For the fifth consecutive year, a US-based sire was represented by the winner of the Russian Derby. Ghostzapper’s well-bred son Ghost Honour won the 2400-meter Russian classic on dirt at the Central Moscow Hippodrome Sunday, August 19, following Johar’s Arjuna in 2011, Giant’s Causeway’s North Stream in 2010, Malibu Moon’s Static Memory in 2009, and Mineshaft’s Monomakh in 2008. Four of the last five winners except for Russian-bred Arjuna were US-breds purchased at Keeneland sales, and their prices rise on a line when plotted on a graph: Monomakh sold for $12,000 as a yearling in 2006; Static Memory made $15,000 as a weanling in 2006; North Stream sold for $45,000 as a yearling in 2008; and Ghost Honour was a $110,000 yearling in 2010.
In fact, Ghost Honour was the sixth-highest-priced Ghostzapper yearling of 55 sold at public auction in 2010, well above the sire’s median of $30,000 and average of $68,000. One reason for the high price is the female family: Ghost Honour’s dam, Magnificent Honour, is an A.P. Indy sister to filly Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches and a half-sister to Belmont winner Jazil. This is one of the best families in the Stud Book, tracing to blue hen Best in Show. Magnificent Honour sold in foal to Giant’s Causeway at the 2012 Keeneland January sale for $600,000.
US-based Russian trainer Gennadi Dorochenko is a frequent buyer for Russians at Keeneland as Raut LLC, and he purchased both Ghost Honour and North Stream. He and other Russian buyers have upped their purchasing power in recent years as US prices have tumbled from the economic crisis of 2008, and today the Russian contingent are legitimate buyers in the $50,000 to $200,000 range. Yes, they’ve come a long way, baby, from the bottom feeders they were on the last days of Keeneland September to buyers now at the sale’s select sessions, even.
The trend for US sires and families in Russia is an obvious one because racing is conducted on dirt and all-weather tracks. Consequently, the A.P. Indy line has been particularly successful and popular, especially since the $4,000 US-purchased 2-year-old filly Moon Thistle, a daughter of Malibu Moon, won the Derby in 2004. Since, Derby winners Monomakh , Static Memory, and now Ghost Honour have carried his blood.