12/27/2016 11:41AM

Sparkman: Bellamy Road passes on talent to Constellation

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Benoit & Associates
Constellation, Flavien Prat up, wins the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita on Monday. Constellation became the second Grade 1 winner for her sire, Bellamy Road.

To reach the highest pinnacles of achievement, the physical and mental aspects of a Thoroughbred must be in perfect balance. As a racehorse, Bellamy Road possessed sufficient speed and stamina to provoke dreams of gold statuettes for the mantelpiece. He is, however, a huge horse, and his size and weight made it difficult and finally impossible to keep him sound long enough to earn the plaudits his talent might have garnered.

As a stallion prospect Bellamy Road also lacked a fashionable pedigree, and he has never been particularly popular with breeders while still compiling a respectable record as a sire. Constellation, winner of the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 26, is the second Grade 1 winner among his 31 stakes winners.

Bred in Florida by Dianne Cotter, Bellamy Road is by far the best son of Concerto, a multiple-graded-stakes-winning son of the good sire Chief’s Crown, by Danzig. A full brother to Puerto Rican stakes winner Old Midleton, Bellamy Road was purchased for $87,000 by Concerto’s owner-breeder, Kinsman Stud, at the 2004 OBS April sale of 2-year-olds in training. Trained by Michael Dickinson, he won his first start as a 2-year-old at Delaware Park the following August, romping home by 7 1/2 lengths over six furlongs. A month later he was just as impressive in the Grade 3 Cradle Stakes at River Downs, leading all the way to beat Diamond Isle by almost three lengths.

Favored for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, Bellamy Road set off in front again, but folded quickly after six furlongs, finishing seventh, beaten about 12 lengths by winner Consolidator. Bellamy Road was transferred from Dickinson to Nick Zito over the winter and won his first start at 3, a mile allowance at Gulfstream Park, by an astonishing 15 3/4 lengths, running the distance in 1:35.90. That made him joint favorite for the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, but Bellamy Road made a procession of the event, drawing away to a stunning 17 1/2-length victory over Survivalist in track-record-equaling time of 1:47.16.

That performance inevitably made Bellamy Road favorite for the Kentucky Derby, but he was drawn wide and had no chance of obtaining an easy lead and establishing a relaxed rhythm. Bellamy Road stuck his head in front on the final turn, but was running almost sideways to keep the horses inside him from pushing him farther out on the track and faded in the final furlongs to finish seventh.

Bellamy Road raced only once more, more than three months later in the Grade 1 Travers, and although he did not win, he proved he was a genuinely high-class racehorse. Sent off in front again, he set a measured pace and fought back gallantly when headed by Flower Alley at the head of the stretch. He finished second, beaten 2 1/2 lengths, with multiple Grade 1 winner Roman Ruler third.

Bellamy Road remained in training for his 4-year-old season but never ran again, and he retired to Pauls Mill Farm for the 2007 season. He moved to WinStar Farm in 2012, and moved on again to Dutchess Views Farm in New York for the 2016 season. He has sired 535 foals in seven crops of racing age, an average of 76 foals per crop, which tells you all you need to know about his lack of popularity.

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There are many more fashionable sires, however, who should be envious of Bellamy Road’s 31 stakes winners and 12 group or graded winners, a list topped by Canadian champion Sisterly Love (out of Odylic, by Dixieland Band) and Wood Memorial winner Toby’s Corner (Brandon’s Ride, by Mister Frisky) before Constellation came along.

Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm, Constellation is the second foal out of For Royalty (by Not For Love), a stakes-winning mare WinStar purchased for only $87,000 at the 2010 Keeneland November sale. For Royalty is half-sister to 2016 Grade 2 Chilukki Stakes winner Kiss to Remember, by Big Brown; Puerto Rican champion El Viento, by El Corredor; and Kiss the Breeze, a Kafwain mare who is the dam of stakes winner Kiss the Daddy, by Scat Daddy.

For Royalty’s stakes-winning dam, Taft Lil Queen, by Irish Open, is full sister to stakes winner Irish Cherry, dam of Grade 1 winners Spun Sugar and Daaher, both by Awesome Again. But one must trace back to Constellation’s ninth dam, Idle Dell, by Delhi, before one encounters other truly top-class winners. WinStar sold Constellation for $155,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September sale to Northwest Stud, which pinhooked her to the OBS March sale, where LNJ Foxwoods purchased her for $800,000.

For Royalty has since produced placed 2-year-old Upper Room, by Harlan’s Holiday; a yearling filly, Queen Mum (by Paynter), who sold for $190,000 at Keeneland September; and a weanling colt by Into Mischief. She was covered by Tapit in 2016.