'It's going to be the Medaglia D'Oro decade'
Consultant John Stuart a big believer in Darley stalwart
As longtime bloodstock consultant John Stuart sees it, this is Medaglia D’Oro’s world and breeders are lucky to be living in it.
Stuart paid tribute to Darley’s 19-year-old El Prado stallion after he signed a $375,000 ticket for the blue-blooded mare Stradivarius, a five-year-old by Street Cry who is a half-sister to Middle Park Stakes winner Balmont and to Grade 1 winner Eskendereya, at Keeneland on Monday.
Even with bright highlights on a catalogue page including a third dam who is a half-sister to Kentucky Derby winner Cannonade, Stuart said what he liked most about the mare acquired on behalf of Andrew Rosen, a commercial breeder with stock in Europe and America, is that she is in foal to Medaglia D’Oro.
His bid under the name of his Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services made Stradivarius the highest priced mare sold in foal during the opening session of the January mixed sale.
“We just think it’s going to be the Medaglia D’Oro decade - it has been for five years and we’ve got another five years ahead of us,” Stuart said, referring to the potential of the stallion’s young offspring already on the ground or conceived. “He’s been that strong.”
Medaglia D’Oro led all American sires by Grade/Group 1 winners in 2017 with seven and also led his rivals with five offspring who are Eclipse Award finalists. His versatility was illustrated by Breeders’ Cup winners on dirt and turf and at diverse distances last year, with Filly & Mare Sprint winner Bar of Gold and Turf winner Talismanic.
Overall, the influence of El Prado, the son of Sadler’s Wells who won the 1991 National Stakes in Ireland for Robert Sangster and Vincent O’Brien, has become impressive, Stuart noted.
“He’s probably the new Mr Prospector/Northern Dancer sire of sires in America. Medaglia D’Oro is probably the best dirt sire in America, and Kitten’s Joy is maybe the best turf sire in America,” Stuart said of El Prado’s prominent sons.
Medaglia D’Oro also has been highly successful commercially, and in acquiring Stradivarius, Stuart and Rosen undoubtedly were pondering the possible value of the foal she is carrying, which will be her first. A total of 738 Medaglia D’Oro yearlings have been sold at auction in both the northern and southern hemispheres, averaging a remarkable $217,980, according to data from The Jockey Club.
Rosen has boarded mares with Watership Down Stud in Britain, and at Keeneland in November, agents Hugo Merry and John Ferguson joined to buy Shamardal’s Italian stakes-winning daughter Joyful Hope for $500,000 on behalf of Rosen and the stud.
“He has about a dozen [mares]. It’s about half and half [in Europe and America],” Stuart said of Rosen. “We had a big sale for him here last year; the United States part [of Rosen’s breeding business] is making the money for him, so we have to re-stock.”
Stradivarius was sold by Earle I Mack, former American ambassador to Finland, from the Denali Stud consignment after being listed as a $475,000 RNA at the Keeneland November sale.
“They knew they had to sell her for less,” Stuart said of how the RNA price affected the mare in the January sale. Nonetheless, he observed of the final price that “I was a little surprised that was all she brought, to be honest with you.”
The first session of the Keeneland January sale began somewhat slowly before picking up momentum, he said.