He’s the world’s number one stallion, and the successes of his progeny at the weekend just served to further underline his dominance. Galileo’s legacy is built almost entirely on racing in Europe, but efforts are being made to develop his sire line in America, and one young son in particular looks highly promising, as Nancy Sexton reports.
The quest to establish Galileo’s sire line in America has been undertaken by various farms for some time now. Coolmore, understandably, set the ball rolling with the arrival of Cape Blanco to their Kentucky arm in 2012 and today stand Irish 2,000 Guineas and Breeders’ Cup Turf hero Magician, whose first crop are yearlings. Also at the same stage of his stud career at Lane’s End Farm is Noble Mission, Frankel’s multiple G1-winning brother.
Time will tell if the decisions to expose those horses to the American market is the right one, but anyone with a vested interest in either horse would have to take heart from the start made by another of Galileo’s good sons, Treasure Beach.
Unlike the majority of Galileo’s American-based sons, Treasure Beach does not stand the Northern Hemisphere in Kentucky. Instead, he resides in Florida at Joe and Helen Barbazon’s Pleasant Acres Farm in Ocala, where he has stood throughout for $10,000. And it has been through the support of Pleasant Acres, as well as the surrounding Florida-based breeders, that Treasure Beach has come to be one of North America’s most upwardly mobile young stallions.
To date, Treasure Beach is the sire of seven winners from 24 starters. Five of them - the subsequently stakes-placed Tigerbeach, Vino, Treasure For Gold, Seattle Treasure and Saratoga Treasure - have won over 5½ furlongs or less while each have scored in maiden special weight company; two - Paradise Island and Saratoga Treasure - made winning debuts at Saratoga. Winners have come on dirt and turf.
Irish Derby victory
Bred in Britain by Ashley House Stud out of the Mark Of Esteem mare Honorine, Treasure Beach was smart himself at two for Aidan O’Brien, who saddled him to run third - albeit a distant third - behind Frankel in the Royal Lodge Stakes. But, as befits his breeding, he came of age as a 3-year-old and an older horse, progressing through the ranks to beat Nathaniel in the G3 Chester Vase en route to a fine second in the Derby, in which he staved off all but the flying late run of Pour Moi. Classic redemption later came in the Irish Derby before a successful raid on the G1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park.
Following a brief spell with Mike de Kock, Treasure Beach was retired to stud as the property of a syndicate for the 2014 season. He had bankrolled close to $2.5 million and won or been placed in six G1 races. Nor could anyone dispute his soundness during a career that had comprised 22 starts.
Treasure Beach’s retirement coincided with Joe and Helen Barbazon’s plans to launch a stallion division at their Pleasant Acres Farm. Established in 1983, Pleasant Acres was named Florida’s Breeder of the Year in 2009, the year that the farm’s celebrated graduate Presious Passion, bred by Pleasant Acres out of Princesa’s Passion, won the G1 Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship and a second renewal of the G1 United Nations Stakes. A durable son of Royal Anthem, Presious Passion earned nearly $2.7 million in his 52-start career.
The Barbazons hit the ground running with their stallion division. In addition to Treasure Beach, the launch included G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap winner Poseidon’s Warrior, whose first 2yos include G3 winner Firenze Fire, and today comprises ten stallions, among them Preakness Stakes runner-up Ride On Curlin, popular G2 winner Prayer For Relief and Handsome Mike, a G2-winning son of the ever-popular Scat Daddy.
Appreciating grass horses
“For many years Joe and I tossed around the idea of opening our own stallion barn,” says Helen Barbazon. “We have always been steadfast fans of Florida-raised foals. Our goal was to raise the bar by bringing Graded stakes-winning or Graded-placed sires with good conformation and pedigree for Florida breeders.
“At around the same time, we became friends with Michelle Hemingway, who has worked with stallion operations in the past, and also connected with Jamie LaMonica at the Stallion Company. They are both tremendous assets to our stallion operation - we would give an extreme amount of credit to both in the acquisition of Treasure Beach and Poseidon's Warrior.”
For all the popularity of various turf performers within the racing public, the American market revolves around dirt speed. In that respect, taking on a turf runner who excelled at up to 1m4f could have been a risk. Luckily, this is an operation that appreciates grass horses.
“Even though Treasure Beach has a classic turf pedigree, we fell in love with him and we hoped for another Presious Passion,” says Barbazon.
“His foals are very much like the sire - intelligent alphas with a lot of class. We have several in training right now by him with many more to start breaking in October.”
Treasure Beach has 64 2-year-olds in his first crop, one of which, a colt out of Cajun Dawn, made $250,000 to Joseph Cigalia and Larry Zap at the OBS April Sale. There are another 62 yearlings on the ground.
“The word on the Treasure Beach Foals was very positive from the very first ones born,” says Barbazon. “Breeders absolutely loved them.”
With over $300,000 in progeny earnings to his credit, Treasure Beach leads all first-crop stallions that were based in Florida for the 2014 season. He also shuttles to Haras Abolengo in Argentina, where his first crop have just turned two.
A sea of Galileos
Treasure Beach’s encouraging start has most likely opened the door for interest in the horse outside Florida, perhaps even as a far afield as Europe, where he most likely would have been lost among a sea of other Galileos.
As for Pleasant Acres, they also taken the plunge on another European type of horse in Amira’s Prince, a Curragh maiden winner for David Wachman who won the G2 Mac Diarmida Stakes and G2 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Handicap upon his transfer to Bill Mott. The son of Teofilo stands for $5,000 and his first crop are foals.
“We are passionate about the industry in Florida,” says Barbazon, “and are over cautious about sending our mares to farms out of state due to bad luck in the past.
“Since 1983 we have had a passion for champions and in 2008 and 2009 our dream was realized with Presious Passion.
“Many people in this industry never live to see their dreams realized. We are very lucky and fortunate that we have and we feel blessed that we can work at what we love.”