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Rinaldo Del Gallo, III

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A Record 8 Breeders’ Cup Winners for Curlin

Rinaldo Del Gallo, III

Rinaldo Del Gallo, III

By: Rinaldo Del Gallo, III

It may be a bit of an obvious thing to say that Curlin is a great sire, but he has one hallmark the other great stallions do not necessarily have.  Curlin was a great racehorse.  If you consider leading sires Tapit, Into Mischief, War Front, or even Mr. Prospector way back, they certainly were okay runners that anyone would like to own, but not for a moment would anyone consider them “great” runners. But let us look at Curlin, a horse that was twice horse of the year and has a place in the Hall of Fame.

There is an interesting article of October 29, 2021 entitled, “These 11 have sired the most Breeders’ Cup race winners,” in Horse Racing Nation.  In 2021, the sire that had the most Breeders’ Cup winners was More Than Ready.  On 2023 Breeders’ Cup Saturday, Steve Kornacki of NBC News also had a good piece that you can watch HERE.

More Than Ready’s 7 winners include (count Ray H twice):

  1. More Than Real (USA) ch. M, 2008 {A1}- 2010 Juvenile Fillies Turf
  2. Pluck (USA) dkb/br. H, 2008 {1-n} – 2010 Juvenile Turf
  3. Regally Ready (USA) ch. G, 2007 {2-s} – 2011 Turf Sprint at age 4.
  4. Rushing Fall USA) b. M, 2015 {16-h}—2017 Juvenile Fillies Turf.  Rushing Fall turned into an excellent racer.
  5. Roy H (USA) b. G, 2012 {25} 2017& 2018 Breeders’ Cup Sprint
  6. Uni (GB) ch. M, 2014 {7-a}—2019 Breeders’ Cup (Turf) Mile

Given that Roy H won two Breeders’ Cup Races, More than Ready was the sire of seven renditions of a Breeders’ Cup Race.

The list has grown since 2021.  Tapit has sired 8 winners of Breeders’ Cup Races, counting SCUBA in the Marathon, 7 if you do not.

This list of sires of 7 Breeders’ Cup race winners include Dubawi, Into Mischief, Tapit, according to Steve Kornacki of NBC News, and Galileo had six.

Galileo’s 6 Breeders’ Cup winners include

  1. Tuesday (IRE) b. F, 2019 {1-d}—2022 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf
  2. Line of Duty (IRE) ch. C, 2016 {1-h}—2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Euthanized due to an injury, October 26, 2019.
  3.  Highland Reel (IRE) b. H, 2012 {22-b}—2016 Breeders’ Cup Turf (3rdin 2017)
  4. Found (IRE) b. M, 2012 {1-m}—2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf (3rdin 2016, the year of Highland Reels win.)
  5. Magician (IRE) b. H, 2010 {9-b}}—2013 Breeders’ Cup Turf
  6. Red Rocks (IRE) dkb/br. H, 2003 {A29}—2006 Breeders’ Cup Turf, 3rdin 2004.

Into Mischief’s 7 Breeders’ Cup winners include (counting Goldencents twice):

  1. Wonder Wheel (USA) dkb/br. M, 2020 {12-b}—2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
  2. Life Is Good (USA) b. H, 2018 {13-c}—2021 Breeders’ Cup Mile
  3. Authentic (USA) b. H, 2017 {3-n}—2020 Breeders’ Cup Classic
  4. Gamine (USA) b. M, 2017 {22-b}—2020 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint
  5. Covfefe (USA) b. F, 2016 {A4}—2019 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint
  6. Goldencents (USA) b. H, 2010 {4-m}—2013 & 2014 Breeders’ Cup Mile

Dubawi’s 7 Breeders’ Cup winners include (counting Modern Games twice)

  1. Master Of The Seas (IRE) b. G, 2018 {3-n}—2023 Breeders’ Cup (Turf) Mile
  2. Rebel’s Romance (IRE) br. G, 2018 {8-d}—2022 Breeders’ Cup Turf (UAE Derby winner). 
  3. Yibir (GB) ch. G, 2018 {23}—2021 Breeders’ Cup Turf 
  4. Modern Games (IRE) ch. C, 2019 {22-b}—2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf & 2022 Breeders’ Cup (Turf) Mile
  5. Space Blues  (IRE) ch. H, 2016 {9-e}–2021 Breeders’ Cup (Turf) Mile
  6. Wuheida (GB) ch. M, 2014 {9-c}—2017 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.  (That year, Rhododendron (IRE) b. M, 2014 {3-d}(Galileo) was to come in second in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Turf and the 2017 Epson Oaks, and was to be the dam of this year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf winner AUGUSTE RODIN (IRE) dkb/br. C, 2020 {3-d}(Deep Impact).

Passing note should be made that Dubawi has sired the winners of the last 3 consecutive Breeders’ Cup (Turf) Miles.

Tapit’s 8 Breeders’ Cup Winners winners are, none of which did it twice:

  1. Flightline (USA) b. H, 2018 {20-b}—2022 Breeders’ Cup Classic
  2. Essential Quality (USA) gr/r. H, 2018 {1-x}—2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
  3. SCUBA (USA) gr/r. G, 2011 {1-s}—2016 Breeders’ Cup Marathon. (Now called the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Stakes—possibly just regarded as “the Marathon Stakes” without the “Breeder’ Cup moniker added to it).
  4. Untapable (USA) b. M, 2011 {8-d}—2014 Breeders’ Cup Distaff
  5. Tapizar (USA) b. H, 2008 {8-d}—2012 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
  6. Hansen (USA) gr/r. H, 2009 {22-d}—2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
  7. Tapitsfly  (USA) gr/r. M, 2007 {3-o}—2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
  8. Stardom Bound (USA) gr/r. M, 2006 {9}-2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies

I will say this given my discrepancy with NBC’s story during the running of the Breeders’ Cup on Curlin as a sire.  I have 8 Breeders’ Cup winners for Tapit, NBC had 7.  I believe the discrepancy comes over SCUBA—I think Steve Kornacki of NBC News did not count him.  I know that the NBC graphic had “7” as the number of Breeders’ Cup winners for Tapit, so unless I have miscounted, I think SCUBA is the discrepancy.  Wikipedia doesn’t seem to include the 2016 running as even a Breeders’ Cup race, though they have a page for the Breeders’ Cup Marathon.  And the 2016 running may have been simply, “The Marathon Stakes.”  So a good case can be made for not counting it as a “Breeders’ Cup” race, but rather just an “undercard” race run on Breeders’ Cup Day.

But now look at the list for Curlin, following the 2023 Breeders’ Cup, counting Elite Power and Cody’s Wish twice:

Curlin’s 8 Breeders’ Cup winners are, counting Elite Power and Cody’s Wish twice:

  1. Elite Power (USA) ch. H, 2018 {37}—2022 & 2023 Breeders’ Cup Sprint
  2. Cody’s Wish (USA) b. H, 2018 {1-x}}—2022 & 2023 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
  3. Idiomatic (USA) b. M, 2019 {8-f}—2023 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (from the fertile Best in Show female line)
  4. Malathaat (USA) b. F, 2018 {1-n}}—2022 Breeders’ Cup Distaff
  5. Vino Rosso (USA) ch. H, 2015 {2-f}—2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic
  6. Good Magic (USA) ch. H, 2015 {12-c}—2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

Tapit’s first crop came in 2006.  Curlin’s first crop was in 2010, four years after Tapit’s first crop.  Curlin has about 1,090 named horses at pedigreequery.com.  Like Curlin, Into Mischief’s first crop was in 2010.

To be fair, we cannot really compare sires of today with sires in the past because there are simply more Breeders’ Cup Races. Nonetheless, Curlin is starting to emerge as one of the great North American sires.  Tapit has led the list three times: 2014, 2015, 2016. Into Mischief has led the list four times (2019—2022).  Curlin has never been a leading sire, but obviously, given his numerous Breeders’ Cup winners, he has always been at the top. I suspect that after this Saturday, Curlin will have more earnings in 2023 other than Into Mischief, and I also suspect by year’s end he will have more earnings than Uncle Mo (whose leading earner was Arabian Night) and Gun Runner (whose leading earner was Gunite.)  Into Mischief has just too many runners, winners, and repeat winners to allow Curlin to catch up.

Even though Curlin scored big time in the Breeders’ Cup with Cody’s Wish, Elite Power, and Idiomatic this year, I still expect Into Mischief to be the leading stallion and be a champion sire for a 5th time.  Still (not counting SCUBA as a Breeders’ Cup winner for Tapit), Curlin had 8 winners of the Breeders’ Cup races (counting Elite Power and Cody’s Wish twice), and that is unprecedented. I believe 3 winners in the Breeders’ Cup on the same day, or even the same two-day meet, is also unprecedented.

Looking at year-to-year, Curlin was the 3rd leading sire in 2022, the third leading sire in 2020, the third leading sire in 2021, and second leading sire in 2019.  But not only did Into Mischief lead those years, but he led by a lot.  In 2022, Curlin’s total progeny earnings were $19,238,141 to come in third compared to $28,106,800 total progeny earnings for Into Mischief when he took first. In 2021, Curlin’s total progeny earnings were $15,383,061 to come in third compared to total progeny earnings for Into Mischief ($24,411,267) when he took first.  In 2020, Curlin’s total progeny earnings were $10,701,673to come in fifth compared to total progeny earnings for Into Mischief ($22,188,256) when he took first.  Things were a little bit closer in 2019. In 2019, Curlin’s total progeny earnings were $15,395,093 to come in second compared to total progeny earnings for Into Mischief ($18,916,923) when Into Mischief took first place for the first time.  In 2018, Into Mischief was 4th, Curlin was 6th and the gap was narrower ($12,260,817 for Curlin)( $13,881,207 for Into Mischief). In 2017, Curlin was 7th and Into Mischief 11th, but the difference was again not that great.( $11,323,423 for Curlin, $10,669,719 for Into Mischief.)  in 2017, Into Mischief was just ahead of his sire, Harlan’s Holiday, who was 12th in 2017 and had died in 2013.  Curlin was a number 2 sire in 2016 where Tapit was the top-dog and Into Mischief was 34th.

If you look at the Stallion Register, Curlin has had $123,653,23 in earnings from 1,080 North American named foals starting in 2010.  Into Mischief has $134,371,782 in earnings from 1,314 named North American foals.  (I did not include Southern Hemisphere named foals.) So the earnings are not that far apart.  As of late, Into Mischief just has more foals per crop, and I think that is making the difference.

According to Stallion Register, Into Mischief has average earnings per starter of $123,946.  Curlin has an average earnings per starter of $150,249.  (This is a somewhat skewed number—some horses never race because they are not good enough and therefore don’t sink an average earnings index, but that’s another long story.)

Also according to Stallion Register, a number I take with somewhat a grain of salt, Curlin has a life Average Earnings Index of 2.30 AEI.  Into Mischief has an Average Earning Index of 2.04 AEI.  According to Stallion Register, in 2022 Curlin had 247 runners. In 2022, according to the Stallion Register, Into Mischief had 480 runners.  So you can see how those massive differences in earnings can be accounted for.

I really like Curlin as a sire and if I had $250,000 to spend on a stud fee, I would rather pick Curlin over Into Mischief, even though both will be sires of historic magnitude.  Perhaps Curlin will be like WHISK BROOM (USA) ch. H, 1907 {4-m} and never be a leading sire but be a major influence in the thoroughbred breed. Whisk Broom is in Raise a Native and is the damsire of Double Jay (a four-time leading broodmare sire including of leading sire No Double) and Seabiscuit. Whisk Broom is also the sire of John P Grier (USA) ch. H, 1917 {8-c}, who in turn was the sire of the second dam of Native Dancer. Whisk Broom appeared twice in the pedigree of Raise a Native (a son of Native Dancer) by being the sire of Raise a Native’s 3rd dam Beloved. Whisk Broom made into the blood of two year old champion WARFARE (USA) gr. H, 1957 {4-m} twice, who in turn made it into the blood of War Front as the sire of his 4th dam.  I could see Curlin being entrenched in the breed in the same manner Whisk Broom was.

What I also like about Curlin, unlike Into Mischief or Tapit, is that Curlin was a truly great runner.  I am no expert, but I suspect the likes of Into Mischief and Tapit, who are good but not great race horses, do well because they are bred to excellent runners or established producers.  I suspect Curlin does well because he is just a great race horse.

FUN FACT:  According to Wikipedia, Curlin “was named for Charles Curlin, an enslaved African American from western Kentucky who fought for the Union Army in the American Civil War. One of his original owners, Shirley Cunningham, Jr. through his interest in Midnight Cry Stables, is Charles Curlin’s great-grandson.”

Three Breeders’ Cup winners on Breeders’ Cup Saturday were sired by Curlin: Idiomatic, Cody’s Wish and Elite Power. Of those three, two (Elite Power and Cody’s wish) were repeat winners.  Curlin sired the winners of 8 Breeders’ Cup Races, three who raced on this Saturday’s card.  That’s amazing.

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