On Sunday, Always a Princess won the Grade 2 El Encino from newly minted Eclipse Award champion 3-year-old filly Blind Luck in a scorching effort over the fast track at Santa Anita. Always a Princess pressed the cracking pace of Champagne d'Oro (by Medaglia d'Oro) and held off the divisional champ's stretch run.
Rob Whiteley of Liberation Farm said that “It was rather ironic for me to watch a beautiful daughter of Leroidesanimaux that I did not breed crush Champagne d'Oro, whom I bred, in the El Encino, preventing Champagne d'Oro from being able to relax on the lead, which she needed to do to win the race,” eventually finishing fourth.
Already a winner at G2 level and second in the G1 Hollywood Starlet behind Blind Luck in 2009, Always a Princess is an outstanding specimen by champion turf horse Leroidesanimaux and is out of the Ashkalani mare Gabriellina Giof.
A talented racer who won stakes in Europe and in the States, Gabriellina Giof has become a major star with her produce since going to stud. The mare's first foal, the Hennessy filly Gabby's Hen, was a winner, but her second and third foals have proven to be much more.
Second foal Gabby's Golden Gal (by Medaglia d'Oro) won the G1 Acorn Stakes at Belmont and the G1 Santa Monica at Santa Anita. As a multiple G1 winner and a very attractive daughter of a posh stallion, Gabby's Golden Gal ticked all the boxes for buyers when she went through the ring at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale. She sold as a racing or breeding prospect, and buyers were not caught flat-footed by her credentials, driving the sales price to $1.25million, as Shadai Farm made her one of their many high-end purchases this sales season.
In January 2008, when Gabby's Golden Gal and her year-younger sibling Always a Princess were an unraced 2-year-old and yearling, their dam went through the Keeneland January sales ring for $75,000 in foal to Lemon Drop Kid.
The resulting foal was sold at the 2008 Keeneland November sale for $22,000 as a weanling and then resold in 2009 as a Tattersalls October yearling for the equivalent of $259,504.
In contrast to the upwardly mobile female side of the family of Always a Princess, her sire has been in a maelstrom caused by the bankruptcy of Stonewall Farm in Kentucky, which bought Leroidesanimaux and stood him at stud.
Following a move to Florida last summer, however, the stallion's future now seems clear.
A representative of Stonewall Stallions Florida confirmed that Leroidesanimaux is no longer subject to litigation and is owned outright by Family Broodmares III. The stallion is standing at the Stonewall property in Florida for a fee of $7,500 live foal and has nearly 50 mares on his book at present.
An outstanding specimen of a swift miler, Leroidesanimaux represents one of the variant lines descending from the great stallion Nasrullah. While almost all the male-line descent of Nasrullah in the U.S. comes through Bold Ruler (and most of that through Seattle Slew these days), Nasrullah's son Red God, another colt born in the 1954 crop like Bold Ruler, sired European highweight Blushing Groom.
Imported to the U.S. as a stallion by John Gaines, Blushing Groom spent his entire career at Gaineway Farm, where he became one of the most important influences for speed and class in international breedingthrough the 1980s to the present.
Blushing Groom's Arc de Triomphe winner Rainbow Quest set a much more classic standard for this male-line branch in Europe, but in America, Mt. Livermore proved the most influential with champion sprinters Orientate and Housebuster, as well as champion juvenile filly Eliza.
Blushing Groom's high-class son Candy Stripes went to stud in Argentina, where he became a very important factor in South American breeding. Among his best-known stock above the equator are Spinster Stakes winner Different, Breeders' Cup Classic winner Invasor, and the dam of leading sire Candy Ride, as well as Leroidesanimaux, who was foaled in Brazil.
Second in a G1 in his only start in his homeland, Leroidesanimaux made his 10 subsequent races in the US, with eight victories and earnings of $1,650,900. Winner in three G1 races, Leroidesanimaux was namedEclipse Award winner as best turf horse in 2005.
Whiteley described the effect that Leroidesanimaux's racing ability had on his judgment as a breeder. He noted, “I was a fan of Leroidesanimaux on the racetrack, and I liked him very much as a stallion prospect and bred two dozen mares to him [in the past four seasons]. He notonly was a solid and accomplished racehorse, but he looks like one.”
A massively constructed stallion standing 16 hands, Leroidesanimaux is well balanced and as athletic as a champion should be. He has great reach at the walk and showed both speed and a finishing kick during his racing career.
Whiteley said, “Leroidesanimaux has been quite successful at reproducing himself and has stamped his foals effectively. I've yet to see one that I didn't like, and some of them, I have liked very, very much.”
With support from the rugged and speedy broodmare population in Florida, the stallion's opportunities should not diminish. Always a Princess, her sire's best performer to date, is from the stallion's first crop of foals, now 4.
Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times,Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is a private consultant to breeders on pedigrees, matings, and conformation. He is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in central Kentucky.
Check out Frank's lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.
Copyright © 2010, Frank Mitchell
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