Saturday, January 16, 2010

Chapter 29


Sadler's Wells

The 1981 crop of foals provides lots of stories and perhaps the most prolific sire of the sons of Northern Dancer.

Sadler’s Wells raced entirely in Europe and retired to stud at Robert Sangster’s Coolmore Stud in Ireland but he was bred and born in the United States to Sangster’s mare Fairy Bridge out of Bold Reason. While Sadler’s Wells was the leading money winner from the 1981 crop his racing performance was overshadowed slightly by two other 1981 sons of the Dancer in El Gran Senor and Secreto. El Gran Senor was the two-year-old Champion and winner of the Two Thousand Guineas and Irish Derby. Secreto won the 1984 Epsom Derby edging out El Gran Senor. Meanwhile Sadler’s Wells had 6 wins and 4 seconds in his 11 starts winning the Irish Two Thousand Guineas, Eclipse Stakes and Phoenix Champion Stakes. He finished second in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes as well as the Prix du Jockey Club and was the French Champion miler in 1984.

After an impressive racing career Sadler’s Wells retired to stud where he became the foundation of the Coolmore breeding empire. Sadler’s Wells numbers as a sire are staggering and could fill a book on their own. Leading General Sire in Britain in 1990 and from 1992-2004 when, he was finally dethroned by Danehill. He is still going strong covering almost 200 mares per year. He has sired 895 winners (65%), 253 stakes winners (18.4%) of more than $100 million. His offspring have dominated the European classics where his strength seems to lie in middle distance and beyond on the turf but he is second to Storm Cat in all time Breeders Cup earnings ($6,982,900 38-6-2-5-2-4-3).

A chart of Sadler’s Wells’ principal runners will follow but let’s examine one of them here. Montjeu ($2,062,822 16-11-2-0) came from the 1996 crop of foals. His victories included the 1999 Irish Derby, Prix du Jockey Club, L’Arc de Triomphe and the 2000 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Tattersalls Gold Cup and Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. He was 1999 International 3 year-old Champion and Champion European Colt and top International 4 year-old in 2000 and earned a speed rating of 137 putting him in an elite class of runners.

Montjeu now stands at Coolmore stud beside his father. Here are some of the stars coming from Montjeu’s first crop of foals in 2002 ... Hurricane Run ($4,155,280 14-8-3-1) World Champion of 2005 and winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe … Epsom Derby winner, Motivator ($2,152,000 7-4-2-0) and St Leger winner, Scorpion ($1,175,116 9-3-3-0).

Let’s take a look at a few of the other sons of Sadler’s Wells and how they are influencing the sport around the world. We will start with In The Wings who passed away in 2004 at the fairly young age of 16. In The Wings was ranked in the top 21 of European Sires for 7 of the past 9 years. His leading runner was the Eclipse Champion Singspiel (1992) ($5,952,825 20-9-8-0), winner of the Japan Cup, Dubai World Cup and Canadian International to name a few. Singspiel was ranked in the top 5 of young European sires with his 2nd and 3rd crops; his leading money earner so far is Asakusa Denen (1999) ($3,001,082 26-8-3-5), winner of the Yasuda Kinen in Japan.

El Prado (1989) was a top 5 sire in the USA from 2002 to 2005 and sired 20 or more stakes horses for 6 consecutive years. His leading money earner so far is Medaglia d’Ora (1999) ($5,754,720 17-8-7-0) winner of the Travers stakes and runner up in the Belmont Stakes, Dubai World Cup and the Breeders Cup Classic twice.

Galileo was the leading 2nd crop sire of Europe in 2006. Among his young superstars is the top 2 year old in the world for 2006, Teofilo (2004) ($645,596 5-5-0-0). The undefeated colt won the Dewhurst, Futurity, National and Tyros stakes. Galileo has already produced a Breeders Cup Turf winner in Red Rocks (2003) ($2,042,018 10-3-4-2), a St Leger winner in Sixties Icon (2003) ($608,158 7-3-0-1) and an Irish One Thousand Guineas winner in Nightime (2003) ($304,301 3-2-0-0). Five of Galileo’s yearlings sold for over 500,000 pounds in 2006.

Opera House is a classic sire in Japan. His son T M Opera O (1996) ($14,100,000 26-14-6-3) is now considered the world’s all-time career money earner. He won the Japan Cup in 2000 and was runner up in 2001. He also won the Tenno Sho three times (two springs and one autumn) and the 1999 Satsuki Sho (Two Thousand Guineas).
Scenic (1986) was a top ten sire in Australia on several occasions, his top two performers, Universal Prince (1997) ($2,978,291 30-7-7-3) and Blevic (1991) ($1,364,360 26-8-2-10) are now carrying on Northern Dancer’s genes through Sadler’s Wells and Scenic. Scenic died of a heart attack in 2005.

Carnegie is one of the leading young sires shuttling between Japan and Australia. King of Kings has had success shuttling between New Zealand, Australia, Japan and the USA. Victoria Dance has had success as a sire in New Zealand while Fort Wood and Braashee have been impact sires in South Africa.

As a broodmare sire, Sadler’s Wells has been at or near the top of the European list for the past decade, leading in 2006, 2005 and 2001. Here are just some of his daughters’ most notable runners. Sakhee (1997) ($3,253,253 14-8-3-1) was winner of l’Arc de Triomphe. He was out of the mare, Thawakib (1990). El Condor Pasa (1995) ($3,567,444 11-8-3-0) was Japan’s Horse of the Year in 1998 winning the Japan Cup and as a 4 year old winning the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and runner up in l’Arc de Triomphe, he was out of the mare Sadler’s Gal (1989). Silic (1995) ($1,422,299 15-8-2-0) was the winner of the 1999 Breeders Cup Mile out of the mare Balletomane (1988). The brilliant European champion filly (twice), Divine Proportions (2002) ($1,553,790 10-9-0-0) won 5 G1 stakes in France including the Prix de Diane before suffering an injury in the Prix Jaques Le Marois as a 4 year old, her only career defeat, she finished fourth. Divine Proportions was bred to Giant’s Causeway in 2006. She was out of the mare Myth To Reality (1986) who was also the dam of 9 other winners including French G1 winner, Whipper (2001) ($1,190,292 19-6-2-2). American Post (2001) ($826,417 9-6-1-0) had 3 G1 stakes victories in his 6 wins including the Grand Criterium; he was out of the mare, Wells Fargo (1996). The list of quality broodmares produced by Sadler’s Wells goes on and on and we probably have not come close to hearing the end of that story.

Sadler’s Wells probably comes closest to all of the sons of Northern Dancer to having a similar impact on the sport as did his sire but when you couple the career of Sadler’s Wells with the likes of Danzig, Storm Cat, Nijinsky, Nureyev and the rest of his sons, there is no argument on who had the greatest impact … it was dad.

‘El Gran Senor’

El Gran Senor was the nickname of Northern Dancer’s trainer Huratio Luro, hence the name of this colt out of the mare, Sex Appeal (1970) by Buckpasser. E.P. Taylor and Robert Sangster jointly owned the mare so for the record El Gran Senor was bred by Windfields (Maryland) but raced for the partnership of Taylor, Sangster, Magnier and Vincent O’Brien with O’Brien doing the training. El Gran Senor was undefeated as a two-year-old winning the Dewhurst, National and Railway Stakes and was declared Ireland and United Kingdom Two Year Old Champion. He was also declared Champion Three Year Old the following year. He won the Two Thousand Guineas (first of the Triple Crown races) before the only loss of his career in the Epsom Derby. El Gran Senor was the odds on favorite but with a quarter mile to go he failed to accelerate in his usual fashion and lost a stretch battle by a nose to his old paddock mate (and son of Northern Dancer), Secreto (trained by Vincent O’Brien’s son, David). El Gran Senor redeemed himself in the Irish Derby showing he could go the distance of 12 furlongs. After suffering a career ending injury in 1984 he was retired to stud.

El Gran Senor had a fertility problem that prevented him from siring more than 40 foals per year. He sired less than 400 foals in his 14 crops of foals but produced 55 stakes winners for a very impressive 14% ratio. El Gran Senor was euthanized on October 18, 2006 due to old age. As a sire of sire he was not spectacular but some of his sons have had success in the breeding shed. His son Helmsman (1992) has already sired 14 stakes winners of almost $9,000,000. George Agustus (1988) was the Leading sire in Venezuela 2001, 2002 and 2003.

El Gran Senor’s biggest success came as a Broodmare sire with already over 40 stakes winners of $40,000,000. His daughter Toussaud (1989) has already foaled 4 G1 winners of $6,000,000 including Chester House (1995) ($1,944,545 21-6-4-4), winner of the Arlington Million and Empire Maker (2000) ($1,985,800 8-4-3-1) winner of the 2003 Belmont Stakes. Escrow Agent (1986) was the dam of 4 stakes winners including Florida Derby winner Vicar (1996) ($835,142 17-4-2-3). Italian Champions Le Vie Dei Colori (2000) ($781,362 15-12-2-1) and Ramonti (2002) ($900,000 9-5-2-1) are out of Senor’s daughters Mystic Tempo (1993) and Fosca (1995) respectively. Gran Premio Jockey Club (Argentina) winner Ice Point (1998) was out of daughter, Ice the Champagne (1989) and Grand Slam (1995) ($901,292 15-4-5-2) was out of Bright Candles (1987). The genes of El Gran Senor and Northern Dancer are being passed on very successfully through the daughters of the Senor from Australia (Ice Point) to South Korea (Vicar) and in the U.S. where Grand Slam has been a top 25 sire since 2003.

A list of El Gran Senor’s first generation of principal runners follows.

… the rest of the class of ‘81’

Secreto was the third in the triumvirate of Northern Dancer sons from 1981 who had an impact. Upsetting El Gran Senor in the 1984 Epsom Derby was his main claim to fame but he also won the Tetrarch Stakes in Ireland and finished 3rd in the Irish Derby, his only defeat in four starts. He was forced to retire after an injury in 2004 and never had much of an impact in the breeding shed although he did sire the Two Thousand Guineas winner from 1991, Mystiko (1988) ($311,914 9-4-2-1).

Northern Trick was another outstanding racing daughter of Northern Dancer. In just 6 starts she managed 4 wins including Le Prix de Diane and Prix Vermeille (G1s) and 2nd in Le Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Saint-Alary (G1s). As a broodmare she was the dam of 7 winners but her most significant breeding progeny was the filly Lingerie (1988) who placed in stakes at 2 and 3. She was the dam of 7 winners including Shiva (1995 Japan) who won the 1999 Tattersalls Gold Cup defeating Daylami and was 2nd in the Dubai Champion Stakes and Limnos (1994 Japan) ($185,000 9-4-3-0) a multiple stakes winner in France before retiring to a successful career as a stallion. He was France’s leading sire of 3 year olds over jump in 2004.

The Dancer’s daughter Wild Applause had a so-so career as a runner winning the Diana Handicap (G2) and Comely Stakes (G3) but she had a great career as a broodmare. She produced 9 winners out of 10 foals including Roar (1993) ($487,507 12-4-1-4) who won the Jim Beam Stakes (G2) before retiring to what looks like a promising career as a stallion.

In 2005 Roar was the leading sire of Argentina and the leading sire of stakes winners in California for 2004 and 2005. In 6 racing crops he has produced 7 champions and 42 stakes winners of over $18,000,000. Among Roar’s progeny are two Argentinean breds, Little Jim (2000) ($472,793 14-4-2-3) and the undefeated two-year-old Forty Greeta (2001) ($169,200 4-4-0-0). Both were purchased by Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed al Maktoum of Dubai. Little Jim was Champion 2 year old and Champion horse of Argentina winning the UAE Two Thousand Guineas. Forty Greeta was Champion 2-year old filly of Argentina before heading off to Dubai.

Wild Applause also produced the filly Yell (2000) ($598,903 17-4-3-3) a multiple stakes winner who is just launching her broodmare career and the undefeated Futurity Stakes winner Eastern Echo (1988) ($93,960 3-3-0-0). Wild Applause died giving birth to Hurrah in 2003 and even he managed to go on and win a race.

Concordene had 6 wins in 15 starts before being shipped off to India.

Lucky North raced in the UK as a 2 year old with 2 wins. He won the Hot Springs and Phoenix Handicaps back in the U.S. as a 5 year old. He stands at stud in Manitoba where he has sired 16 crops of 390 foals, 241 winners and 17 stakes winners. Some of his mares carry on the Dancer’s genes with the most significant descendant, Lady Tak (2000) ($1,160,782 19-10-4-2) out of Star Of My Eye (1990) a winner of some G1 stakes.

South Sea Dancer is an interesting story. She was a full sister to Northernette and Storm Bird and as a result set a then world record price of $1,800,000 at the 1982 Keeneland Yearling Sales. Her racing career was unspectacular, just placing in a couple of stakes. She produced 16 foals, nine of them winners but they fetched over $5,000,000 at auction. The only significant runner she produced was Signal Tap (1991) ($429,108 24-7-5-6) a G3 winner. That doesn’t sound like a spectacular broodmare career, considering the money that was involved but if you look at her next generation, things are looking up.

Signal Tap got off to a solid start to his breeding career before being shipped off to Brazil in 2005. His daughter Got Koko (1999) ($939,946 14-7-1-3), raced in California where she swept the La Canada Series before defeating Champion Azeri in the Lady’s Secret Handicap (G1). Daughter Kate Winslet (not the actress, the filly) (2001) ($249,554 24-5-2-2) was a stakes winner in Italy at two and a stakes winner in France at three.

Destiny Calls (2000) ($634,620 23-14-4-2) out of South Sea Dancer’s daughter Longue Vue (1994) was a multiple stakes winner in California where she was still winning stakes at the age of six.

South sea Dancer’s son Sijjaal (1988) only had a maiden win in 6 starts but he has had a modestly successful career as a stallion in Venezuela. Most of South Sea Dancer’s offspring are breeding despite some poor performances on the track. The thin line of Northern Dancer through South Sea Dancer may live on for quite a while.

There is nothing spectacular about Ragtime from the Dancer’s 1981 crop but she produced several mares who have gone on to produce more mares and the beat goes on. While there have been no notable descendants yet, the female lines continue.

Nordico never got to show much on the track but he went on to a decent career as a broodmare sire. He has been a regular in the top 100 of broodmare sires in Great Britain and Ireland since 2001. Two of his notable grandchildren were Imperial Dancer (1998) ($781,356 62-11-5-12) out of Gorgeous Dancer (1989), winner of the Premio Roma and Red Evie (2003) ($367,685 9-7-0-0) out of Malafemmena (1992) winner of the Matron Stakes.

Ballet De France produced 7 winners out of 10 foals including the Irish and Italian Champion Muhtarram (1989) ($858,038 20-8-3-2), winner of the Irish Champion Stakes over Opera House, the Premio Presidente della Republica and twice winner of the Prince of Wales Stakes. Muhtarram has shown some promise as a young stallion in Britain where he has already sired winners of over 300 races and $5,000,000. Ballet De France’s daughter Profit Column (1993) ($148,957 11-6-0-1) has already produced a stakes winner in Final Round (2000) ($385,512 17-5-3-5) in her young career as a broodmare.

Carnivalay deserves some mention. He broke his maiden in his last of 4 starts before retiring to be one of Maryland’s leading sires through the 90’s. Mike Pons of Country Life Farm where Carnivalay stood from 1985 to 2003 called him “ a poor man’s Danzig … Carnivalay provided a genetic bank whose offspring helped Maryland horsemen step up to the plate in a big way and have a little fun.” He sired 38 stakes winners of upwards of $30,000,000. Eighty-one percent of his foals started and 65% were winners. Josh Pons described him as “the spitting image of his daddy”. Among his top performers were Aggadan (1999) ($860,306 42-12-14-5), Valay Maid (1989) ($641,442 20-9-4-3) and Ameri Valay (1989) ($742,779 68-16-10-10). Ameri Valay is showing promise as a young stallion and could be another extension of the Dancer’s male line. Among Ameri Valay’s early success stories was the gelding Magic Weisner (1999) ($888,830 15-7-4-0), runner up in the 2002 Preakness. West Nile Virus shortened Magic Weisner’s racing career. Carnivalay died in January 2007.

Jugah did not show much on the track nor did his offspring show much in Australia with one notable exception. The gelding Juggler (1991) ($2,442,088 59-15-16-10) had a reputation as a “Giant Killer” upsetting favorites to win several graded stakes. As a broodmare sire Jugah’s daughter Bright Gleam (1993) produced Innovation Girl (1999) ($500,000 15-10-3-1).

Solar City had a mediocre career as a stallion but did produce some decent broodmares, most notably Cloudy Spot (1987) who produced 5 winners out of her 7 foals including Stormy Impact (1999) ($405,631 47-8-10-10) and Cloudy’s Knight (2000) ($317,635 24-7-5-4).

Northern Legend in Venezuela, Pink in France and Tridessus in the U.S. all sired some runners but nothing very notable in their lines to this point.
Sadler's Wells winning 2000 Guineas in 1984 over Secreto
Sadler's Wells winning Phoenix Champion Stakes in 1984

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