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“Hejazi’s name in a pedigree reminds breeders everywhere that he forms a vital link in an ancient chain — a chain that has been forged by breeders from every walk of life who continue to lengthen and strengthen it,” by Judith Forbis, Cynthia Culbertson, and Betty Finke
by Denise P. Hearst
He registered his first homebred Arabian in 1963, and of the more than 128 Arabians he has bred in the ensuing years, he’ll tell you which one is the best. “This one. Took my whole life. She had everything I wanted, and I did it with a straight, and that makes me kind of smile.”
At the Vegas World Cup last month, the three-year-old grey straight Egyptian filly bred by Raymond Mazzei, Fanaticaa, sired by *Al Raheb AA (*Laheeb IASB x The Vision HG) and out Faleenah El Masr (EAI Silvereen by Safeen x HAF Roufatta), was named Supreme Champion Junior Mare and earned the highest score for mares in the head and type categories. She was shown by David Boggs on behalf of Naif Fahad Abdullah Al Owaidah of Al Owaidah Arabian Stud.
We asked Raymond to walk us through the breeder’s thinking behind the creation of this filly.
“I switched to breeding Egyptian Arabians 12 years ago with the goal of breeding a straight Egyptian that could compete anywhere,” he says. “Yes, I bred the filly, but it was possible only because of the breeders who came before me.”
In contemplating the challenge of breeding Egyptian Arabians, Raymond says, “To breed good straight Egyptians you must use whatever blood it takes. Don’t be bound by country of origin or personal philosophy. You have to be open, go forward, don’t live in the past. Acknowledge that you cannot be a breeder in one lifetime, therefore you must build on the past. And here’s another thing about great breeders: you won’t know them until they’re dead.
“Two things helped me: luck, and Poland — I believed in their ideas and drew on everything I learned from the Polish breeders in scores of trips there over the decades.
“The Polish breeders taught me: 1) Be objective and honest with yourself, 2) If it doesn’t work, throw it out, 3) Step out of what you’re doing, and 4) If you see something really great, try to get it.
“If you want to participate in breeding you have to keep an open mind and consider what worked for them and what didn’t. The Polish state studs stepped out of their box every so many generations. There were a lot of failures, but then, a superstar.
“And that idea really helped me.
“I spent a lot of time in Russia and Poland and I noticed that most of their horses that were successful had some Egyptian blood. So I started going around to see as many Egyptians as I could. I went to Israel and saw Laheeb and said, ‘I’ve got to get this horse.’” And Raymond did just that, bringing the horse here on lease for two seasons. He later urged the owner of the Laheeb son, *Al Raheb AA to send him to the U.S. He, too, stood at Raymond’s, and Raymond showed him to the Supreme Stallion Championship at the 2011 Egyptian Event. Today, he has three Al Raheb daughters. “Al Raheb is such a good horse,” he says. “He was here and nobody used him.
“You have to find new blood for every gene pool,” he continues. “So many breeders breed the same way, but I was concerned about different things. Like neck set. I started to collect Egyptians that were different.
“In Israel, I saw Safeen (*Ibn Safinez x Abitibi Madeena by *Imperial Madheen) blood working with some of the straights at Chen Kedar’s and at other farms. And then, in 2010, I was at the Egyptian Event in Kentucky and saw the Safeen granddaughter Faleenah El Masr in a class of ATH yearling fillies. I loved her. She was what I wanted. She was balanced, with good legs, well-placed eyes … there were things about her that were really good. She was maybe ninth in her class, but I didn’t care. She had all the parts, they just hadn’t come together yet, that’s all. It’s a horse show.
“I bought her that day. She had a great *Baha AA filly, and then this one, who is a superstar. The dam is great, but Fanaticaa looks like her sire. Fanaticaa has great legs, and she moves like an English horse. The angle in her chest, the ‘V’, the way she’s made … so many good things. And hers is a non-conventional pedigree.
“Very few horses are wonders,” Raymond adds. “A stallion or mare can pop up with something, like my mare did, but will she do anything else? I don’t know. Good exists. Great is one that can create that heart-stopper at least once.
“Fanaticaa is a once-in-a-lifetime filly. At least it happened once! I have never had or bred or seen one this complete. Maybe I’m near death and God wanted to give her to me before I die.”
Vol. 57, No. 8
on the cover: EAI Silvereen
(Safeen x Shohreh by CES Taliell), 1996 straight Egyptian stallion, owned by Arabian Meadows, LLC, Valley View, Texas. Photo by Nancy Pierce. See story here.
Moments in Time: A Queen in Winter
She had that elusive spiritual quality, at once ethereal, regal, and bold, which, for the last two centuries, has made people everywhere in the world fall in love with the Arabian horse, by Betty Finke
2017 Egyptian Event Preview
Egyptian Breeder Profiles
The Way We Were: The Year was 1991
From Arabian Horse World’s archives, a photo from 26 years ago tells a story of “… the horse our family based its life around …”
An Egyptian Princess Takes the Crown in Vegas, by Joe Ferriss
Cover story: Arabian Meadows
“Our core objective is to preserve the purity of the old line Asil bloodstock. We breed pure, powerful, strong, and fast horses that are also beautiful,” by Jeffrey Wintersteen
From the Artists — Victor Adam
Remembering Stan White, Sr.
We will all miss Stan’s endless smile and optimism coupled with his unmatched skill as a horseman. His tales about his adventures in Egypt in search of horses for Don Ford remind us that he was a great storyteller too, by Gary Dearth
Sire Lines: Krzyzyk DB
The first desertbred stallion to found a line that survived into the 20th century was Krzyzyk DB, by Betty Finke
For the Horse: Beauty in Wild Places — Namibia, Africa
Discover the thoughtful way horses are raised at one special farm in Namibia, by Cindy Reich
2017 WAHO Conference: Bahrain and the Arabian Farm Tours
“We were about to witness the history and heritage … to see the source of so many of our own Arabians — it was a feeling of humble privilege,” by Caroline Reid
Horse Properties Across the Nation
This month, we visit farms in California’s Regions 1 and 2, and we head to Region 12 to explore horse properties of the South,
Wit & Wisdom: From our Early Breeders — Edna and Jim Draper
In southern Spain the Drapers found their future with Arabians: Buy top Spanish mares and breed them to *Raseyn, by Mary Jane Parkinson
Under the direction of the Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Flat Racing Festival of Abu Dhabi, the Darley Awards weekend at the Dolby Theatre has become a destination event for Arabian racing enthusiasts from around the world, by Steve Andersen
The $100,000 Darley Awards Stake
Paddys Day rallied from the back of the field to win, by Steve Andersen
117 Spring Racing in the Gulf: Kahayla Classic and Qatar Gold Sword
A season capped by Al Shahania’s two big wins, as Reda won the $1 million Kahayla Classic, and only days later Gazwan triumphed in the $250,000 Qatar Gold Sword, by Steve Andersen
Enduring Partners — Stagg and Cheryl Newman
An afternoon with one of the top couples in the sport of endurance reminds us that partnering up with a horse is similar to partnering up with a spouse. Find the right one, commit for life, work out the problems along the way, and enjoy the journey, by Genie Stuart-Spears
Web Exclusives at www.arabianhorseworld.com
What in the World: A Breeder’s Thoughts on Fanaticaa — Raymond Mazzei Speaks, by Denise Hearst
Stud Farm Diaries: African Horse Sickness
Whether or not you live in Africa, as a horse owner, it is crucial to be ahead of threats that may appear on the horizon, as we become an increasingly global business, by Cindy Reich
Map and Index
Arabian Horse World — Sensitive
Egyptian Arabians in May, August, and December
Women of World in June
Western Divisions in July
Paddys Day was the first Arabian racehorse that famous Thoroughbred jockey Victor Espinoza encountered up close. Espinoza, who has won three Kentucky Derbys, most recently in 2015 with American Pharoah, is quick to admit his background with Arabians is limited.
“The only time I’d been close to an Arabian horse was when my ex-girlfriend had one, but it wasn’t a racehorse,” he recalled in early April. “I never thought I’d come close to riding an Arabian horse.”
When the $100,000 HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Darley Awards Stake was run at Santa Anita on April 1, Espinoza took the mount on Paddys Day.
Espinoza gained the mount after informing his agent, Brian Beach, that he was willing to participate in the race after learning that race sponsors, the Sheikh Mansoor Global Flat Racing Festival, led by Lara Sawaya of Abu Dhabi, and Santa Anita Racetrack, under the direction of track president Keith Brackpool, had donated $150,000 to the Permanently Disabled Jockey’s Fund. The PDJF is a charity that aids North American jockeys and exercise riders who are injured in races or morning exercise.
“That’s the reason I decided to ride the race,” Espinoza said. “I thought, that’s pretty cool. I will help them. I will ride one.”
Espinoza, 44, had simple instructions for Beach.
“Get me a nice one,” he said.
He got the best one.
Paddys Day (Burning Sand x AK Loretta by *Virgule Al Maury) won the HH Sheikha Fatima Darley Awards Stake by a convincing 3 ¾ lengths over Easter Man (Burning Sand x Angel Proof by NF Proof). Less than 24 hours earlier, Paddys Day was honored with the Darley Award as the 2016 Horse of the Year, a title he won in 2015. His win at Santa Anita put Paddys Day at the top of the list of contenders for the 2017 award, albeit with many months of racing still to go before voters form their final opinions. Paddys Day races for Scott and Lori Powell’s Quarter Moon Ranch and is trained by Scott Powell.
This was the second year the HH Sheikha Fatima Darley Awards Stake was held at Santa Anita, part of a weekend of events for Arabian enthusiasts from around the world that included the Darley Awards, a day of racing at Santa Anita, and a celebration dinner on April 2.
The race lived up to expectations, drawing a field of 12 runners from throughout the United States. Easter Man, the Champion Four-Year-Old male of 2016, was part of the field, as was Thess Is Awesome, who won the 2016 Darley Awards Stakes in a 46-1 upset.
Paddys Day was the 7-10 favorite on the basis of his career record and win in the Sheikh Zayed Cup at Sam Houston on March 4, a one-length win over Easter Man. Paddys Day broke from post five in the Darley Awards Stake and rallied from the back of the field to win.
As the first half of the race unfolded, Espinoza was surprised at the way Paddys Day felt. Riding an Arabian was a different experience than a Thoroughbred.
“When I broke out of the gate, I thought he’d be faster,” Espinoza said. “He broke a little slow. The way I’m used to seeing other horses run in front of me, Arabians run with the tail a little higher. I thought, what’s going on?”
Easter Man was in front of Paddys Day and quickly became a target for Espinoza. On the turn, Paddys Day was racing on the inside of the field behind three other horses. Espinoza knew a patient approach could be the difference.
“I decided to follow the other favorite,” Espinoza said. “He was doing all the dirty work for me, trying to find his way around. He was the only one running with more power than any other horse.”
Concern about traffic issues quickly dissipated when Espinoza guided Paddys Day between runners in early stretch for a clear path. Even when Espinoza guided Paddys Day to the lead, the race was proving to be a learning experience for the veteran jockey.
“I knew in the end everyone would get tired and I’d find my way out,” Espinoza said. “In the stretch, in the Thoroughbred races, they’re quick. I thought he’d do the same thing. Slowly, he was moving along.
“He didn’t get tired at all. He wasn’t even close. I’m glad that I did it and won.”
Paddys Day won comfortably over Easter Man, owned by Joe and Betty Gillis of Mississippi, who attended the race. Easter Man is trained by Jerenesto Torrez in Texas and is based with Terri Eaton for his California starts.
“He wasn’t quite good enough,” Joe Gillis said. “He did good, though.”
Gillis was quick to point out that he and his wife bred five of the runners in the field — Dream Pearl, Easter Man, Ivory Shores, Lil Dude AA, and Sand Victor.
“We were well represented in the race,” he said. Easter Man was 9 ¼ lengths clear of Sand Victor (Burning Sand x *Vague de Gemme by Baco du Cassou). Sand Victor, trained by Eaton, is the last horse to beat Paddys Day in the United States when they were first and second in the Sheikh Zayed Arabian Cup Stakes at Los Alamitos last September.
Paddys Day and Sand Victor have been on the same career path since. Paddys Day and Sand Victor were first and fourth in the President of the UAE Cup at Churchill Downs last September, eighth and 12th in the $1.3 million Sheikh Zayed Jewel Crown in Abu Dhabi last November, and first and sixth in the Sheikh Zayed Cup at Sam Houston.
Eaton said Sand Victor improved from his race in Sam Houston and that the trip to the Middle East last fall took its toll on the now six-year-old.
“Sand Victor did really well,” she said. “I didn’t have quite enough time after Abu Dhabi. I had to give him some time off. It was a stressful trip.”
Quick And Rich finished fourth, followed by Lil Dude AA, Ivory Shores, Thess Is Awesome, Dream Pearl, Raineing Sand, Twice Rich, Miss Paradise, and Big Girls Are Better.
The race was enthusiastically received by bettors who wagered $628,850 on a variety of bets. A $1 bet on the superfecta, correctly selecting the first four finishers in order, paid $114.40.
Scott Powell said the win provided a sense of satisfaction after a loss to Thess Is Awesome at Santa Anita in 2016. Paddys Day has won at venues as diverse as Arapahoe Park, Churchill Downs, Delaware Park, Lone Star Park, Sam Houston and now Santa Anita.
Paddys Day, a six-year-old, has won 18 of 27 starts and earned $391,766.
“It’s a huge relief,” Powell said. “We felt good last year and we did it this year.
“I told Victor, ‘He won’t break like you think he will, but he’ll keep going.’ That’s what happened. I hate to say it, but I wasn’t worried all the way through. I always thought we had them.”
This year, Powell plans to take Paddys Day to Delaware Park for the summer in an effort to build on the success at Sam Houston and Santa Anita. The quest for a third consecutive Horse of the Year title is underway.
Steve Andersen is a correspondent for Daily Racing Form