Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Look At European Champion Sire Galileo's Year

Found gave Galileo a Breeders' Cup victory
While the fight with Dubawi (Dubai Millennium) at the top of Racing Post’s European Leading Sire standings was closer than his connections would have liked, at the end of 2015 it was business as usual for Galileo (Sadler’s Wells).

A 10-time leading sire, last year in the Ireland and United Kingdom ranks Galileo was ahead of Invincible Spirit by £3,985,535 (approx. $5,888,749U.S.) at the end of the year. This year, Galileo and Dubawi had a battle at the top of both the European and Ireland/England ratings with Galileo finishing £1,857,752 (approx. $2,744,885U.S.) ahead of Dubawi in the latter but only £622,367 (approx $919,566U.S.) ahead when factoring in all of the European prize money.

Galileo’s juvenile winners in the autumn helped cushion his lead going into the final stretch of the season with top 2-year-olds Ballydoyle, Johannes Vermeer and Minding all winning large prizes for their sire (Galileo also topped the European 2-year-old sires list in 2015).

When it came down to the final tally, Galileo held his spot at the top with 128 winners from 291 runners in Europe, a 43.99 percent strike rate. Those 291 runners made 1144 starts, winning 184 races for a 16 percent strike rate including 46 stakes races spread among 35 stakes winners.

Galileo’s 128 winners put him in second in that category behind the tied Shamardal (Giant’s Causeway) and Acclamation (Royal Applause) with 137 winners from 259 and 296 runners, respectively. While he was out of the top 10 in the percent of winners to runners and sixth in the amount of wins, he ended the season with a sizable lead over Shamardal in the amount of stakes winners (35 to 23) and an even bigger win in the number of stakes wins with second placed Dubawi having 29.

Even though Galileo led the money won category, he didn’t rely on one big winner to get him to the top with Gleneagles’ earnings the 11th highest of those listed as their sires’ best horse in the rankings.

Gleneagles
Gleneagles, however, helped boost his sire's season by giving him two classic wins (the British and Irish 2,000 Guineas) in a year where Galileo seemed to be lighter on 3-year-old male talent. Galileo’s only other male classic winner in Europe in 2015 was Order of St. George in the Irish St. Leger in September.

But even with what some would call a lighter year for Galileo, he still produced five Group 1 winners and 22 group stakes winners in Europe. Of his 35 stakes winners, nine were juveniles including the European champion 2-year-old filly Minding, who won two Group 1 races; Group 1 winners Ballydoyle and Johannes Vermeer; and Gleneagles’ full sister Coolmore, who won a Group 3 race.

While the races didn’t count in the European rankings, Galileo also had Group and Grade 1 successes in other parts of the world.

His 3-year-old son Highland Reel won both the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Vase in Hong Kong and Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes in the United States in addition to finishing third in the Group 1 Cox Plate in Australia.

It was also the year of the Galileo fillies in the United States. Found, who had run against the males all fall in Europe with success, finally got her break-through win in the Grade 1 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf in while another 3-year-old filly, Curvy, won the E.P. Taylor Stakes in Canada a few weeks before that victory. United States-based Photo Call took the Rodeo Drive in California while Secret Gesture flew over for the Beverly D. in August and crossed the line first, although she was disqualified to third.

Secret Gesture in the Beverly D.
Mondaliste joined Curvy as a Canadian Grade 1 winner for Galileo when winning the Ricoh Woodbine Mile a month before Curvy won the E.P. Taylor, beating Grade 1 winners Lea and Obviously.

Overall Galileo didn’t have one very dominant horse on the track in 2015 but the 18-year-old spread the wealth, so to speak, over many different horses.

According to Thoroughbred Daily News’ (TDN) General Sire List, in North America and Europe Galileo’s offspring earned the stallion £10,044,383($14,840,883U.S.) with Found leading the charge with £1,761,899 ($2,603,260U.S.) earned between the continents. Galileo led TDN’s list in his number of stakes winners (11.94 percent of his starters), stakes horses (20.90 percent of his starters), graded stakes winners, graded stakes horses, Grade 1 winners (10) and Grade 1 horses (19).

Like it has been for many years, Galileo enters the 2016 season with a private stud fee. With a strong group of 3-year-olds headed to the classics in 2016, it looks like it will be another banner year for Coolmore’s flagship stallion as he looks to continue filling the shoes of his late, legendary sire.

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