There’s a Czech Derby winner in the Arc Sunday, but he’s the wrong Czech horse for the race. A 4-year-old chestnut son of Theatrical and the Graded stakes winner Bungalow, Tullamore was bred in Kentucky by longtime Illinois horsemen Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Vanier (with the Theatrical syndicate). Bungalow was a Vanier homebred winner of $850,141 and a half-sister to their Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes winner Western Playboy, who earned $1,128,449. This family has served the Vaniers well for generations, from Bungalow to her dam, Westward Hope, to her dam, Parlor, a daughter of Summer Hut — a half-sister to Habitat
Tullamore, now 4, was sold for $30,000 at the 2006 Keeneland September yearling sale, and the buyer pinhooked him to a Baden-Baden 2-year-old sale, where his current Czech owner, Yoko, purchased him for €51,000 — a stiff price for a horse destined for Prague.
Tullamore, however, justified the price by winning the 2008 Czech Derby. The bad news: He hasn’t won in 8 starts since, and his record stands at 2 wins in 13 starts. He’s been last in two races outside the Czech Republic this year, once in France, and most recently in Germany, in a Group 2 at Baden-Baden, so his participation in the Arc is strictly for the benefit of his owner — pigs would fly if he actually ran competitively Sunday!
Ironically, there’s an outstanding colt in the Czech Republic this year named Age of Jape (I’ve written a lot about him on here, and you can use the search function in the upper right hand corner to find posts about him) who’s much better than Tullamore.
A Polish-bred 3-year-old, Age of Jape won the Czech triple crown — the Guineas, Derby, and St. Leger — as well as the Slovak Derby and St. Leger, too. Age of Jape has won 10 of 11 starts, 10 in a row, and all 7 starts this year. He’d have been a good gauge as to where Czech form really stands at the top European level.