Lane’s End’s Kingmambo, the sire of 21 Group/Grade 1 winners to date (and 76 Group and Listed stakes winners), was officially retired from stud duty Sept. 28, but his phenomenal international success as a US-based sire is a reminder in today’s market that a European-raced horse can succeed here despite proclamations to the contrary. In fact, the son of Mr. Prospector and Miesque, by Nureyev, was one of the few US-based sires who consistently drew foreign buyers here as the bloodstock industries of the US and Europe were drifting apart, us to 2-year-old speed and one-dimensional nine-furlong horses while Europe was staying the course to its traditions of turf classics based around the Guineas at a mile and the Derby at 12 furlongs. At these European distances, Kingmambo was particularly effective, here and there and everywhere else around the world. And at 20, he has become an international sire of several high-class stallions as well, with many others in the pipeline who could add to his notable legacy.
Only one of Kingmambo’s top-level winners was a dirt horse, but he was the 12-furlong Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid, now an accomplished sire in his own right and the sire of many high-class dirt and turf horses. The 2000 Guineas winner King’s Best is another successful sire son of Kingmambo, and 2010 was his breakout season as the sire of the record-breaking Epsom Derby winner Workforce and the Japanese Derby winner Eishin Flash. Kingmambo himself sired a Japanese Derby winner in King Kamehameha (now a leading sire in Japan) and a top Japanese colt in El Condor Pasa.
Kingmambo had everything going for him when he went to stud, including the sire, the dam, and the race record, which was classically that of a top French miler’s. At 2, the colt started seven times, won once but was thrice placed in Group races. At 3, Kingmambo came into his own and won 4 of 6 starts, with tallies in the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains (classic French Guineas equivalent) and the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (also won by Miesque) in France and the Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes in England. He also was placed the Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois and the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Bred and raced by the Niarchos family, Kingmambo was not in the same league as Miesque as a racehorse, but he was a genuine colt with a will to win, and he passed on that inherited characteristic from his dam and the sire power of Mr. Prospector to his offspring.
Take a look at Kingmambo’s Moulin win below. He is in the Niarchos silks (blue with cross on body and stripes on sleeves) in third early, and he’s swamped late but battles back after getting headed to win the race by a head.
And this is Miesque in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Mile; she’d won in 1987, too.