Galileo Proving Up to Challenge

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Just as he has marched up many other rankings of top stallions, Galileo appears poised for a climb on the list of leading Breeders’ Cup sires in the years ahead.

More earnings figure to come this season. Through Sept. 14, Coolmore Ireland’s Galileo ranks first in 2014 Breeders’ Cup Challenge winners with three. He picked up his third Challenge winner Sept. 13 when John F. Kennedy overpowered six other juvenile rivals to win the one-mile John Deere Juvenile Turf Stakes (Ire-III) by 3 ¼ lengths at Leopardstown.

The easy victory by Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Flaxman Stables Ireland’s John F. Kennedy punched his ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. I), if the connections choose to make the trip. After the win at Leopardstown, winning trainer Aidan O’Brien said the next target would likely be the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes (Eng-I) Oct. 17 at Newmarket.

O’Brien also won last year’s Juvenile Turf Stakes with Australia, who again earned an all-expenses-paid trip to Breeders’ Cup with his victory in this year’s Juddmonte International Stakes (Eng-I). Owned by the Coolmore-affiliated Magnier-Tabor-Smith, Australia didn’t race again in 2013 after his six-length waltz to victory at Leopardstown.

Australia winning the 2014 Juddmonte International Stakes - Trevor Jones Photo

Australia most recently finished a close second to The Grey Gatsby Sept. 13 in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I), which also is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race. Based on published reports, Ivestec Derby (Eng-I) winner Australia is considered a longshot to make the trip to Santa Anita this year, but there is some chance of such a venture for the colt out of two-time Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) winner Ouija Board.

(A dream scenario? The connections send Australia, decide to enter Magician in the Turf, and Australia in the Mile [gr. I] in a showdown with Wise Dan.)

The third Challenge race winner for Galileo this season is Magnier-Tabor-Smith’s Tapestry, who won the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I) Aug. 21. She most recently finished ninth in the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes (Ire-I), a Challenge race won by Fiesolana.

Tapestry winning the 2014 Darley Yorkshire Oaks - Trevor Jones

Galileo already ranks 15th on the list of leading sires by Breeders’ Cup earnings, led by J. Paul Reddam’s Red Rocks who won the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs before finishing third to English Channel in the 2007 edition of that race at Monmouth Park. (English Channel finished third in the 2006 Turf).

Red Rocks won the 2006 Breeders' Cup Turf - Skip Dickstein Photo

Both of Galileo’s Breeders’ Cup winners have come in the Turf, with Magnier-Tabor-Smith’s Magician posting a half-length score last year. Magician most recently finished second in the Arlington Million Stakes (gr. IT).

Magician won the 2013 Breeders' Cup Turf - Anne M. Eberhardt Photo

Galileo’s other two horses to place in Breeders’ Cup races have been Juddmonte Farms’ Romantica, who finished second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT); and Magnier-Tabor-Smith’s Misty For Me, who closed out her career with a third in the 2011 Filly & Mare Turf.

A classic winner in England and Ireland in 2001, Galileo closed out that season—and his career—with a sixth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), as his connections took a shot on the main track at Belmont Park.

All of the Breeders’ Cup placings registered by Galileo sons and daughters have come in turf races. From a total of 18 Breeders’ Cup starts, a dozen have been on turf. Of the six main-track starters, five tried the dirt or synthetic surface of the now discontinued Breeders’ Cup Marathon while Rip Van Winkle finished 10th in the 2009 Classic on the former synthetic surface at Santa Anita.

From just 18 starts, Galileo is more than 60% of the way to matching his sire, Sadler’s Wells, in Breeders’ Cup earnings. Sadler’s Wells boasts $7,261,150 in Breeders’ Cup earnings registered from 42 starts. Sadler’s Wells ranks fourth on the Breeders’ Cup sire list by earnings behind first-place Storm Cat, Smart Strike, in second; and Street Cry, third.

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