Some horses have diverse pedigrees with elements of speed, stamina, turf, precocity and late maturation. When the combination works, such horses are often versatile as stallions and attractive to a wide-range of mares.

That is the background behind Chess Chief, who is new to the roster at Pleasant Acres Stallions for 2024.

Chess Chief gets his potential for speed and precocity from his sire, Into Mischief, who won one of the most competitive editions of the CashCall Futurity (Grade 1) as a juvenile and won the Listed Damascus in a swift 1:20.38 as a 3-year-old. As of April 9, the five-time American champion sire has sired 299 juvenile winners including 2022 champion 2-year-old filly Wonder Wheel and three other Grade 1 winners.

On the bottom side of his pedigree, Chess Chief is the second foal of Un Blessed, whose sire Mineshaft was Horse of the Year as a 4-year-old in 2003. Mineshaft’s victories that year included four Grade 1 stakes in the range of nine to 10 furlongs, not surprising for a son of Belmont (G1)-winner A.P. Indy.

Un Blessed is a half-sister to Bonnie Byerly, by  Dayjur, dam of the multiple graded/group-winning sprinter Diabolical, a son of Artax and multiple French Group 3-winner What a Name, by Mr. Greeley. The sisters are out of 1990 Yellow Ribbon Invitational (G1)-winner Plenty of Grace (by the noted stamina influence Roberto), whose dam, Wings of Grace, by Key to the Mint, was a Grade 3 winner on grass and produced 1999 champion turf female Soaring Softly with Kris S. This is an old Darby Dan family that has tended toward stamina and later maturation but, as Diabolical shows, has been able to produce speed when mated to mares by quicker sires.

Chess Chief showed promise as a 3-year-old, placing twice in graded stakes, but did not fully develop that promise for two more years. As a 5-year-old, he put it all together, delivering a determined victory in the 2021 New Orleans Classic (G2) defeating Grade 1-winner Roadster. He also won the Listed Tenacious, gained two more graded-stakes placings in 2021, and was stakes-placed again in 2022 before ending his career with 14 wins or placings from 39 starts.

Chess Chief is standing the 2024 season for $5,000 live foal.

Return to the April 15 issue of Wire to Wire