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Sparkman: Mr. Prospector making an impact overseas
As the Mr. Prospector male line has expanded rapaciously over the last 30 years or so, it has remained an almost entirely American phenomenon in the eyes of the international breeding community. Although scions of Mr. Prospector account for almost as many American graded stakes winners each year as those of Northern Dancer, his male-line descendants are far less prolific in Europe, the Antipodes, South America, and Japan.
What then are we to make of the results of the two major international classic races run on May 31 in two different hemispheres? At Chantilly, north of Paris, New Bay, by Mr. Prospector’s great-grandson Dubawi, dominated France’s Derby equivalent, the Group 1 Prix du Jockey-Club, while a world away in Tokyo, Duramente, by Mr. Prospector’s grandson King Kamehameha, added the Japanese equivalent, the Group 1 Tokyo Yushun, to his win in the first leg of the Japanese Triple Crown, the Satsuki Sho.
The two derby winners descend from two of Mr. Prospector’s sons who themselves made significant impact abroad. King Kamehameha’s sire, Kingmambo (out of the great racemare and broodmare Miesque), was himself a French classic winner, achieving that distinction in 1993 in the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains, the French 2000 Guineas. Of Kingmambo’s 95 stakes winners, 68 won stakes abroad, including classic winners, champions, or highweights Henrythenavigator, Divine Proportions, and Russian Rhythm.
King Kamehameha followed Kingmambo’s first-crop standout El Condor Pasa as a champion in Japan. King Kamehameha, a younger half-brother to Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby winner The Deputy, out of Manfath, by Last Tycoon, lost only once in seven starts, his first at 3, when he finished third to Focal Point in the Group 3 Keisei Hai. Unbeaten in two starts at about nine and 10 furlongs at 2, he showed his versatility at 3 in a very unusual sequence.
After his defeat in his 3-year-old debut, King Kamehameha won the listed Sumire Stakes at about 1 3/8 miles, and followed with a win in the Group 3 Mainichi Hai at about 1 1/4 miles. King Kamehameha then delivered a devastating performance in the Group 1 NHK Mile Cup, Japan’s premier race for 3-year-old milers, winning by five lengths in brilliant time of 1:32.50 for about a mile. Three weeks later, he set a course record of 2:23.30 for about 1 1/2 miles while beating future Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic winner Heart’s Cry in the Japanese Derby.
Those two brilliant performances earned King Kamehameha champion 3-year-old colt honors and a place at the Shadai Stallion Station. He was an immediate and sustained success, leading the Japanese sire list in 2010 and 2011 before Deep Impact began his current streak of championships. To date, King Kamehameha has sired 46 stakes winners from 1,126 foals age 3 and up (4 percent), a respectable percentage in Japan, where the percentage of black-type races compared with the total number of races is much lower than in other parts of the world. King Kamehameha’s list of eight Group 1 winners is headed by 2013 Japanese Horse of the Year Lord Kanaloa (Lady Blossom, by Storm Cat), 2009 champion 2-year-old colt and 2010 Group 1 Japan Cup winner Rose Kingdom (Rosebud, by Sunday Silence), and 2009 champion 2-year-old filly and 2010 champion 3-year-old filly Apapane (Salty Bid, by Salt Lake).
Duramente broke King Kamehameha’s course record in this year’s edition of the Japanese Derby, winning by 1 3/4 lengths in 2:23.20. It was the fourth win in six lifetime starts for Duramente, a son of 2004 champion Japanese older female Admire Groove, who twice captured Japan’s most important race restricted to females, the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup.
Admire Groove is a half-sister to another Group 1 winner by King Kamehameha, Rulership, winner of the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Cup II in Hong Kong, and to two other stakes winners out of another Japanese champion Air Groove, who won the Japanese Oaks equivalent in 1996 and defeated males in the Group 1 Tenno Sho the following year. The family descends from the well-bred English mare Peroxide, who was imported to Japan in the 1960s.
Bred by Katsumi Yoshida’s Northern Farm and raced by the Yoshida brothers’ Sunday Racing syndicate, Duramente’s pedigree is basically an outcross, despite the three crosses of Northern Dancer in the fifth generation that are practically standard equipment in the pedigrees of contemporary classic winners.
The more highly inbred New Bay carries four crosses of the little giant of Windfields Farm, 5x6x5x4, but is also inbred to his own male-line progenitor, Mr. Prospector, 4x4 through two of his most influential sons abroad, Seeking the Gold and Gone West. An additional 5x4 cross of the great Mill Reef brings his inbreeding coefficient to 2.5 percent through the first six generations, more than double the average of the breed.
New Bay’s sire, Dubawi, now ranks as the second-best sire in Europe, behind only six-time leading English sire Galileo, but he is one hell of a second best. If the English authorities included earnings from countries other than England and Ireland in their statistics as we do in America, Dubawi would currently sit well clear of Galileo on that list as well. In addition to New Bay’s earnings in the French Derby and many others abroad, Dubawi’s Prince Bishop (North East Bay, by Prospect Bay) earned $6 million for his victory in the Dubai World Cup. New Bay is the 102nd stakes winner from 837 foals age 3 and up by Dubawi, a superlative 12 percent, which is the highest strike rate of any stallion currently at stud.
Bred and owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Dubawi won 5 of 8 starts, including the classic Irish 2000 Guineas in 2005. Dubawi (out of Italian Oaks winner Zomaradah, by Deploy) was the best runner from the one small crop of the once-beaten Dubai Millennium, the best son of Mr. Prospector’s son Seeking the Gold. A half-brother to Grade 1 winner Fast Play, by Seattle Slew, out of the Buckpasser mare Con Game, Seeking the Gold won the Grade 1 Super Derby and Dwyer in 1988, but is chiefly remembered as a racehorse for his duels with another son of Mr. Prospector, Forty Niner, who beat Seeking the Gold by a nose in both the Travers and the Haskell Invitational.
Seeking the Gold was generally more noted as a sire of fillies than colts, counting champion fillies Heavenly Prize, Catch the Ring, and Flanders, as well as Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Pleasant Home among his 92 stakes winners from 965 foals. His Belmont Stakes winner, Jazil, failed as a sire, but his Group 1 winner Secret Savings has been a decent sire in Australia. Dubai Millennium, winner of the 2000 Dubai World Cup, is easily Seeking the Gold’s most important sire son, despite siring only 56 foals in his single crop before dying of grass sickness.
New Bay is the third foal out of listed winner Cinnamon Bay, by Zamindar (by Gone West), a half-sister to Group 2 Prix Maurice de Nieuil winner Bellamy Cay, by Kris. Khalid Abdullah purchased New Bay’s third dam, stakes winner Bahamian, by Mill Reef, for about $475,000 at the 1986 Tattersalls Newmarket October yearling sale. Bahamian is the dam of classic winner Wemyss Bight, who is the dam in turn of multiple Grade 1 winner Beat Hollow, by Sadler’s Wells. Bahamian is also the second dam of champion European sprinter and great sire Oasis Dream, by Green Desert, and classic winner Zenda, dam in turn of 2014 European highweight Kingman, by Invincible Spirit.
Any great sire line that hopes to survive in a changing world develops distinct branches with different characteristics. The emergence of Dubawi as a great sire in Europe and King Kamehameha as a champion sire in Japan is a powerful indication that the Mr. Prospector male line is on the verge of some serious expansion abroad. Dubawi’s first classic-winning son, Makfi (Dhelaal), has already sired a European classic winner in his first crop in Make Believe (Rosie’s Posy), who defeated the fast-closing New Bay in the 2015 French 2000 Guineas. Other prominent sons of Dubawi, including 2015 UAE Derby winner Mubtaahij (Pennegale, by Pennekamp) and 2014 English 2000 Guineas conqueror Night of Thunder (Forest Storm, by Galileo), will receive excellent chances at stud as alternatives to the overwhelming number of sons of Galileo available in Europe.
Similarly, King Kamehameha’s best sons will serve as a welcome antidote to the surfeit of sons and grandsons of Sunday Silence in Japan. Lord Kanaloa, the highest-rated sprinter in the world in 2013, stands alongside his sire at Shadai, and other Group 1-winning sons, including Rulership and Rose Kingdom, are at stud.
Meanwhile, the branch of Mr. Prospector that first carried the flag successfully in Europe has migrated elsewhere. Mr. Prospector’s French highweighted 2-year-old colt, Machiavellian, sired Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry, who sired Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, an increasingly successful sire both in America and Australia, and the promising young sire Per Incanto in Australia.
It may not be long before the name of Mr. Prospector is as revered all over the world just as much as it is in America.