07/07/2009 3:26PM

Urban Sea


Is the late Urban Sea officially/unofficially designated as a Blue Hen?  Also, prior to her death this spring, she delivered a colt by Invincible Spirit - were there any foals from 2007 or 2008?

"Great" is a term that is handed out way too liberally in the sporting world.  When considering the produce record of Urban Sea, however, one is tempted to recite "greater" superlatives.  I'm not certain if she's an "official" blue hen mare, but if she isn't, then it's a crime.  Let's take a closer look at the Miswaki mare with her lifetime past performances listed below:

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She was a good racer, taking eight of 23 starts for earnings of over $1.7M.  Trained throughout her career by Jean Lesbordes, Urban Sea began in nondescript fashion, running second in a seven-furlong sprint at Evry.  She even suffered the indignity of falling in the listed Prix Imprudence to kickstart her three-year-old campaign. 
As a multiple listed winner in Frnace, Urban Sea shipped to the United States for a pair of North American graded engagements.  She ran a solid second to Hatoof in the E.P. Taylor before flattening out three weeks later in the Yellow Ribbon. 
It was at four that Urban Sea flourished.  She won the Prix Exbury over males in her seasonal coming-out party, then would eventually bring a two-race win streak into the 1993 Arc de Triomphe. 
Dismissed at 37-1 odds, Urban Sea was all-out to hold off fellow longshot White Muzzle in Europe's signature race.  The victory earned her highweighted older mare honors between 11-13 1/2 furlongs on the European Free Handicap that year. 
Although she only won once at five, Urban Sea's shocking Arc score solidified her place in racing history.  The best was yet to come.

Mated with Bering, Urban Sea produced her first foal, Urban Ocean, in 1996.  The colt sold for 230,000 guineas as a yearling, and his big win came in the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes as a three-year-old.  Here's what our friends at The Racing Post had to say about the performance:

"A game effort from the front-running URBAN OCEAN, who is bred to stay at least a mile and a half. Clear after 2f, he came under pressure early in the straight and never flinched, battling on well to beat Sunshine Street, who closed on him turning for home and who had every chance from 2f out until faltering in the last half-furlong.
No firm plans were available for the winner but the Irish Derby would look an obvious target for this tough and improving colt."

Urban Ocean never really fulfilled expectations as he finished sixth in the Irish Derby behind Montjeu, and fifth behind the same rival in the Tattersalls Gold Cup later in the year.  Urban Ocean was still highweighted at three on the Irish Free Handicap between 9 1/2-11 furlongs.

Urban Sea foaled a Lammtarra filly in 1997, and Melikah was sold for 10,000,000 francs as a yearling.  Campaigned by Godolphin, she won the listed Pretty Polly Stakes at ten furlongs.  From The Racing Post:

"MELIKAH, making her racecourse debut and obviously green, stuck to her guns well to pick up Clog Dance, although the form is questionable due to a desperately slow pace during the first half of the event.
The strong impression afterwards was that Godolphin will be surprised if Melikah proves their best contender for the Vodafone Oaks next month. Nevertheless, the superbly bred daughter of Arc winners Lammtarra and Urban Sea is clearly useful.
Simon Crisford, Godolphin´s racing manager, said: "They went no gallop and the race turned into a sprint, which was no good for her as she is bred to want 1m4f plus. What we hope now is that she can live up to her pedigree; she´s in the Oaks picture now but we have some other fillies as well for that and we shall know more in a couple of weeks´ time.
"Frankie liked her a lot and said that she could be an Oaks filly. But the early pace was so slow it really was a farce. You don´t learn much in races like that.""

Ridden by Chris McCarron in the Oaks, Melikah finished third behind Henry Cecil's Love Devine, the 9/4 favorite in the field of sixteen.  The following month, she finished second in the Irish Oaks as the 2-1 chalk, five and one-half lengths behind Sir Michael Stoute's Petroushka. 

Urban Sea's next foal, the Sadler's Wells colt, Galileo, would bring the mare international renown.  Galileo won six of eight starts for over $2.2M in earnings, and was named Europe's champion three-year-old in 2001.  He ran away with the Epsom Derby, winning the classic by 3 1/2 lengths from Golan.  The Racing Post was suitably blown away:

"A magnificent performance from GALILEO to beat a high-class field like this by the widest margin since 1993. It was also the second-fastest Derby time ever, despite the early pace having been far from searching, and despite the winner being eased down a shade.
One has to go back to Generous and Nashwan for a Derby winner who made a similar impression, and neither of them beat colts of the calibre of Golan, who was hugely impressive himself in the 2,000 Guineas, and Tobougg, a dual Group 1 winner as a two-year-old.
Galileo had not been especially impressive in winning the same Leopardstown race that Sinndar had won last year, but he had evidently trained exceptionally well and shown an extraordinary amount of speed. That speed was evident here, both in the ease with which he travelled-perfectly placed throughout-and more particularly in the manner in which he quickened right away in the final 2f.
As soon as he went to the front the race was as good as over, and he could have pulled a little further clear if his rider had wished. He shows so much speed at home that connections were talking privately before the race of dropping him back to 10f for the Coral Eurobet Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, and then-in a move that would not even have been contemplated by the connections of any other modern Derby winner-going back even further in distance and challenging for top honours at a mile in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, before finishing off in the Breeders´ Cup.
Whatever route they take-and it could equally turn out to be the Irish Derby, King George and Irish Champion Stakes-Galileo is going to be extremely hard to beat in anything but the sort of searching stamina test that he is unlikely to be risked in."

Forget Richard Dutrow's boasts that the Belmont Stakes was a "foregone" conclusion for the luckless Big Brown.  If ever there was a foregone conclusion, it was in the Irish Derby as Galileo, the 4/11 favorite in the field of 12, bounded home a facile winner over Italian Derby winner Morshdi.

The Racing Post was ready to proclaim him a superhorse:

"This was the lap of honour that had been generally anticipated, with GALILEO winning in superb style. Just as at Epsom, Michael Kinane had him perfectly positioned throughout, and he quickened off a good pace to forge clear from two furlongs out. A superbly athletic performer, he has nothing left to prove at 1m4f, and deserves to go down as one of the finest horses to have completed the Derby double.
Few horses who have managed that feat have shown so much speed, and the time of the race (on ground that varied on different sections of the course) was considerably faster than Sinndar´s winning effort a year ago.
His five victories have come on five different going descriptions, and allied to that versatility, he has the enormous asset of being a perfectly relaxed individual. Although he had got a little warm by the time he got to the start, where he was dismounted by Kinane, he never looked less than composed. His superiority was evident through every section of the race. Coming down the hill towards the straight, Kinane was sitting motionless, with all the other jockeys applying varying degrees of pressure."

Galileo ran his undefeated streak to six by upending the older Fantastic Light in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes.  Fantastic Light would get his revenge in the Irish Champion Stakes, but the two would never meet in a rubber match.  Galileo's connections, the vaunted Coolmore syndicate, opted to try dirt in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont Park, and Galileo met his Waterloo in the form of Tiznow.
Now one of the top sires in the world, Galileo virtually ensures that Urban Sea's name will endure for many, many generations to come.

While he didn't achieve his older brother's stature, Black Sam Bellamy earned Group 1 success in both the Gran Premio del Jockey Club in Italy, and the Tattersalls Gold Cup in Ireland.  He finished third in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud to close out his juvenile campaign, then ran fifth in the French Derby, and tenth in the Arc in his next two Group 1 appearances.  After a last-place finish in the Prix Ganay in his second start at four, Black Sam Bellamy pulled off the minor upset in the Tattersalls Gold Cup.  From The Racing Post:

"A most impressive performance from BLACK SAM BELLAMY who grabbed the race by the scruff of the neck early in the straight and proceeded to gallop the rest into the ground. He had some quite good form last season, a lot of it over a mile and a half, and looked good on his return at Leopardstown. However, he then flopped in the Ganay for no apparent reason. He has clearly improved considerably since last season and will be a force to be reckoned with in the Coronation Cup and other top middle-distance races.
Trainer Aidan O´Brien said: "We don´t really know what happened in the Ganay. I could have been a bit easy on him after Leopardstown and the ground was loose in France, and Mick said he didn´t really grab hold of it. We are thinking of the Coronation if he gets ease in the ground and comes out of this well."

Black Sam Bellamy failed to win again, but he did run third in the Coronation Cup, and second in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden in Germany.  Like big brother Galileo, Black Sam Bellamy stands at stud in Ireland.

Urban Sea's foal of 2000, Atticus, never made it to the races, but the son of Sadler's Wells also stands in Ireland.

Finally, a Sadler's Wells filly!  All Too Beautiful was foaled in 2001, and she sold for 1,100,000 irish guineas as a weanling.  She went on to grab the Group 3 Middleton Stakes at four.  From The Racing Post:

"They went a good pace here and ALL TOO BEAUTIFUL was able to confirm her unquestionable class in a race where, on official ratings, she had 9lb and more in hand of her rivals. After being held up in behind she was asked to close up in the final half mile and, coming to join the long-time leader over a furlong out, kept on to land the spoils. She raced with her head a little high but there was certainly no doubting her resolution. However, she gave the impression she wouldn´t want the really fast conditions that are more usual around the time of the Yorkshire Oaks. She heads for the Pretty Polly at the Curragh now and looks the sort to progress further this term."

The Middleton was the final start of All Too Beautiful's career.

Bred to the powerful Giant's Causeway, Urban Sea produced My Typhoon in 2002, and the weanling sold for a whopping 1,800,000 at that November's Tattersalls sale.  My Typhoon was purchased by Live Oak Plantation, shipped across the world, and nestled down in Bill Mott's stateside barn.  She won eight stakes races and over $1.3M, including the Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga.

Unfortunately, Urban Sea was barren on a cover to Sadler's Wells in 2003, but she produced the Green Desert filly Cherry Hinton the following season.  Cherry Hinton failed to win her maiden in five career starts, but she did place in the Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes before finishing fifth in the Vodafone Oaks and eleventh in the Coronation Stakes. 

That Green Desert cross just didn't seem to take as Urban Sea's 2005 foal, a colt named Sea's Legacy, failed to reach the races. 

Bred with Cape Cross, Urban Sea produced Sea the Stars in 2006, and the colt has wowed European turficionados with wins in the English Two Thousand Guineas, the Epsom Derby, and the Coral Eclipse Stakes.

From The Racing Post analysis of the Eclipse:

"We build these big races up so much these days that there is inevitably a risk of anti-climax, but not this time. The Curragh´s loss was Sandown´s gain and hopes that SEA THE STARS might confirm himself the horse of a lifetime by following further inthe footsteps of the great Nashwan over this intermediate trip were gloriously vindicated with yet another performance right out of the very top drawer.
Sea The Stars had already been the first horse since Nashwan to achieve the 2,000 Guineas and Derby double, and although his winning margin here was nowhere near so extravagant as Nashwan´s 20 years ago, he was beating a better colt. The pair left two classic winners trailing the best part of five and ten lengths further adrift at the end of a race run at an end-to-end gallop, thanks to three pacemakers, and the form looks outstanding.
The winning time of 2min 03.40sec was little more than a second outside Kalaglow´s course record, which was set in the 1982 Brigadier Gerard Stakes on an afternoon of outstanding times, and by far the fastest set in the Eclipse in more than 40 years, bettering by almost a second the next best achieved by Mtoto in 1987."

Urban Sea was a bit unlucky the following two breeding seasons.  She was barren to Shamardal in 2007, and her Pivotal foal died in 2008.  She has a weanling colt by Invincible Spirit.

From 11 foals, Urban Sea has eight runners, seven winners, and six graded blacktype winners for total earnings of $6,889,454.


In the DRF pp's, what is the lower case "r" where the lower case "f' is for front bandages?  I have seen many horses wear rear bandages, wrapped up very high and tight that are not just rundowns.
Also, the Tomlinson ratings.  Over 90% of the time, the distance rating for turf is greater than the overall rating for turf.  My gut insinct tells me it should be the other way around.  Do you know how these are calculated?  Thanks.
Ron Zuercher

The 'r' stands for bar shoes.  A 'n' in that space would indicate aluminum pads. 

I don't use Tomlinson Ratings in my personal handicapping, but here is an explanation of some of the theories behind the figs:


I would think that he did extensive research combining bloodlines with the results of thousands upon thousands of races to come up with his ratings.


Congrats to Jerrry for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise.  He picks the third race at Evangeline on Wednesday night for this week's race.  Here are the past performances:

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Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan."   Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.  In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference.

I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but let's remember why we began the HandiGambling races in the first place.  The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses, and why we're betting them the way we are.  I'm not asking for a novel, but if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles, and thought processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.

Best of luck,