Updated on 09/15/2011 12:31PM

Stepping out of big brother's shadow


LAS VEGAS - Kingmambo gets all the press, but watch out for his little brother Miesque's Son.

Kingmambo was the more accomplished runner, winning the Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas), Emirates Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, St. James's Palace Stakes, and Prix Djebel, and has received only the highest-quality mares. With quality runners such as El Condor Pasa, Lemon Drop Kid, and a number of other classic winners in Europe in his first four crops, Kingmambo is among the world's elite stallions.

Two years younger than his more famous brother, Miesque's Son was a late-maturing colt and won his first stakes at age 4, when he captured the Prix de Ris-Oranges. He also finished second in two Group 1 races, the Prix Maurice de Gheest and Prix de la Foret.

Miesque's Son was a member of last year's outstanding freshman stallion crop and was not expected to have an immediate impact as a sire because his runners would probably have more opportunities on the turf at age 3. While his juveniles showed promise on the dirt and returned handsome dividends (such as Mr. Miesque, $37 in his debut at Lone Star), they really came to life on turf.

Last Saturday at Monmouth Park, Croom, a daughter of Miesque's Son who displayed talent as a 2-year-old, won a maiden race after finishing fourth in her 3-year-old debut at Belmont in May. Last year, Croom finished second in Monmouth Park's Jr. Champion Stakes and third in Calder's Long Gone Blues Stakes as a maiden.

Croom is out of a Quack mare, Sociable Duck, who finished second in the 1984 Spinaway Stakes. Sociable Duck's other foals include stakes winners Seducer (Housebuster) and Swift and Classy (Clever Trick), as well as stakes-placed runners Smart Duck (Conquistador Cielo) and Croom. Seducer won the Hollywood Wildcat Stakes, Frances A. Genter Handicap, and Salem County Stakes. Swift and Classy won the What a Summer Stakes, while Smart Duck finished second in the Queen Charlotte Handicap and was third in the Nanaimo Handicap. Sociable Duck also produced Silvery Swan (Silver Deputy), the dam of El Corredor (Mr. Greeley), who won last year's Cigar Mile Handicap as well as the Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap and who also finished second to Fusaichi Pegasus in the Jerome Handicap.

Croom, trained by Christophe Clement, was the obvious choice in her maiden victory, returning only $5.40, but keying her over two longshots by Hennessy who were well-bred for turf produced some solid payoffs. I have been extolling the virtues of Hennessy as a "hidden turf" sire since his first offspring made their debut last year.

Hennessy raced only at 2 and was a brilliant juvenile, winning the Hopeful, Sapling, and Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes, and finishing second in the Hollywood Prevue Breeders' Cup and Breeders' Cup Juvenile (by a neck behind Unbridled's Song). Because he displayed such talent on dirt, there was never a reason to try him on grass, and he never got the opportunity because of an injury. But Hennessy was as well bred for turf as any European stallion. By Storm Cat out of a mare by grass champion Hawaii, Hennessy has some powerful turf influences in his pedigree. It's hardly a surprise that his runners are performing well on turf. Because he is a "hidden turf" sire, however, his offspring are usually ignored by bettors, and therein lies the betting value. Runners with this hidden turf pedigree pattern are one of the greatest edges in handicapping today.

Ideal Image, a daughter of Hennessy out of the Conquistador Cielo mare Amore Cielo (whose dam is stakes winner Header Card), finished second at nearly 10-1 in her turf debut. Finishing third at 8-1 was Thrilluponthrill, another daughter of Hennessy, who finished fourth in her debut on turf at Hialeah back in April. Thrilluponthrill is out of the Rahy mare Moroccan Magic. Her second dam is by European grass stallion Drouilly.

The Croom-Ideal Image exacta returned $58.60, while the Croom-Ideal Image-Thrilluponthrill trifecta paid a nifty $393.20. Incidentally, the fourth-place finisher at 38-1 was E Mail Pat, who is by the very underrated Farma Way, an above-average sire of grass runners. E Mail Pat was making her first turf start after showing dismal form on the dirt in her only two races, finishing nearly 30 lengths behind the winner in both races. Her dramatic improvement was obviously due to the surface switch.

English-Irish Derby double

Every year, Sadler's Wells seems to have another world-beater. This year it's Galileo, who added the Irish Derby to his earlier English Derby victory. His trainer, Aidan O'Brien, is excited about the prospect of running him in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

While offspring of Sadler's Wells have had little success on dirt, there is no question Galileo is a special animal. He is out of a Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner, Urban Sea, a daughter of Miswaki (Mr. Prospector) who was champion older mare in France. Urban Sea is also a half-sister to Kings Best (Kingmambo), one of England's best 3-year-olds last year.

Because the Breeders' Cup will be held at Belmont Park this year, expect a large European contingent. The area's weather and Belmont's long, sweeping turns have always been attractive to Europeans. Galileo versus Point Given, and hopefully a healthy Tiznow and other stars from the 3-year-old and handicap divisions, may make this a memorable Breeders' Cup Classic.