Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winstar's final naming contest for this season


This hansome young fellow is out of A.P. Indy and a great-great grandson of Danzig through his dam Awesome Humor. This has been a lot of fun. The last winning selection was "Gemologist" for the Crystal Shard - Tiznow colt. There have been hundreds and hundreds of names being suggested. My favourite for this guy is Vaudevillian. I would have preferred Letterman but there were already 3 or 4 of those in the books and some recently - only one Vaudevillian from 1966.

Winstar's facebook page!/photo.php?fbid=499196013921&set=a.391534678921.174259.261791448921&pid=6424774&id=261791448921

Monday, January 24, 2011

'Tiz a small world' - the rest of my Chapter 30


Wow, 'Tiz a small world'. A few weeks ago I found a friend on facebook (and I only have 47) who must have found me off this blog. He hooked me into a great group (over 5000) of us who happened to be following this year's Eclipse award winning Farm - WinStar (before they were named the winners). Two weeks ago they ran a great contest to name a yearling. Golden Ticket (the winning name) was another great-grandson of our Dancer and I couldn't begin to count the number of names entered. This week they are running another contest and guess what? The 2nd dam of this colt was mentioned in the same Chapter 30 I posted the excerpt from last week. Here is the rest of that chapter 30 where I mention Sulemeif - Tiz Drizzt's grandmother (Tiz Drizzt is my suggestion and that's his yearling pic above). Drizzt is a character in the book Crystal Shard (his dam) which was part of the trilogy Icewind Dale. His sire is the great Tiznow (mentioned several times in my book and another descendant of Northern Dancer). Withallprobability mentioned here was a full sister to the unraced Crystal Shard. If you get a chance have a look at WinStar's facebook page. Such fun.

… Back to the rest from 1980 ...Chapter 30 continued

... I was describing the Dancer's crop of foals from 1980

Eskimo managed to win the Quaker Handicap and placed in several others before retiring to some modest success as a sire. His best runner was the colt Silent Eskimo (1995) ($1,039,485 31-9-4-9) while daughter Eskiway (1992) was a two-time champion in Puerto Rico.

Lomond was the only classic winner from the 1980 crop of foals. He won the Two Thousand Guineas in his brief racing career before retiring to a solid career in the breeding shed. He produced some outstanding fillies including Marling (1989) ($748,950 10-7-1-1) who was a high weight ranked filly in Europe at two and three winning several Grade 1 stakes including the Irish One Thousand Guineas, Cheveley Park stakes, Coronation Stakes and Sussex Stakes and the Irish Champion Two Year Old Filly, Flutter Away (1985). Several of Lamond’s daughters have gone on to solid careers as broodmares in Europe.

Sulemeif started her racing career in France where she placed in her three starts before coming back to the U.S. and Florida where she won a couple of G3 stakes as a four year old. She produced several good runners with the most notable being the filly Withallprobability (1988) ($643,438 27-9-4-5) out of Mr Prospector. A multiple G2 stakes winner she went on to be another good broodmare. While her best runner was the mare With Ability (1998) ($558,124 19-7-3-1) who died in 2004 before she could produce a foal, her unraced daughter Probable Colony (1994) was the dam of the great mare Summer Colony (1998) ($1,448,930 245-10-5-1) a multiple stakes winner.

Danzatore was a controversial character. Bred by E.P. Taylor and sold at the Keeneland Yearling sales in 1981 for $1,000,000 he became another Vincent O’Brien project. He was the Champion Two Year Old Colt in Ireland going undefeated in 3 stakes outings. He won his first start as a Three Year Old before his temperament got the better of him and cost him his next and last race. O’Brien was grooming him for the Two Thousand Guineas but he was just too much to handle and he was sent to New Zealand to breed instead of extending his racing career. The tough English columnist Tony Morris wrote “Fortunately for the British breeding industry Danzatore has been banished to the colonies.” Danzatore’s temperament continued to be an issue with his offspring but it didn’t stop him from producing a Breeders Cup winner in the gelding Reraise (1995) ($922,830 9-8-1-0) who won the 1998 Breeders Cup Sprint and was the Eclipse Champion Sprinter that year. Danzatore went on to produce over 400 foals, 145 winners and 122 producing daughters.

Salmon Leap won the G2 Nijinsky Stakes in Ireland and finished 4th in the 1983 Epsom Derby. He produced several crops of foals with no memorable runners but some useful broodmares.

Glenstal won the G2 National stakes in Ireland and went on to sire foals in Ireland, France, Hungary and the Czech Republic. His daughter Glen Kate raced in England, France, North America and Hong Kong winning the G1 Hong Kong International Bowl and amassing almost $700,000 in earnings. She produced an Irish stakes winner in Perfect Touch (1999) ($135,340 13-3-3-2) and through another daughter Tremkate (1995) the Santa Anita Handicap winning mare Katdogawn (2000) ($817,553 35-7-7-6). Glenstal’s daughter Las Meninas (1991) ($301,186 9-2-2-1) won the Thousand Guineas and is now producing offspring in Japan.

Night Shift was the last one worth mentioning from the 1980 crop of Northern Dancer foals and it was not because of his race record. In over 20 crops of foals, Night Shift has sired more than 70 stakes winners and has been in the top 10 of broodmare sires in Great Britain since 2002. His greatest runner so far has been Azamour (2001) ($2,414,362 12-6-1-3) the Champion Older Horse of Europe. Azamour had 4 G1 wins in his 6 victories including The Prince of Wales and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. He now stands at Gilltown Stud for his owner and breeder; the Aga Khan. Other notable runners from Night Shift were In The Groove (1987) ($1,250,000 21-7-4-4) winner of The Irish One Thousand Guineas, Coronation, International and Champion Stakes and the filly Daryaba (1996), winner of the Prix de Diane and Prix Vermeille. As a broodmare sire some of Night Shift’s most noticeable runners are Somnus (2000) ($1,069,608 19-9-3-0) out of Midnight’s Reward (1986), Majestic Desert (2001) ($684,715 17-3-6-3) out of Calcutta Queen (1989) and the Indian bred winner of the Indian Two Thousand Guineas, Berlioz (2001) out of Innocent Pleasures (1995).

Night Shift’s son Moon Solitaire (1997) ($474,115 23-5-1-9) has just launched his career as a sire in Barbados. At the Barbados Turf Club annual exhibition and awards one of Moon Solitaire’s first foals was named best weanling filly of the show (she still doesn’t have a name). It’s hardly an Eclipse award but I doubt her great grandfather could have pulled that one off, she does have two of his white stockings but she is a pretty chestnut.

With each passing season, the Northern Dancer crops seem to get busier and busier generating more and more widespread success stories. It becomes difficult to research and discuss them all. I will do my best to hit the highlights, at least from my perspective.

WinStar's facebook page.!/photo.php?fbid=496847263921&set=a.391534678921.174259.261791448921

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Excerpts from Ch 30 of The Dancer - "No Ordinary Joe"


Dubai Millennium - another National Hero

Photo from Godolphin “This horse has great depth through his heart. Look at those eyes, you can see his heart through his eyes.”


The pricey ($3,300,000) yearling Shareef Dancer lived up to his expectations winning the Irish Derby and being declared Champion 3 Year Old Colt of England and Ireland for Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Marktoum before being syndicated for $40,000,000. Shareef Dancer would have been considered a so, so stallion in Europe but for one exceptional grandson. Dubai Millennium started life as Yaazer, Arabic for ‘Ordinary Joe’ but he proved he was anything but. In 1998, the Sheik asked trainer David Loden, which of his two year olds had the best chance of winning the Dubai World Cup in 2000 and before he raced his first race, Yaazer was renamed Dubai Millennium. Dubai Millenium was out of Seeking The Gold and the Shareef Dancer mare, Colorado Dancer (1986) ($203,389 10-3-1-2). Colorado Dancer was a French Grade 2 stakes winner before retiring as a brood mare for the Sheik’s Godolphin Stables and providing the Sheik with his dream come true colt in Dubai Millennium (formerly Yaazer). It had become his number one priority to breed a winner of his own Dubai World Cup and Dubai Millennium looked like his best shot.

Dubai Millennium launched his racing career in style winning the South Norfolk Caterers Maiden Stakes at Yarmouth in England by 5 easy lengths on October 28,1998. Frankie Dettori who rode Dubai Millennium in all but his 10th and last race eased up at the finish in his maiden victory, his only race as a two year old. Dubai Millennium won his next two starts as a three year leading up to the 1999 Epsom Derby which would be his first big challenge. At Doncaster he won the Doncaster Racecourse Sponsorship Club Conditions Stakes by 9 lengths on March 5 and followed that with a 3 ½ length victory at Goodwood on May 18 in the Listed Compass UK Leisure Predominant Stakes. Dubai Millennium would suffer the only defeat of his career in his next start, the Epsom Derby, finishing ninth in his only race over 10 furlongs. The consensus was … the distance was just too much for him.

Dubai Millennium followed up the Derby loss with convincing victories in the French Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam at Maisons-Laffitte (by 3 lengths) on July 18 and the Group 1 Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jaques La Mrois at Deauville (by 2 ½ lengths) on August 15. Dubai Millennium finished his three-year-old campaign with a convincing 6-length victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on September 26, prompting the Sheik to say Dubai Millennium was the greatest Godolphin horse of all time, ahead of the likes of Lammtarra, Daylami and Swain.

In his first start at four, Dubai Millennium won on the dirt in the Listed Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum Challenge Round III at Dubai’s Nad Al Sheba (by 4 ½ lengths) on March 2,2000. All his victories before that had been on the turf. It was a track record for the distance but it was just a tune up race for the upcoming Dubai World Cup.

On March 25 Dubai Millennium lived up to his name, not only winning the world’s richest race but, winning it in such convincing fashion (by 6 lengths) he was being compared to Nijinsky and even Secretariat. It was another new course record for Nad Al Sheba and a new world’s record time for the distance. It might be as tempting to compare him to the only once beaten Man O’ War who set many track and world records on his way to annihilating his competition. Just like Man O’ War, Dubai Millennium not only won easy (a combined 48 lengths in his 9 victories), setting track and world records along the way but he also won on both dirt and turf racing in both clockwise and counter clockwise directions.

The plan, that was two years in the making, for the four year old (much longer for the Sheik) had been realized. Dubai Millennium won his last race on June 21, 2000 at Ascot in the Prince of Wales Stakes. Once again, Dubai Millennium won in convincing fashion by 8 lengths, defeating the horse he shared International Champion miler status with the year before, the French Sendawar. Sendawar actually went off as the favorite in the race. Jerry Bailey was in the saddle for the Prince of Wales, substituting for the Dettori who was injured in an aircraft crash. Dettori made a surprise visit to Ascot to witness the race and had this to say after it “He’s unbelievable, here you have a champion miler (Sendawar) trying to follow Dubai Millennium and he hasn’t got the speed to keep up with him. It brings tears to my eyes – I have never been so nervous in my life. Dubai Millennium is the best horse I’ve ridden – he’s exceptional”. You wonder how Dettori would have felt if he was in the saddle on not just a spectator.

There was only one challenge left for Dubai Millennium and that was to face the European Champion Montjeu who was winning everything else in Europe. There was even talk of a match race but certainly the two would hook up somewhere before their racing careers were over. When asked about Montjeu the Sheik said “Why didn’t he come to Ascot last month? Montjeu is most welcome to take us on in the Breeders Cup and I will even pay his entry fee”. It never happened, on a workout in August at Newmarket, Dubai Millennium fractured a bone in a hind leg that would end his brilliant racing career.

Dubai Millennium won 9 of his 10 starts earning 2,752,610 pounds or approximately $4,300,000 US. He was the Co-Champion Three-Year-Old Miler of Europe. At four he was the Timeform Horse of the Year, Champion Older Horse of Europe and Best Middle Distance Horse. He was the Emirates Racing Association Nashwan award winning Horse of the Year and Dirt Horse of the Year.

Dubai Millennium retired to Stallion duty for Godolphin and covered 65 mares in his first season before tragedy struck the Champion. After a weeklong battle with Grass Sickness and complications from two emergency surgeries, he had to be put down. It was a devastating blow for the Sheik, Godolphin and the entire sport of thoroughbred racing.

There is a life size statue of Dubai Millennium winning the Dubai World Cup at the Godolphin Gallery in Dubai. It was modeled by, Madame Tussauds. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum had an incredible love for the horse and had many quotes to describe him but this was my favorite “This horse has great depth through his heart. Look at those eyes, you can see his heart through his eyes.”

In his all too brief career as a stallion Dubai Millennium had success. With the 65 mares he covered he produced 16 winners and several stakes winners. His most successful progeny was the colt Dubawi ($1,256,932 8-5-1-0) who was forced into retirement early after suffering an injury to a hind ligament. He was undefeated as a two-year-old, winning the Dunnes Stores National Stakes in Ireland (G1). At three he won the Prix Jaques Le Marois like his sire and the Irish Two Thousand Guineas and placed in the Epsom Derby and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Dubawi now stands at the Sheik’s Darley Farm in Newmarket for a fee of 25,000 pounds. It will be interesting to follow his offspring.

Link to great photos and videos of Dubai Millennium from Godolphin

World Rankings IFHA to November 7, 2010

In looking for some year-end rankings for 2010 this was all I could get for now from the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities. A few interesting things to point out. First, there is a 4 way tie for 10th so there are 13 horses represented here and all but Zenyatta who is tied for 10th are descendants of Northern Dancer. That's 12 out of the top 13 thoroughbreds in the world. Secondly, there are 5 different countries represented on the list and four different continents, once again displaying the international influence of the Dancer's bloodlines. The last thing worth mentioning is the number 3 ranked Makfi out of Dubawi, son of Dubai Millennium. In Chapter 30 of my book I try to describe the incredible story of Dubai Millennium (no ordinary joe). He died tragically after servicing only 65 mares in his first season as a stallion. One of his sons was Dubawi. Dubai Millennium was the grandson of Shareef Dancer, purchased in 1981 by Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum of Dubai for $3,300,000 at the Keeneland sale after bidding wars that were about to set record prices for yearlings (Northern Dancer yearlings) in excess of $10,000,000 by 1983. Two of the top three ranked horses here are descendants of Shareef Dancer. Number one ranked Harbinger is out of Penang Pearl, daughter of the Shareef Dancer mare Guapa.

1) Harbinger (GB) great-great grandson x4
2) Blame (US) great-great grandson x2
3) Makfi (GB) great-great grandson x3
3) Quality Road (US) great-great-great grandson x2
3) Workforce (GB) great grandson x2
6) Canford Cliffs (IRE) great-great grandson
6) Cape Blanco (IRE) great grandson
6) Nakayam Festa (JPN) great-great-great grandson x3
9) Rip Van Winkle (IRE) great grandson x3
10) Goldikova (IRE) great-great granddaughter x2
10) So You Think (NZ) great grandson x2
10) Twice Over (GB) great-great grandson
10) Zenyatta (USA) no connection