Irish Actress . . . A tribute
We recently learned that Irish Actress, the first thoroughbred we owned as a group, passed away in 2013 at her retirement home. Anyone who has ever had pets or has been around animals will understand the impact of such news even though she wasn't immediately in our lives any longer. Her passing triggered many great memories -- from the day we bought her while drinking the better part of a bottle of Kettle One in my living room while our bidders acted on our behalf on site at the sale to the days after she produced her final foal for us (Irishtocat).
By the time we bought her, Irish Actress (at left in a lovely photo by Barbara Livingston that she so generously shared with me years ago) had been written off as a strong broodmare prospect by knowledgeable horsemen. A hard-knocking daughter of Seattle Slew line stallion Seattle Song, Irish Actress was a 1987 foal who would ultimately start 54 times, win multiple stakes races and be a graded stakes-placed runner with over half a million dollars in earnings at a time when purses made that no easy accomplishment. She was bred to sires like Storm Cat in her early years and hadn't produced much when we bought her in foal to the Storm Cat stallion, Tomorrow's Cat, in December 2002. In March 2003, we were blessed with a beautiful filly who would become our first winner at Saratoga and who is now one of our broodmare's, Bella Attrice (her name plays off the Irish and uses Italian and means "beautiful actress" in that language.) Irish Actress also produced Hymnself for us -- a beautiful and talented horse whose injuries kept him from showing all he could do on the track, Orient Song who was a good natured horse without a lot of racing talent despite how "purdy" he was, Strikealinethruit who was one of the hardest trying horses around and was unlucky not to have won more times but she did run well for us at Saratoga and Belmont and added a win at Belmont to our memory collection, and finally Irishtocat who, like Hymnself, never quite lived up to the potential we think was there on the race track.
At left, Irish Actress gets a kiss from one of her admiring owners.
In addition to the foals she left as a legacy, she was the subject of a piece in Eclipse award winning photographer Barbara Livingston's More Old Friends and Barbara continued to feature pictures of her babies and Irish on her Web site. Irish Actress, a horse who was always the boss of the broodmare band, was successful as a racehorse and proved a decent broodmare as well with her offspring collectively earning over $1 million though she never had that "big horse." At 26 years old in 2013, Irish Actress lived a long, full life and for that we're happy for her but more importantly we're thankful for all the joy, excitement, and hope she brought to all those attached directly to her or one of her babies. With that in mind, we can look to the Irish blessing:
And if my parting has left a void, then fill it with remembered joy.
Remembered joy is indeed what we will take from Irish Actress being in our lives -- it may also inspire a name of one of her descendents should we not sell the foals at auction. You never know . . .
On to Irish Actress' descendents, we were absolutely thrilled that Strikealinethruit produced a beautiful little chestnut, Langfuhr filly on January 31 (photos above and below at just minutes old - top photo is sleeping at 1 day old). The filly stood within minutes and first-time mom Strikealinethruit took some time to figure out what that red lump was bouncing around in her stall before the filly was able to nurse appropriately a few days later. Many thanks to Cheryl for all her attention to the feeding needs of the little filly as her mom learned the ropes of nursing a baby. It was so exciting to be there to watch her being born and I hope you enjoy some of the early photos of the little filly, including one of proud "mama Sue" as she gives the newborn a much appreciated bottle.
In addition to Strikealinethruit, Bella Attrice is due to foal at the end of February, early March -- she is quite large already and our expectation is that she'll have another nice foal for us. Below is a shot of Bella Attrice as well as her 2013 Posse filly, whom we call Pete.
This is Pete, with the characteristic Irish Actress feather marking, a 2013 filly by Posse out of multiple winner (3 time winner at Saratoga!) Bella Attrice.
And here we have the ever lovely Bella Attrice, dam of Pete above and the first horse we bred. She has the same domineering personality among her fellow broodmares as her mama Irish Actress had. She is in foal to Discreetly Mine for 2014 and will be bred to Travers winner Stay Thirsty for 2015.
Finally, one last shot of Irish Actress' winning daughter Strikealinethruit with her adorable first foal by Langfuhr.