05/05/2005 11:00PM

Kingmambo continues his remarkable run

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Lane's End
Kingmambo has been a successful sire, with Grade and Group 1 winners in North America, Europe, and Asia. His daughter Divine Proportions, with a 6-for-6 record, is a heavy favorite to win next Sunday's French 1000 Guineas.

NEW YORK - Kingmambo, who sired the winners of three group races at Newmarket last Sunday, was bred in Kentucky and stands in Kentucky, but he never raced in the United States, a circumstance that may still cause his late trainer, Francois Boutin, to take the occasional spin in his grave.

After having won a trio of Group 1 miles - the French 2000 Guineas, the St. James's Palace Stakes, and the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp - Kingmambo was not selected to run in the 1993 Breeders' Cup Mile, prompting Boutin to declare, with a great deal of justification, that the Breeders' Cup selection committee didn't know what it was doing.

Having been denied an opportunity to run in the Breeders' Cup, Kingmambo, a son of Mr. Prospector and Miesque (herself a two-time winner of the BC Mile), is exacting a certain kind of revenge from his throne at Lane's End Farm in Versailles, Ky., where he stands for $300,000.

The remarkable performances of Kingmambo offspring last Sunday at Newmarket was indicative of his ability to sire top-class runners over a range of distances. Tarfah got the ball rolling with her victory in the 1 1/8-mile Group 3 Dahlia Stakes. Alkaased followed with a win in the 1 1/2-mile Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes. Then Virginia Waters provided the climax with her impressive score in the classic 1000 Guineas at a mile.

It has been that way since Kingmambo's first crop, foals of 1995. His first Group 1 or Grade 1 winner came in 1998, not in Europe or America, but in Japan, where El Condor Pasa followed his Grade 1 NHK Mile score with victory in the 1 1/2-mile Japanese Derby. A year later, El Condor Pasa was sent to France, where he won the 1 1/2-mile Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and the Group 2 Prix Niel at the same distance before narrowly being edged by Montjeu in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Any doubts as to whether Kingmambo would be able to produce horses who could stay 12 furlongs should have been laid to rest in 1999, when Lemon Drop Kid landed the Belmont Stakes. Lemon Drop Kid was quite versatile himself, as he had showed winning that year's 1 1/4-mile Travers Stakes and, one year later, a pair of 1 1/8-mile Grade 1's: the Whitney Handicap and the Woodward Stakes. Lemon Drop Kid's versatility validated the turf form produced a year earlier by Parade Ground, a son of Kingmambo who pulled off a rather remarkable triple of his own in the 1 1/8-mile Hall of Fame Stakes, the 1 1/4-mile Lexington Stakes, and the 1 1/2-mile Lawrence Realization.

It wasn't until 2000 that Kingmambo had his first classic mile winners. That year, King's Best took the 2000 Guineas, and Bluemamba followed a few weeks later in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, or French 1000 Guineas. That same year, his Penny's Gold won the one-mile Group 3 Prix Quincey at Deauville and became the first of Kingmambo's progeny to win group or graded races in both Europe and America when she landed both the Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup Handicap and the Jenny Wiley Stakes.

Malhub showed that Kingmambo could produce sprinters as well as milers and middle-distance types with his 2002 victory in the six-furlong Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. A year later, Star King Man gave Kingmambo his second Grade 1 dirt winner when he took the 1 1/4-mile Tokyo Daishoten.

Kingmambo has advertised himself well in Japan, his most recent success there coming last year with King Kamehameha, who proved himself to be in the same mold as El Condor Pasa when he followed victory in the NHK Mile Cup with another in the Japanese Derby.

Further evidence of Kingmambo's ability to get winning Group 1 performers at a range of distances came with Russian Rhythm, his 1000 Guineas winner in 2003 and, last year, Rule of Law, winner of the 1 3/4-mile, 132-yard St. Leger Stakes. All told, Kingmambo has sired 14 Group 1 or Grade 1 winners, half of them classic winners, and there is one more such waiting in the wings.

Filly putting perfection on line

"Is she the next Miesque?" asked the Niarchos family's racing manager, Alan Cooper, after Kingmambo's daughter Divine Proportions had extended her undefeated streak to 6 for 6 in the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte. We will know more after she starts as the odds-on choice in next Sunday's French 1000 Guineas at Longchamp. A two-time Group 1 winner at 2 going six furlongs and one mile, Divine Proportions appears fully capable of stretching out to the 1 5/16 miles of the French Oaks on June 12.

Since Lemon Drop Kid, King-mambo's only American Grade 1 winner has been Voodoo Dancer, whose victories in the Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap and the Diana Handicap were two of her seven graded stakes wins. But America's loss has been Europe's gain.

Back in action and apparently recovered from the ailments that kept him away from stud duties for two periods totaling eight weeks between February and April, Kingmambo already has 2-year-olds out of Dance Design, Possibly Perfect, and Toussaud, yearlings from Banks Hill, Escena, and Hatoof, plus foals from Banks Hill, Casual Look, Dance Partner, Kool Kat Katie, Personal Ensign, and Sophisticat. At 15 years of age, Kingmambo should continue to have a profound effect on the breed for the foreseeable future.