The Jockey Club of Turkey is poised to conclude lengthy negotiations to purchase champion and classic winner Victory Gallop, who is expected to depart Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky., Feb. 12 to begin the next stage of his stud career.
Purchase price for the 13-year-old son of Cryptoclearance who has sired 24 stakes winners, including grade II winner and 2008 classic prospect Anak Nakal, has not been disclosed. Turkey will be the third country to host Victory Gallop, who covered more than 100 mares at Haras Porta Pia in Chile during the 2007 Southern Hemisphere season, according to WinStar stallion manager Larry McGinnis.
“Breeders are waiting with enthusiasm for the coming of Victory Gallop to Turkey,” said Burak Konuk, director of international affairs for the Jockey Club of Turkey, while he and eight other members of an official delegation inspected the stallion at WinStar Jan. 23.
“He is a proven stallion, and very good looking, and he has an interesting bloodline for us, which is different than the stallions we have had,” Konuk continued. “We all think that he might add great value to our broodmare stock, and hopefully his foals can become future stallions and good broodmares. Overall, we hope he will add a great value to our breeding program.”
"Victory Gallop was a very special racehorse who has developed into a nice sire," said WinStar president Doug Cauthen, adding that the Jockey Club of Turkey made “an attractive offer to our shareholders, which was difficult to turn down.
“We are sad to lose Victory Gallop from our stallion roster, but at the end of the day our obligations are to our partners and shareholders, and what is best for them is what's best for us. Victory Gallop will always have a home here upon retirement from stud duty."
After standing for $10,000 at WinStar, Victory Gallop will be made available to Turkish breeders for a fee of about $5,000, Konuk said. He was expected to stand at the Izmit Central Stallion Station not far from Istanbul.
The deal was coordinated by Ric Waldman, who is serving as a consultant to the Turks. Waldman, who has managed the career of Storm Cat, said Victory Gallop’s versatility as a sire should serve the Turks well as they continue to upgrade their racing, which is conducted on both dirt and turf.
“I think his ability to sire precocious horses and horses who want a distance of ground fits perfectly with their breeding and racing patterns,” Waldman said.
Victory Gallop will become the third American classic winner to stand in Turkey, following Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winners Strike the Gold and Sea Hero, who rank among the leading sires there. He also will be the third major international sire acquired by the Jockey Club of Turkey for stud duty this season, following the purchases of French-based Divine Light and Okawango in late 2007.
A 13-year-old Japanese-bred son of Sunday Silence, Divine Light sired 2007 European champion juvenile filly Natagora from his first French crop. Okawango, a 10-year-old son of Kingmambo, ranked as champion French juvenile in 2000.
Konuk said that the trio is just the first wave of new stallions the Turks hope to acquire. They have been inspecting horses in Kentucky and Florida as well as in Europe, New Zealand, and Australia.
“We don’t have a target number for 2008, but if we can find, with the assistance of our consultants like Mr. Waldman, good stallions, then we are planning to buy," Konuk said. "Our stock is getting older now in Turkey so we need to buy some new and young stallions with different bloodlines.”
The Turks first visited Victory Gallop last October and worked ever since to complete the deal for the 1998 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner who will always be remembered for denying Real Quiet the Triple Crown, as he surged past that rival in the final strides.
A stakes winner at two, Victory Gallop finished second to Real Quietin both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and went on to be third in the 1999 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), won by Almutawakel, before earning champion older male honors in the U.S. In his 4-year-old campaign, Victory Gallop won the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) and established a track record at Churchill Downs when he triumphed in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. II).
Trained by Elliott Walden for Prestonwood Farm, Victory Gallop earned $3,505,895. He was bred by Tall Oaks Farm and produced from the Vice Regent mare Victorious Lil.
From six crops of racing age, Victory Gallop has sired seven graded/group winners and his runners have earned more than $20 million, with his average starter collecting $69,159. His leading runners include Japanese group winners Eishin Dover, who has bankrolled more than $2 million, and Eishin Lombard, whose earnings surpass $1.2 million.
In the U.S., in addition to the Nick Zito-trained Anak Nakal, Victory Gallop’s leading runners include grade II-winning females Victory U. S. A. and Kettleoneup.