10/17/2016 12:30PM

Time and Motion latest in QE II line of succession

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Time and Motion gets up late to win the Queen Elizabeth II at Keeneland, becoming the latest in a long line of QEII winners for the Galbreath family.

It took about 12.7 seconds for Time and Motion to charge her final furlong down the center of the Keeneland turf course late Saturday afternoon, delving between Hawksmoor on the rail and a flying Harmonize on the outside, thrusting her elegant bay head with its distinctive blaze toward the rapidly approaching wire.

But in those brief seconds, well over half a century of Thoroughbred history was racing through the mind of Darby Dan Farm owner John Phillips as he stood in the rocking Keeneland grandstand, surrounded by a crowd of almost 30,000 willing those three fillies home.

“I’m just thinking of a long time breeding horses and hoping that this horse runs to her pedigree. This really means ...” Phillips said as his voice broke. “To have won this race so many times … ”

The man at the helm of Darby Dan, founded by his late grandfather, John W. Galbreath, Phillips spoke as he was trying to wrangle roughly 50 family members and friends off the turf course and back for a champagne toast to celebrate their sixth Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup winner. Meanwhile, Time and Motion, the latest standout hailing from a female family Galbreath acquired and developed, was gracefully sauntering back to her stall, mission accomplished with her head victory in the three-way photo.

The Queen Elizabeth II, inaugurated in 1984 to celebrate the queen’s visit to Kentucky, is almost automatically circled each year when the Darby Dan team discusses campaign targets for its top fillies. After all, when family patriarch Galbreath died at age 90 in 1988, Queen Elizabeth II, who had boarded broodmares at Darby Dan, was among those calling to offer condolences.

“We’re so blessed to be here at Keeneland with the home crowd and family,” Phillips said. “We point for this race – the whole family does. It’s always a thrill, win or lose, to be here. Today, we won, and it was great because we had our entire family from all over the country here. That’s what Keeneland is so cool about, that the family can join in the participation, win or lose. It’s a thrill and an honor to just compete and to be a part of this crowd.”

Galbreath, an entrepreneur who made his fortune in real estate and construction, started out in the Thoroughbred game breeding and racing horses in his home state of Ohio. He seized an opportunity to become a national player following the death of leading breeder Col. E.R. Bradley in 1946, purchasing part of what had been Bradley’s Idle Hour Farm in Kentucky and renaming it Darby Dan.

Galbreath made a major impact by importing a number of notable European stallions, including Ribot; racing a pair of Kentucky Derby winners in Chateaugay and Proud Clarion; and breeding several champions, including dual classic winner Little Current. Darby Dan also became the first owner to win the Kentucky Derby, Epsom Derby, and Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Galbreath’s most significant contributions, however, may have been developing the female families that are still active today. His homebred foundation mare, Soaring, born at Darby Dan in 1960, counts the outfit’s champion turf mare Soaring Softly, the winner of the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, and multiple Grade 1 winner Wonder Again among her descendants.

Soaring was also responsible for three of the Galbreath/Phillips families’ first four winners of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup. Her great-granddaughter Graceful Darby captured the race in 1987, running in the name of Galbreath’s son-in-law, James W. Phillips. Another great-granddaughter, Plenty of Grace, captured the race in the Darby Dan silks in 1990, and Graceful Darby’s half-sister Tribulation won for James W. Phillips and Arthur Seelbinder in 1993.

Graceful Darby and Plenty of Grace were both conditioned by former trainer John Veitch, who also saddled Darby Dan’s 1988 winner, Love You by Heart.

“It was the culmination of decades of the Galbreaths’ breeding program to have horses with endurance that could go a distance on turf instead of dirt,” Veitch, now an assistant paddock judge at Keeneland, said. “Most people don’t realize that in the 1950s and even in the early 1960s, turf racing was minimal in the United States. The pedigrees of those horses and the endurance really paid off for the Galbreath family.”

Also among Galbreath’s significant moves was his acquisition of the mare Golden Trail in 1962. The Hasty Road mare, a modest winner on the track, was bred by the late Isabel Dodge Sloane. Upon her death in 1962, her stock was privately purchased by Winston Guest. He then sold 38 mares to a syndicate that included Galbreath, and Galbreath retained Golden Trail when the group divided up the horses.

The mare’s descendants, via her daughters and granddaughters, include multiple Grade 1 winner Brian’s Time, a leading sire in Japan; European champion and stakes producer Ryafan; champion Sunshine Forever; Travers Stakes winner V. E. Day; Grade 1 winner Andover Way, the dam of prominent sire Dynaformer; sire Darby Creek Road, whose offspring included Graceful Darby; and Grade 1 winner and sire Offlee Wild.

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Golden Trail, via two different daughters, is the grandam of both Memories of Silver, the 1996 Queen Elizabeth II winner, and Time and Motion, who returned her family to the Keeneland winner’s circle two decades later. Both Memories of Silver, who raced in the name of John Phillips and his late mother, Joan, Galbreath’s daughter, and Time and Motion, who races under the nom de course of the Phillips Racing Partnership, have been trained by Jimmy Toner, long associated with the Darby Dan brand.

“This particular family, they’re horse people,” Toner said. “They’re aware of everything. They understand the ups and downs. They realize it, and it allows me as a trainer to focus on [the horses as individuals] and not to push them.”

Veitch, as another trainer who has worked for the family, echoes that praise.

“It was a privilege to be associated with John Galbreath and all of his family,” Veitch said. “They gave me wonderful horses to work with. I had a strong sense of confidence with what I had to work with and with the emotional and financial support from the Galbreath family. It was always a great honor to be invited to Keeneland for the QE II because it became such a prestigious race from the very beginning.”

Raise a glass to that.