Holy Helena followed the growing list of fillies to sweep the Queen’s Plate/Oaks double with her impressive win over the best colts in Canada, on July 2 at Woodbine. Lexie Lou (2014), Inglorious (2011), Dancethruthedawn ( 2001), Dance Smartly (1991), and La Lorgnette (1985) remarkably achieved the same double in recent history. And Holy Helena became the fourth Queen’s Plate winner for the Stronach Stable, following Shaman Ghost (2015), Awesome Again (1997), and Basqueian (1994).

Holy Helena’s win continues the dominance of the Northern Dancer male line in the classics. Her male line traces from her sire, Ghostzapper, through Awesome Again to Vice Regent and Northern Dancer.

Her sire Ghostzapper has now sired 65 stakes winners and counting. He won the Breeders’ Cup Classic at four before retiring with nine wins in just 11 lifetime starts and $3,446,120 (U.S.). Now a leading sire in Kentucky, Ghostzapper also sired 2015 QP winner, Shaman Ghost, who is still winning on the racetrack.

Ghostzapper’s sire, Awesome Again, likewise won the Breeders’ Cup Classic at four and with earnings of $4,374,590, he remains the richest Canadian-bred in history. Awesome Again is the only Breeders’ Cup winner to sire four Breeders’ Cup winners (Ghostzapper, Ginger Punch, Wilko, and Round Pond). Awesome Again’s sire, Deputy Minister, was Canadian Horse of the Year as a two-year-old back in 1981, before becoming a fine sire in Kentucky, so there is certainly a classic tradition along the male line here.

On the female side, Holy Helena’s dam, Holy Grace (Holy Bull), won two of 14 starts, good for $103,626.

She was unplaced in her only stakes attempt. Her sire, Holy Bull, was America’s Horse of the Year in 1994, when he won the prestigious Metropolitan Mile and Travers Stakes as a three-year-old. Holy Bull went on to become an outstanding broodmare-sire. Queen’s Plate winner Holy Helena is a half-sister to Amsterdam Stakes (Grade 2) winner Holy Boss (Street Boss), a winner of six races from 22 starts and $771,527, to date. Holy Boss recently finished sixth in Belmont Park’s True North Stakes (Grade 2) on June 9. Holy Helena’s dam also delivered a colt by Silver Max in Ontario for Adena Springs on May 18.

Holy Helena’s second dam, My Marchesa (Stately Don), won six of 25 races and the five-furlong Gala Lil Stakes at Pimlico, good for $132,996. She made her final six starts for Stronach, gaining a third-place finish in Woodbine’s Carotene Handicap before beginning her fine broodmare career. She produced 11 foals, 8 winners, and three stakes winners, including Mark One — who won both the Eclipse H. (CAN – Grade 3), and the Woodbine Slots Cup H. (CAN- Grade 3). My Marchesa’s sire, Stately Don (Nureyev), was champion miler in Ireland in 1987, before beginning a modest stud career in Japan.

Holy Helena’s fourth dam is the illustrious broodmare, Missy Baba. A very modest winner of one race from seven lifetime starts, Missy Baba produced leading sires Raja Baba and Sauce Boat, as well as the top broodmares Gay Missile and Toll Booth — the 1991 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year. Missy Baba is likewise the fourth dam of the champion racehorse and sire, A. P. Indy.

While there is no close inbreeding in Holy Helena’s pedigree, it’s noteworthy that her sire, Ghostzapper, is the product of the Northern Dancer/Intentionally cross, and her broodmare, Holy Grace, also contains both Northern Dancer and Intentionally, giving Holy Helena the linebreeding of 5×5—Northern Dancer and 5×5—Intentionally. Intentionally carries on the great Man o’ War male line which now descends primarily through In Reality to the top sire Tiznow. (In fact, the second-place finisher in this year’s QP was Tiz a Slam, by Tiznow).

In addition to her 5×5 linebreeding to both Northern Dancer and Intentionally, Holy Helena also features a 5×5 cross to The Axe II, a beautifully bred horse in his own right. Not only was he a son of Epsom Derby winner Mahmoud, but he also featured the legendary broodmares Mumtaz Mahal and La Troienne prominently in his pedigree. In any event, Holy Helena certainly demonstrates the power of multiple linebreeding to great genetic influences.

Holy Helena’s win continues the dominance of the Northern Dancer male line in the classics. Her male line traces from her sire, Ghostzapper, through Awesome Again to Vice Regent and Northern Dancer.