12/13/2013 4:55PM

Sparkman: The curious case of Cacique

Barbara D. Livingston
Cacique has returned to the main roster of Juddmonte's Banstead Manor Stud for 2014.

A visit to the 2013 Tattersalls December sale in Newmarket, England, last week offered the opportunity to make the short trip out Duchess Drive to the village of Cheveley to see the undefeated Frankel. The great one did not disappoint, but the most surprising aspect of a delightful hour at Juddmonte Farms’ stallion division was the appearance of Cacique among the seven stallions standing for 2014 at Banstead Manor Stud.

Retired to Banstead Manor in 2007 after winning seven of 18 starts, including the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap and Man o’ War Stakes, Cacique sired only 28 named foals in his first crop, despite covering a full book of mares. When only three named foals resulted from a second season of covering, and none from a third despite extensive and varied fertility treatments, Juddmonte announced that Cacique would be pensioned in 2010 because of his apparently intractable subfertility.

That, however, was the same year that Cacique’s first foals reached the races. And by the end of the 2011 racing season, Cacique was the sire of Group 1 winner Mutual Trust (out of Posteritas, by Lear Fan), Group 3 winner Census (Slieve, by Selkirk), and stakes winner Slumber (Sound Asleep, by Woodman). With that success on the racetrack, Juddmonte owner Khalid Abdullah decided it was worth trying Cacique in the breeding shed again.

That decision has been validated by the results in the breeding shed and on the racetrack, as exemplified by the victory of Cacique’s son Dominant (Es Que, by Inchinor) in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase on Dec. 8 and the fact that 41 of the 49 mares bred to Cacique this year are believed to be in foal.

Bred and owned by Juddmonte, Cacique was the fifth foal, the fourth by the great Danehill, and the fourth Group 1 or Grade 1 winner out of the incredible broodmare Hasili, by Kahyasi, England’s Broodmare of the Year in 2006. Hasili subsequently produced a fifth foal by Danehill, multiple Grade 1 winner Champs Elysees, who also stands at Banstead Manor.

Hasili’s first foal, Danehill’s son Dansili, was not a Group 1 winner but clearly was at least as talented as the majority of horses who earn that badge of honor and have that racing ability. Trained in France by Andre Fabre, Dansili won his only start at 2 and captured the Group 3 Prix Messidor at 3 and the Group 2 Prix du Muguet and Group 3 Prix Edmond Blanc at 4, but he always found one or two too good for him in his forays in Group 1 company. Dansili placed in five different Group 1 races in Europe without winning one.

Perhaps his best, and certainly his unluckiest, chance at a Grade 1 win was the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Mile, where Dansili had to wait for an opening along the inside as winner War Chant circled the field, but finished fastest of all in third and galloped out well in front.

Dansili has established himself as one of the world’s best sires, leading the French sire list in 2006 and siring 89 stakes winners to date, including Group 1 winners The Fugue, who ran second to Dominant in Hong Kong; French champion Rail Link, who stands alongside his sire at Banstead Manor; Harbinger; and Emulous.

Dansili’s full sister Banks Hill earned an Eclipse Award with her victory in the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, as did another full sister, Intercontinental, in 2005. Heat Haze, Hasili’s daughter by Green Dancer, was just as talented, winning two Grade 1 races. Champs Elysees was Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2009 after winning the Grade 1 Canadian International.

Like Dansili, Cacique began his racing career with Fabre, winning his first two career starts at 3 before being pitched in at the deep end to contest the 2004 Group 1 Prix Jean Prat, where he found only champion Bago too good for him. He got closer to Bago in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at about 1 1/4 miles, going down by only a half-length, and then easily won the Group 3 Prix Daphnis.

Fourth behind Sulamani (with Bago again one place in front of him in third) in the Juddmonte International, he returned to France to win the Group 2 Prix Daniel Wildenstein at about a mile in his final start at 3.

Cacique ran four times for Fabre at 4 in France, winning the Group 3 Prix du Chemin de Fer du Nord but failing again in Group 1 races. At that point, his race record looked very much like Dansili’s – good enough to run in Group 1 races but not good enough to win them. As with so many good European runners, though, Juddmonte sent Cacique to Bobby Frankel for his third racing season, and the combination of Frankel’s skill and the probably slightly weaker turf competition in the United States improved Cacique’s record.

Cacique finished fourth and second in Grade 1 races in his first two U.S. starts – the latter to English Channel in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic – before he led all the way and held off Relaxed Gesture to win the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap, with Irish Derby winner Grey Swallow third and English Channel fourth.

English Channel turned the tables in the Grade 1 United Nations, beating Cacique a half-length at equal weights, and Cacique could never catch the front-running The Tin Man in the Grade 1 Arlington Million. Victory in the Grade 1 Man o’ War over Go Deputy put Cacique in position to emulate his sisters’ American championships, but he ran no sort of race, finishing 10th behind Red Rocks, in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Cacique had done more than enough to earn a place at stud, but the question was whether to stand him at Banstead Manor alongside Dansili or at Juddmonte’s Kentucky outpost in Lexington. Juddmonte chose Banstead Manor, and he served a full book in his first season at stud in 2007. The 28 foals in his first crop meant drastic measures for his second, but his fertility got worse instead of better.

When Cacique’s first crop reached the races in 2010, however, they immediately showed promise, with the filly Katerini running second in the listed Prix Yacowlef. The following spring, Mutual Trust captured the Group 3 Prix Paul de Moussac and followed up with a victory in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat. Meanwhile, in England, Census won the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes, Slumber won a listed race, and Dominant ran third in the Group 2 York Stakes.

Dominant was sold to race in Hong Kong shortly after that effort and has now won 3 of 14 starts in the former British colony. Bred in Ireland by Newhall Ltd., Dominant was purchased for $158,732 by John Warren on behalf of the Highclere syndicate at the 2009 Tattersalls October yearling sale.

His dam, Es Que, was a maiden winner in France and has subsequently produced stakes-placed Es Que Love, by Clodovil, another good son of Danehill. Es Que is out of stakes winner Bellona, by Bering, herself a half-sister to Group 3 winner In Clover, by Inchinor – who is the dam of multiple stakes winner Dream Clover, by Oasis Dream – and to stakes winner Bayourida, by Slew o’ Gold, who is the dam of stakes winner Telluride, by Montjeu. Dominant’s third dam,

Bellarida, by Bellypha, won the Group 3 Prix de Royaumont and is a fourth-generation descendant of the great French foundation mare Vali, by Sunny Boy, the dam of champion Val de Loir and Epsom Oaks winner Valoris.

Cacique’s second crop of only three named foals includes Group 2 winner Canticum (Allegro Viva, by Distant View), so it is very good news that his new regimen of breeding once a day to a limited book of mares is working. Cacique has 30 weanlings of 2013, and with a 2014 crop approaching 40 in the offing, prospects are bright for more good runners by Cacique.

In appearance, Cacique resembles Dansili far more closely than Champs Elysees, who is a taller, leggier horse. With his limited number of foals, he might never manage to be a leading sire like his brother, but he certainly has proved that he is worth the trouble his connections have gone through to make him a productive stallion.