South America the Stronghold of Galileo’s Sons

San Isidro racecourse saw the highlight of the season in Argentina on Saturday, the Gran Premio Internacional Carlos Pellegrini. The race over a mile and a half with the purse of ARS 5.1 million was won by the three-year-old Sixties Song, the son of the St Leger winner Sixties Icon and the winner of two races in the United States, Blissful Song. Sixties Icon thus achieved the first Gr.1 victory as a sire and became the tenth son of Galileo to produce a Gr.1 winner.

Sixties Icon, photo Haras La Pasion

That the number of Galileo's sons, producers of Gr.1 winners, rounded in Argentina is quite symbolic. It is Argentina where, at least from the perspective of Gr.1 winners, Galileo’s sons are exceptionally successful and where three of his sons have already managed to produce a Gr.1 winner. This is something that Galileo’s sons have not achieved even in England and the only country that can compare to Argentina in this is Ireland, where, too, three of his sons have produced a Gr.1 winner.

The Argentinian results of the stallion, considered the best in the world today, are, however, just a part of the mosaic. If we look at dozens of his sons, producers of Gr.1 winners, we will see that most of them, six to be precise, achieved this through their progeny foaled from their stay in South America. With a single exception these were stallions based in Europe and shuttling to South America.

The one exception is Yazamaan, formerly trained by John Gosden, who, racing in the silks of his breeder Hamdam Al Maktoum, won both his races at two and at three finished fifth in the Dee Stakes (Gr.3), beating just a single rival. He then went on to race in the United States, but without a major success. The son of the unraced Storm Cat’s daughter Moon’s Whisper, whose dam East of the Moon, from the family of the excellent Miesque, won two classic races in France, was then bought by Haras Gina-Santa Rosa, Peru, and has already produced eight black-type winners there, including the local Gr.1 winner Hanomaan.

It was in Argentina that Galileo’s historically first winner, Heliostatic, scored his success. Today he is the sire of four black-type winners, of whom two were born in Argentina, including this-year’s two-time Gr.1 winner, the three-year-old He Runs Away. The most successful progeny of the former stallion at Haras des Brousses, France, is an interesting proof of the adaptiveness of Galileo’s sons. As has been said above – he won two Gr.1 races – one on turf, the other on dirt. This is not quite exceptional – the progeny of Yazamaan and other Galileo’s sons are successful both on turf and dirt in South America.

Galileo's sons, sires of Gr.1 winners

stallion, YOB To Stud G1 wnrs BT wnrs
TEOFILO (IRE), 2004 2008 11 61
NEW APPROACH (IRE), 2005 2009 6 29
SOLDIER OF FORTUNE (IRE), 2004 2010 3 7
CIMA DE TRIOMPHE (IRE), 2005 2011 2 4
RIP VAN WINKLE (IRE), 2006 2011 1 14
RODERIC O'CONNOR (IRE), 2008 2012 1 8
YAZAMAAN (GB), 2008 2010 1 8
SIXTIES ICON (GB), 2003 2009 1 7
FRANKEL (GB), 2008 2013 1 6
HELIOSTATIC (GB), 2003 2008 1 4

It was in South America, too, that Heliostatic’s younger – and more successful on the racecourse – brother Soldier of Fortune scored successfully. The stallion of Haras du Logis, France, who moved after unsatisfactory performances to Beeches Stud, Ireland, this year to serve at the Coolmore’s subsidiary as a National Hunt sire, produced during his stay in Chile three Gr.1 winners, two in Chile and one in Peru. Both Chilean winners, Rey Del Rock and Nieta Querida, were successful on dirt. The Peruvian winner El Armenio runs successfully both on turf and dirt.

In 2011 the Derby Italiano winner Cima de Triomphe launched his stud career at Haras du Thenney, France. While in France he has failed to produce a black-type winner yet, in Argentina four of his progeny won a stakes race. Two of them, Besitos and Missile Top, won in a Gr.1.

Besides Argentina, Chile and Peru a Galileo’s grandson could be seen victorious by racegoers in Brazil. Two months ago, the Grande Premio Linneo de Paula Machado (Gr.1) over two kilometres was won by the three-year-old El Shaklan, the son of the Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Roderic O’Connor. The stallion of the National Stud, England, does not perform badly in Europe either, where he has produced, among others, the winner of the Gran Criterium (Gr.2) Biz Heart or the winner of the Prix du Calvados (Gr.3) Great Page. However, half of his eight black-type winners were born in Brazil, including his single Gr.1 winner so far.

The Saturday Sixties Song's triumph in Gran Premio Internacional Carlos Peregrini made Sixties Icon the last son of Galileo to join the ranks of Gr. 1 producers. The stallion based at Norman Court Stud, England, produced seven black-type winners of five crops. In Argentina, where he shuttled in 2012 for the first time, he has a single one, all the more successful though.

As the current lists shows, sons of Galileo are successful in South America and most of his shuttle stallions achieved better performance there than at home. What is a decisive factor is, probably, that there is a lower competition among stallions in South America and perhaps even one more reason, associated with competition. In Europe, owners of top broodmares can use Galileo and today, when their numbers have long exceeded forty he used to have, Galileo takes a number of leading broodmares that would have earlier gone to his best sons.

Miloslav Vlček

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