Stardust Desire is the taproot mare of a successful tail-female family, which includes noted producers Genuine Desire, Desire Some Freckles and Playguns Desire.

In The Blood: The Science of the Tail-Female Line

With the first round of limited-age cutting events in the books for 2022, several horses from the same female family recently earned accolades.

It happened at The Ike, where five horses who won championships or placed high in two classes divisions have a significant pedigree tie to each other and an illustrate a successful tail-female line. 

These cutters are:

When we look at the pedigrees of these horses, we see that four of them are out of Desires Nu Catillac and the fifth is out of Spoon My Desire.  Desires Nu Catillac is out of the great show mare and producer Desire Some Freckles while Spoon My Desire is out of a daughter of Desire Some Freckles, Desires Smart Lena. That means that these five horses come from the same female family along the tail-female line. 

The Tail-Female Line

The tail-female line is the bottom line of mares in the bracket pedigree. I consider this line of mares as the foundation of the pedigree. It is usually the first place I go when I am looking at the pedigree. I do that because the rest of the pedigree is built on that foundation.

A key factor in why the tail-female line is the foundation of the pedigree comes from how this line of mares genetically influences the foal. The individual cells in our body are made up of two primary components: the cell nucleus and the mitochondria. The cell nucleus houses our chromosomes, which have the genetic information of what we and our horses are as individuals. Their physical traits and the genetics of those traits. The mitochondria in the cell allow the biochemical processes of respiration and energy production to occur. This makes the mitochondria the source of energy of the cells.

The reason the tail-female line is important comes from how we all inherit our mitochondria DNA in the next generation. The mitochondria are inside the cell, but outside the cell nucleus. The mitochondrial DNA is passed directly from the mother to her offspring. Although mitochondrial DNA is passed by the sire as well, it is not utilized or expressed by the cell in the next generation. So, therefore, we – and our horses – get our cellular source of energy from our mother. 

This tells us that the mitochondrial DNA is passed down to each succeeding generation through the mare. A key part of this factor is that there are a series of genes that come together in what we know today as haplotypes. These haplotypes are passed down generation after generation in tacked through the tail female line.  

By following this genetic information through these haplotypes, geneticists have traced the female lines of the Thoroughbred back to their foundation or the original mares that were used to start the Thoroughbred. The research for this came out in 2002 through the efforts of Emmiline Hill and her fellow geneticists at the Smurfit Institute of Genetics at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

In their article, “History and Integrity of Thoroughbred Dam Lines Revealed in Equine mtDNA Variation,” the researchers literally identified the tail-female lines that we see in the Thoroughbred today. They not only verified the lines back to the original taproot mares, but they also identified errors in these lines in that some mare lines traced to a different tail-female line. 

The “taproot mare” is the is where the tail female line originates, and she has the mitochondrial DNA that is passed down generation after generation through her female descendents.

The Taproot: Stardust Desire

The taproot mare of the line of cutting horses mentioned above that did so well at The Ike is Stardust Desire (Stardust Red x Mos Enero Flos x Enero) and she was the 1966 NCHA Open World Champion. Stardust Desire would produce only two foals, including Peppy’s Desire – the 1975 NCHA Open World Champion and the 1975 NCHA Non-Pro World Champion. 

Stardust Desire is the taproot mare of a successful tail-female family, which includes noted producers Genuine Desire, Desire Some Freckles and Playguns Desire. She was born in 1958 and bred by Jack H. Lawrence, of Fredericksburg, Texas.

Here is how this family flows from the taproot mare, Stardust Desire:

Genuine Desire: The next mare in this tail female line is Genuine Desire, who is a daughter of Genuine Doc and out of Peppys Desire (Peppy San x Stardust Desire) and was the 1985 The Non-Pro 4-Year-old Champion and the 1986 TQHA National Stakes 5-Year-Old Non-Pro Champion. Genuine Desire is the dam of horses that have won $650,699 including Desire Some Freckles (by Freckles Playboy), winner of $210,050, and Playguns Desire (by Playgun), winner of $124,902. 

Desire Some Freckles: The mare Desire Some Freckles (Freckles Playboy x Genuine Desire) is the dam of horses that have earned $1.6 million with six of her 31 money earners having won more than $100,000. They include 2012 Breeders Invitational Reserve Champion Thundercat ($307,653, by High Brow Cat); 2007 NCHA Open Futurity Reserve Champion Desires Little Rex ($287,519, by Smart Little Lena) and 2019 Southern Cutting Futurity 5/6 Year-Old Open Desiresomemettalic ($181,514, by Metallic Cat).

Desires Nu Catillac: A daughter of High Brow Cat and out of Desire Some Freckles, Desires Nu Catillac is the winner of $58,923 and the next mare in this tail-female line. She was a finalist in the NCHA Limited Non-Pro Classic/Challenge and her foals have an EquiStat record of $228,798. These winners include Tuff Nu Catillac ($85,244), Reyzin Nu Desires ($84,433), One Nu Catillac ($22,013), Woody Be A Caddy ($15,498, by Woody Be Tuff) and Im Countin Dreams ($14,873). 

Desires Smart Lena: An unshown daughter of Smart Little Lena and Desire Some Freckles, Desires Smart Lena is the dam of horses who have earned $350,830, including Desires Blue ($199,200 by Mecom Blue) and Spoon My Desire ($57,624), who was her second-highest money earner and the dam of two money earners including the recent champion at The Ike, Pep Talkk ($32,021).

In addition to the Desire Some Freckles line of this family, another extremely productive branch of this family goes through her maternal half-sister, Playguns Desire. The daughter of Playgun and out of Genuine Desire gives us a second line of mares that reinforces the Stardust Desire tail-female line. Playguns Desire is the dam of horses that have won $868,871 including Reys Desire ($409,603, by Dual Rey) and Desire A Lil Pepto ($220,479, by Sweet Lil Pepto). 

When we look at a sale catalog that uses the Thoroughbred style pedigree that profiles the mares and their offspring, we are showcasing a tail-female line. Now we know the genetic role that the tail-female line plays in the foals produced from that line of mares.