Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I)

(gr. I , 8.5f ,)

VALE OF YORK (IRE) (B h, 122 lb) $1,080,000
Invincible Spirit (IRE) —Red Vale (IRE) , by Halling
B—Stock Vale Ltd, IRE.; O—Godolphin Racing, LLC Lessee; T—Saeed bin Suroor

Lookin At Lucky (B h, 122 lb) $360,000
Smart Strike —Private Feeling , by Belong to Me
B—Gulf Coast Farms LLC, KY.; O—Watson, Karl, Pegram, Michael E. and Weitman, Paul; T—Bob Baffert

Noble's Promise (B h, 122 lb) $198,000
Cuvee —The Devil's Trick , by Clever Trick
B—C. Kidder,Cole & B. Kidder, KY.; O—Chasing Dreams Racing 2008 LLC; T—Kenneth G. McPeek

Margins: head, ½, head. Others: Piscitelli 122($120,000) , Aikenite 122($60,000) , Beethoven (IRE) 122 , Radiohead (GB) 122 , William's Kitten 122 , Eskendereya 122 , Alfred Nobel (IRE) 122 , Pulsion 122 , Aspire 122 , D' Funnybone 122 . Winning Jockey, Ahmad Ajtebi.

A charming little village in Northern Ireland called Poyntzpass, located between Newry and Armagh, is best known as one of the few crossing points across a 25-mile marsh. At the last census in 2001, its population hovered around the 2,000 mark.

Two brothers, Eamon and Michael Magill, make their homes in this small village and make their living as farmers, dealing primarily in cattle and sheep. And perhaps a few horses. Three Thoroughbred broodmares, to be exact.

Their 2007 crop from these three mares resulted in Piccadilly Filly, winner of the Prix de la Vallee dÕAuge at Deauville in August. A few weeks later a colt they bred from the same crop, Vale of York, captured the Peter Willett Stardom Stakes at Goodwood. A 67% strike rate of listed stakes winners would be a monumental achievement for any broodmare band, large or small.

But Vale of York had more to accomplish, quietly adding group placings at Ascot and MilanÕs San Siro. By Nov. 7, the whole racing world would know his name: Vale of York took the Grey Goose BreedersÕ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Santa Anita as an improbable longshot.

The Magills breed using the nom de course Stock Vale. They used to do a good bit of pinhooking, with their biggest score being the Salse colt Classic Cliche. They bought him privately as a weanling in 1992 for 13,500 guineas and resold him as a yearling for 85,000 guineas. Among Classic ClicheÕs five group wins were the Pertemps St. Leger (Eng-I) and the Ascot Gold Cup (Eng-I). The horse was named a champion in both England and France for owner Godolphin and trainer Saeed bin Suroor, the same connections who now campaign the Juvenile winner.

Vale of York has passed twice through the sale ring, first as a yearling at the 2008 Tattersalls November sale in the consignment of Bellewstown Farm Stud, agent. The Irish-bred colt brought just more than $35,000 from Five Star Bloodstock at the English sale. He resurfaced again at the Tattersalls 2-year-olds in training sale in April of this year but did not meet his reserve and made his racing debut three months later for the Maktoum familyÕs Godolphin Racing.

The unraced Halling mare Red Vale produced the Juvenile winner. She was bred in Ireland by ShadwellÑthe breeding arm of Sheikh MohammedÕs brother, Sheikh HamdanÑand was acquired privately by the Magills. Her two foals prior to Vale of York have been undistinguished, but Vale of York made enough of an impression on Godolphin that it pursued his yearling half-brother by Elusive City at the Tattersalls yearling sale a month ago. He was purchased for just more than $100,000 by Rabbah Bloodstock, an entity associated with Sheikh Mohammed.

Barren to Elusive City in 2009, Red Vale is out of the SadlerÕs Wells mare Hamsaat. Vale of York is not HamsaatÕs first descendant to find the Santa Anita winnerÕs circle. The mare produced Uraib, a half-sister to Vale of YorkÕs dam who was based in California for two years and made seven starts at the ÒGreat Race Place.Ó Among her Santa Anita wins were the 2005 Buena Vista Handicap (gr. III). Hamsaat herself is a full sister to multiple group II winner Batshoof and a half-sister to Hong KongÕs 1993 champion miler Sound Print. She hails from the immediate female family of Zummerudd, dam of four stakes winners, including Irish champion King of Kings.

In addition to Vale of YorkÕs deep female family, he has a good dose of speed and a touch of precociousness on his sire side. His sire is Invincible Spirit, a listed winner at 2 who was named IrelandÕs top older sprinter at 4 and blossomed into a group I winner at 5.

Invincible Spirit set a European record in 2006 with his first crop boasting 35 individual 2-year-old winners. Vale of York is his third winner at the highest level, joining Prix du Jockey Club (Fr-I)/Prix Jean Prat (Fr-I) winner Lawman and Darley July Cup (Eng-I) winner Fleeting Spirit. Invincible Spirit is by the wildly successful Danzig stallion Green Desert (sire of 1991 Sprint, gr. I, winner Sheikh Albadou), whose other top sire sons include Oasis Dream (sire of 2009 BreedersÕ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, gr. IT, winner Midday) and Cape Cross (responsible for 2004 and 2006 Filly & Mare Turf winner Ouija Board as well as 2009 European super horse Sea The Stars).

Danzig himself is heavily intertwined with BreedersÕ Cup history. He is represented by winners ChiefÕs Crown (1984 Juvenile), Dance Smartly (1991 Distaff), Lure (1992-93 Mile), and War Chant (2000 Mile). In addition to sire son Green Desert, DanzigÕs BreedersÕ Cup dynasty continues through sons Anabaa, Belong to Me, ChiefÕs Crown, Danehill, Deerhound, Honor Grades, and Polish Precedent, all of whom have sired at least one BreedersÕ Cup winner.

Invincible Spirit is the sire of 30 stakes winners in four crops and stands at the Irish National Stud near County Kildare, Ireland. His 2009 fee was publicized at 60,000 euros. By Jill Williams