The great filly Mata Hari, a two-time champion of the 1930’s, was a horse bred perfectly by chance
It was a pleasant spring day in 1930 at Charles T. Fisher’s picturesque Dixiana Farm, and a team of six farmhands were trying desperately to load a mare into a van. She was War Woman, a four-year-old chestnut daughter of Man o’ War, and she absolutely had no interest in complying. She was supposed to be sent to the nearby Whitney farm for a breeding date with their 19-year-old stallion Pennant, but after wrestling with the stubborn mare for some time, the men conceded defeat. Instead, she was bred to Dixiana’s unraced stallion Peter Hastings, another son of Peter Pan. The next year, War Woman foaled a brown filly who was “as headstrong as her dam and as fast as anything of her sex”. Mata Hari, produced by chance, would become not only a champion on the track, but also a foundation mare at Dixiana
A son of undefeated Italian champion Nearco, Nearctic was the Canadian Champion Juvenile Colt of 1956 and was inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame, but he was more well known at stud. His most famous son was undoubtedly Northern Dancer, the 1964 Champion 3-Year-Old Colt and Horse of the Year, whose bloodlines carry strong through the breed even today.