For Breeders', Dubawi Stands Alone


Dubawi | Amy Lynam


Dubawi (Ire) has long been established as a sire of international merit. This weekend at Del Mar, however, he took his reputation to another level, siring three winners at the Breeders' Cup-something never before achieved by a sire in the meeting's 37-year history.

Twelve sires have supplied two winners in a single Breeders' Cup. That was first accomplished by Cox's Ridge in the second Breeders' Cup in 1985 when Life's Magic took the Distaff and Twilight Ridge the Juvenile Fillies. Four other sires did it when the Breeders' Cup was a single-day event: Nureyev in 1987 with Miesque and Theatrical (Ire); Kris S. in 1993 with Hollywood Wildcat and Brocco; Sadler's Wells in 2003 with High Chaparral (Ire) and Islington (Ire); and Awesome Again in 2004 with Ghostzapper and Wilko.

Since the Breeders' Cup became a two-day event in 2007, seven more sires have joined the ranks of turning out two winners in a single year. The seemingly ageless More Than Ready earns first mention, having done it twice, in 2010 and 2017. More Than Ready remains the Breeders' Cup's leading sire by winners, with a cumulative seven, edging out Sadler's Wells and Unbridled's Song with six apiece.

Smart Strike notched a high-profile double at that first two-day Breeders' Cup at Monmouth Park with Curlin in the Classic and English Channel in the Turf. Chester House added his name the following year and was then joined by Mizzen Mast in 2012, City Zip in 2014 and Medaglia d'Oro in 2017. Into Mischief was the most recent sire to pull off the double with Authentic and Gamine in 2020.

And then, along came the Dubawis (and their trainer Charlie Appleby, jockey William Buick and owner/breeder Godolphin) to Del Mar to tear apart the history books. Modern Games (Ire) got things going (in admittedly dramatic fashion) to give his trainer a third win in eight years in the Juvenile Turf. Like Modern Games, Space Blues (Ire) was sent off favourite for the Mile and delivered a seamless victory under Buick. The third of the trio, Yibir (GB), however, didn't allow connections to breathe easy in the Turf, pulling hard out of the gates and fighting Buick before finally settling in a joint last after a few furlongs. Yibir began to wind up heading into the last of three turns and–as his stablemates had done while sitting closer to the pace-employed a sustained rally to wear down his rivals.

The Breeders' Cup was a jewel in the crown of a remarkable season for Dubawi, during which he has had stakes winners in seven countries. His tally of 37 stakes winners in 2021 is greater than any other sire standing in Europe or America, with Into Mischief-the only sire bettering him by prizemoney-next at 26 and Frankel third on 24. Dubawi also leads all European and American sires in 2021 by group winners (23) and is tied with Frankel on six Group 1 winners.

As is typical for Dubawi, his six Group 1 winners this year have been versatile distance-wise, ranging from six furlongs up to a mile and a half. Rebel's Romance (Ire) was an eye-catching winner of the G2 UAE Derby on the dirt, and he is one of 23 stakes winners for his sire on that surface. The likes of Prince Bishop (Ire), Monterosso (GB), North America (GB), Lucky Nine (Ire), Mubtaahij (Ire) and Hunter's Light (Ire) are further proof that Dubawis act on the dirt, and it would be fascinating to see if Dubawi could extend his Breeders' Cup dominance down the road with a few runners pitched onto the dirt.

As for Appleby, his accomplishments this weekend likewise deserve examination in a historic context. Richard Mandella set the mark for a trainer when winning four races on the single-day Breeders' Cup card at Santa Anita in 2003, and 17 years later Brad Cox equaled that tally at Keeneland last year. Chad Brown has twice sent out three Breeders' Cup winners in a meeting, in 2014 and 2019, and Todd Pletcher accomplished the feat in 2010. It is also worth noting that, with the highly unlikely double gate scratch of Appleby's Albahr (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Master Of The Seas (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), Walton Street (GB) (Cape Cross {Ire}) in the Turf was Appleby's only Breeders' Cup starter that did not win. The last-out GI Canadian International winner finished ninth behind Yibir.

So Appleby-in his best year yet as a trainer–joins elite company. It is fair to point out, too, that no other trainer has provided three Breeders' Cup winners in a weekend all by the same sire, though two of Pletcher's three in 2010 were by that Breeders' Cup sire extraordinaire More Than Ready, who he also trained. More Than Ready is also one of four of the 13 sires with multiple Breeders' Cup winners in a year to have them on both dirt and turf-the others are Medaglia d'Oro, Smart Strike and City Zip.

Dubawi will turn 20 in the New Year, and will stand his 17th season with Darley, all but one of those being at Dalham Hall. The stallion that started out at £25,000-and dipped to £15,000 before his first runners hit the track-has continued to write his extraordinary story through each passing season, and there is every reason to think there is plenty still to come.

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