Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Keeping It In the Family: Sirelines in the 2016 English 2,000 Guineas

European Horse of the Year Giant's Causeway has a unique distinction this year
With England’s 2,000 Guineas taking place on Saturday, everyone now has a good idea who will be lining up in Newmarket with trainers entering 17 3-year-olds earlier this week. The list may get smaller in the upcoming days but one thing nearly guaranteed: some of the best pedigrees on both sides of the Atlantic will be represented in this weekend’s English classic.

Possibly the biggest surprise is that super-stallion Galileo (Sadler’s Wells) is the sire of only one horse on the current entry list. But he still won’t be forgotten in this year’s 2,000 Guineas as he is the grandsire of two entries and the damsire of two others. That of course helps his sire Sadler’s Wells, who is represented by seven horses in the race. In addition to Galileo’s contributions, Montjeu is the damsire of one run while Doyen is the other damsire on Sadler’s Wells list in this race.

War Front is a fitting name for the U.S.-based stallion who continues his European invasion in this year’s 2,000 Guineas with the stallion represented by two runners from Ballydoyle. One is race favorite Air Force Blue while the other is Group 2 placed Air Vice Marshal. Air Force Blue looks like a $490,000 yearling purchase bargain so far with his current resume while Air Vice Marshal represents the more expensive end of War Front’s auction results as a $2.2-million co-sales topper at the 2014 Keeneland September Sale. Interestingly, if Air Vice Marshal and Mohaymen run in the 2,000 Guineas and Kentucky Derby, respectively, Keeneland can boast that both their co-toppers at that sale are classic runners. Air Force Blue is also a graduate of the sale.

War Front is the only son of Danzig with runners in the race but he is far from the only representative of the influential sire. Danzig can be found in the sireline of eight of the current entries and his grandson Mozart is the damsire of one other. Danzig’s sire Northern Dancer has an even bigger hold on the race with all but four sire lines leading back to him and seven of the damsires tracing back to the 1964 Kentucky Derby winner as well. 

War Front has the most entries of any stallion with two
Going back to sires of the entries, 16 different stallions from four different northern hemisphere countries are represented in this race (multiple sires on the list shuttle as well). The list includes reliable established stallions like Galileo, Exceed and Excel (Danehill), Invincible Spirit (Green Dancer), the U.S.’s Stormy Atlantic (Storm Cat) and Include (Broad Brush) while also watching the younger sire generation rise through the ranks with stallions like Fast Company (Danehill Dancer), Teofilo (Galileo), Paco Boy (Desert Style) and Lope de Vega (Shamardal) also having runners.

2,000 Guineas entry Shogun represented Fastnet Rock in the race
Young stallion Lope de Vega gives his grandsire Giant’s Causeway a unique distinction in this race. The 19-year-old Giant’s Causeway is the only stallion to both have sired a runner (he has two) and the dam of a runner in this year’s Kentucky Derby in addition to having a horse in the 2,000 Guineas trace back to him. Giant’s Causeway is also one of two stallions to be represented in both the Kentucky Derby and 2,000 Guineas with the late Street Cry siring Derby runner Trojan Nation while also siring a dam of one of the 2,000 Guineas runners.

Street Cry
Pivotal, who has had a standout year so far, continues his roll in this race with two of his daughters producing entries. The 23-year-old stallion was the sire of the first two home in the Group 2 Meydan Sobha Godolphin Mile earlier this year on the dirt in Dubai and is the damsire of Australian Group 1 winner The United States (Galileo), who won his first Group 1 in March. Other notable racehorses out of Pivotal’s daughters are U.S. champion and classic-placed Main Sequence (Aldebaran), Group 1 Darley July Cup winner Mayson (Invincible Spirit) and Group 1 Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes winner Winsili (Dansili). In the 2,000 Guineas, he is the damsire of Zonderland (Dutch Art) and Taqdeer (Fast Company).

Since 2000, 13 different sires and 15 damsires have been represented in the winner’s enclosure with Galileo represented as a sire, damsire or grandsire in the last three. Only three other stallions have the distinction of being both a sire and a damsire of 2,000 Guineas winners in this century. 

On Saturday, the late Montjeu can join his sire and Galileo on that list if Lope de Vega’s Blue de Vega crosses the line first.

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