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The second in a series of articles reviewing the top ten of North American maternal families. Family numbers are as shown on the Classic Families (CF) database. Due to the extensive size of these families, only brief mention can be made of some of the more prominent family members and/or items likely to be of interest to Australasian readers.


U3 Mambrino Beauty (Nervolo Belle)


Mambrino Beauty created two branches of this family through her granddaughters Mary Burton (minor branch after export to Italy) and Nervolo Belle. Nervolo Belle was the result of an accidental mating with Nervolo, a

grandson of Onward who had won the Tennessee Pace that year and Josephine Knight (should have gone to Jay McGregor). Thanks to Nervolo Belle, Nervolo made some impact on the breed.


Nervolo Belle was foaled in 1906 and sent to Almahurst Farm for a breeding career having never racing (neither did any of previous mares in her maternal line). Inducted into the USA Hall of Fame (Immortal) in 1966, she starred in producing eleven Classic Progeny (seven by Peter The Great), included among them was one of the three great sires of early twentieth century in Peter Volo (1911). Foaled on Knight Farm, Patchen Wilkes Farm took him as a weanling and owned him throughout his racing career. Peter Volo was a dual Kentucky Futurity Trot winner at two/three; unbeaten until 1915 (4yo) by Lee Axworthy and subsequently retired. Purchased privately by Walnut Hall Farm following the failure of Patchen Wilkes Farm, he was sire of great progenitor Volomite, Hanovers Bertha (refer Medio) and Nell Volo when exported to NZ a dual Rowe Cup winner. Peter Volo died at Walnut Hall Farm in 1936.


Peter Volo


Peter Volo’s full sister Volga E, was unbeaten in her racing career being fastest two and three year old of her year winning dual Kentucky Futurity Trots like her full brother. Nervolo Belle is the only broodmare to produce two foals to achieve this feat. Volga E’s breeding record is outstanding – this is a very active maternal line that passes through world champion Rosalind (Volga E third dam) who won Kentucky Futurity’s at two/three and Hambletonian. Rosalind’s world trotting mares record T1:56¾TT set at Red Mile, Lexington in 1938 survived for 36 years (T1:56.1 Colonial Charm, 1974 Lexington). Tracing back to Rosalind is 1:47.0TT pacer/sire Jeremes Jet.

Rosalind’s half-sister Warwell Worthy is dam of Worthy Boy, source of another prolific trotting family. Worthy Boy has the paternal blood of Peter Volo (his grandsire) whose dam Nervolo Belle is also fifth dam of Worthy Boy. Worthy Boy’s main claim to fame is siring trotting legend Stars Pride.


Volga E is responsible for another Kentucky Futurity Trot – 2 winner in Jane Revere. She in turn has classic trotting descendant’s with two of only seven Triple Crown winners in Scott Frost and Windsongs Legacy,; recent trotting sensation and leading sire Muscle Hill (20 consecutive wins after losing first race, highest single year earnings by standardbred $2.45mUS (2009), $3m+ overall earnings, World record T3, 1:50.1), Yankee Glide, Jefs Spice, Kadabra, Donato Hanover (T1:50.1, in 2007 then highest single season earning trotter) while pacers through Jane Revere’s filly Belvedere include Shes A Great Lady, Neros BB, Pacific Rocket. High Gait, 2yo trotting filly of year in NZ and VIC Trotters Oaks traces back to Belvedere.

Muscle Hill


Other daughters of Volga E featured mainly standout pacers in Volga Hanover whose branch includes Little Brown Jug winners – Lehigh Hanover, Vicar Hanover, Laverne Hanover, Colt Forty Six ; leading NZ sire Vance Hanover and Lady Shadow ($1.9m, 1:48.1, Rose Are Red twice, Breeders Crown), equal fastest ever race mare 2:00.3/1:47.0MR with Shebestingin; Nervola Hanover’s branch comes mainly through Poplar Byrd full sisters Quilla Byrd, Aquila Byrd, Aqualine Byrd and half-sister Quilla Adios – includes Beastmaster (Tattersalls Pace), Knightsbridge(Breeders Crown – 3c) as well as Souvenir Hanover – Ticket to Heaven (4th dam Nervola Hanover), dam sire of dual ID winner Beautide.


Further foals by Peter The Great/Nervolo Belle, saw The Great Volo a Grand Circuit champion while dual gaited The Great Miss Morris (1917), established a strong family branch that survives today including Mums Pride (T2:03.5) in NZ. The Great Miss Morris is fifth dam of Kentucky Futurity – 3T, World Trotting Derby and Elitloppet winner Napoletano (T1:53.2, $1.9m); eighth dam of Little Brown Jug winner and sire Shadow Play; ninth dam of JK Endofanera ($2m, 1:48.2, multiple Gp1 winner).


Nervolo Belle retired from breeding after her 1928 foal Calumet Belfast. She

was the grand dam of sixteen broodmares and six colts.


The Mambrino Beauty family has recently been relegated to fourth

leading family of Classic Winners (Sally Sovereign U5 has moved ahead), although she shares fourth equal spot with Midnight as leading producer of 1:51 trotters with three. The family is third equal highest (with Minnehana) producer of millionaire trotters with 23 (Muscle Hill $3m+, Donato Hanover, a tick under $3m) while Pacific Rocket ($2.3m) is leading family pacing millionaire.


Classic race winners in this family are headed by Laverne Hanover with Thirty three Classic Race wins, Scott Frost eighteen, mare Jefs Spice with seventeen, Rosalind sixteen, Muscle Hill and Lady Shadow fifteen, then Donato Hanover with thirteen.


U4 Jessie Pepper (McKinney sisters)


Foaled in 1861, by Mambrino Chief from Lena Pepper, Jessie Pepper proved to be a great foundation mare. Among her eighteen foals were ten colts, none of any great significance. Her eight fillies contained two who have contributed greatly to the breed, being Annabel (1875) and her last foal Iona (1882).


Iona’s branch has a considerable number of Classic Winners and seven in 1:50 including Smart Son (1:49.3US) the first NZ bred to record a sub 1:50.0 time at Meadowlands in August 1996. This branch through Great Nulgeria (third dam Iona) leads to NZ/AK Cup/Miracle Mile winner and sire Master Mood. San Simeon who set an Australasian record of 29 straight traces to Iona. Another branch includes champion trotter Mabel Trask (T2:01¾US), granddaughter of Iona and the fastest trotter produced by Peter The Great. This branch includes Nevele R Stud sire Caprock while also featuring Easy Goer (Oliver Wendell Holmes) and Crysta’s Best (Breeders Crown – 2T).


Annabel by George Wilkes was responsible for producing 1880 foal Estabella. She was inbred 2×2 to George Wilkes, 3×3 to Hambletonian with a 4×3 cross to Mambrino Chief. Estabella’s greatest claim to fame came through her three Princess Royal granddaughters, known as the McKinney sisters (Regal, Queenly, Roya). In New Zealand, Estabella’s latest claim to fame would be as 11th dam to champion mare Carabella (six Group one’s).


Regal McKinney, through her grandson Guy Abbey left champion trotter and Hambletonian winner Greyhound. Greyhound was purchased at the Indianapolis yearling sale by Sep Palin for $900 for EJ Baker. He won seventy one of eighty two heats in a career spanning from 1934 to 1940. He set 25 world records, his T1:55¼TT at Lexington in 1938 stood for 31 years (Nevele Pride T1:54.4TT, 1969).


Guy Abbey was bred by Calumet Farm, Lexington, Kentucky. Finishing second in the Hambletonian, he retired from racing in 1928 leaving Greyhound in 1932. Sold at a Calumet dispersal sale in 1933 to Henry Knight for $1,400, he was purchased by Walnut Hall in 1934 for $20,000 where he remained until his death aged 32 in 1957. Guy Abbey sired The Old Maid who left five siring sons including Dancer Hanover (sire of Romalie Hanover, Romeo Hanover, Romulus Hanover and dam sire of Albatross, Roses Are Red) and Bachelor Hanover (sire of Arapaho, Noodlum and dam sire of Bionic Chance, Bolton Byrd, Havago, Locarno, Lord Module, Melton Monarch, Motoring Magic, Times Up). Guy Abbey was a great broodmare sire with credits such as Hoot Mon (Hambletonian, Kentucky Futurity – 3T, leading sire/BM sire), Fantom (Dominion Hcp, Rowe Cup twice). Regal McKinney is third dam of Harness Horse of the Year, trotter Pronto Don, who won 97 races from 204 starts, twenty of them Classic Races. Cathedra Dot Com traces to Regal McKinney


Queenly McKinney was the dam of inaugural Hambletonian winner Guy McKinney (Kentucky Futurity – 3T). Her descendants have since won over fifty Classic Races and include sires Out to Win (Balgove, Bolton Byrd, Double Agent, In Or Out, Melton Monarch, Mighty Me) and Canadian Run the Table.


Roya McKinney, was the fastest and greatest broodmare of the three sisters. Her substantive performers were :


  • Highland Scott, was the fastest three year old pacer (world record 1:59½TT in 1926) of his year. He was bred by Henry Oliver, Pittsburgh being purchased as a 4yo by E.R. Harriman in 1927 whose wife drove him to his record mile of 1:59¼TT at Goshen in 1929. He stood at stud and died in 1944
  • Trotting brother Scotland (T1:59¼TT), leading sire of America in 1946, was one of the great sires responsible for Hoot Mon, Rosalind, Spencer Scott and from an Australasian perspective U Scott, arguably the greatest stallion in the history of the breed in NZ and among the most influential in the Southern Hemisphere. He was also bred by Henry Oliver in 1925. Second in the Hambletonian, he did not race again until aged five in 1930 where Ben White drove him in T1:59¼TT at Syracuse. He retired to Poplar Hill Farm, Kentucky where he produced numerous winning progeny
  • Her most successful track performer was Rose Scott (1918) who won thirty two of her fifty five races including Transylvania, Kentucky Futurity at two and three. She was fastest three year old trotter of 1921 (T2:03½) and among the elite first hundred trotters in two minutes (T1:59¾TT) at The Red Mile, Lexington. Among her descendants were leading Australian stallion Kentucky (5th dam), one of the all-time great broodmare sires in Tar Heel (3rd dam, Little Brown Jug) and 1:48.1 double millionaire Adios/Cane Pace winner Vintage Master (8th dam) plus others mentioned below


Hickory Pride


Rose Scott’s granddaughter Misty Hanover was dam of Hickory Pride and Hickory Smoke (Hambletonian); Rose Scott was third dam of Helicopter (Hambletonian), who left Armbro Flight (Kentucky Futurity – 3) the dam of Armbro Goal (Hambletonian), fourth dam of world record gelding Arch Madness (T1:50.S, $4m+) and fifth dam of Father Patrick (T3, 1:50.2, dual Breeders Crown winner, $2.5m+) . Helicopter was fourth dam of leading Canadian trotter and sire Earl (Vulcan). Leading trotters San Pail and Lucky Chucky trace to Rose Scott. Rose Scott’s full sister Elsie Scott was exported to Norway but does feature as fifth dam of Cane Pace winner Falcons Future, sixth dam of leading stallion No Nukes and tenth dam of Rock N Roll Heaven (1:47.3US, $2.6m, Little Brown Jug, Breeders Crown – 3c. Messenger, winner of 16 from 21 starts, most ever 1:50 wins in a season – 11 in 2010) and Clear Vision (1:48.2, $2,492m),


Other foals of Roya McKinney included: Highland Mary left Tryax, sire of ill-fated leading NZ stallion of the 1960’s in Hal Tryax (sire of first millionaire Cardigan Bay, Holy Hal, Robin Dundee, Tactile; dam sire of Genghis Khan, Young Quinn); La Roya (1926), third dam of massive producer Maggie Counsel, ancestress of Silk Stockings, two time Breeders Crown winner Village Jiffy (8th dam),Village Jolt (9th dam, Breeders Crown, Adios, Woodrow Wilson), Racing Hill (10th dam – Adios, Messenger, Breeders Crown), millionaire world record holder Falcon Seelster (5th dam, dual hemisphere – Australasia and NA), and other stallions to stand in NZ/Australia including McKinzie Almahurst, Fitch, Silk Legacy, Jefferson Lobell. All but La Roya (Guy Axworthy) of Roya McKinney’s eleven progeny on Classic Families database, several of whom are Classic winners, were by Peter Scott; Luxury, 5th dam of successful NZ based stallion El Patron (Cup class pacers – Derby, Diamond Moose, El Regale, Our Stretto, Sossy).


Falcon Seelster


The Jessie Pepper family has been a leading producer of speed and earnings. It currently sits in fifth place among leading North American families of Classic Winners. It has five 1:51 trotters currently (Tom Ridge, Arch Madness, Father Patrick all T1:50.2; San Pail, Lucky Chucky T1:50.4), second equal behind Sally Sovereign with eight, just five 1:48 pacers including Mel Mara 1:47.0, Rock N Roll Heaven and Camaes Fellow, both 1:47.3. The leading pacing millionaires are Clear Vision ($2.7m), Rock N Roll Heaven ($2.6m) – family 4th overall and Arch Madness with in excess of $4m being one of twelve family trotting millionaires.



Next Edition : Sally Sovereign and Mamie



Peter Craig


6 February 2018



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