By Frances J. Karon
After standing two seasons at Adena Springs North in Ontario, Canada—his first foals are weanlings—Canadian champion turf horse Musketier has moved to Brad Kelley’s Calumet Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, to continue his stud career.
Musketier is remarkable in that he was a group or graded stakes winner in three countries, at two, seven, eight, nine, and 10 years of age. You’d be hard pressed to find another racehorse whose first and last group/graded wins were eight years apart—and that is high praise for Musketier. Primarily a 12-furlong specialist with six graded wins at that distance, his juvenile stakes score, for trainer Pascal Bary in the Prix de Conde-G3 in France, was over nine furlongs, and he was a short neck away from winning a mile Group 3 race that season. Doctor Dino, who was a six-length second behind Musketier in the Conde, later earned G1 wins in the Man o’ War Stakes and the Hong Kong Vase (twice).
Bred by Gestut Gorlsdorf in Germany, Musketier was bought in France as a yearling at the Deauville August sale by MAB Agency for Ecurie Jean-Louis Bouchard. He stayed in France for racing until his private purchase by Stella Perdomo, who sent him to Roger Attfield’s stable in North America. In a career total of 50 starts, the gray son of Acatenango and the Linamix mare Myth and Reality (a half-sister to California G2 winner Miatuschka) won or placed in 17 stakes races—every one of them at group/graded level—and earned a total of $1,129,965, along with his Sovereign Award in 2011, when he was nine. He won two editions of Keeneland’s G2 Elkhorn and three of the G3 Singspiel at Woodbine, and one G2 W.L. McKnight at Calder.
One of Musketier’s upcoming mates is slated to be 10-year-old millionaire Pay the Man, a Bernstein winner of 21 black-type races, including one at nine years old, purchased by Calumet at the recent Keeneland November sale. She, too, was a winner from two to ten.
Musketier’s sire Acatenango (by champion sire Surumu, the broodmare sire of Monsun) is recognized as one of the greats in Germany, where he was champion three-year-old, twice champion older horse, and a multiple Horse of the Year. Outside of his home country, he tallied a win in France’s G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and a third in England’s G1 Coronation Cup.
At stud, Acatenango was Germany’s leading sire four times and leading broodmare sire twice. He is best known in North America as the broodmare sire of Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom and G1 Beverly D. winner Eclair de Lune, but he sired Sabiango, who won the G1 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park, and Fraulein, first in the G1 E.P. Taylor in Canada. Acatenango’s daughter Borgia placed second at three in the Breeders’ Cup Turf in 1997, the same year she beat the boys in the G1 Deutsches Derby (German Derby). His Japan Cup-winning son Lando, a Horse of the Year, was a good sire in Germany, with 15 group winners.
Musketier’s damsire Linamix, a pure-breeding gray, was a leading sire and leading broodmare sire in France.
As you might expect, Acatenango is untried with many lines prevalent in North America, but there are some that are proven. Sharpen Up, an A+++ eNick, comes to mind. Three of the six SWs by Acatenango/sons out of Sharpen Up-line mares, including Lando, are graded winners; the Trempolino and Diesis branches are represented with GSWs on the cross.
Animal Kingdom is by Leroidesanimaux, a paternal grandson of Blushing Groom. The reverse cross, with Acatenango over Blushing Groom, has resulted in six SWs, two of them group/graded. It’s worth noting that Dalicia, the G3-winning dam of Animal Kingdom, is bred on the same cross—Acatenango/Lyphard—as Musketier, so using Blushing Groom with Musketier could be worthwhile.
Stabled in Wild Again’s old stall at Calumet, Musketier will stand the 2015 season for $7,500 stands and nurses. What does a top-class son of Acatenango offer to North American breeders? Stamina and soundness, two qualities we could use.