Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Keeping It In the Family: Royal Ascot Pedigree Trends

The late Scat Daddy had a 100 percent win rate at Royal Ascot
When 455 horses entered the gate during the 30 races held over the five days of the 2016 Royal Ascot meet, their owners weren’t the only ones hoping for wins.

One hundred and seventy-three stallions standing in 19 countries were represented by at least one runner. While some of those stallions have either died or pensioned in the years between the time their Royal Ascot entries were conceived and the 2016 meet, many of the breeders who stand those who are still active were hoping for a good showing at the meet to add to their stud record.

By the end of the five days, the offspring of 24 stallions got their picture taken after passing the winning post first. Standing in six countries, all but three of the winning sires are still active in the shed. Early in the week the late Scat Daddy and Kodiak looked like they may be able to sneak away with the leading sire title when they both had two winners each but in the end, it wasn’t a huge to surprise to see Galileo come up with four winners on the last two days (it was surprising to see them come in four consecutive races, however) to take the leading sire title.

Galileo struck at a win rate of 21.7 percent at Royal Ascot with five of his 23 runners winning. Kodiak had the second highest amount of runners with 15 followed by Dark Angel and Exceed and Excel with 12 each. Scat Daddy, who had two runners at the meet, had a 100 percent strike rate with Caravaggio and Lady Aurelia both taking the top prize in their respective 2-year-old races.

Bernstein's Royal Ascot winner Tepin
The late U.S. stallion Bernstein and new U.S. stallion Lord Shanakill were able to copy that 100 percent effort with their single runners winning their races. Overall, of the countries that currently stand (or stood at the time of a stallion’s pensioning or death) at least two stallions with Royal Ascot runners, the U.S. leads with 15.4 percent winners, followed by Turkey with 12.5 percent runners.

It should be noted that one of the six winners coming from stallions currently standing in the U.S. is by Lord Shanakill, who moved to the U.S. in 2016. The same goes for Turkey’s winner by Bushranger with Bushranger also supplying the country with six runners of its runners. All of them were conceived before he was sold to the country. Without Lord Shanakill’s winner, the U.S.’s percentage still sits at a country-high 12.8 percent, while Turkey loses its only winner.

Ireland had the most stallions represented by runners with the country’s stallions siring 203 of the 455 runners (44.6 percent). Those runners supplied 16 winners at the meet, 10 more than the U.S. had as the runner-up in number of winners and 11 more than stallions standing in England.

Interestingly, the broodmare sires of winners shows just as much variety as the sires with 25 different winning broodmare sires. Four of those had two winners each with Galileo and Sadler’s Wells combining for four winners. Danehill Dancer and Galileo are the only stallions to sire both a winner and the dam of a winner at the meeting.

Danehill Dancer, Galileo, Giant’s Causeway, Sadler’s Wells and Storm Cat all had at least one daughter and one son with Royal Ascot winners while Danehill Dancer, Galileo and Shamardal all sired both a winner and the sire of a winner at this year’s Royal Ascot meeting.

(Note: Locations used for country stats are based on stallions' last known location while at stud listed by multiple sources)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Pedigree Fun Facts from the 2016 U.S. Triple Crown Trail

The 2016 U.S. Triple Crown season is rapidly disappearing in the rearview mirror, along with the northern hemisphere breeding season. But even though the Triple Crown preps don’t hit high gear until the middle of the breeding season, every result can impact the breeding industry for seasons to come. From first crop sire Uncle Mo making waves with his runners to stalwart stallions having their say in the Triple Crown races, read on to learn about some of the more interesting pedigree notes that came out of this year’s Road to the Triple Crown.

Seventeen stallions sired Kentucky Derby prep race winners – Eight of those sired one winner on the Road to the Kentucky Derby while Tapit led all sires with six prep winners followed by Uncle Mo with five.

The average stud fees of the stallions in 2012 when this crop of 3-year-old were conceived was $43,088 – The lowest stud fee was Holy Bull at $10,000 and the highest was Bernardini at $150,000.

The average age of the stallions with prep winners is 14.3 years old – Uncle Mo was the youngest of all stallions at eight and the pensioned Holy Bull the oldest at 25.

Curlin is the only stallion to sire four classic placers in four straight years – Since 2000, multiple stallions have had classic placed horses two years running but only Curlin has had a classic placed horse in four consecutive years. Tapit is the only other one who has kept the streak alive for more than two years - he’s currently at three years.

Tapit and Birdstone's Big Streak – Gainesway’s stallions have more in common than just siring a classic winner – both Tapit and Birdstone have sired the first and third place finishers in a Belmont Stakes. Tapit had Creator and Lani this year while Birdstone had Summer Bird and Mine That Bird in 2009.

Curlin and Tapit are the only two stallions to sire two different classic winners since 2010 – Curlin sired this year’s Preakness winner and the 2013 Belmont winner (Palace Malice). Tapit sired this year’s Belmont winner and sired 2014 Belmont winner Tapit.

Twenty-two different broodmare sires were represented by prep winners – Of those 22, eight are still active breeding stallions in the U.S. and stand for fees ranging from $4,500 to $100,000.

Twenty-five third dams had prep winners – Every prep winner had a different third dam. While not unusual, it's notable because it means none of the winners were closely related through their dams (multiple winners shared sires).

Giant’s Causeway is the only stallion who sired a winner and is the broodmare sire of another – Giant’s Causeway sired two Kentucky Derby runners and was also the damsire of one other with all three runners winning at least one prep race.

Two U.S. classic winners sired prep winners – Interestingly, both Curlin and Bernardini won the Preakness Stakes. Their victories came in back-to-back years.

Three broodmare sires won U.S. classics – All three Triple Crown races were represented with one dual classic winner (Sunday Silence) and two Belmont winners (Afleet Alex and Empire Maker) siring daughters who produced winners on the road to the Triple Crown.

The youngest broodmare sire is 11 years younger than the oldest sire – Holy Bull sired Withers winner Sunny Ridge when he was 22. Afleet Alex’s daughter produced Southwest Stakes winner Suddenbreakingnews when he was 11. Suddenbreakingnew’s dam Uchitel was from Afleet Alex’s first crop and produced Suddenbreakingnews when she was six. Overall, fourteen of the broodmare sires are younger than Holy Bull.

Three broodmare sires also produced sires of prep winners – Possibly the most versatile of all the stallions on the various lists is Giant’s Causeway. He was not only the sire of multiple prep winners, he was also the broodmare sire of one runner and his son Eskendereya sired multiple prep winner Mor Spirit.

Candy Ride and Giant’s Causeway – As noted above, Giant’s Causeway was the sire and grandsire of a prep winner but he wasn’t the only one. In addition to siring Gun Runner, he is also the grandsire of San Felipe winner Danzing Candy.

Three sires of prep winners do not stand in Kentucky – Fourteen of the sires of prep winners currently stand in Kentucky. Of the three that don’t, Holy Bull was pensioned in 2012 and currently lives at Darley’s Jonabell in Lexington, Ky.; Eskendereya is standing his first season outside of Kentucky this year and Bluegrass Cat is finishing up his second season in California. Of the seven broodmare sires who still stand in the U.S., five of them stand in Kentucky.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Keeping It In the Family: Older Sires Showcased in Belmont Stakes

Malibu Moon
The first two legs of the 2016 Triple Crown played like coming out parties for the younger generation of stallions with the 8-year-old Uncle Mo and 12-year-old Curlin siring the winners of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness respectively. But in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, the older stallions will attempt to reclaim the classic throne.

The Belmont Stakes sire list reads as a who’s who of established stallions with seven of the stallions over the age of 14. The youngest stallion to sire a runner in this year’s Belmont is nine years old with the average stallion age in the race sitting at 15 1/2 years old.

The elder statesmen of this Belmont Stakes are Giant’s Causeway and Malibu Moon. The 19-year-old stallions are searching for more classic success with Giant’s Causeway already siring French classic winner Shamardal and Malibu Moon siring 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb.

Malibu Moon comes from the most popular sireline seen in this race with the stallion one of three A.P. Indy (Seattle Slew) sons or grandsons with runners in the Belmont Stakes. Record breaking A.P. Indy grandson Tapit is one of three stallions with two runners while A.P. Indy’s 17-year-old son Mineshaft rounds out A.P. Indy’s four entries.

A.P. Indy isn’t the broodmare sire of any runners in this year’s Belmont Stakes but his son Pulpit is the broodmare sire of Pioneerof the Nile’s Gettysburg, who was a late addition to the field. Pulpit holds the distinction of being the only stallion to have both a son and a daughter with a runner in this field. A.P. Indy’s half-brother Summer Squall (Storm Bird) is also the broodmare sire of a runner while fellow Seattle Slew son Vindication is the broodmare sire of Exaggerator.

The lone 9-year-old in the field is Paddy O’Prado, who is represented by his first crop in this race. The stallion, who finished third in the 2010 Kentucky Derby, is off to a good start with Belmont runner Cherry Wine finishing second in the Preakness Stakes three weeks ago. Paddy O’Prado is one of three stallions who give this classic a bit of a European feel, as he is by the Sadler’s Wells son El Prado. El Prado’s biggest success as a stallion may be Medagalia d’Oro, an important sire in both the United States and Australia.

Medaglia d'Oro
Medaglia d’Oro has two runners including Stradivari in this race, a colt who finished fourth in the Preakness when making his stakes debut. The 17-year-old stallion has two Kentucky Oaks victories and a Preakness on his sire record thanks to two daughters, but is still waiting to break through at the U.S. classic level with a son. Medaglia d’Oro’s other runner, Forever d’Oro, is a regally bred son of Lemons Forever who recently broke his maiden at Belmont Park in late May.

Forever d’Oro is owned by Charles Fipke, who gives Sadler’s Wells even more support in here by also entering Seeking the Soul. Seeking the Soul is by Fipke’s Sadler’s Wells son Perfect Soul, whose biggest success in a U.S. classic came with Golden Soul finishing second in the 2013 Kentucky Derby.

Overall, 10 stallions have sired runners in the 2016 edition of this race with Paddy O'Prado the only stallion to have less than three crops of racing age. Each runner in the race ultimately trace back to three major sirelines through their sires in Northern Dancer, Mr. Prospector and Seattle Slew but they come from five different branches of those sire lines with the Sadler’s Wells and A.P. Indy lines being the most commonly seen here.

Deputy Minster is the only sire or broodmare sire to have more than one Belmont Stakes winner since 1999, with three winners as a broodmare sire. The only stallion in that time who has both sired a winner of the Belmont and the dam of a Belmont winner is Gone West. Seeking the Gold can join him on that list if Seeking the Soul wins on Saturday.

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.