Lure lives not only through Orpen

The two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Lure went down to history not just thanks to his excellent racing career but as one of the talented stallions whose careers at stud were severely limited by their low fertility rates. He had just 133 progeny but thanks to one of them, Orpen, his life today still circulates in the veins of big winners. The last weekend showed that it was not just through Orpen.

In July 1995, the two-year-old La Favorita, the sister of the Racing Post Trophy winner Seattle Rhyme, made her debut in a maiden race at Vichy over 1,400. She finished third. During the first year of her racing career she had five more starts but ended the season as a maiden, the best achievement being the second place at Maisons-Laffitte. She entered the next season winning a claiming race at Cagnes-sur-Mer and was sold for nearly 19,000 euro. In her new silks she raced six times and although she never finished worse than fifth, she did not win and her best places were two second places in Class C handicap races. Then she was bought by John Magnier for whom she ran just once, unplaced. Shortly after she moved to Ireland where she partnered Lure and then travelled again – to Australia where she gave birth to the filly Wedgetail Eagle on September 27, 1997.

Wedgetail Eagle was precocious, similarly to most progeny out of Lure. She won two races as a two-year-old in Australia but her results at stud were much more significant. She gave birth to twelve progeny, ten of them were runners and nine winners. But what is more important – of nine winners four were black-type winners. It was with her first progeny, the filly Soressa, that Wedgetail Eagle entered the ranks of producers of black-type winners and what more, the Proud Miss Stakes (L) winner Soaressa was successful at stud too, having produced the gelding Thermal Current, the winner of the Red Anchor Stakes (Gr.3) and McKay Stakes (Gr.3). The second black-type winner was the third progeny of Wedgetail Eagle, Impressive Eagle, a listed winner who even scored in the Gr.1 Robert Sangster Stakes, where she finished third. A listed race was won also by Assertive Eagle and same as her two elder sisters she achieved some places in group races, including the second place in the A.V. Kewney Stakes (Gr.2).

The position of Lure’s most successful daughter at stud was confirmed by Wedgetail Eagle by her most successful product so far, the three-year-old gelding Eagle Way. At the turn of this year he won three races and in April raced for the first time in a group race. The Gunsynd Classic was not much to his liking but he finished fourth in the Rough Habit Plate (Gr.3) and at the end of May lost just by a short head to Mackintosh in the Grand Prix Stakes (Gr.3). The last weekend was the peak of the career for Eagle Way as he took the Gr. 1 Queensland Derby by 1 and 3/4 lengths.

Eagle Way became with his Saturday triumph the fourteenth black-type winner produced by one of forty-nine Lure’s daughters at stud and the very first Gr.1 winner. Although Lure was never based in Australia, he has many daughters Down Under who were imported in utero to the country. This is the case of Absolute Lure, the daughter of the English-born Duchesse de Berri who won three sprint races in Australia and had two black-type progeny – the winner of the Crystal Mile (Gr.2) and the third in the Austrian Derby (Gr.1), Hooked, and the listed placed Casino Card. Sequin, too, was born in Australia, the daughter of the England-imported Subterfuge, the dam of the excellent Scintillation, the winner of the Centenary Sprint Cup. Sequin was just once placed on the racecourse but at stud produced the winner of the Colonial Chief Stakes (Gr.3) Order Of The Sun and the listed-successful Get To Work. Her daughter, the unraced Sequential, is the dam of the listed winner Excitable Boy.  Among the European progeny of Lure’s daughters, the best one was the winner of the Great Voltigeur Stakes (Gr.2) Centennial.

Lure fared well as a damsire too, namely in Australia where many of his daughters were imported in utero. Despite this it is still Orpen who is the most prominent bearer of his blood. Out of Devil’s Bag daughter Bonita Francita, the winning ¾ sister of the Gr.3 winner and Machiavellian's dam Coup De Folie, he comes from Lure’s second crop, the first in Ireland, where Lure moved after Coolmore had bought him from the insurance company with whom he was insured against infertility by Claiborne Farm. Orpen, an excellent two-year-old, the two-year-old champion colt in Ireland and the winner of the Prix Morny (Gr.1), is based in France at Haras Du Thenney today, but most of his ninety black-type winners were born in Argentina where the pedling Orpen became one of the most successful stallions and where he was the champion sire. He is successful as a damsire too, not just in Argentina, as the cases of the winner of the Falmouth Stakes (Gr.1), Giofra, or the Australian Doctor Doom, the winner of the Spring Champion Stakes (Gr.1), show.

Orpen, however, is not the only son of Lure to be given an opportunity at stud and to have taken hold of it. Lizard Island, a stallion with short career outside stakes races, went to stud in South Africa and produced five black-type winners including the excellent Lizard’s Desire, the winner of the Singapore Airlines International Cupu (Gr.1) and the runner up in the Dubai World Cup.

As can be seen, Lure managed to get most of minimum progeny and even aside Orpen, one of his seven black-type winners (and two G1 winners) his influence is still apparent. All the more the pity that he did not have more progeny.  

Miloslav Vlček

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