Guest Article: Regal Bloodlines — Baffert’s Luminance

[Please welcome Bob Schless and his excellent, detailed pedigree analysis to All Day Racing!  You can also find Bob’s work at  Enjoy! SA]

Horse: Luminance: (Tale of the Cat-Siren Serenade, by Unbridled’s Song), sold for $320,000 at KEESEP sale and is trained by Bob Baffert and owned by Kaleem Shah, Inc.

Recent Performance:

Luminance’s first career start was a special one. Ridden by Martin Garcia, she made a bold 6 wide move to meet the other horses at the top of the stretch and then asserted her dominance by rolling to a 2 1/2 length victory while smashing the 5 furlong track record (57:39) at Del Mar. What is more impressive is that according to Trakus she ran 30 feet further than the 2nd place finisher, Conquest Archangel. She also showed an ability to rate which is always nice to see. Here is the video of that performance:

Bob Baffert is pointing Luminance to the G1 Del Mar Debutante on August 30th. This filly is bred with a sprinter’s prowess from her sire line but with a good amount of stamina and great class influences from her distaff side. Let’s take a closer her at Luminance and see what makes her bloodlines so special.

Dam line and other mares: Siren Serenade

Luminance is out of the stakes placed mare Siren Serenade. She is full of class as she is a full sister to one winner and a half sister to 4 other winners, including the Grade II winner Saarland ($595,250) and The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner George Vancouver ($700,282). Her second dam, Versailles Treaty, was overly impressive on the race track earning close to 1.3 million dollars while never being out of the money in 20 starts (20- 9-9-2), 15 being Stakes races. At 3 she won the Grade I Alabama, Gazelle and Test and finished 2nd in The Breeders’ Cup Distaff at 3 and 4. She is the granddaughter of Northern Dancer on her sire side and Buckpasser on her female side. Luminance’s 3rd dam, Ten Cents a Dance, was multiple stakes placed who gave off 3 stakes winners. Just as important is that she is a a half sister to General Assembly who has held the Travers Stakes record time of 2:00:00 for 34 years. Her 4th Dam Exclusive Dancer was a multiple stakes winner and her 5th Dam Exclusive was a Reine de Course mare who gave off 5 stakes winners including Exclusive Native (Sire of Affirmed). Other Reine de Course mares on her distaff side include the great Busanda ( Son of War Admiral,Dam of Buckpasser and hails from the great La Troienne Family, Pettitioner (Grand dam of undefeated Danzig) and Natalma (Blue Hen Dam of Northern Dancer). Luminance comes from Family Number 10, the same family where the Hall of Fame filly Beldame came from as well as Belmont winners Sarava (2002) and Drosselmeyer (2010). By looking at the mares on her female tail line I would sum it up with one word, “Royal”.

Dam Sire: Unbridled’s Song

Unbridled’s Song, a Grade 1 winner and one of the top commercial sires of his generation and is a sire of sires, died this past August at age 20. He is a horse who exudes class and quality. Unbridled’s Song won the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, The Florida Derby and The Wood Memorial. His racing career was cut short in 1997 when he suffered a broken cannon bone while training up to The Donn Handicap. His overall earnings on the track were $1,311,800. He was a big strapping colt-over 17 hands-like his dad Unbridled. His size, scope and mass contributes to his awesome profile. He is most noticeably a dirt sire; he really doesn’t sire impactful turf runners. This is noted by an absence of Group winners in Europe. I also believe that he gives off more speed than stamina to his offspring, yet Will Take Charge won at a classic distance. From 15 crops of racing age, Unbridled’s Song has sired:

  • 106 stakes winners
  • 47 Graded Stakes winners
  • 17 Grade 1 Stakes winners-at least one a year for 12 consecutive years
  • Broodmare Sire of 64 Stakes winners
  • 27 seven-figure earners out of 15 crops
  • Sired Will Take Charge, Graydar, Cross Traffic, Midshipman, Embur’s Song, Unrivaled Belle, Unbridled Elaine, Octave, Splendid Bended, Thorn Song, Zensational and Eight Belles.
  • The first stallion since Nasrullah to have 2 different sons reign as Champion Freshman Sire and Champion Juvenile Sire in the same year (2013)

Luminance’s 2nd Dam Sire, Unbridled, earned close to 4.5 million dollars racing while winning the Kentucky Derby and Breeder’s Cup Classic in 1990 in the process. As a sire, 10 of his offspring were Grade 1 winners, 4 were classic winners and 3 received Eclipse awards. He is also the last Kentucky Derby winner to have sired another winner (Grindstone 1996). He is also the last stallion to have sired one winner in each of America’s Triple Crown races (Grindstone, Red Bullet, Empire Maker). Unbridled is one of the few places where you can find Le Fabuleux and that is a powerful staying influence. He is also the broodmare sire of Tapit as well. Her 3rd Dam Sire, Fappiano, was sired by Mr. Prospector and besides Unbridled was the sire of Cryptoclerance  who earned close to 3.5 million dollars on the track. He gives off classic distance to his offspring also. Overall, by looking at Luminance’s Dam Sires, one can see an affinity for dirt and that there is enough stamina there for her to run longer distances as she grows and develops.

Some of you may be reading this and asking yourself, “I’ve read a lot so far about Luminance’s pedigree and haven’t seen anything mentioned yet about her sire. Why is this?” It’s because I feel that the mare is the most important parent of the two, playing a huge part in how far the horse can run and the class of the horse. It is the mare’s physical attributes which influence the developing foal in the womb and the foal also learns habits from its dam when young. Also, foals may also learn the “language of intimidation and submission” from their dam, and this imprinting may affect the foal’s status and rank within the herd. Many times, a mature horse will achieve status in a herd similar to that of its dam; the offspring of dominant mares become dominant themselves.

Sire: Tale of a Cat

Tale of a Cat earned $360,000 on the race track, winning 5 times in 9 starts from 7 to 8.5 furlongs. He broke the Monmouth 8F track record in his maiden score (like Luminance) and won the 1997 King’s Bishop Stakes (7F) by 5 1/2 lengths. He has had a tremendous career as a sire, with top performers including include Gr.1 winners Stopchargingmaria (2014), She’s A Tiger (2013), Lion Heart, Gio Ponti, Cat Moves, My Trusty Cat and Tale of Ekati. In 2013, Tale of the Cat was the leading North American Juvenile Sire by progeny earnings ($1,822,245). Tale of the Cat’s offspring seem to do a bit of everything. They win at 2, 3, and as older runners, they win on dirt, turf, and synthetics, they win short and long, and they win in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres! He also breeds speed and breeds babies that win quick.

Tale of the Cat is one of his dads (Storm Cat) finest producers. Storm Cat didn’t do much on the race track, but in the breeding shed it was a different story. Storm Cat was the leading sire in North America in 1999 and 2000 and the leading Juvenile Sire a record seven times. He is also known as a sire of sires. He is the sire of 180 stakes winners world wide, including 8 champions, and his offspring have earned over 128 million dollars. He too was known to produce precocious and fast horses like Tale of the Cat. Luminance’s 3rd sire, Storm Bird, sired 63 stakes winners including greats like Summer Squall and Bluebird who also went on to be great sires themselves. Luminance shares a 3X5 cross with Mr. Prospector, a 4X4 cross with Northern Dancer, and a 5X5 cross with Native Dancer.

Tale of a Cat’s dam, Yarn, is of interest. She is a full sister to Preach, the dam of Pulpit. She is also dam of Minardi (Group 1 winner) and Granddam of champion Johannesurg and Fed Biz. Her family traces back to the Reine De Course mare Monarchy who is a full sister to Round Table.


After looking at Luminance’s pedigree and her track breaking performance, she can really turn out to be any sort. Tale of the Cat’s offspring have shown to flourish on any surface (this may be the reason she was able to run so big on the Del Mar polytrack). I do feel though that she can and will take well to dirt looking at most of the other colts in her pedigree. In terms of distance her sire has given off Gio Ponti who won at a mile and a quarter as did Unbridled’s Song’s Will Take Charge as well. I can see her being best from a mile to a mile and an eighth. As I studied her pedigree I took note that Tale of the Cat when paired up with Northern Dancer in the female tail line has had good success, as also the case when he is paired with Unbridled’s Song as a broodmare. In Luminance I feel that her bloodlines reek of champions and class and that she has every right to become a superb talent in the coming years.

Image: Dormant Braincell Research Project, “Bob Baffert.” Copyright 2006. Creative Commons 2.0.