A tale of two legends

Photo Randie’s Legend Northview PA

by Emily Shields

Published in

PA Thoroughbred Newsletter / Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Magazine February 2018 Issue 

The victory by Daddy Is a Legend in the Jimmy Durante Stakes-G3 was the culmi­nation of 10 years of perseverance by her breeder, Hank Nothhaft. He believed in her dam, Randie’s Legend, despite her frustrating history both at the track and in the breeding shed. Now Daddy Is a Legend has earned$107,910 in just four starts for owners Jim and Susan Hill.

Daddy is a Legend Margaux Farm KY
Photo Carl McEntee

Randie’s Legend, a California Bred by Benchmark out of the Gold Legend mare Eternal Legend, cost Nothhaft $43,000 at the 2008 Barrett’s October Yearling Sale.  Although Eternal Legend never raced, her dam Eternal Search was a three-time Sovereign Award winner in Canada.

Eternal Legend had already produced the horse that would become Grade 2 winner Frumious, and one year after Eternal Legend would throw graded stakes placed stakes winner Eternal Rule, who won six of seven starts lifetime, three of them stakes.

“When I bought her she had a good page befitting a $43,000 Cal-bred yearling purchase” said Nothhaft. “Over the last 10 years it has become an exceptional page befitting that of a graded stakes broodmare producer”.

Nothhaft put Randie’s Legend in training, but she ultimately never made it to the races. “The purchase was mainly made to get a horse that could be competitive racing at Golden Gate Fields, which was my horizon at that time,” Nothhaft said. “She was extremely fast and often worked the bullet, but her running  style was hard on her knees. She had a series of minor physical issues that prevented her from making it to the races as a two through four-year-old. On the advice of a vet… I retired her unraced, uninjured and completely sound”.

Nothhaft owned a share in dual classic winner Smarty Jones, who stood in Pennsylvania and nicked well with Randie’s Legend. The resulting foal Smarty’s Legend, is a two­ time winner of $57,086. After the mare was barren in 2013, Nothhaft spent time delving deeper into her pedigree.

“From 2010-2012, Randie’s Legend’s pedigree improved by leaps and bounds under the first dam, Eternal Legend”. Frumious and Eternal Rule were showing their mettle on the track, but the second and third dams were producing as well. “The rest of the pedigree was extremely active as well with graded stakes performers like Volcat, This Ones for Phil, and Smokey Fire,” Nothhaft said. “Even more surprising, if not downright amazing, Exaggerator- winner of the Preakness Stakes in 2016- materialized under the third dam. ”  Nothhaft’s bloodstock agent Carl McEntee offered the advice of “upgrading the stature of her breeding mates.” In 2014, Randie’s Legend produced a Stormy Atlantic colt Nothhaft sold as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale for $115,000. Daddy Is a Legend, a daughter of Scat Daddy, came next.

Daddy is a Legend October Weanling

Cavalier Bloodstock purchased the Pennsylvania bred filly as a weanling at Keeneland for $140,000. She was resold 10 months later at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $160,000 to Jim and Susan Hill of Margaux Farm.

Daddy is a Legend heading to work out
Photo Amanda Motz

Daddy Is a Legend went into training with George Weaver and debuted Aug. 6 at Saratoga. Her eventful debut included striking the gate as she broke and a wide trip around the second turn. Daddy Is a Legend finished fifth, but showed encouraging promise.

In her second start, a 1-mile grass race at Belmont, Daddy Is a Legend faced the highly regarded Rushing Fall. The two kicked away from the field in the stretch, with Rushing Fall eventually prevailing on her way to an unbeaten season, capped by a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf-G1. “Most people don’t realize that she gave Breeders’ Cup winner Rushing Fall the biggest challenge in her unbeaten career,” said owner Jim Hill.

At Keeneland in October, Daddy Is a Legend went off favored in a 9-furlong contest for juvenile fillies. She won by 2¾ lengths under Joe Bravo, showing her talent on one of racing’s biggest stages. Nothhaft pointed out that the filly earned, “the coveted designation as a TDN Rising Star” with the victory.

Daddy is a Legend wins the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante @Del Mar Turf Club

As if backing up that honor, Daddy Is a Legend returned in the one-mile graded Jimmy Durante Stakes. With a $102,415 purse, over Del Mar’s turf Nov. 25. She was favored once again, broke 10th in a field of 12 , steadied twice around the turn, and still rallied to win by a length over Data Dependent.

Daddy Is a Legend is currently wintering at Margaux Farm in Kentucky, enjoying a break before tackling a spring campaign. “For our next start for Daddy Is a Legend, we are aiming to the [Grade 2] Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland in April,” Hill said. “We obviously have thoughts beyond that, but horseracing really is a one race at a time game. Arguably you could make a case for Daddy as the second best 3-year-old turf filly in North America.” In the Appalachian, Daddy Is a Legend may meet rival Rushing Fall once again. “It could be a very exciting race,” Hill said. “Not surprisingly, we are very excited with this horse.”

Randie’s Legend was bred to Violence but did not catch, then produced a Pennsylvania bred City Zip colt last February that has been named Belleau Wood. ” We made a decision to keep the City Zip colt to race before Daddy Is a Legend emerged,” Nothhaft said.

Randie’s Legend is due to produce a Tiznow foal this spring, and will be bred back to Candy Ride (Arg). With two winners, one a stakes winner, from two foals to race, Nothhaft is thrilled that his dedication to Randie’s Legend paid off.