01/08/2013 6:45PM

2012 Eclipse Awards: Darley

photo by: Barbara D. Livingston

Darley Stud, owned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, led all breeders in American graded stakes wins last year. Nine Darley-breds won 15 graded races during the season. Four of those runners carried the colors of Darley’s sister operation, the Maktoum family’s Godolphin Stable: Alabama and Coaching Club American Oaks winner Questing, Forego victor Emcee, Matriarch winner Better Lucky, and Alpha, who dead-heated with Golden Ticket in the Travers. Darley also bred and raced Nahrain, the 2011 Prix de l’Opera winner who won the 2012 Flower Bowl Invitational in another Grade 1 tally for Darley.

In 2012, Darley-bred runners won 130 races, or 17 percent of their starts, and earned $8,460,884.

Those earnings put Darley in third among North American breeders, but those earnings came from a much smaller pool of starts, 747 as compared with more than 3,292 for division leader Adena and more than 1,881 for second-ranked Brereton C. Jones.

Sheikh Mohammed, also an accomplished endurance rider, developed a love of Thoroughbred racing after seeing Royal Palace take the 2000 Guineas in 1967. Since then, Maktoum and his family have become a powerful force in Thoroughbred breeding and racing globally. Darley includes operations in Lexington, Ky., and in England, Ireland, Australia, and Japan.