This is not another article exclaiming that racers by the legendary Galileo (by Sadler’s Wells) won all the Group 1 stakes over the weekend. Indeed, from 10 G1s on Saturday and Sunday, they won “only” four of those: marvelous Magical (Irish Champion), Search for a Song (Irish St. Leger), Mogul (Grand Prix de Paris), and Shale (Moyglare Stud Stakes).
Instead, this is an article about how the Galileo daughters and a particular son of the old boy are doing.
The son is English Derby winner Australia (out of Oaks winner Ouija Board), who sired his first Group 1 winner in Galileo Chrome, the winner of the Group 1 St. Leger at Doncaster. The oddly-named Galileo Chrome – who’s a plain bay – galloped comfortably to the outside of the well-regarded Pyledriver for most of the mile and three-quarters and 115 yards, then maneuvered through traffic, and finished fastest to win the longest classic.
A winner in his three prior starts, including the Yeats Stakes at Navan on his last outing, Galileo Chrome is a progressive colt who appears to have a lot of scope and can only improve for greater maturity and strength.
In addition to the winner of the St. Leger, Australia sired Cayenne Pepper, who won the G2 Blandford Stakes at the Curragh from Galileo’s daughter Amma Grace. Also this weekend, Australia had the third-place racer behind Shale in the Group 1 race mentioned above.
Shale and other daughters of Galileo are broodmare prospects of a high order, and they tend to go to some of the better sires around the world. Over the past weekend, one daughter of Galileo was the dam of the winner of the G1 Grosser Preis von Baden, Barney Roy, and another daughter produced Ghaiyyath, who was second to Magical in the Irish Champion.
Barney Roy’s dam, Alina, was unplaced in a pair of starts, whereas the dam of Ghaiyyath is Nightime, winner of the 2006 Irish 1,000 Guineas. The simple statistics of racing success, with about 3 percent stakes winners to foals, mean that far more of any stallion’s racers will fail than will succeed at a high level. Therefore, some nice prospects and subsequent producers will show little on the racetrack.
Another of the great sire’s non-winning daughters produced Pista, this year’s winner of the Park Hill Stakes, which is the filly equivalent to the St. Leger.
In her third victory from four starts, Pista has risen rapidly since winning a maiden at Galway in early August to become a listed stakes winner and now a group winner.
Bred in Kentucky by Lynch Bages Ltd. and a $675,000 yearling at the 2018 Keeneland September sale, Pista is out of Mohini, a daughter of the Storm Cat mare Denebola, who was the highweight 2-year-old filly in France in 2003 after victory in the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac.
That proved the high point of Denebola’s racing, but she has three stakes-producing daughters, including Beta Leo (A.P. Indy), who is the dam of Senga (Blame), winner of the G1 Prix de Diane.
And the sire of Pista?
Four Star Sales’s Tony Lacy acted as agent for the Heider family in the purchase and recalled the process that led to the acquisition of Pista. He said, “We’d been looking at the first-crop yearlings by American Pharoah and had been very impressed. They were largely big, athletic prospects with scope and great minds. With their bone and toughness, I thought they might be very effective on turf.
“And this prolific family, that had been developed in the Niarchos family stud for generations, had a lot of turf excellence that I’d seen first-hand during my time working in France. This is the family of the highweight filly Coup de Folie, her full brother Machiavellian” (both by Mr. Prospector), who was a highweight on the European handicaps and then a leading sire, “and it goes right on back to a half-sister to Northern Dancer.”
Yeah, nice family.
As an individual, Lacy noted, “This filly was a big yearling who turned into a growthy 2-year-old, and we decided not to race her at 2 because she wasn’t ready. Even early at three, she didn’t show much promise until the late spring and early summer, and then she began to come on so strongly that Joseph O’Brien (who trains the filly) became optimistic about her debut. Pista, however, walked out of the gate and raced greenly.
“Joseph said the penny dropped after the first race, and in her second start, Pista jumped off nicely, laid up with the pace, and powered away to win her maiden” by 6 1/2 lengths at Galway. “Then we stepped her up to a listed race against colts,” Lacy continued, “in the Vinnie Roe Stakes at Leopardstown.”
The elegant filly won again, this time while competing at a mile and three-quarters and winning from Sunchart (Teofilo) and Dawn Patrol (Galileo), who ran eighth and sixth respectively in the St. Leger. So that is positive form suggesting that Pista could have beaten at least half the field in the classic.
Another reason that the connections, including the trainer, were quite pleased with the effort at Leopardstown is that Pista “is so laid back on the gallops that she doesn’t show what she’s capable of till she’s put in a race,” Lacy said. “So we said, ‘let’s try the Park Hill,’ and that result was a resounding ‘yes.’ The plan now is to go for the Group 1 Prix de Royallieu on the Arc weekend.”
That will be a further step up in a race that typically draws a set of experienced Group 1 fillies, three and up, but with the mental and physical toughness of the American Pharoah and Galileo stock, don’t discount her chances.