(Guest post by Tom Hall)
If people are judged by the company they keep, then why not Thoroughbreds? When Kingmambo was named a chef-de-race stallion in 2010, he certainly joined two exclusive lists. Although pensioned from stallion duty, the 21-year-old son of Mr. Prospector out of Miesque, by Nureyev, is alive and well and living the good life at Lane's End Farm. As a "legend in his own time" so to speak, he joins the elite company of such as Royal Academy (161 stakes winners), fellow Lane's End stallions A.P. Indy (136) and Smart Strike (74), as well as Giant's Causeway (97), all of whom are active chef-de-race sires.
His placement in the Classic/Solid aptitude groups also ranks him with some of history's best. Those that join him, being placed in those two categories, include Blenheim II, Crème dela Crème, Graustark, Herbager, In the Wings, Mill Reef, Nijinsky II, Rainbow Quest, Rock Sand, Sadler's Wells, and Ticino.
Kingmambo strode into the stallion barn with the vibe of a great stallion. Both his race record and his pedigree attested to his potential, but as the adage goes "the proof is in the pudding," And in that respect he certainly served up a hearty, well-balanced plate of offspring, whose performances on the track and in the breeding sheds and paddocks continue to prove his worth.
On the racetracks of Europe, Stavros Niarchos' Kingmambo won from six to eight furlongs. He never raced farther than eight furlongs and never on ground other than good or soft. Racing exclusively in France at 2, Kingmambo broke his maiden at six furlongs, his only win from seven starts (although he did finish second in group stakes at both seven and eight furlongs). The leggy, nearly 16-hand, attractive bay colt with a good turn of foot returned to the winner's circle in his 3-year-old debut, the listed Prix Djebel at seven furlongs. His win in the Dubai Poule d'Essai des Poulains (Fr.-I) at a mile established his reputation and determined his destiny. With that French classic heading his curriculum vitae, he specialized in group-I miles. Crossing the Channel to take on the best of the rest at Royal Ascot, he won the St. James's Palace Stakes (Eng-I). After a two-month hiatus from the track, he lost at Deauville, finishing third in the Jacques le Marois (Fr-I). He returned to his winning ways in the gr. I Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (Fr-I) in early September before finishing third in Ascot's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I), the final start of his career.
Given his parentage, Kingmambo's excelling at a mile should be no surprise. Although his sire Mr. Prospector might have been better at six furlongs, having won his only stakes and set two track records at that distance, he demonstrated his ability to stretch that speed at least a mile with a second-place finish in the 1973 Derby Trial, his only start at eight furlongs.
Only one word is necessary concerning his dam's ability: Miesque. She was a classic winner of both English and French guineas, back-to-back winner of Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), twice Eclipse Award winner as champion turf female, and champion miler in France twice. Although Miesque won at distances from seven to nine furlongs, eight of her 12 wins were group/grade I contests at a mile.
The strength of the female family doesn't stop there. Kingmambo's damsire Nureyev was also champion miler in France. (Ironically he never won at eight furlongs in France and officially never won at a mile, having been disqualified for interference in the English Two Thousand Guineas.) Miesque's dam, Pasadoble, made her own contribution to Kingmambo's penchant for the mile. As a 3-year-old, she won two listed French stakes at the distance.
As a stallion, Kingmambo has sired, to date, 87 stakes winners from 900 registered foals of racing age, an impressive 9.7%. Even more impressive is that of those, 37 (4.1%) are grade or group stakes winners and 24 (2.7%) are grade/group I winners. His progeny have amassed nearly $96 million in earnings.
While Kingmambo was indeed a miler, many of his sons and daughters have won at longer distances so that the average winning distance of his progeny is 8.89 furlongs, only a shade less than their average winning distance of 8.94 furlongs.
[Note from Scot: Six stallions were declared Dosage "chefs-de-race" this past fall. I thought it would be fun to provide a short profile of each of the sires, concentrating on what type of influence they add to a pedigree. My friend and fellow Blood-Horse editor Tom Hall--you might know him as lordatwar on Twitter--agreed to tackle the first two stallions. (He covered Nodouble back in November.) Additional information about Kingmambo may be found on Dr. Roman's Dosage website: Kingmambo. Additional installations will address the remaining new Dosage stallions in coming weeks.]