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King's Bishop Stakes



Visionaire wins the King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga, USA
Visionaire wins the King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga, USA

Click above to watch Visionaire winning the King’s Bishop Stakes (Gr1)

(Image and Footage : Team Valor)


Saratoga, New York, USA

For some years now, we’ve been banging on about the influence of Saratoga’sKing’s Bishop Stakes (Gr.1) as a producer of high-class stallions. The debate is appropriate right now, as the big Saratoga meeting has just commenced, and it happens to coincide with the emergence of another rising star on the stallion firmament, Hard Spun, who like the Summerhill sire, Visionaire, is a previous winner of this great race. You may argue that our own awareness of the King’s Bishops’ importance as a “stallion-maker”, was only awakened by the need to “propagandiseVisionaire’s demolition of the 2010 King’s Bishop field, but that would hardly be doing justice to a team, which if nothing else, is diligent in its research. When we first made our observations on the King’s Bishop’s outcomes known, we already knew about More Than Ready and his exploits in the covering shed, Distorted Humor was not yet Champion Sire of America, (though he was on his way there), and Elusive Quality, End Sweep, Ghostzapper and Successful Appeal were all fine living adverts for the belief. In a modern nutshell, the King’s Bishop is far outpointing even the Kentucky Derby (Gr.1) as a provider of top notch stallions at the moment.

Let’s turn to Hard Spun again, and America’s stallion logs. Hard Spun is head and shoulders ahead of his contemporaries with their first three-year-olds at the races, with no fewer than eleven stakes winners already, including a Grade One exacta last weekend. And if you take a peek at the general sires’ log, what do you find? Sitting snugly in third spot behind Empire Maker and Giant’s Causeway, is City Zip, remarkably, another graduate of the King’s Bishop.

The world’s top stallion guru, Bill Oppenheim, penned an excellent article in Wednesday’s Thoroughbred Daily News on the state of play of the Danzig male line (from whence Hard Spun descends), which is an excellent read, as always.


His observations are worthy of our attention; and this is an especially relevant piece on the re-emergence of Danzig in the States, the impact of the “undeclared war” between Coolmore and the Maktoums, and how that has pretty much split the fate of the line between Danehill and Green Desert in Europe. Go to it!




What A Winter - Cape Flying Championship
What A Winter - Cape Flying Championship

What A Winter - Cape Flying Championship (Grade 1)

(Photo : Gold Circle)


While you’d have to respect the Kentucky Derby for the stallions it’s produced in its 136 year history, in modern times, there are no two more influential breed-shaping American races than the Met Mile (Gr1) and the King’s Bishop (Gr1).

The 1996 renewal of the King’s Bishop Stakes at Saratoga (then a Grade 2) has been widely recognized as a vintage edition, mostly because it produced a number of today’s top sires. The first three across the wire - Honour and Glory, Elusive Quality and Distorted Humor - have all sired Eclipse Award winners.

The following year’s Met Mile (Gr1) probably wouldn’t be given a second thought by many, but the last two weeks have shown that it’s a fine sire-producing race in its own right.

Winner Langfuhr, sire of champion Lawyer Ron and others, saw his veteran son Euroears get a deserved first graded stakes success in the Palos Verdes Stakes (Gr2) at Santa Anita January 22.

Western Winter, a son of Gone West who is little known to North American breeders, had two three-year-old Group 1 winners in South Africa - What A Winter won the Cape Flying Championship (Gr1) on January 22, while Covenant took the Klawervlei Majorca Stakes (Gr1) on January 29. Western Winter also concluded South Africa’s recent Cape Premier Yearling Sale as the fifth-leading sire, with 11 of 13 sold for R591,818 - roughly $82,500.)

And Northern Afleet, third by a length in the 1997 Met Mile, landed a lucrative trifecta during last weekend’s Sunshine Millions event. At Santa Anita, his four-year-old daughter Evening Jewel, in return to form, won the $300,000 Distaff, while the gelding Amazombie captured the $200,000 Sprint Stakes. Back east at Gulfstream, his daughter Aegean upset the $200,000 Filly & Mare Sprint.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News