Big Bad Bob was neither the most obvious candidate for success as a flat sire nor as one who might earn a place at a top stud, but at the time of his premature death following an accident earlier this year, he was a busy and popular member of the team at the Irish National Stud.
The son of Bob Back (by Roberto) won eight of his 22 starts, including a 10-furlong Group 3 contest in Germany and listed races over 10 furlongs at Deauville and a mile at Ascot, and he began his second career at his owner-breeder's Islanmore Stud. It was the surprisingly high strike-rate of good winners to runners from those early produce that let to his promotion to the big league.
He has had nine stakes winners, plus eight others who have been listed or Group 3 placed, and his best runner is also one of his most notable sales graduates. Bocca Baciata made €230,000 at the Goffs Orby Sale, and at the Curragh this afternoon this Group 1-placed pattern scorer won the Group 2 Kilboy Estate Stakes.
Victory in that nine furlong contest made her the first of her sire's progeny to score at that level. She has the Group 3 Dance Design Stakes and two listed race wins to her name too, and it is she who chased home Minding in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh last month. She has an official handicap mark of 111, down 2lbs from her career peak, and she will be a fascinating addition to the broodmare ranks whenever her racing days come to an end.
Big Bad Bob is also responsible for the Group 3 scorers Berg Bahn, Bible Belt and Brendan Bracken, of whom the latter pair have been placed at Group 2 level, and his five listed scorers include the dual Group 3-placed Bob Le Beau.
Bocca Baciata is trained by Jessica Harrington, she was bred by Citadel Stud, and she has now won five of her 16 starts. Her recent Group 1 placing is one of four occasions where she has run at the highest level, and although she did not earn any blacktype for the other three, she was not disgraced when fifth behind Pleascach in the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas, fifth behind Simple Verse in the Group 1 Qipco British Champions Filly & Mare Stakes, or fourth behind Fascinating Rock in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup.
Bocca Baciata is one of three blacktype daughters of the Group 3 Prix Minerve third Sovana (by Desert King), and the other pair are the full-sisters Kalsa (by Whipper) and Topeka. The former won the Group 3 Prix Edmond Blanc over a mile at Saint-Cloud early last year, and Topeka won a mile listed contest and then the Group 3 Prix Miesque as a juvenile, and sprang a surprise when third, at 20/1, behind Beauty Parlour in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) four years ago.
Their three-year-old half-sister Suvenna (by Arcano) is trained by Michael Halford, won her maiden over seven furlongs at Dundalk in May and then followed-up over the same trip at Listowel nearly three weeks later.
Sovana was sold for €58,000 as part of the complete dispersal of Citadel Stud's stock at Goffs in November 2013, she had a Dutch Art (by Medicean) colt in February 2015, and she is one of two blacktype earners for her dam, a one-time scorer named Piacenza (by Darshaan).
That talented sibling is Perugina (by Highest Honor), who won the Group 3 Prix Eclipse over six and a half furlongs at Saint-Cloud as a juvenile and the Listed Prix Amandine over seven at Deauville the following summer. The best of that filly's placed efforts were her third in the Group 3 Prix du Bois and in the Listed Prix Herod, and although she became the dam of several multiple winners, most notably the prolific Si See Sea (by Cape Cross), her record pales in comparison to that of her half-sister.
Piacenza, in turn, was out of the Listed Prix de Bagatelle runner-up Kahara (by Habitat) and that made her a half-sister to the outstanding Scandinavian horse Silvestro (by Zino), whose dozen wins included the Oslo Cup, Ovreroll Grand Prix, two editions of the Dansk Eclipse Stakes and also of the Stockholm Cup International.
His half-sister Vitola (by Sallust), who was third in the Grade 2 Rare Perfume Stakes, became the dam of listed scorer Vitaba (by Northern Baby) and ancestor of several blacktype scorers, of whom Group 2 Premio Ribot scorer King Air (by Kingsalsa) is most notable.
The fourth and fifth dams of Bocca Baciata are Listed Prix Finlande winner Starina (by Crepello) and Falmouth Stakes heroine Caprera (by Abernant) respectively, and the latter has quite a few notable descendants, starting with Starina's half-brother Romildo (by Busted). He won the Group 1 Prix Ganay, as did his son Marildo.
Romildo's full-brother Pevero won the Group 3 Prix Foy and Group 3 Prix de Conde before going to stud in New Zealand, and their winning half-sister Virginia Reef (by Mill Reef) did her bit for the family by becoming the dam of dual Grade 3 scorer Virginia Carnival (by Carnivalay) and his notable half-sister Golden Reef (by Mr Prospector). That filly won the Grade 2 Schuylerville Stakes at Saratoga as a juvenile, was placed in both the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes and Grade 1 Matron Stakes, and became both the dam and grandam of several blacktype earners.
The most influential of Caprera's offspring, however, is her placed daughter Maresca (by Mill Reef). She was the dam of the Group 3 scorer Muroto (by Busted), of the stakes winners Vellano (by Lycius), Vanya (by Busted) and Mahalia (by Danehill), and of the multiple stakes-placed Zivania (by Shernazar), and so she is the direct ancestor of a long list of blacktype winners that includes the Group 1 stars Ectot (by Hurricane Run) and Most Improved (by Lawman).
Those horses are so remotely connected to Bocca Baciata as to have little to no relevance beyond demonstrating how this is a family whose various branches have a long-established history of producing talented racehorses. She is a Group 2-winning half-sister to two blacktype winners, she represents the Roberto (by Hail To Reason) stallion line, and it will be fascinating to follow her eventual broodmare career.