Bullet Train (@studBulletTrain on Twitter) ended his career as a racehorse in quite the opposite manner that he began: as a lowly pacemaker for his younger, three-quarter brother Frankel. But he wasn’t Fredo Corleone—the weakling—to Frankel’s Michael in this powerful family; he was, I like to think, more Sonny Corleone. He had Sonny’s spirit, and early in his career he was well thought of for the classics. He won his only start at two, at a mile. Then after two starts at three, including a win in the 11 and-a-half furlong Group 3 Totesport.com Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield, he took his chances in the Epsom Derby. He finished last in the race, and after a few more mediocre performances he was turned into his brother’s keeper the next year at four. And in his role as Frankel’s pacemaker, he became somewhat of a mini celebrity, especially as he got air time on the front end in races that he was asked to sacrifice himself. My favorite race of his in this secondary role was the Group 1 JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 19, 2012. Watch him try and watch him stay on to finish fourth after essentially gutting himself. It’s quite a brave performance.
On pedigree, Bullet Train is unimpeachable. Not only is he by Sadler’s Wells, the outstanding sire in Europe until the emergence of his own sons Galileo and Montjeu, but he’s out of a stakes-winning daughter of Danehill—that other outstanding European and Australasian sire. The combination of Sadler’s Wells/Danehill has been particularly fruitful, and several young sire prospects are bred this way. The former Ashford sire and Arlington Million winner Powerscourt (also by Sadler’s Wells) is under the second dam.
Can a son of Sadler’s Wells—a noted turf/distance influence—succeed in North America? One already has, at the highest level—El Prado, who also began his career on the inexpensive side.
Bullet Train stands for $7,500 at Wintergreen Stallion Station in Midway, Ky.