Kazadancoa, the most influential producer to graze in the fields of Runnymede over the past 50 years, quietly passed away at the farm on March 30 at the age of 33.
The daughter of Green Dancer, who reigned as Runnymede’s foundation mare while leaving her mark on four generations to date including 2011 European classic candidate Laughing Lashes, produced 14 foals and had been pensioned since her last was born in 2000.
“There are a lot of heavy hearts at Runnymede due to the passing of ‘Kaz,’ as she was affectionately known on the farm,” said Vice President and General Manager Martin O’ Dowd.
“I have lived and worked with her for my 25 years at Runnymede and while she was our foundation mare and a true matriarch, she was also much more than that to all of us. We had so much respect for her, not just as a producer but also as a personality. She was an extremely intelligent lady who did not suffer fools and at times exhibited a distinctive sense of humor.
“When working with ‘Kaz,’ everything was done on her terms. For example, she never saw the need to have someone lead her out to her paddock in the mornings, so we complied by just opening her stall door and she would go unattended. She did consider it permissible for us to lead her in the afternoons, however.
“She was family and will be missed,” O’Dowd said.
Kazadancoa was buried on the farm near the broodmare and foal complex.
Bred in France by Jean Marc Valerio, Kazadancoa was brought to the attention of Runnymede Chairman Catesby W. Clay in 1981 and the farm acquired a partial interest in the mare due to her outstanding broodmare potential. Kazadancoa’s dam, the Charlottesville mare Khazaeen, was a half sister to Runaway Bride, dam of French classic winner, European champion and important sire Blushing Groom.
In 1987, Runnymede obtained sole ownership of Kazadancoa, whose first foal was multiple stakes-placed Captain Arthur, born in 1983. Her fourth foal, the Wavering Monarch filly Royal Run, delivered in 1986, proved to be one of her most significant even though the filly was unraced.
Royal Run produced Tejano Run, a multiple graded stakes winner and earner of $1,166,842 who finished second in the 1995 Kentucky Derby (G1). Royal Run also was the dam of Grade 2 winner More Royal, who like Tejano Run went on to be a sire, and the unraced filly Palace Weekend, who later produced for Runnymede the Machiavellian colt Palace Episode, winner of the 2005 Racing Post Trophy (G1). Palace Episode is standing his second season at stud this year in France.
Kazadancoa’s granddaughter Palace Weekend also is the dam of Runnymede’s Adventure, by Unbridled’s Song, a multiple winner whose second foal is Irish Group 2 winner and Group 1-placed Laughing Lashes, a filly by Mr. Greeley. Sold by Runnymede at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale, Laughing Lashes is being pointed to the English One Thousand Guineas (G1) on May 1 by trainer Jessica Harrington.
Another one of Kazadancoa’s granddaughters, the unraced Regina Maria, by Unbridled out of Royal Run, made history for Runnymede when she produced a Galileo colt who sold for $1.9-million at the 2004 Keeneland September yearling sale.
The fifth foal produced by Kazadancoa, the Highland Park colt Jacodra, became her first graded stakes winner and also set a track record for 6 ½ furlongs at Hollywood Park before beginning a stud career. Several years later, Kazadancoa produced the graded stakes-winning fillies Jacodra’s Devil, by Devil’s Bag, and Changing Ways, by Time for a Change, in successive seasons.
Changing Ways went on to produce Grade 2 winner Pays to Dream, stakes winner Pumpkin Shell and Grade 2-placed Hot Attraction.
There are so many significant stakes winners in Kazadancoa’s female family that her unedited catalog pedigree spans eight pages when printed. Thirteen Grade/Group 1 winners appear on those pages, as do such global luminaries as King Kamehameha, Japan’s leading sire of 2010 and winner of the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby); Musir, South African champion juvenile male and winner of the $2-million UAE Derby (G2) on the Dubai World Cup (G1) program last year, and South African and Italian classic winners Badger’s Drift and Zabarella, respectively.
The leading earner among this illustrious group is none other than Runnymede-bred Agnes Digital, a Japanese champion and international Group 1 winner of the Hong Kong Cup (G1) who bankrolled $8,095,160. Agnes Digital now ranks among the leading sires in Japan.
Blessed by Kazadancoa’s production record, Runnymede acquired more mares from her family over time, including Agnes Digital’s dam, Chancey Squaw, a daughter of Chief’s Crown who also produced Japanese stakes winners Jalisco Light and Shell Game, who each earned more than $700,000. Owned in partnership with our friend Peter Callahan, Chancey Squaw was pensioned at Runnymede in 2010 and she spent the last several months as Kazadancoa’s paddock companion.
Runnymede and Callahan also own the mare Hunter’s Mark, a half sister to King Kamehameha and Grade 1 winner The Deputy, from Kazadancoa’s family and board her at Teruya Yoshida’s Shadai Farm in Japan. Dam of Deep Impact’s promising three-year-old son Target Machine, Hunter’s Mark has been bred this season to European champion Harbinger, the world’s top rated racehorse of 2010 who is standing his first year at the Shadai Stallion Station.
Kazadancoa will continue to influence Runnymede for years to come. Her last foal, Sacre Coeur, a juvenile winner by Saint Ballado, remains part of the farm’s broodmare band and is being mated this year to another Runnymede-bred, Grade 1 winner Divine Park. Clay has Sacre Coeur’s three-year-old daughter Bizzy Caroline, by Afleet Alex, in training with Ken McPeek.
Runnymede and Callahan also own two young daughters of Chancey Squaw. Dame Ursula, a five-year-old by Elusive Quality, produced her first foal in February, a filly by Candy Ride. Lady of Akita, a four-year-old by Fantastic Light who won as a juvenile in England, has been dispatched with Palace Weekend to France to help begin the farm’s breeding program there and is already in foal to leading international sire King’s Best.