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Featured Stallion

Sea The Stars Covers 140

2009 European Horse of the Year and proverbial superhorse Sea The Stars has completed his first stud season at the Aga Khan's Gilltown Stud in County Kildare, Ireland. The six-time group I winner commanded a fee of €85,000 (US$105,000 as of today) and covered a Who's Who book of 140 top producers and race fillies. Economically speaking, this initial crop will generate in excess of $10 million in stud fee revenue, and the first runners will hit the racetrack in 2013.

Now that the breeding season has concluded, Sea The Stars will remain in Ireland rather than shuttling for the Southern Hemisphere season. Stud manager Pat Downes told Racing Post that the stallion will "spend a number of hours out in the paddocks each morning, and will go on walks in the afternoons."

The son of Cape Cross was dominant during his 3-year-old season, taking the English 2,000 Guineas (gr. I), Epsom Derby (gr. I), Eclipse Stakes (gr. I), Juddmonte International (gr. I), Irish Champion Stakes (gr. I), and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (gr. I). Produced by 1993 Arc winner Urban Sea, Sea The Stars is a half brother to champion racehorse and sire Galileo and gr. I winners My Typhoon and Black Sam Bellamy.

Listed below are a dozen high profile mares currently in foal to Sea The Stars. Click the mare's name for a complimentary TrueNicks report for the resulting foal.

Zarkava (IRE) - 2008 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (gr. I) winner and European Horse of the Year retired a perfect 7 for 7. Zarkava's first foal is a 2010 filly by Dalakhani, the 2003 Arc winner and European Horse of the Year.

Vodka (JPN) - Back-to-back Japanese Horse of the Year earned $13 million on the track. Her biggest wins came in the Japan Cup (gr. I), Tenno Sho (gr. I), Yasuda Kinen (gr. I), and Japanese Derby.

Finsceal Beo (IRE) - 2006 European Champion 2-Year-Old Filly, the daughter of Mr. Greeley (TrueNicks,SRO) also took the English (gr. I) and Irish 1,000 Guineas (gr. I)

Bordighera - Dam of champions George Washington and Grandera. She is a daughter of 1987 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner and 1988 U.S. Horse of the Year Alysheba.

Lush Lashes (GB) - Three-time group I winner and Irish Highweight carries a foal inbred 2 x 3 to Urban Sea.

Centreofattention (AUS) - Full sister to group I winner and promising young sire Holy Roman Emperor.

Song (IRE) - Recent 1.7 million guineas purchase is an unraced full sister to group I winners Yesterday and Quarter Moon.

Asmara - Dam of European Champion Older Horse and young sire Azamour.

Zarkasha (IRE) - The young dam of Zarkava (Zarkava was just her second foal).

Speciosa (IRE) - 2006 English 1,000 Guineas (gr. I) winner from the immediate family of French and English Highweight Pride.

Look Here (GB) - 2008 Epsom Oaks (gr. I) winner.

Love Divine (GB) - 2000 Epsom Oaks (gr. I) winner and dam of 2006 St. Leger (gr. I) winner Sixties Icon (by Galileo).

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Loved Sea the Stars.  I was sorry to see him retire before the Breeders' Cup.  Will he eventually hook up with Goldikova?  There are so many possibilities.

Slew 24 Jun 2010 8:22 AM


The Goldikova mating creates a Danzig/Danzig cross, but Cape Cross has done very well with Danzig line mares (TrueNicks A++).

Sea The Stars's half brother Galileo sired Lush Lashes (currently in foal to Sea the Stars) from an Anabaa mare. Galileo also has Champion 2YO Teofilo, gr. I winner Cima de Triomphe, and gr. I-placed/gr. III winner Cuis Ghaire (she is also in foal to Sea The Stars) from Danehill mares.


Ian Tapp 24 Jun 2010 8:49 AM

I am excited to see Finsceal Beo's name on there. I saw her in August 08 at the Curragh Racecourse in Ireland and she was third that day, but she had this aura about her.... just incredible. I was taking pictures and she actually posed by herself for me and I could swear she could see into my very being with her gaze.... she was incredibly beautiful. I bet the foal will be just as great.

Skip 24 Jun 2010 8:54 AM

Im sure Sea The Stars is going to be a successful stallion, but one year later I still feel a little saddened that he is not racing. He had a lot more to give on the track, IMO.


Jason Shandler 24 Jun 2010 10:59 AM

I have to agree with Jason, he had so much more to give to racing!  However, what an exciting crop this will be!  I'll look forward to following them on the track!

Sharon M 24 Jun 2010 11:33 AM

This is the problem with horse racing.  The colts have to go out to pasture too soon. Let them run until they are 5.

I guess they make more money in the breeding shed than on the race track...still three years old, it's way too soon to retire them to stud..............

sodapopkid 24 Jun 2010 2:04 PM

Loved him, but hated his early retirement - bad for racing. Also bad - the glut of foals by him at 140 a clip. In two generations, a huge number, and most will live in obscurity. Limit these obscene book sizes - more value per foal instead of a dime a dozen!

diastu 24 Jun 2010 2:35 PM

TrueNicks reports very mixed. This is truly a case of breeding the best to the best. It will be interesting to see how the TrueNicks evolves after this class starts racing.

Hank W 24 Jun 2010 2:42 PM

Foals of Sea the Stars and Rachael Alexnader/Zenyatta and Better Than Honor will be CHAMPIONS. Book it.

Al P 24 Jun 2010 3:43 PM

Well, a few here went somewhat off topic, permitting me to do the same. I, for one, don't bemoan the fact that Sea The Stars was retired. This should be the accepted practice. We're not doing any of these horses any favors by keeping them in training. The more they train and compete, the more the wear and tear, and the greater the chance for lifetime infirmity. We are selfish to rationalize it otherwise. The game today is such that there is less need for the numbers and/or starts anyway. Yes, the popular ones draw more interest, but many are the same necessary to retain or improve the breeds' quality, so in this sense their risk should be minimized. These are fragile creatures, and those with more ability, all else equal, are at even greater risk. The Jason's of this world- and they are legion- denounce such sentiments. Perhaps their identities are so invested in this sport as is, that they prefer to blind themselves to the obvious reality. I've heard all the arguments against countless times, and none for me hold any water. The facts are what they are, and racings' popularity won't appreciably improve no matter what we may do-whether or not the great ones remain in training. The economics of racing stink anyway, and for most the longer they remain in training the greater the net loss...So take this as the moral compromise to not having racing at all.    

sceptre 24 Jun 2010 3:54 PM


Jason Shandler 24 Jun 2010 4:12 PM

Hank W,

I agree. With such a combination of class from both sire and dam in Sea The Stars's crop, you would expect to get the best from these crosses.

Keep in mind that ratings are meant to be interpreted in context, comparing horses of similar class levels. For example, the Sea The Stars-Bordighera foal rated C+ (only slightly above average rating) would be expected to be much classier than an A++ rated horse from a cheaper stallion and lesser-producing mare.

When high quality individuals are involved, a mating's class can often triumph over a mediocre nicking trend.

Also, we've done studies on several stallions' crops over time and have noted that the ratings as a whole don't change much. However, the TrueNicks algorithm always tries to rate the most specific cross using the closest generations. If Sea The Stars shows certain broodmare sire line affinities that are different than his sire line (Cape Cross, Green Desert), TrueNicks would rate such crosses accordingly.


Ian Tapp 24 Jun 2010 4:12 PM

sceptre-- Go comb your cat. You embody the very essence of why this great sport is in decline. Skedaddle!

Cheshire Cat 24 Jun 2010 6:56 PM

Why is Jason sleeping????

sodapopkid 24 Jun 2010 9:48 PM

It,s a very impressive list of mares that Sea The Stars was booked to. Like most racing fans I would have liked to have seen the champ race one more season, but i'm sure when his offspring turn 2 year olds and are ready to race, all will be forgiven.

John T 24 Jun 2010 10:20 PM

Cheshire Cat- Your remark was rather prescient- I did indeed comb my cat later this day...Funny, though, that remarks such as yours (and others) are restricted to near (or less than) one-liners. Perhaps you're finding difficulty arguing the merits?

sceptre 24 Jun 2010 11:27 PM

Sceptre: In case you haven't noticed, due to economic downturns, more horses are remaining on the track longer rather than being rushed into the breeding barn.  The sport itself is called horse "racing", not horse breeding (though good breeding is integral).  Sea The Stars was pure magic to watch...I wanted to see more of him...so call me selfish.  I don't have the kind of money it takes to own and breed horses, but I do have enough money to pay my way into a track and bet my favorites....and it is the purses that the horses win that help the stables economically. The magic of STS was lost to us when he retired..

..though I did manage to glimpse that style in Take Control...I am so eager to see him do more.  I think AP Indy and Azeri have created more magic and yes...I want to see him run....and yes, I am a very selfish fan.  Wouldn't you have enjoyed watching Zenyatta vs Sea the Stars in the BCC?  I was really looking forward to it.

By the way, whether or not there is an available track, men will always run their horses against each other whether it's quarter horses, TB's or standards running in a pasture at a farm or down a dirt road.

Slew 25 Jun 2010 11:20 AM


The "sport(s)" are also called Cock Fighting, Pit Bull Fighting, Bull Fighting, Greyhound Racing...So what!...Also, no one denys that you and others enjoy watching horse racing, and some enjoy it all the more when high profile horses run. And yes, the total yearly wagering pool might be slightly less if all (including the stars) are retired sooner, rather than later. My point is that it's a small price to pay to avoid many potential negative consequences to the horses. Lastly, unless you were a european citizen, and saw Sea The Stars close up (paddock, track, etc.), I doubt he was "pure magic to watch".

sceptre 25 Jun 2010 8:25 PM


Horse racing is one of the most highly regulated industries. You know perfectly well that horse racing doesn't belong in the same context as the illegal activities you mentioned.

We all enjoy seeing the best horses compete. When a horse of the caliber of Sea The Stars is retired for economic reasons when, reportedly, completely sound, it's at least disappointing to fans of racing. Human nature desires "the best" on display. Who wouldn't enjoy seeing Sea The Stars racing this year?

Your argument that early retirement guards against injury assumes blind horsemanship on the part of trainers, veterinarians, owners, and regulators. No one here is advocating racing unsound horses. We just want to see top horses compete if they are able.

For someone who is so knowledgeable about pedigrees, you should appreciate the value in racehorses having full careers. Longer careers provide more evidence for breeders when selecting breeding stock, with traits relating to aptitude and soundness more easily understood.


Ian Tapp 25 Jun 2010 9:25 PM

For what it's worth, if you owned Sea The Stars you would be a fool to race him again.  

On the subject of the article, it will be so awesome to see how this class of runners performs.  Truly he has the opportunity to show if he is going to be as great a sire as a racehorse.  He will continue to get the best mares for at least 3 more years. Studying the data will be a lot of fun. Will the DNA magic create another great horse.  

Hank W 25 Jun 2010 10:29 PM

Dear Ian,

I've consistently been impressed with your comments on these blogs. You are quite knowledgeable, bright, and a logical thinker. I see you as a major asset for the industry in the years to come. This is why I'll make the effort to carefully respond to each of your comments. Before I read your response to my remarks, I concluded that it was useless to further engage in this blog-on this topic, or any other. It seems its readership, unlike many on "The Five Cross Files" are gung-ho about the sport and pedigrees, but have less, or little regard for the horses' well-being. I no longer have any desire to potentially add to their interest, but I sense that you may not be a lost cause.

Re-your 1st paragraph: My point was that just because the sport is entitled "horse racing" should not connote a "permission" to race horses. More specifically, when I raise the issue that horses should, perhaps, race less frequently, it is an illogical retort to point out that the sport is called horse racing (see "Slew's remarks). The fact that some of my examples are illegal (not Greyhound Racing in some jurisdictions) misses my point. I used these to emphasize the illogic in Slew's inferred syllogism. Lastly, many could argue that horse racing does belong in the same context as bull fighting, etc. Legality doesn't always equate with morality, and some things illegal today were before legal.

2nd paragraph: I already said much the same within my reply to Slew. I'm well aware of the fans' desires (wants, self-interest). I, however, feel that it should be compromised somewhat for the better well-being of the horse. I see it as a compromise both ways, for many can logically advocate the end of horse racing entirely. I've seen enough through the years to nearly embrace this myself. For now I opt otherwise, because in ending it far fewer horses would exist (close call though).

Your 3rd paragraph: I'm not assuming "blind horsemanship", but rather, as presently practiced, inadequate, insufficently knowledgeable, at times short-sighted, or self-interest motivated, etc.-you get my drift. More importantly, the very nature of the activity seems to defy sufficient safeguards even under the best scenario. I suppose we can argue what is "sufficient", but for me the current numbers for catastrophic injuries, breakdowns, and long term infirmaties go well beyond my sense of moral justice. I also believe that the majority of training and racing injuries, catastrophic or otherwise, had a pre-exisiting pathology. We were either unable or unwilling to detect it.

Your final paragraph: Firstly, I've been very involved in this for a long time, and my interest extends well beyond pedigrees. I do agree that the longer a horse races the more we can discern about their relative merit. I also believe, however, that those skilled in this analysis can do with quite a bit less (number of races) than many may realize. And if they can't I say, so be it-better to error on the side of better protecting the horse. It's not as if we're that precise about identifying the best genetic material anyway. So what's the worst case scenario- the breed doesn't improve, or somewhat digresses? Think about it-what harm would really be done? From the Sport's standpoint, it's all rather relative. The vast majority (if not almost all) would not know if they were watching a race of $5,000 claimers vs a Grade-I stakes if they weren't told the title of the race or its participants...I realize there's a lot more to this discussion, but for now better left here.        

sceptre 25 Jun 2010 11:36 PM

Sceptre...to start, you appear to abhor horse racing, and you equate it to cock fighting.  I have to wonder exactly what you're doing on this blog to begin with.  Then you feel as though a horse is safer in the paddock than on the track...check with Kona Gold about that.  Dogs and cocks are specially bred to be in a fighting ring, and are often mechanically equipped.  To a horse, running is quite natural.  Their racing careers are short compared to their life span, and they often go on to second careers, some to stud,some as show horses, and some in therapy.  You believe it's good STS retired early to the breeding shed.  But I ask you...why was he in the breeding shed?  Wasn't it to produce outstanding "race" horses?  Don't you defeat your own hypothesis with that statement?  And since he's not standing at stud every minute of every day, I'm pretty certain he's running and cavorting around his area with the same gusto he showed on the track.  And don't you think there's a chuck hole or two in that field?  A thoroughbred remains fragile whether on the race track or in a stable.  Ask any owner their feelings toward the opossum.  The virus from that critter alone can be fatal to any horse.  And no, I don't have to be in Europe standing next to Sea The Stars to recognize the "magic" he exuded.  If you can't appreciate that kind of majesty, I actually feel sorry for you.  Whether or not I can tell an allowance horse from a grade I horse....as a matter of fact, I can....but then, I watch horses race all the time...and I remain completely awed by their grace and beauty.  They never cease to amaze me.  And Sceptre, finally, I think you should retire to a PETA blog where some one might believe what you have to say.  This selfish fan, however, prefers to go offer some carrots to the jumpers next door, and then tune in to HRTV for the rest of the day.

Slew 26 Jun 2010 9:34 AM

I really have to add, Sea The Stars' Dam, Urban Sea won the Prix d'Arc, as did STS.  She was 17 when she foaled him.  Last year, she passed away in foaling complications, and the owners wanted to keep that blood line intact which is why STS retired at that time.  In addition, at stud fees of approximately $128,000, he's made more money at stud in one year than he would have on the race track.

Slew 26 Jun 2010 10:54 AM


Thanks for your comments. Your points are well taken. Without debating moral prerogatives or over-simplifying an argument, I’ll say that it’s not mutually exclusive for horse racing’s fans and industry participants to (a) enjoy racing and appreciate when the best horses are on display, and (b) be concerned with racehorses’ well-being. However, this blog is about horse racing, breeding, and pedigrees, so the topics and comments deal primarily with these subjects. Therefore, any perceived single-mindedness on the part of the readership here may be more a function of them staying on-topic than actually lacking concern for horses’ well-being.


Ian Tapp 26 Jun 2010 12:46 PM

The art of breeding and racing thoroughbreds holds a special place for me. I enjoy it.  I participate and it is expensive. I spend more than I should. I know that going in and I will live with the cost.   Life in this world can be enjoyed or endured or wasted. I choose to enjoy this life knowing that nothing is promised and nothing is deserved.  If you are actively breeding and racing there are 100 heartbreaks to every success.  There are so many ways a thoroughbred can go wrong on the way to the starting gate.  If you have never watched a thoroughbred be taught to accept the confines of one of the most violent places on earth [the inside of a starting gate] then I strongly suggest that you get up early, locate yourself next to the training gate at your local race track or training center and observe the frightening experience of a thoroughbred being taught to enter a starting gate. To those who think they know so much, none of us has a monopoly on wisdom and knowledge relating to breeding and racing thoroughbreds.  If you choose to see all the negatives, that is your choice.  My choice is to read, study, participate and enjoy the journey.  Watching a horse you have bred and have someone train that can get the last quarter mile in a two turn race is the ultimate for me.  To each his own.  Keep the blog going ITapp.  I read it daily and it is indeed a pleasure.

Semper Fi

Dave York

dave york 28 Jun 2010 4:18 PM

Let's just get carseats for all the horses so they'll be safer when they are racing.  sceptre can decide how it'll be done.

sceptre, unless you'r P.C. (and, in this case I don't mean politically correct), drop the handle (1st selection for Secretariat's name) so we don't connect you with the great TC winner of the 70's, who raced hard and also retired young.

Yes, I know your handle is lower case, and yes, there is a horse in the Studbook named Sceptre.

Please go back to grooming the cat and watching your 'stories.' (requested one-liner).

By the way, I used to love your posts....if you are the same Sceptre that I'm remembering---All class and no put-downs...Pedigree knowledge and a love of Thoroughbreds.  I read the other 3 comment blog that you mentioned, and I just couldn't say anything.  Too much P stuff and too one sided. The story was about yearlings, and a smaller crop at that.  Not horses on the dinner table in Europe.    

If racing becomes history no one will know the thrill of a horse like Zenyatta, Sea the Stars, or many others. Those in racing know the highest highs and the lowest lows.  Thoroughbreds don't just give "their all" for us; they run because it's in their blood and breeding.  The Iron Horse may return if horses stay on the track longer.  This economy is pushing the industry in that direction.

Aluminaut 28 Jun 2010 5:48 PM

Dave York,

You said that so well.  I agree.

All the best to you and your horses.

Aluminaut 28 Jun 2010 5:51 PM


I looked at all the foal Pedigree results before reading blogger's comments.  It was very interesting, especially to see that both Zarkava and her young dam are in foal to Sea the Stars at this point.

Heck, 140 is nowhere near the 200+ mares bred in recent times.  He's not going down under.  The Danzig influence is so strong in the UK, Europe, and Australia, that those countries are eventually going to come back to KY sales to get an outcross, or at least a different take on the Northern Dancer bloodline.  Cool....

Aluminaut 28 Jun 2010 6:01 PM

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