Grand Fashion and a Grand Lady

by Alan Leavitt

The mention of the 2-year-old trotting filly Grand Fashion caught my attention for several reasons. I had a bit to do with his pedigree, but more on that later. The main attraction was the fact that she had been raised and belonged to Jules Siegel’s Fashion Farm.

Fashion Farm has been a major player in harness racing for decades. It was the creation of Jules and Arlene Siegel, or maybe I should say Arlene and Jules Siegel. I had been close to them over the years, and shared Jules’ grief when Arlene passed away in 2010. She was a wonderful woman, always gracious, intelligent and with a sense of humor subtle and sly who has never wasted so much time getting to the point. She often took the lead in yearling selection or broodmare selection, and when she did, she chose well.

Together, the Siegels have won virtually every major harness race, starting with the Hambletonian, which they won in 1995 with Tagliabue. Like all of their best horses, Tagliabue was trained by Jim Campbell, one of our industry’s leading trainers, much of it with horses owned by the Siegels.

Here, an aside. The name, Fashion Farm, came with the farm property when the Siegels purchased it. He was given that name by someone a long time ago, whose name escapes me, but he was a client of Stanley Dancer. He owned horses in partnership with Lou Silverstein, and he was a manufacturer of women’s clothing: hence the use of the word “Fashion” to name his property.

Now let’s move on to the filly that started this whole memory exercise, Grand Fashion. She’s from Walner, and Broadway Schooner, from Broadway Hall. Broadway Schooner was a champion racing filly, earning $865,933. As a producer, she hit the jackpot with her second colt, Donato’s Hanover Broadway filly Donna, a high stakes winner who took home $1,434,735.

The only cross close enough to be referred to by name is a 3 by 4 cross towards Conway Hall, which is technically described as high line. In case you forgot, when the sum of the generations in which the same name appears twice is equal to or less than six, i.e. inbreeding. When the sum of the generations is seven or eight, as it is here, it is line breeding. When no name occurs twice to match either of these two terms, such a pedigree is correctly described as a crossing.

I take some pride in the sire here, as Grand Fashion’s dam Broadway Schooner is sired by Broadway Hall, a horse that Meg and I bred and sold as a yearling to the Siegels.

Conway Hall is another shining example of the decisive role 2-year-old racing genius plays in determining the future success of a potential stallion. Conway Hall was bred by Meg and I, and raced by top trainer Bob Stewart. He was exceptional as a 2-year-old and was voted champion colt at the two-year-old trot in every poll.

As a father, Conway Hall’s influence is still felt. His son, Windsong’s Legacy, won the Hambletonian, then from his first brood he sired Lucky Chucky, who finished second in his Hambletonian, and Chapter Seven, a high-stakes colt who won $1,954,986 .

Retired to stud, Chapter Seven was North America’s leading silver-winning trotting sire of 2021, and his champions include the great mare and Hambletonian winner Atlanta, and the leading sire of 2 silver-winning trotters years from its first harvest in 2021, Walner.

Finally, a final remark on the horses of Grand Fashion’s pedigree.

It was a great loss for our sport when Windsong’s Legacy was hit with a heart attack after siring just two generations of foals. It belonged to Bill Perretti at the time, and I must confess that I still sometimes miss the sound of Perretti’s roar, which was always worse than the bite. One of these days I expect to hear Bill up close again and hopefully Arlene Seigel, not to mention a million other people. And if it works, I’ll try to write another article for HRU, to let you know what you’re missing.

Back in the Grand Fashion pedigree, in the fifth generation is a sire named Prakas, who won the Hambletonian in 1985. The horse was named after Mike Prakas, who was a great blood agent under the course name Principal brokers. Prakas sold a lot of good horses in his time, and I bought quite a few.

It was a pleasant surprise, after all these years, to hear from Prakas recently. He now lives in South Florida, and I can’t wait to see him again and, as he said, to remember.

And speaking of people, one of these days I would like to meet Joe and Jennifer Bongiorno. I happened to know their mother when she was six.

I was good friends with Sonny and Sandy Dancer, and they had a heated pool on their farm in New Jersey. I was also close to Sonny’s father, Harold Dancer, Sr., who was a great horseman and a greater human being. One Christmas Eve, he stayed up all night assembling all the toys that were sitting, unassembled, under Sonny and Sandy’s Christmas tree.

My two children, who are now both in their 50s, were under 10 during the summers we spent Sundays at the Dancer’s Pool. And their six-year-old daughter was always accompanied by her German Shepherd, who always stuck to the little girl’s side. You can be sure no one made the mistake of rushing towards the little girl too quickly.

I just think his son and daughter would like to know.

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