Anne M. Eberhardt

Male Turf Eclipse Award: Conduit

Breeders' Cup Turf victory secured championship.

England’s Triple Crown finale, the Ladbrokes St. Leger (Eng-I), isn’t considered a normal route to the Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT). But Michael Stoute hasn’t ruled England’s training ranks for years by playing it safe. Plus with Conduit, he has a true stayer, a rare gem in 21st century bloodlines.

Conduit became the first horse to pull off a St. Leger/Breeders’ Cup Turf double and he started just once in the United States, his emphatic Breeders’ Cup victory propelling him to an Eclipse Award as the nation’s champion male turf horse.

Ballymacoll Stud of Ireland bred and owns Conduit, having fashioned his bloodlines for decades. His dam, Well Head, descends from a long line of Ballymacoll broodmares, and his sire, Dalakhani, was a European champion 3-year-old colt. In addition, Dalakhani’s half-brother Daylami captured the 1999 Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Stoute gave the colt time to develop at his own pace, starting him in only three races at 2 in 2007. Stoute didn’t try Conduit in group competition until June of the colt’s 3-year-old season. By then the distances began to suit Conduit, who just missed in the King Edward VII Stakes (Eng-II) after a bumping incident, and won the Betfair Gordon Stakes (Eng-III), both at 1 1⁄2 miles.

Those efforts advanced him into the St. Leger. Then, in the Breeders’ Cup, Conduit turned in a perfect staying performance. The colt raced well off the early pace and swung into the middle of the track to roar up in the stretch and post a 1 1⁄2-length victory.

Conduit followed four others who successfully took their European form straight into the Breeders’ Cup Turf and won the American male turf title. He became only the second to accomplish the feat as a 3-year-old, the first being High Chaparral in 2002.