To paraphrase Jimi Hendrix, “if 6 was 20, would we mind?” Well we might if we’re interested in mtDNA haplotypes, and were looking at the family of last week’s Prix du Jockey-Club/French Derby (G1) winner, Study of Man. Out of the Storm Cat mare, Second Happiness, he is a grandson of the mighty mare, Miesque (Nureyev). A European Champion at three and four, and Champion Turf Mare in the US at the same ages, Miesque produce five stakes winners, headed by French 2,000 Guineas (G1) winner and outstanding sire Kingmambo and dual classic winner East of the Moon, and in addition to Study of Man, is also ancestress of other classic winners Karakontie and Alpha Centauri (successful in this year’s Irish 1,000 Guineas (G1)).
In tail-female line, Miesque goes back to US Champion Two-Year-Old Filly, Now What. She was out of That’s That, a sister to another great runner in Sarazen, a five-time champion in the US, including earning Horse of the Year honors in 1923 and 1924. That’s That and Sarazen were by High Time (inbred 3x3x2 to the ‘Black Whirlwind’ Domino) out of Rush Box, a mare that was rumored to have at one-time been used for plowing and other farm work. The family is nominally that classified by Bruce Lowe as #20, and supposedly arrived in the US from England in the early 1800s with the importation of Trumpetta (1797 by Trumpator – Sister to Lambinos by Highflyer). She was brought to Virginia and sold to Dr William Hoomes.
The problem here is that most horses that are from family #20 test as belonging to the Achilli mitochondrial (mtDNA) haplotype I2a2, but the branch to which Study of Man and Miesque belong, and descends via Now What to Mary Bedford (1816 by Duke of Bedford – Speculator Mare by Speculator) is haplotype M2. This is the same mtDNA haplotype as the several branches of the Bruce Lowe #6 family that go back to Horatia (1758 by Blank – Sister One to Steady by Flying Childers). The early development of the #6 family, which supposedly originates with a mare called Old Bald Peg, from around 1650, is quite a confused one, and in fact horses that are recorded as descending from the #6 female line by Lowe, are in realty represented by three distinct mtDNA haplotypes.
Horatia is important to breeding in the US as her daughter, Sister to Juno, is dam of Diomed. The winner of the first running of the Epsom Derby – the second, Young Eclipse, was also a grandson of Horatia – Diomed was 21-years-old was he was brought to the US by Col John Hoomes (remember that surname?) and John Tayloe III.
The M2 haplotype is also represented by a less prolific branch, the A21 family (A standing for a family where the earliest known ancestor is American). The last top-class runner from the female line was probably the Jerome Handicap (G1) scorer, Evening Kris (1985 by Kris S. – Evening Y’All by Double Hitch), although there was a stakes placed runner as recently as last year in the shape of the Freud filly, Maggiesfreuddnslip. The family goes back to a Duke of Bedford mare (dob unknown), who was by Duke of Bedford, out the earliest known ancestress of the family, a Quicksilver Mare (by either Tayloe’s Quicksilver or Edward’s Quicksilver).
So, converging in Virginia around the turn of the 18th century, through individuals owned by the Hoomes family and John Tayloe III (a partner of John Hoomes), we find the M2 haplotype represented by the female lines of Study of Man/Miesque purportedly going back to Trumpetta; of the A21 family, which has yet to be traced to an English tap-root; and Diomed, a grandson of Horatia, the mare who represents a mtDNA haplotype split from the family from which she is supposed to come, but is of the same haplotype as both Trumpetta (or at least her immediate descendents) and the A21 founding Quicksilver mare. What’s more, both Study of Man/Miesque (Trumpetta) and the A21 family go back to a mare by Duke of Bedford.
As far as the Study of Man/Miesque branch, there could be a deep error back with the dam or granddam of the imported Trumpetta, so that Trumpetta was really from the M2 haplotype. Alternatively, perhaps there was a mixup in the Hoomes stud and the Dare Devil Mare (1806 by Dare Devil) – the granddam of Mary Bedford, who is ancestress of all M2 horses misplaced in the #20 family) – wasn’t out of Trumpetta, but instead from a mare of the M2 haplotype. We do know that the Quicksilver Mare from the M2 haplotype was in the same region, and that the family coming down from the Quicksilver Mare descends from her daughter by Duke of Bedford, just as the family of Study of Man/Miesque goes back to Hoomes stock via the Duke of Bedford’s daughter, Mary Bedford. Given that the M2 haplotype only appears in the thoroughbred through descendants of the Mary Bedford/Mare by Speculator (Study of Man/Miesque); via the Quicksilver Mare (A21); and via descendants of Horatia, and given that a Hoomes was co-importer of the hugely successful Diomed – out of a daughter of Horatia – what are the chances that Mary Bedford/Mare by Speculator and the Quicksilver mare were in fact closely related, and they descended from an imported mare from the immediate family of Horatia, and her grandson, Diomed? Are we looking at convergence or coincidence?