GW's First & Likely Only Foal Born
Updated: Saturday, February 9, 2008 8:33 PM
Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2008 3:14 PM
Photo: Barbara Livingston
A George Washington filly born at the Irish National Stud Feb. 4 is likely to be the deceased Coolmore stallion’s only offspring.
Rumors circulating in the aftermath of the recent birth suggested that the filly, out of the Rainbow Quest mare Flawlessly, might be joined by another half-sibling. However, sources close to Coolmore said no more foals by George Washington are expected.
Europe’s champion miler of 2006, George Washington proved a disappointment in his short spell at stud in early 2007, reportedly covering only 50 mares, the majority of whom failed to conceive.
Replaced at stud by Coolmore’s French champion juvenile of 2006, Holy Roman Emperor (another son of Danehill), the brilliant yet headstrong 4-year-old reentered training in Ireland with Aidan O’Brien.
He raced three times in group I company in Europe - finishing fourth and third twice - prior to breaking down in the Breeders Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) on Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park. He was euthanized on the track.
The highly-prized foal is likely to attract plenty of offers, for rarity value alone, if she is the sole progeny of the horse described by trainer Aidan O’Brien as "unbelievably talented - a natural athlete." George Washington himself sold for 1.15 million guineas as a yearling going through the Tattersalls sales ring in Newmarket, England. But the youngster may not be for sale, according to her breeder, Stefano Luciani of Azienda Agricola Luciani near Rome, Italy.
"I breed to sell," revealed Luciani, who sold the top-priced foal at Goffs in Ireland in November, a Galileo colt that went for 280,000 euros. "But she is a special one and we will see. It’s too early to say but I wouldn’t mind keeping her for myself."
The filly is a half-sister to group III winner Ombre Legere and the group I-placed Flawly, runner-up in the 2000 Garden City Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park. Flawly produced Best Name, second-place finisher in the Prix Du Jockey Club (Fra-I).
"The mare only produces fillies," Luciani said. "This is a family we like very much and we could try to sell her or keep her directly."
The filly’s dam is a half-sister to several stakes winners including Video Rock, runner-up to subsequent Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fra- I) hero Trempolino in the Prix Niel (Fra-II).
The 17-year-old Rainbow Quest mare, who failed to win but was placed twice in 16 starts on the track in France, was purchased at Deauville Sales in foal to Halling in December, 2001 and Luciani is thrilled with her latest offering.
"We are obviously very happy about this birth given the stallion’s fertility problem," commented the Italian horseman, who bred the George Washington filly with his father Loreto Luciani. "The mare was one of the first covers and, when we knew she was pregnant, considering what was happening to his fertility, we kept our fingers crossed and hoped that she would carry on the pregnancy well - that’s what she did.
"I have seen the pictures sent by the Irish National Stud and the filly foal really looks like her sire - it’s incredible how much like him she is. She’s a good bodied filly with good bones and has a lot of quality.
"My father bought Flawlessly at Deauville in foal to Halling. He has a very keen eye for broodmares and we bought her before Ombre Legere won the group III race at Saint Cloud in 2002, so he did very well."
The George Washington filly was foaled without incident at the Irish National Stud at Tully in County Kildare, Ireland.
"All is well with the filly," reported Julie Lynch, nominations manager at the stud, which also consigned the Lucianis’ Goffs November sale-topper. "She’s a good size. It was a normal foaling and everything is perfect. Flawlessly is already dam of a Group winner so it’s a very nice pedigree. The mare is now booked in to Cape Cross.
"The owners are thrilled and they’re equally delighted to get a filly. I don’t know whether they would sell or keep her. They are major Italian breeders who race as well as sell. It’s early days yet and it’s quite possible that they want to keep a filly of that value from that family."
As to whether the filly had portrayed any of her late father’s characteristic self-confidence, Lynch added: "When foals are new born they stand, nurse and lie down for most of the time so you don’t see anything different about them at first. There’s nothing so far, anyway. We’re just delighted that it was a normal foaling and everything went well."
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