It is often said that American breeders should try to blend more foreign blood with our horses by introducing horses from other nations to our breeding operations. With the loss of many of our top racehorses – including but not limited to I’ll Have Another, Summer Bird, Musical Romance, and Zazu – to foreign breeding programs this year alone, the blood of our own top racehorses has been ostracized from the heritage of most future American racehorses. But in the past month, things have shifted. Headed to Kentucky for the 2013 breeding season are two stallions that could have a tremendous effect on American Thoroughbred bloodlines: Americain and the great Frankel’s sibling and rabbit, Bullet Train.
Though bred in the United States, Americain only made four of his thirty-four starts in the United States. Americain began his career in France, contesting his initial ten starts there prior to his four-race expedition to America. This fourteen-race period saw Americain win four races, including two group stakes.
Americain never finished better than third upon his journey to the United States, but after a fifth-place finish in the Prix La Moskowa at Chantilly, Americain formed a five-race winning streak, which included a victory in not only two group stakes, but in one of the most prestigious races in the world, the Melbourne Cup (GI). Contested since 1861, the Melbourne Cup covers 3,200 meters – nearly 2 miles. Throughout its enriched history, the Melbourne Cup has seen many great Thoroughbreds gallop to victory, including Makybe Diva, Peter Pan, and Phar Lap.
Americain continued racing for an additional two years, winning three more starts, including two group stakes. It was announced in late November 2012 that the horse would stand stud in Kentucky and just days after this exciting announcement came the statement that Americain would stand at one of the most revered farms on American soil – Calumet Farm.
A farm that, in its heyday, won the Kentucky Derby (GI) a record eight times and produced two of the eleven horses to win the Triple Crown, Calumet was sold for approximately $36 million earlier this year. Prior to 2012, when Cactus Ridge and Ice Box stood there, a stallion had not stood at stud at Calumet for almost a decade. Americain could be just the catalyst for a revival the esteemed farm needs.
Americain is a son of the late, grand Dynaformer, who proved to be a top international sire. Perhaps most famous for siring the ill-fated Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, Dynaformer also produced such additional grade/group one winners as Karlovy Vary, McDynamo, Perfect Drift, and Point of Entry. Dynaformer is a grandson of Hail to Reason, the sire of successful stallions like Halo, Roberto, and Stop the Music.
The dam of Americain is the Irish-bred mare America, who was a multiple group stakes winner in France. In addition to producing Americain, America has also foaled the group stakes-placed Spycrawler and the stakes-placed Amarak. America is a daughter of Arazi, the champion famous for his breathtaking Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) victory at Churchill Downs in 1991. Though relatively successful as a sire, producing the grade/group one winners Behrajan and Congaree, Arazi has found perhaps his greatest success as a broodmare sire, producing the dams of such horses as the multiple grade/group one winners Electrocutionist and Lahudood, as well as, of course, Americain.
Americain’s third dam, Round the Rosie, produced two group stakes winners and four stakes-placed runners. This makes Americain a direct descendant of the great Chelandry, the foundation mare of Family 1-n. Other direct descendants of Chelandry include not only the grade one-winning Bodemeister, but the star-crossed champion Swale.
Though bred in the United States, Americain is a foreign asset to American breeding programs. Not only did he make the majority of his starts abroad, but his parentage presents a foreign flair. His dam is Irish-bred and though his sire may be American-bred, Dynaformer has truly proven to be an international force.
A year younger than his famous brother, Frankel, Bullet Train was the first foal out of Kind. A Juddmonte hombebred, Bullet Train won his debut, the European Breeders’ Fund Maiden Stakes. Following a runner-up finish in a stakes at Newbury, Bullet Train captured the biggest victory of his life in the Derby Trial Stakes (GIII).
Bullet Train never won again, but was given many less chances to do so by serving as Frankel’s rabbit, or pacemaker. The horse lost his final eleven races, never defeating more than five horses and never finishing better than fourth. Though his brilliance is far from that of Frankel’s, it will be a grand opportunity for American breeders to get the bloodline of one of the greatest horses the world has ever seen flowing in the American Thoroughbred gene pool.
Unlike Frankel, Bullet Train is sired by the great Sadler’s Wells, who is Frankel’s grandsire through the legendary horse’s sire, Galileo. The multiple group one-winning son of Northern Dancer was the leading sire by earnings in the United Kingdom for ten years straight and for twelve years total. Among his best offspring are the champions Barathea, High Chaparral, Montjeu, Northern Spur, Old Vic, Perfect Soul, and Yeats. Sadler's Wells has also proven to be an incredible sire of sires, producing not only Galileo, but the outstanding Montjeu, as well as Barathea, El Prado, High Chaparral, In the Wings, and King’s Theatre.
Bullet Train also receives an outstanding influence from his dam, Kind. The bay mare was a successful racehorse herself, capturing two stakes races. In addition to producing Bullet Train and Frankel, Kind has also foaled the group stakes-winning Noble Mission.
Kind’s sire is a horse who was the leading sire in four different countries, the incredible Danehill, who has sired over three hundred stakes winners. He has been a highly successful broodmare sire, siring the dams of such horses as the group one winners Art Connoisseur, Cima de Triomphe, Danedream, Teofilo, and Vengeance of Rain.
The dam of Kind is the group stakes-winning Rainbow Lake, who also produced the multiple group one-winning Powerscourt and the group one-placed Last Train. Rainbow Lake is a daughter of Rainbow Quest, a son of Blushing Groom who has been a top broodmare sire. The champion is the damsire of such group one winners as Look Here, Samitar, and Spanish Moon.
Bullet Train is a descendant of the prolific female family one, the same female family responsible for many of the greatest racehorses to grace the racetracks of the world and many of the top sires the breed has seen. Such top stallions that descend from this female family include Bold Reasoning, Buckpasser, and Forty Niner.
American breeders would need to ship their mares overseas in order to breed them to the great Frankel, but with Bullet Train slated stand in Kentucky, breeders will have the opportunity to breed to a stallion with nearly identical parentage to the great champion. Bullet Train certainly wasn’t as talented as Frankel, but a horse’s performances on the track do not promise anything regarding a horse’s success in the breeding shed.