy. He was so much more than a racehorse; after earning the Horse of the Year title that year, he became a dominant sire with an impact that is still felt today. He led both the general sire and broodmare sire lists twice each, and his male-line sons are led by leading sire Tapit.
An elegant chestnut filly born in 1978, Secrettame flashed some of her sire’s brilliance in her 10 races, which included one stakes win, for earnings of $101,598. She hit paydirt with her first foal, Gone West, a foal of 1984, but also produced multiple graded stakes winner Lion Cavern and minor Japanese stakes winner Lord Ultima among her 15 foals, most of which were male.
The 1984 crop year was full of exceptional 3-year-olds, such as Alysheba, Bet Twice, Lost Code and Java Gold, and Gone West still managed to win the grade 1 Dwyer and the grade 2 Gotham and Withers. More importantly, he would go on to be a very good sire and sire of sires – much better than any of the top colts from his generation. His sons include 2004 leading sire Elusive Quality and Speightstown, who remains a top sire today at age 25. Another son, Zafonic, was a champion in Europe and carries Gone West’s line in many international pedigrees. Elusive Quality’s son Quality Road is another impactful sire from this line.
For a photo gallery of these mares, their important stallion sons, and a few other offspring, click on the image of Secrettame below.