05/02/2016 4:49PM

Sires of the 2016 Kentucky Derby: Giant's Causeway

Coolmore Farm
Giant's Causeway

There is very little Giant’s Causeway hasn’t done while fashioning one of the most complete racing and breeding careers in the last two decades.

A European champion who was a multiple Group 1 winner and classic-placed in his racing career, Giant’s Causeway quickly became the heir apparent to his breed-shaping father, Storm Cat. As of April 20, he was approaching a milestone, with 99 graded/group stakes winners, including several international classic winners. His influence is global as he has sired champions in the United States, Europe, Canada, New Zealand, Chile, Saudi Arabia, and Peru – and several of his sons and daughters are beginning to have productive breeding careers of their own.

However, Giant’s Causeway has yet to sire a U.S. classic winner. His best finish in the Triple Crown series is the third by Creative Cause in the 2012 Preakness Stakes. He is the sire of six Kentucky Derby starters, with no top-three finishes – Creative Cause again holds the best finish in the group, checking in fifth.

:: Sires of the 2016 Kentucky Derby | Download the Derby Sire Guide

Giant’s Causeway has two outstanding bullets in his arsenal this year, including Destin, a full brother to Creative Cause. Destin won the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby in March to punch his ticket to Louisville. It was the second consecutive graded stakes win for Destin, who also won the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes on Feb. 13 at Tampa.

Finishing seventh in the Tampa Bay Derby in his season debut was another son of Giant’s Causeway, Brody’s Cause. The colt bounced back by rallying for the victory in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. Brody’s Cause had tipped his hand last year by winning the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, then finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Giant’s Causeway’s toughness on the racetrack earned him the nickname “The Iron Horse” in Europe. He won 9 of 13 starts and never finished worse than second. He earned European Horse of the Year honors with five Group 1 victories in 2000, taking the Sussex, St. James’s Palace, Eclipse, and Juddmonte International in England as well as the Irish Champion Stakes. He placed in a trio of other Grade 1/Group 1 events that year, finishing second in both the English and Irish 2000 Guineas and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He retired with earnings of more than $3 million.

Giant’s Causeway began his stud career at Coolmore’s Irish headquarters in 2001, but was relocated to the international outfit’s Ashford Stud in Kentucky the following season. He has finished among the top 10 general sires in North America every year since 2005 and led that list in 2009, 2010, and 2012.

He has sired champions in seven countries, led by 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Take Charge Brandi, European classic winner Shamardal, and Canadian classic winner Irish Mission. Giant’s Causeway also sired champions Showcause (New Zealand), Giant’s Steps (Chile), Step In Time (Saudi Arabia), Kung Fu Mambo (Peru), and Bambina Mia (Peru).

His classic winners outside of the United States include Shamardal, Irish Mission, Giant’s Steps, and Kung Fu Mambo, as well as Ghanaati (England), Big Cazanova (Argentina), Footstepsinthesand (England), and Penelopa (Germany).

From his first 13 crops of racing age – including current 2-year-olds – Giant’s Causeway is the sire of 1,143 winners from 1,745 starters for earnings of $145,995,487 through April 20. The group includes 178 stakes winners – 99 graded/group winners, and 34 Grade 1/Group 1 flat winners in 10 different countries. Their average winning distance is 8 1/2 furlongs.

Giant’s Causeway also could have an influence on this year’s Derby through the second generation. His Grade 1-winning son Eskendereya is the sire of Grade 1 winner and Derby contender Mor Spirit. Meanwhile, Louisiana Derby winner Gun Runner is out of Quiet Giant, a Grade 2-winning Giant’s Causeway mare.