With his victory in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Sunday, Algorithms outran last year’s champion juvenile, Hansen, by five lengths. The exacta was an endorsement for the increasing importance of the A.P. Indy male line in American racing and especially as an indicator of classic potential.
Algorithms is the 12th stakes winner for his sire, classic winner Bernardini, who is a son of A.P. Indy, and Hansen is by that stallion’s grandson Tapit (by Pulpit). In winning the Holy Bull, the undefeated Algorithms took a major step up in class to defeat the current champion and leap over the comparative form of his previous start in a Gulfstream Park allowance, when he beat the Bernardini colt Consortium, who finished last in the Holy Bull.
The A.P. Indy tribe and the Bernardini stock, in particular, tend to show progress toward the end of their juvenile season and through their second year, which is their classic aptitude coming into play.
As important as the influence of Bernardini and his sire is to the classic potential of Algorithms, the sire is only part of the equation that produced the Holy Bull winner. Algorithms is the fifth stakes winner of his dam, the Cryptoclearance mare Ava Knowsthecode. She was a homebred for the Oakbrook Farm of the late Bill Klussman and his wife Pat. Catherine Parke, owner of Valkyre Stud north of Lexington, purchased the dam of Ava Knowsthecode, Ava Romance, for the Klussmans in 1989. The price for Ava Romance was $95,000, and the 8-year-old stakes-winning mare was in foal to Claiborne Farm stallion Majestic Light.
Parke recalled that she bought the daughter of Belmont Stakes winner Avatar, who also stood at Claiborne, from the consignment of Dan Mallory, agent. Ava Romance spent the rest of her long life at Valkyre, and Parke said the mare died a “couple of months ago at 30 and is buried on the farm.”
Ava Romance produced a pair of stakes winners for the Klussmans: Ava Singstheblues (Dixieland Band) and Time for Romance (Gilded Time), as well as stakes-placed Ava Knowsthecode.
For the Klussmans and other clients, Parke is closely involved in managing the stock at Valkyre, where she raises good horses every year. And Parke said that “Ava Knowsthecode has been an amazing mare for us.”
Truly, mares who produce five stakes winners are rare birds, and Ava Knowsthecode has a pair of G2 winners in Keyed Entry (Honour and Glory) and Justin Philip (First Samurai), along with G3 winners Algorithms and Successful Mission (Successful Appeal) and stakes winner Alex’s Allure (Sky Classic). The latter is the only one of the mare’s stakes winners who is a filly.
Ava Knowsthecode is an uncommonly successful mare for a reason. Parke said, “She is amazing genetically and mechanically. The foals out of this mare are beautiful animals. The top horsemen all like them, and they have a beautiful head, an elegant topline, and a strong body. Ava Knowsthecode has an Arab head, with a wide forehead and small muzzle, and she puts a really handsome look on her foals. Then, in addition to the physical qualities, she is an exceptionally strong walker. When I walk her, I almost have to trot to keep up to her, and there is something mechanically very special about her. She is able to cover the ground so smoothly and to cover so much more of it.”
As a racehorse, Ava Knowsthecode was useful, winning three races and placing third in the G3 Senorita Stakes. Parke noted that if the mare “had only had a little more leg, she’d have been a more effective racehorse, but she was good anyway. Every foal we’ve had out of her has an inch or inch and a half more leg, but has her competitive attitude and hickory legs and great hip. Ava stands 15.3 and has good bone and substance, is quite attractive, and she would run as hard and fast as she could. Her constitution is remarkable. She is never sick and is very hardy.”
That ruggedness is probably part of the reason that the mare’s foals are so consistently effective as racers. But she has also matched a wide range of stallions and has produced foals with speed and athleticism.
One of the things that stands out about Algorithms, Parke said, is that his “head and neck are set on differently than the others. The others’ necks are set on at the 45-degree angle of a sprinter or miler, but Algorithms is set a little lower like a show hunter, but he has the big hip and the great bone” of his dam.
An elegant colt from the second crop by Bernardini, Algorithms sold for a moderately profitable $170,000 as a Keeneland September yearling to Starlight Partners in 2010. Then last year, Parke sold the yearling full brother to Algorithms at the Keeneland September yearling sale for $625,000 to John Ferguson, the primary buying representative for Darley. He is a newly minted 2-year-old and is named Encode.
Parke confirmed that Ava Knowsthecode will return to Bernardini this year.
Copyright © 2012, Frank Mitchell
Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is a private consultant to breeders on pedigrees, matings, and conformation. He is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in central Kentucky. Check out Frank’s lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.