Willy's sire is the deceased Salutely, a top producer of distance runners and steeplechase horses. Salutely was an exquisitely built horse by Hoist the Flag (2nd ranked sire in the world at one time) out of Politely (won an incredible 21 races over four years). Eighty-one percent of Salutely's 170 offspring who raced were winners, but more importantly they were exceptionally sound. They averaged 32 races per horse, with 33 of these horses running over 50 races.
Salutely was also one of the top producers of timber horses in the country. In fact, all of his steeplechase offspring that won races in '99 were racing over the long distances and solid fences of the timber courses where purses are lower than races over brush. Despite this, Salutely's offspring moved up to fourth in steeplechase earnings in the '99 standings. The most famous of these runners is Saluter, who won the grueling Virginia Gold Cup six consecutive times , set a record of 21 timber wins, and was the Chronicle of the Horse's Overall Horse of the Year in 1999. Saluter had a final stretch kick in a four mile race that consistently left his rivals trailing, and he fell only once in his long career. He is retired sound to the hunt field. Satutely son Make Me A Champ won the Maryland Hunt Cup at age 14.
Willy's dam, Good Queen Liz, has an equally impressive pedigree. Her sire, Sir Raleigh, was a stunning 17 hand stakes winner who raced in France. He is from the Turn-to line through Sir Gaylord and Sir Ivor. His sire, Sir Ivor, was Horse of the Year in England, and in spite of his high demand in the flat racing world has had a major influence on English steeplechase and eventing. The French annual book of sport horse breeding identified Sir Ivor as the TB sire with the greatest influence on the international show jumping scene worldwide. Sir Raleigh sired 135 race horses, 69% of whom were winners. Like Salutely these horses ran far more races than the typical race horse: an average of 26 starts per horse, with 20 of the 135 running more than 50 times.
Liz's dam is a granddaughter of My Babu. The September 18,1999 isue of Chronicle of the Horse singles out Turn-to (also in her pedigree) and My Babu as two of the greatest influences on the American hunter, jumper, and eventing worlds. In fact, descended from My Babu are Bruce Davidson's Olympic star JJ Babu, Anky Van Grunsven's Olympic dressage horse Bonfire, and 7'4" puissance jumper and grand prix superstar of the seventies Sympatico.
A complete pedigree analysis of Willy was done by JW Equine in 2000. It shows that every branch of his pedigree relates him to internationally competitive sport horses from around the world. Much of his Thoroughbred blood was used in Europe by the various warmblood registries to lighten and refine their warmblood mares.
We purchased Good Queen Liz immediately after Willy was weaned from our neighbor Flea Stisted at Kidogo Racing Stables. She was six and had been trained only to race. Steuart Pittman Sr., at age 75, insisted on making this mare his foxhunter in spite of Steuart Jr's insistence on breeding her. Liz has incredible movement, but also a lovely temperament, so she did hunt for the old man for two years before we bred her again. Liz produced another Advanced level event horse for us besides Willy. Willy's half-sister Zara (by the warmblood stallion, Scimitar) often has the fastest XC time in her upper level events and rarely has a jump penalty.