Do you remember Honest Pleasure? He was the Champion 2-Year-Old of 1975, following
in the footsteps of his kinsman Foolish Pleasure who reigned the year before in
the same category. Both were sons of What a Pleasure, and both helped that son
of Bold Ruler gain the North American Leading Sire titles in 1975 and 1976. Honest
Pleasure did not follow in his sire's footsteps as a leading sire, but for some
reason, he's showing up in important pedigrees all over the world. Like the pedigree
of Horse of the World Equinox, 2022 Horse of the Year Flightline, Leading Sires
Tapit and Into Mischief and Triple Crown winner Justify.
Here's a quick recap.
Honest Pleasure was a very good 2-year-old, winning the Arlington-Washington Futurity-G1,
Champagne Stakes-G1, Laurel Futurity and Cowdin Stakes. At 3 he won the Florida
Derby-G1, Flamingo Stakes-G1 and Blue Grass Stakes-G1 but was beaten in the Kentucky
Derby-G1 by Bold Forbes. He went on to win the Travers Stakes-G1 (setting a new
track record at Saratoga for the mile and a quarter in 2:00.1) and placed against
older horses in the Marlboro Cup-G1 to the great Forego and Woodward Handicap-G1.
Bold Forbes, who followed his Derby win with victory in the Belmont Stakes-G1
was awarded the division title. At 4, Honest Pleasure won the Ben Ali Handicap-G3.
With this shining reputation, he retired to stud at Claiborne Farm in 1978, but
later found homes in Florida then California where he died in 1992 at Harris Farms.
Honest Pleasure was a useful sire but obviously not strong enough to maintain
his stud career in Kentucky. He sired 26 stakes winners for 6.21% stakes winners
to foals, which is actually a very strong showing for a not-so-great sire. He
sired 4 Grade/Group 1 winners led by Judge Angelucci, Bedside Promise, Leroy S
and Again Tomorrow.
The filly Narrate came out of his 1980 crop and went on
to win the Falls City Handicap-G3 at 3. Back at her birthplace at Claiborne Farm,
she became an important broodmare. Her daughter Yarn (by Mr. Prospector) produced
Grade/Group 1 winners Tale of the Cat and Minardi and other good ones. Yarn's
daughter Myth produced European Champion 2-Year-Old Johannesburg and he sired,
among others, the top runner and sire Scat Daddy. Before his early death, Scat
Daddy sired Justify, the European colts No Nay Never (champion at 2 in France)
and Caravaggio (Group 1 winner), and the rising young sire Flameway, a Grade 3
Narrate also produced Preach, a full sister to Yarn, and a Grade
1 winner in her own right. Back at Claiborne, Preach's first foal was the brilliant
Grade 1 winner Pulpit, and Pulpit sired, among others, Grade 1 winner and 3-time
Leading Sire Tapit. He, of course, sired a lot of good ones, led by Horse of the
Year Flightline, and numerous other champions and classic winners.
same 1980 crop as Narrate came Dowager, out of the very good race mare Princessnesian.
Unlike her mother, Dowager was unsuccessful on the track, unplaced in 3 starts,
but and like her mother, was a modestly successful broodmare. Her winning daughter
Christmas In Aiken (by Affirmed) took it up a notch by producing the high class,
multiple Grade 1 winner Harlan's Holiday. Harlan's Holiday sired Into Mischief
in his first crop, a Grade 1 winner and America's Leading Sire from 2019 through
2023. Later crops for Harlan's Holiday produced champions Shanghai Bobby, Conquest
Harlanate and Grade 1 winner Majesticperfection.
From Honest Pleasure's 1983
crop came the flashy colt Judge Angelucci. A top handicapper at 4 and 5 on the
West Coast, he had no appeal in the U.S. as a stallion - Honest Pleasure had already
been sold out of Kentucky to Florida - but there was an enthusiastic market found
in Japan. In his first year at stud there, Judge Angelucci was bred to Tizly,
better known as the dam of Cee's Tizzy, and produced Otome Gokoro, his only real
claim to fame, because he was otherwise a disaster at stud. Otome Gokoro, however
moved the family one step closer to greatness, foaling the filly Sugar Heart,
by Sakura Bakushin O. Sugar Heart, in turn produced the mighty Kitasan Black,
2-time Japanese Horse of the Year. From Kitasan Black's first crop of foals, came
another beautiful black horse, Equinox, who was just voted the World's Best Racehorse
So it's not a bad legacy for Honest Pleasure, who ended his days as
a disappointment in California. Looking back, we have to wonder where would we
be without him?
(copyright by Anne Peters 2024)