Allegretta Founded a phenomenal modern family

published: 10 Feb 2015 in Pedigree analysis

With the news that Galileo has collected his sixth European sires’ championship in 2014 with progeny earnings of $US18.6m for the year, LES YOUNG takes this timely look at the remarkable record of his dam Urban Sea and second dam Allegretta.

GERMAN blood has exerted an increasing and highly beneficial influence on thoroughbred racing and breeding throughout the world over the past two decades. A key contributor has been the mare Allegretta (Lombard-Anatevka by Espresso) born in Britain of German parents in 1978.

Trained at Newmarket by Michael (later Sir Michael) Stoute, Allegretta began racing as a two year-old with Timeform describing her as a “tall, lightly-framed filly”. They awarded her the useful rating of 101 after winning a maiden over eight furlongs (1600m) at Leicester by 2.5 lengths at her first start followed by a three length victory over nine furlongs (1800m) at Wolverhampton at her second start and then a second to Krug in a Listed race, the Newmarket Zetland Stakes (10f-2000m).

She clearly looked a classic prospect at three years in 1981 but when she resumed racing Allegretta failed to live up to the surprising promise shown early. First up, she finished second, beaten three lengths by the high class Nijinsky filly Leap Lively, in the Lingfield Oaks Trial (12f–2400m). The pair met again in the Oaks (12f-2400m) at Epsom and while Leap Lively again set the pace before holding on to be third to Blue Wind, Allegretta finished a long second last in the classic. Later in the season, equipped with blinkers, Allegretta put in another dismal performance in the Park Hill Stakes (14f-2800m) at Doncaster causing Timeform to comment she was “sweating and unimpressive in the paddock” before the race.

Connections after this decided Allegretta had no great future on the track and consigned her to Tattersalls 1981 December Sales where she fetched 24,000 guineas and somewhat surprisingly was purchased by US interests, destined for a new career as a broodmare on the other side of the Atlantic.

Breeding background

BEFORE discussing Allegretta’s illustrious stud career, we should first give a brief overview of her pedigree background. Her German-bred sire Lombard, by Tantieme’s German St Leger-winning son Agio, is out of the Prince Chevalier mare Promised Lady, a half-sister to Vaguely Noble’s dam Noble Lassie and to Pandour, a leading sire in Queensland in the late 1960s to 1970s.

Allegretta’s dam Anatevka won two feature sprint races in Germany and traces via Asterblute (1949 German 1000 Guineas, Oaks and Derby) to German foundation mare Aster (her fifth dam) to whom Allegretta is linebred 4fx5f. Anatevka was also to become the third dam of 2007 German Derby winner Adlerflug, now a successful sire in his homeland. Lombard, the father of Allegretta, was a top class racehorse, winner of 20 of his 29 starts, among them the Deutsches 2000 Guineas and St Leger and was Germany’s Horse of the Year at four years.

Allegretta’s stud career

AS a broodmare, Allegretta got off to an unpromising start, missing in her first two seasons but by the end of her breeding career she had produced 12 foals, 11 raced and nine won, two at the highest level, another at Gr.3 level and seven of her daughters have produced winners with one, Urban Sea, considered perhaps the standout producer in international breeding of the past 30 years and one of the greatest broodmares in history. Before fully discussing the deeds of Urban Sea, Allegretta’s fifth and finest foal, let us briefly review the achievements of her other foals.

Allegretta’s first foal, born in 1985, was the Irish Castle filly Marlene Kelly, a winner over 2100m at Saint-Cloud in Paris before spending her breeding career in Germany where she produced five winners of 21 races, though nothing of real importance. 

In 1986 Allegretta produced her second foal, another filly named Anzille, by disappointing stallion Plugged Nickle. She did not win but was placed up to 2000m in France and did well at stud, leaving nine winners headed by Anzillero (Law Society), winner in Germany of the Dusseldorf Deutschland-Preis-Gr.1 and other good races. Other stakes placed winners for Anzille were All Pride (10 wins), a colt by Platini, and the Awesome Again filly Always Awesome, stakes placed winner of $152,433 in Canada. Third foal for Allegretta was Irish Allegre, a 1987 gelding by Irish River, who won six races from 1800m to 2200m in France, including the Prix de Fleury at Evry in Paris. Gelded Shadideen (Shadeed) was Allegretta’s fourth foal and only managed to win a 2400m maiden in Britain.

Turbaine, a worthy daughter

AFTER foaling Urban Sea in 1989, Allegretta gave birth to her sixth successive foal in 1990, the Trempolino filly Turbaine. Useful on the track in France, Turbaine won races over 1900m and 2000m and placed in a Listed race in the provinces before going on to greater achievements as a broodmare, leaving six winners, three of them stakes winners, plus a stakes placegetter. Her best winner and most important foal was Tertullian, by Urban Sea’s sire Miswaki. He won 10 races up to 1600m including five Gr.3 contests and five Listed events in France, Italy and Germany including the Prix de la Porte Maillot at Longchamp. Tertullian has since become a successful sire in Germany with 15 black type winners to his credit, notably Mawingo (GER) (BRC Doomben Cup-Gr.1, now standing at Larneuk Stud in Victoria), Irian, Aviso, Illo, Russian Tango and Eric. Other black type winners for Turbaine are Terek (Irish River) and Tusculum (Sadler’s Wells).

Allez les Trois contributes to record

IN 1991 Allegretta foaled what may be considered her third best produce in racing terms, the Riverman filly Allez les Trois, winner of three races in France from 1600m to 2100m including the Prix de Flore-Gr.3 at Saint-Cloud and the Listed Prix Charles Laffitte at Longchamp. Allez les Trois maintained the family’s record of breeding quality runners, foaling seven winners, among them Listed winners Reunite (Yarmouth Virginia Stakes) and Measured Tempo (Newbury Fillies Trial Stakes) but by far her best runner was Anabaa Blue (Anabaa), now a prominent sire in France. Anabaa Blue won the 2001 Prix du Jockey Club-Gr.1 (French Derby), the Prix Noailles-Gr.2 and the Grand Prix de Chantilly. In 1992 Allegretta produced a brother to Turbaine by Trempolino named Oslo Connection. He did not win but showed a measure of ability with three placings on Parisian tracks up to 2400m. Albada (gelding by Houston) was Allegretta’s eighth successive foal, delivered in 1993, but he possessed only moderate ability, winning one 1900m race in France. After a year off, Allegretta’s next foal came along in 1995, a Nureyev filly named Saleela. She was able to win a 2500m maiden in Britain but made a better contribution at stud by producing four winners, best of them stakes placed Newmarket winner Morghim.

King’s Best, a classic winner

ALLEGRETTA missed to her 1995 service but a year off proved beneficial as in 1996 she conceived one of her best foals to a mating with Kingmambo, the 1997-born King’s Best (USA). A smart juvenile, he won the 1999 Acomb Stakes at York and at three years, after a first up defeat in the Craven Stakes, he upset Giant’s Causeway to score a decisive victory in the English 2000 Guineas-Gr.1 at Newmarket. He was injured at his next start in the Irish Derby and never ran again. At stud, including a few very disappointing seasons at Darley in NSW (2001-04), King’s Best had mixed results, his standout runner being Workforce, a seven length winner of the 2010 English Derby who later defeated older stars to win the 2010 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Japanese Derby and Tenno Sho winner Eishin Flash was the next best by King’s Best but others of note included Creachadoir (Lockinge Stakes), Proclamation (Sussex Stakes), Royal Diamond (Irish St Leger) and King’s Apostle. Altruiste, an unraced filly by Diesis born in 1999, was Allegretta’s final foal and like the mare’s other daughters she added to her mother’s wonderful story, producing three winners, among them 2014 stakes winner Terrubi (Dalakhani), winner in France of the Prix de Nieuill-Gr.2 and the Listed Prix de la Porte de Madrid, and Alpine Sno (Verglas), a Listed winner and Group placegetter in France.

Urban Sea, Allegretta’s great contribution

HAVING reviewed Allegretta’s other foals, let us now look in depth at the most important of her foals, the Miswaki filly Urban Sea (1989), a Gr.1 winner on the racecourse but of far greater significance as a producer, widely regarded today as the most influential broodmare in world breeding in the past 30 years. Urban Sea was the result of Allegretta’s only mating with Miswaki, a superbly bred son of the great Mr. Prospector and the Buckpasser mare Hopespringseternal. Miswaki was trained in France by Francois Boutin and was just about the best two year-old there in 1980, winning the Prix de la Salamandre-Gr.1 (1400m) and the Prix Yacowlef. He was also runner up in the Prix Morny-Gr.1. Miswaki, though, disappointed when taken to Britain for his final juvenile start when third to Storm Bird in the Dewhurst Stakes-Gr.1. Miswaki failed to train on at three years although placed in a Gr.2 sprint in the US before being retired to Walmac Farm in Kentucky where he made the most of his opportunities, eventually leaving 94 black type winners, 14 at Gr.1 level, in a long and consistent stud career ended by his death at the age of 26. His winners-to-runners percentage was a high 71.9 and, perhaps more significantly, his stakes winners-to-starters was more than four times the average at 10.3%. French-trained Urban Sea, clearly the best female by Miswaki, did not start at two years, showed promise at three but then improved dramatically with maturity as a four year-old in 1993. She began her campaign with a victory in the Prix Exbury and later captured the Prix Gontaut-Biron. This form encouraged connections to seek a higher goal and let her take on what looked to be a sub-standard renewal of the Prix de l’ Arc de Triomphe-Gr.1, the mare rewarding their optimism by causing a 37/1 upset victory. Urban Sea raced on as a five year-old in 1994, taking the Prix d’Harcourt before a fetlock injury forced her into retirement. Overall she had been consistent and versatile in three seasons of competition, scoring eight wins from 1600m to 2400m. In appearance Urban Sea to a great degree resembled her mother, leggy and lightly made and in conformation hardly the epitome of the ideal broodmare type. She was destined to become an amazing producer, leaving eight stakes winners, two of them Derby-winning champions in Galileo (Sadler’s Wells) and Sea the Stars (Cape Cross).

Urban Sea’s record and influence

URBAN Sea’s first foal, born in 1996, was Urban Ocean (colt by Bering) who provided a hint of what was to come for the mare as a producer by winning four races from 1600m to 2400m including the Gallinule Stakes and the Mooresbridge Stakes at Curragh. Sent to undefeated Lammtarra (English Derby, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe) for her second mating, Urban Sea in 1997 foaled the filly Melikah, sold as a yearling to Godolphin for a then record French price of 10 million francs. Melikah in prizemoney failed to recoup her purchase price, winning only one race, the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket when having her first start, but she was a high class filly who at her second start was a fast finishing third to Love Divine and Kalypso Kate in the English Oaks-Gr.1 before finishing a distant second to Petrushka in the Irish Oaks-Gr.1. As a broodmare Melikah has lived up to family expectations, leaving seven winners headed by Masterstroke (Monsun), winner in France of the Grand Prix de Deauville-Gr.2 and a Listed event and Hidden Gold (Shamardal) whose six victories included the Listed River Eden Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield. Two of Melikah’s other winners, Chief of Staff and Valedictory, were good enough to win in Paris. Urban Sea’s next four matings were with 14 times champion UK sire Sadler’s Wells (Northern Dancer) and resulted in three stakes winners plus the unraced colt Atticus (2000). Galileo (IRE) (1998) came first, earning a Timeform rating of 134 as Europe’s champion three year-old of 2001 with epic victories in both the English Derby and Irish Derby before conquering older stars in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. Retired to Coolmore Stud in Ireland in 2002, Galileo, who shuttled to Australia from 2002-2006, has become a worthy successor to his illustrious sire and today is widely considered the world’s greatest living stallion. In 2014 he secured his sixth UK general sires’ title (and European title) and at time of writing has generated 177 black type winners, 46 of them Gr.1 winners with one of those Gr.1 winners, unbeaten Frankel, rated the best racehorse seen in Europe in the past 60 years. Black Sam Bellamy, a year younger brother to Galileo, was not of the same class as his older brother but nonetheless was a very smart performer who improved with age, a winner at three years of the Gran Premio del Jockey Club-Gr.1 at Milan and at four years he was a runaway winner of the Tattersalls Gold Cup-Gr.1 at Curragh. Another of Black Sam Bellamy’s notable performances was a second in the Grosser Preis von Baden-Gr.1 which led to him being sold by Coolmore to stand at Gestut Fahrhof where he has done moderately well, his seven stakes winners to date including Gr.1 winner Earl of Tinsdal and the filly Daveron, a four times black type winner in the US. Black Sam Bellamy has been standing in Britain since 2009 but has not received great support despite Galileo’s stud deeds. A sister to Galileo and Black Sam Bellamy named All Too Beautiful was Urban Sea’s foal of 2001. She made headlines as a foal when sold to Coolmore for a European record price of 1,100,000 guineas at Tattersalls in December 2001 before partly justifying that value on the racecourse. All Too Beautiful came out at three years to win the Listed Salsabil Stakes at Navan before finishing a distant second to the outstanding Ouija Board (later to become the dam of Australia) in the Oaks at Epsom and went on at four years to win the Middleton Stakes-Gr.3 at York before retiring to stud as a five year-old. So far All Too Beautiful has produced three winners, best being Kingmambo’s daughter Wonder of Wonders who in 2011 captured the Cheshire Oaks, was runner-up to Evening Rain in the English Oaks and third in both the Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks at Gr.1 level. Urban Sea’s seventh consecutive foal was the Giant’s Causeway filly My Typhoon who was to do all her racing in the United States. She distinguished herself in winning nine races from 1600m to 1800m to earn more than $1.65m, with her most notable successes coming in the Diana Stakes-Gr.1 at Saratoga, the Gr.2 Just a Game Stakes, Ballston Spa Handicap and Mrs Revere Stakes. She has produced a minor winner in the US. Next foal for Urban Sea was the Green Desert filly Cherry Hinton, born in 2004. She failed to win a race but showed some of the family’s class by registering placings in the Blue Wind Stakes-Gr.3 at Naas and the Kilboy Estate Stakes at Curragh. Cherry Hinton is expressing her worth as a broodmare as her early foals include the Montjeu fillies Wading (Rockfel Stakes-Gr.2, Newmarket) and Bracelet (2014 Irish Oaks-Gr.1 and Royal Ascot Ribblesdale Stakes-Gr.2).

Sea the Stars crowns record

URBAN Sea in 2005 produced an unraced brother to Cherry Hinton named Sea’s Legacy, but when mated with Green Desert’s high class son Cape Cross (IRE) in 2005 the result was another champion rated even better than Galileo, Sea the Stars. Going through a memorable three year-old season unbeaten after being a Group winner at two, Sea the Stars won the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, the Derby at Epsom, the Eclipse Stakes, York International, Irish Champion Stakes and as his grand finale, he defeated the best older horses to take the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. After this Timeform rated Sea the Stars on 140, ranking him as one of the best racehorses of the 21st century. Sea the Stars retired as a four year-old in 2010 to the Aga Khan’s Gilltown Stud in Ireland and has made a brilliant start to his stud career with 11 stakes winners to date, among them classic winners Taghrooda and Sea the Moon, plus star filly Vazira (Prix Saint-Alary-Gr.1). Urban Sea’s final foal, born in 2009, was the Invincible Spirit colt Born To Sea, who failed to live up to his early promise although winner of the Listed Blenheim Stakes, Curragh, and second to Camelot in the 2012 Irish Derby. Born To Sea was retired to stud in Ireland and in 2015 transfers to Gilltown Stud to stand alongside Sea the Stars. So there you have it, a wonderful and very fertile German family now exerting an amazing influence throughout the world, an influence to be felt for many decades to come.