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Breeders' Cup 2017

Miss Empire Pedigree Profile

Unlike their male counterpart runners in the Willard L. Proctor Memorial, the fillies who race in the Cinderella Stakes often continue to improve during their careers.  Last year’s Cinderella Stakes heroine Killer Graces is a Grade 1 winner and is entered in Saturday’s Hollywood Oaks (G-2). Willa B. Awesome, who placed third behind Killer Graces in the Cinderella, transformed into a Santa Anita Oaks (G-1) winner and will face her rival in the Hollywood Oaks (G-2). Other Cinderella Stakes alumni include Test/Acorn star Champagne D’Oro, Princess Rooney (G-1) Champ River’s Prayer and Golden Ballet, dam of Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Drosselmeyer.  Does this year’s Cinderella princess have what it takes to mature into a Grade 1 star? 

Breaking from post position four in this year’s edition of the Cinderella Stakes, Miss Empire was bounced almost off of her feet by Tilde at the start.  Recovering quickly, the Peter Miller trainee settled nicely at the rail behind the pace setters Awesome Annie and Awe’some Kitten.  Racing as a team with Tilde down the backstretch, Miss Empire rounded the far turn, then swung to the outside and passed Awesome Annie.  After bearing in from the right handed whip to bump with that rival, jockey Kevin Krigger smacked Miss Empire multiple times left handed and the filly responded by drifting to the far outside, all the while lengthening her lead. Miss Empire dominated her rivals by 4 ¾ lengths, getting the 5 ½ furlongs in 1:05. 

A mid-April foal, Miss Empire completed a furlong in :10.02 at the OBS March Two Year Old in Training Sales sale. She brought $165,000 from the partnership of Barber, Barber and Tsujhara. In her debut, the young daughter of Empire Maker was off slow but made up some ground in the stretch of the 4 ½ furlong contest. She was beaten five lengths by Unusual Way, whom Miss Empire soundly beat in the Cinderella as her rival finished ninth.

MISS EMPIRE (Empire Maker - Miss Excitement, by Rajab) has a stamina oriented pedigree. Her sire, the royally bred Empire Maker, won the Florida Derby and Wood Memorial. Sent off as the favorite in the 2003 Kentucky Derby, Empire Maker was bested by Funny Cide. To be fair, the Derby favorite had suffered a foot bruise in previous weeks and likely wasn’t at his best. Skipping the Preakness Stakes, Empire Maker turned the tables on Funny Cide in the Belmont Stakes. After finishing second in the Jim Dandy, Empire Maker was unexpectedly retired to stud.

Empire Maker started off his stud career hitting seventh on the first crop sire list.  Two years later, the son of Unbridled was leading third crop sire.  This year, although he was sold to Japanese interests in 2010, Empire Maker leads the general sire list, in part, due to the exploits of his son, Derby/Preakness runner-up, Bodemeister. Empire Maker has given us 32 stakes winners, including last year’s Champion Three Year Old Filly Royal Delta. While his offspring win at all distances and over all surfaces, the majority of Empire Maker’s progeny are best beyond a mile and grow into their talent. 

Miss Excitement, the dam of Miss Empire, was a solid allowance class runner in California. Although she won her second race sprinting on the dirt, Miss Excitement found her niche as a turf miler.  She retired with a 13-3-3-2 ($103,825) record. Besides Miss Empire, Miss Excitement bore seven other foals. The most notable is  the top sprinting stakes veteran Bordonaro (by Memo), whose most prestigious victories include the Ancient Title Stakes (G-1), Vernon O. Underwood (G-3),  Sunshine Millions Sprint, and back-to-back wins in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G-3).  Miss Excitement is a half-sister to a multiple listed stakes winner, otherwise, there is little blacktype in the first three generations of this distaff line.  Farther back in the family, Santa Anita Derby (G-1) champ and Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneerof The Nile (by Empire Maker) is a distant relation.

Miss Excitement’s damsire Rajab was a solid allowance class winner, however, the son of Belmont Stakes hero Jaipur placed in the Bel Air, San Fernando and San Bernardino Handicaps, all 1 1/8 mile Grade 2 contests.  At stud, Rajab sired a handful of stakes winners, the best being Champion Juvenile Filly Brave Raj and the popular California sprinter Rotsaluck. Rajab’s offspring were victorious up to 1 1/8 miles. As a broodmare sire, Rajab’s daughters haven’t produced many blacktype runners. Multiple stakes winner Miss Gibson County, the aforementioned Bordonaro and stakes winner Russian Tango, dam of Grade 2 winner and sire Eurosilver are the most notable.

Hall of Fame inductee Exceller is Miss Empire’s second damsire.  This great but under-rated horse beat both Affirmed and Seattle Slew in the exciting 1998 Jockey Club Gold Cup, then held at 1 ½ miles. Exceller was victorious over dirt and turf up to 14 furlongs. He brings additional stamina to Miss Empire’s pedigree.

The leggy Miss Empire has the conformation of a two-turn runner, with an angular shoulder and long, lean body. She will undoubtedly grow into her length as she matures. Even at this young age, Miss Empire has shown professionalism in rating comfortably behind horses and willingly passing in the stretch.  Typical of the offspring of Empire Maker, Miss Empire dislikes the whip.  Empire Maker progeny win over Polytrack at an 18% rate and are in the money 45% of the time, so Miss Empire may fare well should she run at Del Mar this summer. In any event, this filly could evolve into a top runner, especially as distances get longer and follow in the hoofprints of her more celebrated Cinderella graduates. 
By Laurie Ross, Horse Racing Nation Pedigree Expert 


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Older Comments about Miss Empire Pedigree Profile...

I started a boastful thread about her, Anna. I couldn't have Bode outshine her(lol).
Oh God no Mary. Maybe a good though. Finally asked after months of being on HRN what lol meant. For the longest time thought it meant (oh dear) lots of love, (real newbie) and that just confused me. Then didn't understand laugh out loud, how, given there are so many different kinds of laughter. Should've been adding lol's to mine from the beginning, that would spared me much trouble and confusion. Your humour is very apparent, it's mine that needs fine tuning on this thing. (But ain't it easy to get onto the subject of RD) :) (had to hunt for that.)
That's not what I meant, Anna. Did I come off as that big of an expletive?
ew :(
Maybe RD is her own blog, get onto her as a subject and everyone forgets little sister.. Abit like Zen and Eblouissante maybe.
I thought RD was a bit underrated in this blog. lol.
Agree. Plain painful.
No way someone isn't kicking themselves for selling Empire Maker.
Sunday Silence and Empire Maker, two great sires to not influence the American Thoroughbred.

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