By Andrew Caulfield
In an action-packed week on both sides of the Atlantic, there were notable performances from quite a few stallions. For example, War Front had Grade I/Group 1 winners at Santa Anita and Newmarket, where his sons provided the exacta in the historic Middle Park S. Then there was the ever-reliable Dubawi, with his Grade I/Group 1 double at Santa Anita and Longchamp. And Dark Angel also deserves a mention, following the G2 success of his daughter Juliet Capulet and the brilliant performance of his son Battaash in the G1 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp. He also supplied the second in the GI Turf Classic.
Even so, my nomination for stallion of the week must go to the great Sadler’s Wells, even though this legendary sire died six years ago. For a start, the brilliant Arc winner Enable is inbred 3 x 2 to this 14-time champion sire, whose male line was also in magnificent form both in Europe and the U.S.
Needless to say, the charge was led by Galileo, with his G1 treble in the Cheveley Park S., Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and Prix de l’Opera. He also had a G1 winner in Australia, thanks to Foundry in The Metropolitan. Galileo’s stallion sons were also in fine form, with Nathaniel siring the Listed winner Face The Facts in addition to Enable. Frankel, for his part, came up with a likely classic contender in the G3 winner Elarqam and he wasn’t far off scoring other Group victories with Nelson and Lady Frankel.
Galileo has to share the limelight with El Prado, another of Sadler’s Wells’s champion stallion sons, as El Prado’s sons Kitten’s Joy and Medaglia d’Oro both enjoyed Graded/Group race doubles. Kitten’s Joy advertised his potential in Europe by siring the G2 winners Roaring Lion at Newmarket and Taareef at Longchamp, but pride of place went to Medaglia d’Oro, with Elate following up her victory in the GI Alabama S. with another wide-margin GI success in the Beldame S. Then Medaglia d’Oro came up with another contender for divisional honors when Bolt d’Oro impressively added the FrontRunner S. to his previous GI success in the Del Mar Futurity.
Both of these GI dirt winners by Medaglia d’Oro represent popular crosses, with Elate’s dam being by Distorted Humor and Bolt d’Oro’s by A.P. Indy.
Distorted Humor, of course, is riding high at the top of this year’s broodmare sires’ table, thanks in no small part to Arrogate‘s huge paychecks at Gulfstream Park and Meydan, but this is certainly no one-horse success story. In addition to Elate, Distorted Humor’s daughters have also enjoyed GI success with Takaful in Saturday’s Vosburgh S., Practical Joke in the H. Allen Jerkens S. and New Money Honey in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (on turf).
It is no coincidence that two of these–Elate and New Money Honey–are daughters of Medaglia d’Oro, as are the Graded-placed 3-year-olds Gato del Oro and Lady Montdore. Medaglia d’Oro’s 44 foals out of Distorted Humor mares also include the GII-winning fillies Funny Proposition and Mrs McDougal (the former on dirt, the latter on turf). That adds up to 9% black-type winners, whereas the overall figure for Distorted Humor mares is 4%.
The motivation for supporting Medaglia d’Oro with Distorted Humor mares, and other grand-daughters of Forty Niner, was provided by none other than Rachel Alexandra. This member of Medaglia d’Oro’s first crop, who earned Horse of the Year honors, is out of a mare by Forty Niner’s son Roar (a product of the same Wild Applause family which produced the very well-related Elate).
This strategy has now been tried via daughters of sires such as Coronado’s Quest, Distorted Humor, Roar and West Acre and it continues to strike gold. This cross has produced four first-rate fillies, with Medaglia d’Oro’s first foal out of a West Acre mare being Songbird. This nine-time GI winner and two-time champion is to be offered at Fasig-Tipton in November, when she will give us a good idea of Elate’s value (though it is most unlikely that she will ever come on the market).
In the circumstances we shouldn’t be too surprised that Forty Niner’s name also crops up in the pedigree of Bolt d’Oro, as the sire of Tour, his stakes-winning third dam.
Bolt d’Oro is one of Medaglia d’Oro’s 89 foals of racing age out of A.P. Indy mares. At present, the sample’s percentage of black-type winners stands at 7%, but this can be expected to rise, as 15 of the 89 are only two years old. The impetus for this popular cross was provided by Plum Pretty, winner of the GI Kentucky Oaks in 2011 and the GI Apple Blossom H. in 2012 before being sold to Whisper Hill Farm for $4.2 million. The Medaglia d’Oro-A.P. Indy partnership has a third GI winner to its credit in this year’s accomplished turf mare Dickinson.
In recounting Medaglia d’Oro’s story, I have mainly mentioned his daughters, simply because they account for 11 of his 17 northern hemisphere GI winners. It is worth adding though, that the GI-winning sons include Violence, who ranked as Medaglia d’Oro’s only GI-winning two-year-old son in the U.S. until Bolt d’Oro’s emergence. There have been other G1-winning juvenile colts in France and Australia, where the Ashford shuttler Vancouver won the Golden Slipper S. The future looks bright for the stallion prospects of Bolt d’Oro and Vancouver, judging by the eye-catching start being made by Violence.
Bolt d’Oro is quite unusual in that he has no inbreeding within five generations. It can do no harm that his second dam is by Lord At War, whose daughters produced numerous high-class performers, including War Emblem, Raven’s Pass and Pioneerof the Nile. The up-and-coming stallion Munnings is another with a Lord At War second dam.
As might be expected of a $630,000 Saratoga yearling, Bolt d’Oro has a solid pedigree–one which raises no worries about his potential stamina as a Triple Crown contender. Medaglia d’Oro won the GI Travers S. after finishing second in the GI Belmont S., and a mile and a quarter also held no fears for A.P. Indy, Lord At War and Forty Niner, the sires of Bolt d’Oro’s first three dams. Bolt d’Oro’s dam Globe Trot, who died in 2016, gained at least two of her wins in all-weather routes, while his second dam Trip was a dual winner of the GIII Turfway Breeders’ Cup S. over 1 1/16 miles.
It must also be very encouraging that the FrontRunner S. fell to Nyquist in 2015 and American Pharoah in 2014, and Bolt d’Oro’s winning margin was much greater than theirs.