There were a trio of classics over the weekend of June 3-5: at Epsom, the Oaks on June 3 and the Derby on June 4, then the next day at Chantilly, the Prix du Jockey Club. Those might as well have been held as benefits for the great stallion Galileo (by Sadler’s Wells).
Vadeni (by the Galileo classic winner Churchill) won the latter, and Desert Crown (by the Galileo G1 winner Nathaniel) won the Derby. The Oaks went to Tuesday, a daughter of Galileo himself.
A son and daughter of Galileo’s greatest racing son, Frankel, were third in the Derby (Westover) and the Oaks (Nashwa), and Frankel is the sire of this year’s Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Homeless Songs.
So the train of Galileo’s successes continue to increase for his own record of performance, as well as amplify his influence on the breed today and into the future.
At this point, Galileo is the sire of 3,140 foals, 2,371 starters, 1,608 winners, 354 stakes winners, 238 group stakes winners, and 94 G1 winners.
Galileo died almost a year ago on July 10 at his home at Coolmore Stud in Ireland, but his influence continues. The great sire’s number of G1 winners is poised to punch through 100 in the coming months. That will surely happen; it’s only a matter of time till we find which horse is the memorable 100th.
Tuesday was the 94th G1 winner for her sire, and she is the third G1 winner from the Danehill Dancer mare Lilly Langtry, a winner of the G1 Matron Stakes and Coronation Stakes. The other G1 winners for the mare are last season’s Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Empress Josephine, as well as 2016 1,000 Guineas and Oaks winner Minding. All three are by Galileo.
Minding had an exceptional career, winning nine of 13 starts, among them seven G1 races, including the pair of classics mentioned above and the Moyglare Stud Stakes, Fillies Mile, Pretty Polly, Nassau, and Queen Elizabeth II.
A hearty campaigner, Minding had quite a lot of speed and precocity for a Galileo, seemed to prefer eight to 10 furlongs, and both the rider Ryan Moore and trainer Aidan O’Brien noted that Tuesday appears to hold considerable promise for staying farther than her sisters or high-class dam did.
In winning the Oaks, Tuesday became the most recent classic winner for Galileo, and he has sired a winner of a universally recognized classic in every crop, except that of 2006. That is a phenomenal perspective on the great sire’s record at stud, but in more respects than that, Galileo has exceeded expectations.
His sire, Sadler’s Wells, was a classic winner and major son of the great sire Northern Dancer. Yet at stud, Sadler’s Wells exceeded all reasonable expectations to become the leading sire in Europe for more than a decade. Yet for all his immense success, Sadler’s Wells had never sired a winner of the Derby at Epsom after many years at stud, entering stud at Coolmore in the mid-1980s, and yet Sadler’s Wells had written breeding history with the exploits of his offspring. By 2000, Sadler’s Wells was unequivocally the most important European-based sire since his own great-grandsire Nearco.
Then in 2001, Galileo won the Derby. High Chaparral followed the next year with a second Derby for Sadler’s Wells.
One hex had been broken, and one more hoodoo was yet to be vanquished.
At stud, the sons of Sadler’s Wells had been generally disappointing until Galileo and the two years older Montjeu began to get major results. Montjeu (Sadler’s Wells) – who had won the 1999 Prix du Jockey Club, Irish Derby, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and the 2000 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes – sired a pair of Derby winners in Motivator (2005) and Authorized (2007); Galileo followed with his first Derby winner in 2008 (New Approach), and the Sadler’s Wells male line took its place at the top rank of breeding in Europe.
Although none of the other sons were as good this pair, El Prado became a leading sire in North America and continues to influence racing here with his sons Medaglia d’Oro and Kitten’s Joy.
Montjeu sired four winners of the Derby before dying at 16 in 2012, and Galileo has sired a record five winners of the classic at Epsom: New Approach (2008), Ruler of the World (2013), Australia (2014), Anthony Van Dyck (2019), and Serpentine (2020).
Galileo has three further crops of foals that may include more classic winners, perhaps even more winners at Epsom.
Whether that proves to be the case or not, the brave bay’s place in the history of the breed is secure.