09/09/2004 11:00PM

Danzig's influence felt worldwide

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - In a recent discussion of bloodstock and bloodlines with a prominent owner-breeder, I was floored by his assertion that the great and recently pensioned sire Danzig was a failure as a sire of sires.

I expressed my disagreement and was challenged to prove it with research.

As it turns out, the research indicates that even I was underestimating Danzig's importance as a sire of stallions around the world.

As a case in point, in last weekend's Group 1 Prix du Moulin at Longchamp the finish was a Danzig trifecta. The race was won by the 3-year-old filly Grey Lilas, who is a daughter of the Danzig stallion Danehill. Second was Diamond Green, a colt by Danzig's son Green Desert, and third was Antonius Pius, by Danzig himself.

If fact, the Prix du Moulin highlights the most successful stallion son of Danzig to date: Danehill. A leading sprinter in Europe during his racing career, Danehill struck the top of the heap in Australia during the early days of Coolmore's shuttle program into the Southern Hemisphere.

A monster down under, Danehill has managed to carve a niche for himself in Europe that is nearly equal to his status in the Australia. He has sired top 2-year-olds, leading milers like Rock of Gibraltar, and classic winners.

Over the past few years, only the epic domination of Coolmore's great sire Sadler's Wells has kept Danehill from leading the English sire list. As the sire of this year's English Derby winner North Light, however, Danehill has a chance of upsetting Sadler's Wells in his bid for another record-setting success as England's top stallion.

But the importance of Danzig in the male line does not rest on Danehill. According to statistics generated by Werk Thoroughbred Consultants in California, there are 899 stakes winners that have been sired by the sons of Danzig.

Clearly, this indicates that Danzig's influence is not slowing down. Instead, it is spreading and enlarging.

Danzig's impact on racing in breeding was felt around the world, and this weekend's racing was an example of how prevalent his influence has become.

In Ireland, the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes went to the Danzig-line filly Chelsea Rose, by Danehill's son Desert King. In the States, Bellamy Road (by the Chief's Crown stallion Concerto) won the Grade 3 Cradle Stakes. And the winner of last year's Breeders' Cup Distaff, Adoration, won the Grade 3 Arlington Matron and is a daughter of Honor Grades, by Danzig.

In Japan, Meiner Recolte (by the Chief's Crown stallion Chief Bearhart) won the Niigata Nisai Stakes. Langfuhr's son Mobil won the Halton Stakes at Woodbine. In Italy, Kykuit, by Green Desert, won the Premio Repubbliche Marinare, and Kaypen (by the Lure stallion Orpen) won the Premio Villa Borghese.

In addition, one of the most successful young sires in Europe is Cape Cross, who stands at stud in Ireland for Darley and is a son of the Danzig stallion Green Desert.

The widespread successes of Danzig and his sons may account for the misperception that there is a lack of success in the male line. With so many of Danzig's sons and grandsons spending life at stud as important sires in Australia, Japan, Ireland, and points in between, their total effect is diminished in any one area.

Although the predominant quantity of success from the Danzig line has come in Europe and Australia, where almost all the racing is on turf courses, Danzigs can run on dirt. The best colt currently racing on dirt is Grade 1 winner Pomeroy, by Claiborne Farm's Danzig stallion Boundary. A few seasons ago, the Lane's End Danzig stallion Belong to Me sired the multiple Grade 1 winner Jersey Girl in his first crop.

"Danzig, in addition to having some high-class sons at stud in Kentucky, has become a vital sire of sires in regional markets," Jack Werk said. "And one of Danzig's last sons to have a chance of becoming a major national sire is freshman stallion War Chant."

Winner of the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile, War Chant stands at Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky. Already the sire of a stakes winner, War Chant was a graded winner on dirt and turf.

With the success and versatility shown by Danzig's descendants in the first and second generation, breeders have an important question to ask themselves.

Got Danzig?