This is part of a series of profiles of horses who entered stud in Kentucky for the 2012 breeding season. The profiles will be linked to the page listing this group in its entirety.
Cape Blanco (2007 ch h by Galileo x Laurel Delight, by Presidium) Ashford $17,500
My first response to Cape Blanco was to his presence and scope. He is a robust, lengthy specimen who stood a shade over 16 hands when I inspected him. The big chestnut possesses plenty of substance through the girth, taping more than 77 inches around, and he has the robust bone and sinew one associates with a tough horse capable of campaigning for several seasons, which Cape Blanco did.
A good-sized, rangy chestnut, Cape Blanco proved the most popular stallion in the country in 2012 by the number of mares bred to him. The son of leading international sire Galileo covered 220 mares this season in Kentucky.
Galileo, the most popular stallion son of the great sire Sadler’s Wells, stands at Coolmore in Ireland, and Coolmore’s American stud, Ashford, is the Northern Hemisphere base for Cape Blanco.
Ashford regularly produces some of the highest covering figures in the States, and in 2012, five of the seven stallions who covered the most mares stood at the farm. Following Cape Blanco were Scat Daddy (217) in second, Uncle Mo (211) in fourth, Majestic Warrior (167) in sixth, and Giant’s Causeway (166) in seventh. Kitten’s Joy (213) and Wilburn (169) were the only non-Ashford stallions in the leading seven.
In addition to his good looks and famous sire, Cape Blanco attracted mares because of his athletic prowess. The winner of nine races from 15 starts and more than $3.8 million, Cape Blanco won the Irish Derby and Irish Champion Stakes at 3, when he was the highweighted colt in Ireland.
The following season, Cape Blanco won the G1 Arlington Million, Man o’ War, and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes in the U.S. That’s a very good race record and earned him an Eclipse Award as outstanding grass male, but under typical circumstances, breeders would stare at Cape Blanco’s record and say, “Can’t use him. He’s a turf horse.”
That did not happen with Cape Blanco.
In part, that is testament to the power of Coolmore as a kingmaker in the stallion business. But also, there is a rising tide surrounding Coolmore’s star sire Galileo. Not only is Galileo an outstanding stallion represented by the world’s leading racehorse, Frankel, but Galileo also is proving himself a sire of sires.
Breeders were well ahead of the curve on this. And this year, although long after the covering season began here, the first top sons of Galileo at stud have proven their mettle as sires in Europe. Galileo’s English Derby winner New Approach has a slew of stakes horses racing from his first crop of 2-year-olds, and the second-crop sire Teofilo has group stakes horses performing from his first 3-year-olds.
Cape Blanco’s first foals will arrive in 2013, and two mares (Hips 12 and 164) in foal to him are in the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November catalog. The first mare, A Mind of Her Own, brought $85,000, and the second, Sweetlalabye, sold for $22,000.