Kentucky Derby hope Gormley identified as potential heir to Malibu Moon
Santa Anita Derby winner will one day join his sire at Spendthrift
There were celebrations all round for Spendthrift Farm after Gormley landed the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday as the Kentucky operation not only stands his sire Malibu Moon but also announced after the race that father and son would stand alongside each other when the dual Grade 1 winner ends his racing career.
Gormley, trained by John Shirreffs for Jerry and Ann Moss of Zenyatta fame, outbattled pace-setter Battle Of Midway (by Smart Strike) to win at Santa Anita by half a length, with Royal Mo (Uncle Mo) in third.
The colt had won the Grade 1 Frontrunner Stakes last year before finishing down the field in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, while this year he had scored in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes but finished fourth to Mastery in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes last time out.
Malibu Moon, standing at a fee of $75,000 at Spendthrift at the age of 20 this year, has been a fairytale sire for the farm's B Wayne Hughes, who owned and bred the son of A.P. Indy.
The horse made only two career starts, winning a two-year-old maiden at Hollywood Park before suffering a career-ending injury. But as he was out of Macoumba, a daughter of Mr Prospector who won the Prix Marcel Boussac, he was given a chance as a stallion at Country Life Farm in Maryland at a debut fee of $3,000.
Malibu Moon made hay with his early runners bred off modest fees, siring champion juvenile colt Declan's Moon and Grade 1 heroine Princess Rooney in his second crop, and he was later moved to Castleton Lyons Stud and then to the renovated Spendthrift.
He is now a permanent fixture in the premier league of North American sires and responsible for 11 Grade 1 winners - headed by Kentucky Derby hero Orb, who stands at Claiborne Farm and is represented by his first two-year-olds this year.
Gormley has a fine pedigree to add to his stallion appeal when he eventually takes up stud duty at Spendthrift.
He was bred by Castleton Lyons and Kilboy Estate out of Race To Urga, a stakes-winning daughter of late Castleton Lyons flagship stallion Bernstein and Classic-placed Miss Mambo.
A daughter of Kingmambo, Miss Mambo finished third in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and second in the Group 2 Prix de Sandringham for Eric Libaud before she was switched to Dermot Weld, for whom she won the Listed Garnet Stakes.
Miss Mambo is in turn a maternal granddaughter of Estrapade, a champion turf mare in the US who won the Arlington Million, Oak Tree Invitational, Yellow Ribbon Invitational, Santa Ana Handicap and Gamely Handicap.
Estrapade was a half-sister to Criminal Type, the US horse of the year in 1990.
Gormley will now head for the Kentucky Derby, a Classic won by Shirreffs and the Mosses with Giacomo in 2005.