Leading 2nd Crop Sire 2004: Victory Gallop

Leading 2nd Crop Sire 2004: Victory Gallop
Photo: Lee P. Thomas
Victory Gallop, leading second crop sire.
"Once a winner, always a winner" could be the motto for Victory Gallop, who is now continuing his winning record in his stud career. Victory Gallop ranked No. 2 behind Stravinsky on the 2003 leading first-crop sire list, but made it to the top of the 2004 leading second-crop sire list with $2,782,443 in progeny earnings. Forestry is second on the list with $2,469,009 in 2004 earnings, followed by Stravinsky, who narrowly slipped past Archers Bay<. r=""> with $2,030,303.

The 10-year-old champion son of Cryptoclearance stands at Kenny Troutt and Bill Casner's WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky., along with stallions Distorted Humor  , Tiznow  , and newcomer Speightstown  , winner of the 2004 Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I).

Brothers Art, Jack, and J.R. Preston of Prestonwood Farm, who owned Victory Gallop through most of his outstanding race career, sold the horse along with their Central Kentucky farm and other stock in January of 2000. Troutt and Casner purchased the farm and stock and renamed the operation WinStar Farm.

Victory Gallop, whose sire line traces to Mr. Prospector, entered stud that same year and had two crops of racing age as 2004 came to a close. For the year, he had 49 winners from 86 starters, including eight stakes winners. Victory Gallop's stud fee was doubled from $15,000 in 2003 to $30,000 for 2004 and will remain at that figure for the 2005 season.

According to WinStar stallion manager Larry McGinnis, in 2004 WinStar stallions had a 95.3% success rate in their job of getting mares in foal. Of the 116 mares bred to Victory Gallop last year, 109, or 94%, got in foal. In 2003, 90 foals were produced from 142 matings with the sire for a 63% success rate. McGinnis said 110 to 125 mares will be booked to the stallion in 2005.

"Victory Gallop generally sees all kinds of mares," McGinnis said. "He's not typed to one kind of mare, big or small, but usually matches up with many mare types and sees a diverse group each season."

Victory Gallop lagged behind Forestry in the auction ring, but his offspring made up for it on the track. Victory Gallop's 2004 yearling average of $56,890 was modest compared to Forestry's leading figure of $304,703.

The 1998 Belmont (gr. I) winner was propelled to the top of the second-crop sire list with the help of his leading earner and sole graded stakes winner, Victory U. S. A., who placed second in the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) before winning the Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland in 2004.

In 2003, the filly, out of the Cox's Ridge mare Fordyce, had an impressive 2-year-old campaign, including a win in the Moccasin Stakes at Hollywood Park and a second in the Frizette Stakes (gr. I). She ran third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), Del Mar Debutante Stakes (gr. I), and San Clemente Handicap (gr. II) that year.

Bred by George Brunacini in Kentucky, Victory U. S. A. has won three of 11 starts and earned $613,637 for her sire. Five of the stallion's eight stakes winners are fillies, including the sire's second-highest earner, two-time stakes winner Galloping Gal, out of the A.P. Indy mare Indy Flash. She has earned $329,364. Victory Gallop was represented in 2004 by additional stakes winners Victory Thrill, Separato, Speedy Deedy, Victory Alleged, Victorious Ami, and One Smooth Ride.

McGinnis said Victory Gallop has a playful temperament and hasn't forgotten his first career--racing. "We still ride him when the weather is good," McGinnis said. "He loves it. If his young ones have his attitude about training, then they'll do very well. He's just a happy horse and a big clown. He's 100% play baby. He has a 'jolly ball' in his stall and worked himself into a lather playing with it the other day. You have to be careful when you're walking because he'll throw the ball in the hallway or into the other stallions' stalls. He's a big clown and always wants to play with you."

A little clowning around didn't hurt Victory Gallop's successful race career. Trained by Elliott Walden, he was a two-time stakes winner as a 2-year-old in 1997, with victories in the Chenery and New Kent Stakes. As a 3-year-old, he ran second in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) before shutting out Triple Crown hopeful Real Quiet in the Belmont. Victory Gallop made four starts at four, the year he was named champion older male, winning three and finishing third in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I). He was retired to stud after suffering a torn suspensory ligament in his left front leg.

Produced from the Vice Regent mare Victorious Lil, Victory Gallop was bred in Canada by Ivan Dalos in the name of his Tall Oaks Farm. Victory Gallop ended his career with a record of 9-5-1 from 17 starts and earnings of $3,505,895.

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