Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Keeping It In the Family: Urban Sea's Impact on the 2016 Investec Derby

 David Tsui's silks (WIkimedia/Zafonic photo)
Usually when I look at the pedigrees in European classic races for these pieces one stallion seems to dominate. Farther back on the page it might be Northern Dancer while in the first few generations of classic runners it's usually Sadler’s Wells but in the case of the Investec Derby at this entry stage it’s a mare whose name is seen everywhere.

After a racing career that any stallion would be jealous of, Urban Sea (Miswaki) hit the ground running as a broodmare with her first son high weighted as a 3-year-old in Ireland and her first daughter placing in two classics before proving herself as a producer. But it was that third foal that has played the biggest part in her legacy as a producer so far. Galileo was Urban Sea’s first champion and classic winner and these days is making sure her line in passed on.

At this stage in the Investec Derby entries, Galileo has played his part extremely well with seven runners by the sire in the entries. Quickly making his mark as a sire who passes along his talent for producing winners to his sons and daughters, Galileo’s sons New Approach and Teofilo both have a runner entered in the Derby as of Monday.

New Approach doesn’t yet have a Derby winner but his son Dawn Approach gave him a Group 1 QIPCO 2,000 Guineas victory from his first crop with Talent giving him a Group 1 Investec Oaks winner the same year. New Approach was only 1 ½ lengths from having an Investec Derby winner in 2013 when Libertarian finished second to his sire’s Ruler of the World. Like New Approach, Teofilo has followed in Galileo’s hoof prints with multiple classic winners – including the Irish Derby winner Trading Leather – but he is still looking for his first Investec Derby winner.

Galileo has already proven that his sons aren’t the only ones who can produce top classic horses with his daughters producing a Group 1 QIPCO 2,000 Guineas winner (Night of Thunder in 2014) and Investec Oaks winner (Qualify in 2015) but his daughters have outdone themselves this year. Galileo is looking to win the second leg of the English Triple Crown as a broodmare sire in the Investec Derby with Shogun after Galileo Gold (Paco Boy) won the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas in late April. 

Two weeks after Galileo Gold’s victory, La Cressonniere (Le Havre) won the Prix Poule d'Essai des Pouliches for Galileo’s daughter Absolute Lady. On both occasions, runners by Galileo won the companion race for those two as well (Minding in the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas led a Galileo trifecta and The Gurkha won the Poule d'Essai des Poulains impressively). At this entry stage, Galileo also has two runners in the Investec Oaks.

Sea the Stars (Aga Khan photo)
The only other stallion with more than one runner in this race is Galileo’s half-brother Sea the Stars.

The second-to-last foal out of Urban Sea (the last foal was Born to Sea, who finished second in the 2012 Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby), Sea the Stars was the first 3-year-old to win the 2,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and was lauded as one of the best horses in the history of the turf.  He had a slow start when his first 2-year-olds hit the track but they stormed into gear with victories in the Group 1 IDEE Deutsches Derby and Investec Henry Cecil Memorial Oaks Stakes in 2013. Last year, his son Storm the Stars hit the board in classics in England, France and Ireland.

Sea the Stars’ sire Cape Cross only has one entry in the race this year and is looking to become the fourth sire of this century to sire back-to-back Investec Derby winners. Last year his son Golden Horn won this race impressively by 3 ½ lengths after winning his first four starts. This year’s entry Moonlight Magic doesn’t come in with as impressive a record but has won four of his five starts, including a Group 3 Derby Trial in his last outing.

Urban Sea is often compared to bluehen mare Miesque and even here she cannot escape that rival. 

Lemon Drop Kid
Miesque’s famous son Kingmambo is the grandsire of two runners in this race with his son Lemon Drop Kid represented by three-time winner Red Verdon and his other son Archipenko by Group 3-placed Algometer. 

Kingmambo himself is also the broodmare sire of three of the runners, the most of any of the 15 broodmare sires here. Both bluehen mares are represented in the pedigrees of those three runners with two of Kingmambo’s runners sired by Galileo and one other by Sea the Stars.

The Galileo out of a Kingmambo mare cross is a familiar one in the winner’s circle with 2013 Derby winner Ruler of the World produced from that cross. Kingmambo daughters produced two consecutive Derby winners with Camelot (Montjeu) winning in 2012.

Kingmambo is one of four broodmare sires in this century with two Investec Derby winners. The late Montjeu leads all sires with four victories since 2000 with fellow Sadler’s Wells son Galileo right behind him with three. They are followed by their sire and Cape Cross with two Derby wins apiece here.


Cape Cross and Sadler’s Wells are the only two stallions to sire a winner and the dam of a winner since 2000. In the 2016 edition of the race Danehill, Galileo and Mark of Esteem have a chance to join them on that list.

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