The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (GI) has been viewed as one of the most prestigious races in the world, pitting Thoroughbred titans against one each other each fall in France. The “Arc” has seen such victors as the all-time greats Mill Reef, Ribot, Sea the Stars, and Sea Bird, and despite the defections of such superstars as Nathaniel, Snow Fairy, and reigning Arc champion Danedream, the 2012 edition of the Arc was still a clash of titans, featuring the near English Triple Crown-winning Camelot and Japanese Triple Crown winner Orfevre, as well as multiple other international superstars. But it was Solemia, a filly with the same owner and jockey as the great Goldikova, who caught Orfevre in an exciting finish to take the Arc, making it back-to-back years for a filly to win the renowned race.
On the undercard of the Arc was a race featuring a juvenile filly I have followed since April. This filly, What a Name, was one of my picks in the 2012 Keeneland April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale. Sold as hip 106, What A Name was purchased by John McCormack Bloodstock for $350,000.
An Irish bred filly, What a Name made her first start for owner H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani and trainer Mikel Delzangles in a maiden at Deauville Racecourse in France, in which she finished third over soft ground. She broke her maiden next out at Deauville, dominating a seven-horse field by seven lengths over good going.
As a result of her striking maiden victory, What a Name was entered in the Prix la Rochette (GIII) at Longchamp Racecourse, the French course at which the Arc is held. Contesting against the males, What a Name accelerated impressively in the final stages of the race to overtake her rivals by nearly two lengths.
On the Arc undercard, What a Name yet again faced colts, this time in group one company: the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardre (GI). The chestnut filly settled near the back of the pack, galloping between horses as the young Thoroughbreds galloped over demanding ground. Trapped behind a wall of horses as the final stages of the contest approached, What a Name found room between horses and yet again showed a good turn of foot, gaining ground on the outside as she raced towards the leaders. Despite her courageous rally, the filly ran out of real estate, finishing a fast-closing second. In spite of not garnering the victory, What a Name had performed in spectacular fashion.
What a Name was one of my twenty selections at Keeneland April due to both her pedigree and her imposing 9 4/5-second work for one-eighth of a mile. In her one-furlong work in the preview show for the sale, the filly moved with a powerful stride, covering much ground quickly while posting one of the quickest works of the day. In fact, her work was among my favorites of all the breezes.
By the productive sire Mr. Greeley, What a Name shares the same sire as such grade/group one winners as Aruna, El Corredor, Finsceal Beo, Nonsuch Bay, and Reel Buddy. Out of the Dayjur daughter Bonnie Byerly, she is a half-sister to the multiple graded stakes-winning Diabolical. This filly’s fifth, sixth, seventh, and ninth dams are all Reine De Course mares, one of which is the dam of the grade one-winning Mehmet, Soaring. Other direct descendants of Soaring include the multiple graded stakes-winning sisters Graceful Darby and Tribulation.
With just four starts under her belt, one can only imagine what her future holds. Having selected this group stakes winner before her career even began is a tremendous feeling and I am very excited to continue to follow What a Name.
SUCCESS SINCE THIS ARTICLE:
WON: Prix Imprudence (GIII)
Named 2012 Co-Champion Two-Year-Old Filly in France