Treasure Beach is a British-bred son of Galileo who won the 12F Irish Derby in 2011. Earlier, he’d lost the 12F Epsom Derby by a head, to Pour Moi, and later he won the G1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington at 10F. This bonafide European classic-distance horse is surprisingly among the leading first-crop sires in North America with seven 2-year-old winners to date, in races mostly at sprint distances. His own pedigree, development, and race record suggest, then, that Treasure Beach has plenty of projection as a sire: that he should be more effective as his runners turn 3 and the distances of races increase. That should be his wheelhouse, if he’s to hit as a sire, and it makes him one of the most interesting “follows” this season because he’s already put himself on the fast track early against some odds.
A 180,000 guineas foal, Treasure Beach was raced at 2 and 3 by the Coolmore owners and later at 4 with Mrs Fitri Hay, who bought a 50-percent stake in the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt. By the time Mrs Hay entered the picture, he’d done his best running and was winless in seven starts at 4 and another three at 5, though he was second to Point of Entry at 4 in the 12F G1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont over a yielding course that produced a final time of 2:33.73. At 2 and 3, however, Treasure Beach was a winner of five of 12 starts, and in addition to the aforementioned Derbys and the Secretariat, Treasure Beach won the 12.5F G3 Chester Vase defeating Nathaniel — another son of Galileo and the sire of dual Oaks winner Enable from his first crop.
Treasure Beach won two of five starts at 2. He didn’t win a stakes race at 2, but he was third in the 8F G2 Royal Lodge to Frankel — Galileo’s best son, whose first-crop 3-year-olds this season are on fire and living up to the promise his 2-year-olds exhibited last season.
All told, Treasure Beach won five of 22 starts, placed six times, and earned $2.4 million — the bulk of it at 3. As a classic winner by Galileo out of a mare by Mark of Esteem, a 2000 Guineas winner by French Derby winner Darshaan, Treasure Beach was bred on a celebrated cross that was notable for producing European runners at classic distances over undulating courses with some cut in the ground. Treasure Beach’s best races in North America were on courses with give in ground. In addition to his second in the Joe Hirsch over yielding turf, Treasure Beach won the Secretariat on a yielding course and was third in the 12F G1 Pattison Canadian International over similar going. In contrast, he didn’t act as well over here on firmer courses: he was 10th in the 2012 12F G1 Breeders’ Cup turf (firm), sixth in the 10F G1 Arlington Million (good), and fifth in the 11F G1 Man o’War (firm).
In 2014, Joe and Helen Barbazon, longtime Florida breeders, established a stallion station in Morriston, Florida — Pleasant Acres Stallions — near their Pleasant Acres Farm, and Treasure Beach, standing his first season for $10,000, became the lynchpin for the fledgling operation. No strangers to European or grass horses — they bred Patricia Generazio’s popular and dramatic turf G1 winner and $2.7 million earner Presious Passion, a Royal Anthem gelding known for opening up massive early leads in turf routes — the Barbazons had lived through enough history to know that Florida’s breeding industry had frequently and consistently produced stallions with turf form and pedigree.
One of the early leaders of prolific 2-year-old winners in the state, in the late 1940s, was the German-bred stallion Samurai, a “spoils of war” who stood at Carl Rose’s Rosemere. Samurai won the 1940 German St Leger. Through the years, there’s been others, such as Charlie DiLibero’s duo of An Eldorado, a son of turf/stamina sire Vaguely Noble, and Lawmaker, a European-raced Group winner by turf champion Round Table; Jaime Carrion’s European G3-placed Sovereign Dancer, a son of Northern Dancer and the sire of Preakness winner Gate Dancer; Gil Campbell’s Irish-bred G2 winner Sword Dance, a son of Nijinsky who sired G1 Arlington Million winner Marlin; and Barbara LaCroix’s Kris S., a son of Epsom Derby winner Roberto who sired Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Prized and Epsom Derby winner Kris Kin.
Treasure Beach’s early success in Florida isn’t as improbable, then, as it may first appear. He has certainly turned the light switch on as a sire. How far he shines will be ascertained later. Florida horses mature early and outrun their pedigrees, but the mares who are producing these winners for Treasure Beach are obviously giving him what he needed to get the ball rolling early. Of course, he’s benefited from the nationwide explosion of maiden races on turf — six of his seven winners have come on grass and one on a sloppy track — but it’s notable they are winning on firm turf courses, too, and so far, at sprint distances. And they are all maiden special winners, including two at Saratoga, so there’s some quality behind the numbers.