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Horses Americans Should Know II: Soviet Song

Welcome to the second installment in our occasional series. Today’s featured horse is Irish-bred, British-based mare Soviet Song.

Soviet Song was bred and raced by Elite Racing Club; she remains a part of their operation today as a broodmare. The Club’s structure is one that would be most welcome in American racing; members pay a low annual fee (less than £200) and receive weekly newsletters and the right to visit the stables (even to see the broodmares and foals, which is a rare opportunity indeed by American practices), regular events and, of course, some share of any prize money (but with over 15,000 members, that’s obviously not why most people are joining).

Soviet Song’s dam, Kalinka, was one of the first broodmares acquired by the Club; she won a few races for them and has gone on to become a very successful broodmare — Soviet Song, born in 2000, was her second foal.

Soviet Song started her racing career off with great style; she was unbeaten as a 2-year-old and quickly stepped up in class; her final race for the year, the Fillies’ Mile at Ascot, was her first Group 1 win.

Things might have seemed less successful by American standards in her 3-year-old year; while she did not win, she was fiercely competitive in races including the 1000 Guineas — finishing just behind the likes of Six Perfections and Intercontinental — all while never missing a share of the prize money.

As a 4 year-old, Soviet Song was in top form — she garnered four wins, including the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes and one over the boys in the Sussex Stakes.

Her 5-year-old season was hampered by illness; although she won the Falmouth for a second time and came second in the Sussex, she picked up ‘a chill‘ that forced her to sit out much of the rest of that year.

She returned at six for a final crack at a Royal Ascot win — her fourth such attempt — and was victorious in the Windsor Forest (a raced created in 2004 to ‘keep more leading fillies in training beyond the age of three’).

Soviet Song’s awards include the 2004 Cartier Award for Top Older Horse and she was the highest-rated older filly in the world in 2004 and 2005. She was retired to Kirtlington Stud in Oxfordshire in late 2006, but experienced some initial breeding problems, failing to get in foal to both Montjeu and Galileo.

Happily, those issues are now resolved and she is currently in foal to Oasis Dream, with her first foal expected in 2009.

Like Big Brown, Soviet Song has had foot problems that have necessitated glue-on shoes — but she still managed 24 starts and 9 wins. IEAH could learn a lot from Elite Racing Club.

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