When considering the contribution of the great sire Sadler's Wells, most breeders think first of the stallion's landmark influence with Galileo, Montjeu, and others in Ireland, England, and France. In addition to this, however, the great son of Northern Dancer also was represented here in the States by the stallion El Prado, an Irish-bred gray who became a high-class sire in Kentucky and who continues to exert a significant influence on our sport.
The premier son of El Prado to date is Medaglia d'Oro. The good-looking dark brown horse was a very talented racer who showed high speed that he could carry around two turns, and he has proven to be a very good stallion from his first runners. In addition to their natural speed, the sons and daughters of Medaglia d'Oro are remarkable for their versatility and toughness.
On Sunday, the stout racemare Marketing Mix raced her competition into defeat by taking the lead and then holding them off through the stretch to win the final running of the Grade 3 Sunset Handicap at Hollywood by one length in the time of 2:26.78 for the 12 furlongs on firm turf.
Just like Marketing Mix, Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra possessed the ability to race successfully against colts. Rachel Alexandra, winner of the 2010 Preakness and Woodward Stakes, is the most famous offspring of her sire. The dashing bay mare with the distinctive white markings on her face drew thousands to racing with her performances and personality.
Marketing Mix, who was bred in Canada by Sean FitzHenry, actually resembles Rachel Alexandra just a bit, and both show the imprint of their sire, who is as well-balanced and well-proportioned as a racing athlete should be.
In winning the Sunset, Marketing Mix became the third mare to win the race, following in the path of Typecast (1972) and Petite Ile (1990), and this is a historic race that has been won by some of the greats of California racing over the decades.
One of those was the imported star Cougar II, a Chilean-bred known for his rousing stretch runs, and he won the Sunset in 1973. Cougar and other important racehorses such as Exceller and John Henry used the Sunset to define their ability going a distance.
Although there is a popular perception that long-distance races are harder on horses, fillies and mares hold their own in open company, especially over middle distances and longer.
Earlier this month, Queen Elizabeth's Estimate won the G1 Ascot Gold Cup over 2 ½ miles, and over the years, champions like Allez France (Arc de Triomphe), Dahlia (Canadian International, Man o' War, DC International), and All Along (DC International, Man o' War, and Arc) proved their supreme excellence by challenging colts and succeeding.
They had speed, as well as stamina, and that combination, allied with a zest for competition, made them equal to or better than the top colts of their times.
Marketing Mix used a similar set of skills to dominate the Sunset. She tracked the pace early, then took over and cruised home to success while repulsing the competition through the stretch under a smooth and well-timed ride by jockey Gary Stevens.
An Ontario-bred 5-year-old, Marketing Mix is out of the Kris S. mare Instant Thought, a mare bred by Juddmonte Farms and sold as a racehorse in training after her career on the course consisted of a single start with nothing to show for the outing.
Nonetheless, Instant Thought was a mare from one of the many fine Juddmonte families, and she was returned to Kentucky as a broodmare prospect and has trotted through the auction ring three times for six-figure sums. Marketing Mix has justified the faith of breeders in her dam's potential. The winner of 10 races from 18 starts, Marketing Mix is a G1 winner who has earned upwards of $2 million. Her success certifies Instant Thought as an important broodmare.
The Sunset winner also is a grand feather in the cap of her sire Medaglia d'Oro. A winner of the G1 Whitney and other important races, Medaglia d'Oro has sired a champion in Rachel Alexandra, as well as numerous other stakes winners, and his first notable son at stud, G1 winner Warrior's Reward, has his first crop of yearlings in 2013.
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.
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