Fifteen 3-year-old fillies lined up for the Prix Charles Laffitte at Chantilly Oct. 3. At the end of the 10-furlong listed event, Baino Rock (Rock of Gibraltar—Baino Ridge, by Highest Honor), a homebred for Isaam Fares’ Haras de Manneville, easily defeated her rivals to land her first black-type race. Her dominating performance also served to illustrate the consistent performances of the progeny of Rock of Gibraltar, one of the legion of outstanding sire sons by the legendary Danehill (Danzig—Razyana, by His Majesty).
Standing at Coolmore in Ireland and having done Southern Hemisphere duty in both Australia and South America, Rock of Gibraltar has proved to be as solid as his namesake. His first foal crop (2004) set the bar high, producing 30 added-money winners. Baino Rock is his 82nd career stakes winner, 11th this year, and the eighth from his 2009 crop.
A handsome, well-muscled bay, 13-year-old Rock of Gibraltar is out of the group II stakes-placed Be My Guest mare Offshore Boom, whose black type was earned as runner-up over seven furlongs in the Irish National Stud Stakes. As a 2-year-old, Rock of Gibraltar won his first group I, the Grand Criterium Lucien Barriere, in France on Oct. 7 and 13 days later landed his second, across the channel in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. Undefeated through five more group Is (all at a mile) at 3, including victories in the Irish and English Two Thousand Guineas, he had his perfect season spoiled with a hard-luck race in the NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile at Arlington, having finished just short of winner Domedriver. At year’s end he was Europe’s Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male in addition to being highweighted among sophomores in England, France, and Ireland.
Offshore Boom, a half sister to two stakes winners, is out of a winning Bold Lad (the Irish version) half sister to Riverman (Never Bend—River Lady, by Prince John), who sort of set the pace for his modern-day kinsman by winning the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (the French version of the Two Thousand Guineas), before embarking on a stud career that brought him leading sire titles and 128 stakes winners.
Baino Rock takes double advantage of this connection through Riverman’s dam River Lady (Prince John—Nile Lily, by Roman). As a daughter of both Rock of Gibraltar, whose granddam is a daughter of River Lady, and a granddaughter of Highest Honor (Kenmare—High River, by Riverman), whose broodmare sire is Riverman, Baino Rock is inbred 4x5 to River Lady. (Baino Rock also carries 3x3 inbreeding to leading sire Be My Guest and four crosses to Natalma in a five-generation pedigree.)
The River Lady cross is not an unusual occurrence among Rock of Gibraltar’s stakes winners. Nine of his 82 carry this female family inbreeding. Highest Honor as a broodmare sire is responsible for nearly one-third: From 14 foals of racing age, Rock of Gibraltar is the sire of three black-type winners (21.4%) from Highest Honor mares, including group II winner Rock Me Baby in Australia.
Other successful crosses for Rock of Gibraltar have come with Blushing Groom-line mares, especially from the Rainbow Quest (Blushing Groom—I Will Follow, by Herbager) branch. From 21 foals of racing age, Rainbow Quest mares have produced five stakes winners (23.8%), including group I winner Samitar, who enhanced the family’s mile reputation by taking the Irish One Thousand Guineas this year and more recently the nine-furlong Garden City Stakes at Belmont in September.