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Sparkman: Grass is greener for Bowies Hero and his sire, Artie Schiller

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

Benoit and Associates
Bowies Hero, like his sire a turf specialist, wins the Grade 2 Mathis Brothers Mile in Tuesday at Santa Anita.

The somewhat irrational American prejudice against turf horses as stallions makes it difficult for a turf specialist to really succeed as a stallion in the United States. Even Kitten’s Joy, one of the world’s best sires who led the American sire list in 2013, has enjoyed relatively little success as a sire of sales yearlings and has never had a $1 million yearling.

Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller is not a bad stallion, but 71 percent of the $41.6 million earned by his progeny has come from races on grass. That is almost exactly the obverse of the purse distribution by surface in North America, and as a result the son of El Prado will stand for a nominal fee of $10,000 at WinStar Farm in 2018, while he commands a fee of about $17,000 ($22,000 Australian) on his annual sojourns to Australia.

Artie Schiller’s latest American stakes winner, Tuesday’s Mathis Brothers Mile winner Bowies Hero, fits the profile of his sire’s progeny. The Grade 2 Mathis Brothers Mile at Santa Anita was Bowies Hero’s fifth win and fourth stakes win in 11 career starts, all on the turf.

Bred in Kentucky by the de Moussac family’s Haras du Mezeray, Artie Schiller was sold as a yearling for only $67,000 by William Entenmann at Keeneland’s September sale and raced for Entenmann’s Timber Bay Stable and his daughter Denise Walsh and trainer Jimmy Jerkens. Second in the Pilgrim Stakes on turf at 2, he took a shot in the Grade 2 Remsen on dirt but finished fourth, beaten more than 15 lengths by Read the Footnotes.

Jerkens tried Artie Schiller once more on dirt in his first start at 3, but another fourth was convincing enough that his remaining 16 starts were all on grass. He won eight of them, beginning with the Woodlawn Stakes at Pimlico on Preakness Day and progressing through the Grade 3 Hill Prince, Grade 2 Hall of Fame, and Grade 2 Jamaica to establish himself as the best turf 3-year-old in the country. Racing luck abandoned him in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, however, when he was trapped on the inside for almost the entire journey, finishing 12th.

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He was just as good at 4, winning the Grade 2 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland and the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch at Saratoga before outdueling Leroidesanimaux in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Leroidesanimaux possessed the better overall record for the year, however, and that swayed voters in his favor for the Eclipse Award for champion turf male.

Artie Schiller raced three times at 5 in 2006, and showed he was as good as ever with a nose defeat to Miesque’s Approval in the Maker’s Mark Mile, but was injured in August and retired to Ben Walden’s Hurricane Hall for the 2007 season. A handsome, correct horse, he had plenty of pedigree, since his dam, Hidden Light, by Majestic Light, had won both the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks and Hollywood Oaks, and was a full sister to Grade 1 winner Prince True.

He has sired 43 stakes winners, including four Grade 1/Group 1 winners, but his best offspring is 2017 Australian champion 3-year-old colt Flying Artie (out of Flying Ruby, by Rubiton) and 14 of his stakes winners have resulted from his annual trips to Australia. One of Artie Schiller’s two American Grade 1 winners, Wee Miss Artie (Athena’s Gift, by Fusaichi Pegasus), won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity over Keeneland’s artificial surface in 2013.

Bowies Hero, who was bred in Kentucky by Pope McLean, Pope McLean Jr., and Marc McLean, is typical of Artie Schiller’s best progeny. He won the Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes among his four starts last year at 2, and the Mathis Brothers Mile was his third win from seven outings this year, following victories in the listed Singletary and Oceanside stakes.

The first foal out of the unraced Sky Mesa mare Remembered, Bowies Hero sold for only $17,000 to RJG Racing Management at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale, and was pinhooked to the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale, where ELA Racing Stable purchased him for $32,000. He races for Agave Racing Stable and trainer Philip D’Amato.

Remembered is half-sister to Mint Lane, by Maria’s Mon, who won the Grade 2 Dwyer, and to Grade 1-placed Sister Girl Blues, by Hold for Gold, dam of Grade 3 Sunland Derby winner Firing Line, by Line of David, who finished second to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the 2015 Kentucky Derby. Another half-sister, So Sharp, by St. Liam, is dam of 2017 Grade 1 Cigar Mile winner Sharp Azteca, by Freud.

Bowies Hero descends from the great family keyed by the top-class full sisters Kamar and Love Smitten, by Key to the Mint, who are responsible for such top-level winners as Gorgeous, Key to the Moon, Music Show, Swift Temper, Seaside Attraction, Golden Attraction, Turbulent Descent, and Swain.




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Photo Credits:   Vassar Photography (Northern CA)  |  Benoit Photo (Southern CA)  |  Michael J. Marten (Southern CA)

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