12/15/2010 5:00PM

Galileo

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Few Thoroughbreds that were truly great on the racetrack have been able to duplicate- much less surpass- their achievemnets at stud. In the modern age, Bold Ruler is the first who comes to mind. American Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old in 1957, he was also champion American sprinter at four. At stud he was champion North American sire seven consecutive times from 1963 to 1969 and again in 1973 when his best son, Secretariat, won the Triple Crown.

The Canadian-bred Northern Dancer won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and the Queen's Plate as well as the Flamingo Stakes, Florida Derby and Blue Grass Stakes in his championship 3-year-old season of 1964. Yet he surpassed his on-track record by becoming the world's most important sire of the second half of the 20th Century, winning the sire title in North America in 1970 and in Britain/Ireland that same year as well as in 1977, 1983 and 1984. Perhaps more importantly, he is one of the greatest sire of sire's in Thoroughbred history. Historically, his influence as the stallion who singlehandedly led the Thoroughbred world into the modern, international age is incalculable.

Northern Dancer's best son, Nijinsky, also a Canadian-bred, is the last horse to win the British Triple Crown- the 2000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby and the St. Leger Stakes- something he did in 1970 when he also won the Irish Derby and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. It can be argued that no Thoroughbred has ever achieved what Nijinsky did on both the racecourse and in the breeding shed. Standing at Claiborne Farm like Bold Ruler, he sired 155 group or graded stakes winners, among them the excellent racehorse/stallions Caerleon and Green Dancer as well as Lammtarra, Royal Academy and Sky Classic. In 1986 he made history when he became the only stallion to sire the winner of the Kentucky Derby, Ferdinand, and the Epsom Derby, Shahrastani, in the same year.

And now we have Galileo. Not surprisingly he is a son of Sadler's Wells, a son of Northern Dancer who surpassed even Nijinsky's record at stud. In 1997 Sadler's Wells was mated with Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Urban Sea, who produced in Galileo the winner of the Epsom Derby, the Irish Derby and the King Geroge VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. Trained by Aidan O'Brien, he lost for the first time when failing to take the measure of Fantastic Light by a head after a gut-wrenching, stretch-long duel in the Irish Champion Stakes in what remains one of the most memorable horse races of the last quarter century.

The Irish-bred Galileo skipped the Arc for what in hindsight looks like an ill-advised tilt at the Breeders' Cup Classic where he was beaten into sixth-place by Tiznow at Belmont Park. Then it was off to a stud career that has ultimately led him to the top of the international breeding pile.

Standing at Coolmore Stud in County Tipperary, Galileo shuttled to Australia each year from 2002 to 2006.To date from six crops to race, he has sired 19 Group 1 or Grade 1 winners at distances from 7 furlongs to 2 1/4 miles, and while he is clearly a major sire at the classic distance of 1 1/2 miles and further, he is equally adept at producing champion 2-year-olds.

From his second crop, Teofilo was Galileo's first juvenile champion. Out of a Danehill mare, he completed his perfect 5-for-5 juvenile campaign with a win in the 7-furlong Dewhurst Stakes and was installed as favorite for the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby. He never ran at three, however, suffering an injury in his Guineas preapration that led to an August retirement.

The very next year Galileo produced in New Approach a virtual carbon copy of Teofilo. Like Teofilo trained by Jim Bolger, New Apporach won the same five races that Teofilo had at two, but went his predecessor one better as his 7-furlong National Stakes had been upgraded to Group 1 status, in no small part because it had been won by Teofilo a year earlier. Moreover, New Apporach was a successful 3-year-old, winning the 1 1/2-mile Epsom Derby, the 1 1/4-mile Irish Champion Stakes and the 1 1/4-mile Champion Stakes.

In 2007 Galileo's daughter Lush Lashes, also trained by Bolger, made her lone juvenile start a winning one in the $2.2 million, 7-furlong Goffs Fillies Million. No horse has ever won so valuable a race in his or her debut. At three Lush Lashes would win three Group 1 races between eight and twelve furlongs.

With three Group 1 winners, 2010 has been Galileo's best year to date for 2-year-olds. The trio is led by the exciting Frankel, who capped a perfect 4-for-4 season for Henry Cecil by landing, like Teofilo and New Approach before him, Britain's definitive juvenile contest, the Dewhurst Stakes. And like those two, Frankel is the winter book favorite for both the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby.

Galileo is also the sire this year of Roderic O'Connor, the 2 1/4-length runner-up in the Dewhurst who followed with a victory in the one-mile Criterium International. And then there is the filly Misty For Me, whose two Group 1 scores came in the 7-furlong Myglare Stud Stakes and the one-mile Prix Marcel Boussac.

At the top end of the distance scale, Galileo's most stouthearted son is probably Alandi, the winner of the 2 1/4-mile Prix du Cadran, followed by 1 3/4-mile, 132-yard St. Leger winner Sixties Icon, 1 15/16-mile Prix Royal-Oak winner Allegretto and 1 3/4-mile Irish St. Leger winner Sans Frontieres. His 12-furlong classic winners are Cape Blanco (Irish Derby), Soldier of Fortune (Irish Derby), and, of course, New Approach.

In Rip Van Winkle, one of his seven Group 1 winners this year, he has sired the versatile winner of the one-mile Sussex Stakes, the one-mile Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and the 1 1/4-mile, 88-yard Juddmonte International. His best filly this year is the still improving Lily of the Valley. She was put away for the winter by trainer Jean-Claude Rouget riding the crest of a 6-race winning streak, topped by her victory in the 1 1/4-mile Prix de l'Opera.

Galileo long ago clinched this year's British-Irish sire championship with earnings of approximately $7.9 million, about $4 million ahead of his nearest pursuer Dansili. A half brother to 2009 European champion and Arc winner Sea the Stars, Galileo stood for a reported fee of 225,000 euros ($360,000) in 2008. That was reduced to 175,000 euros ($235,000) in 2009. His fee in 2011 is private.

Giant's Causeway, the leading North American stallion who stands at Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Kentucky, will be the subject of our next review on Monday.

jOHN P MC MANUS More than 1 year ago
Great article,enjoyed the musing regarding lady Zen!She's very welcome over her for a pint of porter...and Galileo is a handsome fella,keep up the good work Al.JP
jOHN P MC MANUS More than 1 year ago
Great article,enjoyed the musing regarding lady Zen!She's very welcome over her for a pint of porter...and Galileo is a handsome fella,keep up the good work Al.JP
tarmon More than 1 year ago
Reading the comments with great interest from here in England. With very, very little knowledge of breeding I would be interested in american views on an unraced colt I have a share in. The colt is out of Exciting Times, who produced Gorella. Exciting Times has recently sold in foal to Sea the Stars for $900,000. (I would be happy to provide an opinion if you would please supply the name of the colt's sire, thank you.) AS
Mary More than 1 year ago
It has been my fondest dream to have Zenyatta bred to Galileo. American racing needs to infuse their blood with foriegn horses if it wants to ever see another triple crown winner. I am sad to see Zenyatta retired as I think she could of accomplished more ie maybe try a run on grass thus becoming a triple threat. But if not she can dictate the way American horseracing can go. I hope the Mosses take a good long look for overseas stallions.
judy b More than 1 year ago
I have loved the Northern Dancer line forever. I watch the races on Media Post in England to follow the euros. Galileo and Shergar were always favorites and I wish I had the ability to send a mare to Galileo. What a great racehorse! Excellent article.
Naked Banana More than 1 year ago
Hi Alan... again, the best blog and columnist at DRF. I love foreign racing, however, why is racing from Germany, Italy, France (other than Arc Day), and Hong Kong, not offered for wagering in the U.S. on a regular basis? From reading your book, it seems clear that on a daily basis Parisian racing in the best in the world. However, we get to bet Arc day, and that's it. Why the lack of wagering? (There is, of course, a language problem in broadcasting French races, although the French racing network, Equidia, does an excellent job of covering racing there. A proper English-speaking analyst could provide an intro before and a recap after a French race, but there always seems to be a wall between American interests and foreign racing that most Americans simply can't be bothered to climb. It's not that difficult to overcome, of course, but it exists nonetheless.) AS
John greathouse More than 1 year ago
Great article I'm afraid that the Europeans, Asians and our Arab friends now have all of our best pedigrees .
THE DODGE More than 1 year ago
What impresses me is Urban Sea what a mare! anything that traces to her has my bet. She had American speed and German stamina are the Americans paying attention. (No, we Americans are not paying attention to such things as exemplified by the fact that Red Rocks is Galileo's only G1 winner in the U.S., and he was trained in England. It wasn't always so. In the old days, we would import from Europe horses like Rock Sand (the broodmare sire of Man 'o War), Nasrullah (the sire of Bold Ruler and Nashua), and Princequillo (the sire of Round Table). The traffic in top class bloodstock has been almost all North America-to-Europe since 1980.) AS
stable girl More than 1 year ago
Loved the article on Galileo. He's been on my mind since a conversation I had a few months ago about who Zenyatta should be bred to. I would love to see the Mosses ship her to Ireland one year. (Zenyatta has a standing invitation from the Guinness brewery in Dublin, as she is known to have a fondness for the stuff the make. Perhaps the Mosses could kill two birds with one stone and send her to Galileo, who stands not too far down the road.) AS
peter kreutzer More than 1 year ago
Am sending this comment again because one can not tell if it went through or not .Apologies for possible redundance. One of the most appealing aspects of this sport is the unveiling of fascinating information of which in its totality, I did not know . Thank you for the perspective and specific breeding details. As an aside,did not know of your inceptionary nycotb forays.I too was in the same frame to place some wagers at such facilities . Brings back memories.Difficult to imagine in todays betting venues. No video,no audio until five minutes after the race was run. Only during the weekdays, because otherwise went to the deli for a grilled taylor ham on a roll and took the subway to Aquedudt almost every saturday. I cant say those were the days but that is what horseplayers like myself did. This weekend at aqueduct as Tom Durkin says , the big a ,is going to be cold However I remember race cards run in 15 degree temperatures with significant wind . Nine races ,no simulcasting ,just cold. Fun if you won ,freezing if you lost. Anyway appreciate your writings peter kreutzer
peter kreutzer More than 1 year ago
One of the most appealing facets of this sport is the opportunity to become increasingly fascinated.Thank you for the piece which did so !
peter redis More than 1 year ago
great article !! thanks so much i think that north light will be a classic sire also. how many horses have won the epson and sired a winner ?
Tom More than 1 year ago
Hello, Alan. Hope you are having a good day. I'm certainly enjoying your series on current European breeding influences. The series has raised a couple of questions. Can you provide a list of the more important Group 1 races? Some races I have begun to pick up as key races based on reading your articles, but a list of those key races would be nice. If such a list is in your book, Global Racing, merely say so and I will review the list when I purchase the book. Do the British bookmakers offer exotic bets or do they offer straight bets only? Thanks. Tom (Global Racing has a list of all European group races by track. At the end of March each year, DRF publishes a list of all the European Group 1's. British bookies on track take win bets and each-way bets, a 2-horse bet the equivalent of our across the board. Off-track bookies takes the same plus place bets, the equivalent of our show. They also take many types of exotics, exactas and combination bets with names like Yankees. You can also create your own bets, e.g., if you want to play a double with a horse at one track and another at another track, you can do so. Or a triple, or a quadruple. And it doesn't have to be all horse racing. You can include a dog race, a soccer match, a boxing match, or the day the Queen will die, etc.)AS
Tom More than 1 year ago
Thanks!