Brazilian-bred Zardana‘s upset of Rachel Alexandra Saturday on dirt in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes at Fair Grounds was another step forward for the Sadler’s Wells line in the Americas, where dirt racing is more prevalent than anywhere else in the world. Sadler’s Wells, however, has been synonymous with turf racing–usually over a distance of ground in Europe. His son El Prado was the first to break ranks in North America, and the El Prado stallion Medaglia d’Oro has continued this tradition as he has ascended to the top ranks of young sires with horses such as Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra representing him. So how ironic was it that the mare who toppled Rachel Alexandra is by the Brazilian-based Crimson Tide, another son of Sadler’s Wells?
South America is well represented by sons of Sadler’s Wells, and some of them have made the transition from turf to dirt as easily as El Prado did. Aside from Crimson Tide in Brazil, they include Dushyantor and Election Day in Chile, Poliglote in Argentina, and Water Poet in Venezuela. Of these, Water Poet is the sire of dirt filly Bambera, the best runner produced in Venezuela; Poliglote is the sire of the latest Argentine Oaks winner, Kalath Wells, who won the classic on dirt; and Election Day is the sire of numerous champions on dirt in Chile.
Crimson Tide stands at Haras Bage do Sul in Brazil, where he’s the sire of at least 10 stakes winners from 101 foals of racing age (through the 2007 crop). Like Medaglia d’Oro, he’s shown a bias for getting better fillies—Priscila Belloch from Twitter first pointed this out to me—than colts, and aside from Zardana in 2010, he also has the filly Dolly Max, winner of the Group 1 Gran Premio Henrique Possolo – Haras das Estrelas over the metric mile on turf at Hipódromo da Gavea, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Henrique Possolo is the first leg of the Jockey Club Brasileiro’s triple crown for fillies, and the filly covered the 1600 meters in 1:33.97.
Crimson Tide also is the sire of the filly Tanta Honra, a Group 1 winner now in Dubai with trainer Antônio Luis “Tolu” Cintra Pereira; the filly Donna Quixote, a Group 3 winner; and the horse Lignon’s Hero, a Group 3 winner also in Dubai with Tolu. All told, 8 of the stallion’s 10 stakes winners are fillies.
Crimson Tide is a multiple European Group 2 winner from the Darshaan mare Sharata and is bred in the purple. Not only is he a product of the very successful combination of Sadler’s Wells with Darshaan, he’s also from the excellent Aga Khan “S” family of 3rd dam Shamim, whose daughter Shademah (2nd dam) produced Epsom Derby winner Shahrastani. He also has the siblings Thatch and Special (both by Forli from Thong) 3×3.
As a member of this female line, out of a mare by Darshaan, and by Sadler’s Wells, Crimson Tide has a pedigree to stay 12 furlongs, and he did. He won the Group 3 Grosvenor Casinos September Stakes at Epsom over 12 furlongs and 10 yards. He was sharp enough, however, to win a 7-furlong race at 2, and two Group 2 events in Germany and Italy at around a mile plus—both times, though, on soft or heavy ground. He did win on the all weather at Lingfield, too.
It’s probably the case that these Sadler’s Wells sires in South America have found the right types of mares there to make the successful transition to dirt, just as El Prado did here. Zardana, who’s won stakes on dirt, turf, and all weather, is proof.