Bee Mac, War Admiral's “Dancing Daughter”
Born in 1941, Bee Mac came from the highly anticipated first crop of Triple Crown champion War Admiral (the crop of 1941 also included San Juan Capistrano winner Bric a Bac and Iron Maiden, later the dam of Kentucky Derby winner Iron Liege). Her dam, Baba Kenny, had been the Champion Juvenile filly of 1930
Bred by Colonel E.R. Bradley and born on his Idle Hour Stock Farm, the still-unnamed Bee Mac was given as a gift to Ms. Beatrice MacGuire in 1942. She was officially christened Bee Mac as a shortening of her new owner’s name, and given to the care of trainer James W. Smith
She raced only as a juvenile, and won only two major races, but for a time she was considered the champion of 1943. Her first big score came when she took the Spinaway Stakes over juvenile fillies in mid-August (bottom) Later the same month, she wired a group of promising young colts in the Hopeful Stakes at Belmont (top). While becoming the first filly to win the Hopeful in nearly 30 years, she also defeated the good stakes winners Boy Knight and By Jimminy, the latter of which would go on to be a champion at 3. In the words of the New York Times: “It is too early to pick a champion, and it is always risky to pick a filly as the best one, but Bee Mac left nothing to be desired when she led virtually from start to finish of the six and a half furlongs.”
When asked after the Hopeful what the future plans for the filly were, trainer J.W. Smith replied (rather cheekily) “Why not the Derby in ‘44?” Alas, it was not to be. Bee Mac was retired after her juvenile season, with three wins from seven starts and earnings of just under $45,000. She was returned to the farm of her birth for her first breeding season
Instead of the Derby in ‘44, Bee Mac was bred to two-time champion Bimelech. She produced a colt from that meeting, a good-looking bay. While that colt was a yearling, Colonel E.R. Bradley died. His brothers, not wanting to continue the storied Idle Hour breeding and racing, divided up the stock and farm into three lots. Bee Mac and her yearling son went with the lot given to the newly-established Kentucky division of the King Ranch.
That yearling would later gain fame under the name Better Self. As a juvenile, he won the East View Stakes and Saratoga Special, but he was best as an older horse. Better Self raced until he was 5, winning such as the Discovery, Carter, Gallant Fox, and Saratoga Handicaps. He was Bee Mac’s best racer, earning nearly $400,000 on the track.
When Bee Mac was transferred to the King Ranch, she had been in foal to Bull Lea. She dropped a little brown colt not long after she arrived. That one, named Prophet’s Thumb, would emulate his older brother in winning the Discovery Handicap in 1949
She was bred back to Bull Lea, and from that came Beau Max in 1947. Beau Max did not measure up to Bee Mac’s first two colts, but he was much the best in the breeding shed. He was the sire of multiple stakes winning gelding How Now, and of Golden Notes, who set a world record going 6 1/2 furlongs on dirt in 1959.
In hopes of getting another Better Self, Bee Mac was sent back to Bimelech in 1947. From this came another colt, named Black Douglas, but he was not another Better Self. He was stakes-placed and raced until he was four, but Black Douglas won no major races and produced no notable offspring
Given a year off for rest, Bee Mac was sent again to Bimelech in 1949, and from that produced her first daughter. The filly, named Mac Bea, was a juvenile stakes winner like her mother. She won the 1952 Marguerite Stakes and was third in the Selima.
Another filly followed the next year, a *Princequillo daughter named Riverina. This was a good racer, winning the 1954 Acorn Stakes and running third in the Coaching Club American Oaks and Ladies Handicap. As a broodmare, Riverina produced good handicaper Rio Bravo, who became a sire of Classic winners in Brazil
The last half of Bee Mac’s producing career was steady, if not spectacular. Bred back again to Bimelech and *Princequillo, she also met Citation and Middleground. The foals of these meetings were average. Her last foal, a colt names Boyar,was born in 1961, when Bee Mac was 20
On a final note, here in an interesting tidbit. Bee Mac was the first foal sired by War Admiral. The last of Admiral’s foals was the filly Belthazar, who was out of the mare Blinking Owl, a half-sister to Bee Mac through their dam Baba Kenny.