By Frances J. Karon
Over the weekend, Karakontie got his third SW from his first crop (88 named 2yos of 2019) when Sole Volante (dam by Kingmambo) won the Pulpit S. at Gulfstream Park. Sole Volante is the second SW bred on the Karakontie/Kingmambo cross, after G3SW Kenzai Warrior (Lemon Drop Kid), following a no-brainer pedigree pattern that should continue to pop up in black-type horses by the stallion.
Karakontie’s sire Bernstein got 2 SWs — G1SW Miss World and Race to Urga (better known as the dam of G1SW Gormley) — out of mares by Kingmambo, for a 15% ratio of SWs to foals on that direct cross, an A nick. Bernstein was a 6% sire of SWs to foals overall. So if it can be said that the Bernstein/Kingmambo cross is a good one, then the Karakontie/Kingmambo cross has the potential to be an even better one.
A classic-winning G1SW at two (Prix Jean Luc Lagardere Grand Criterium in France), three (Poule d’Essai des Poulains / French 2,000 Guineas), and four (Breeders’ Cup Mile), Karakontie is one of 85 SWs for his sire and, more importantly, is a female-line descendant of the great racehorse and great producer Miesque (Nureyev). Among Miesque’s 10 G1 wins were classic races in France and England as well as two Breeders’ Cup Miles, the same race won by Karakontie. At stud, Miesque produced classic winners Kingmambo (Mr. Prospector) and East of the Moon (Private Account), is the granddam of French classic winner Study of Man (Deep (mpact), and the great-granddam of classic winners Alpha Centauri (Mastercraftsman) in Ireland and Loves Only You (Deep Impact) in Japan.
Karakontie’s second dam Moon Is Up (Woodman) was a Listed-winning, G3-placed daughter of Miesque, the dam of four GSWs. Sun Is Up (Sunday Silence), Moon Is Up’s first foal, was unplaced but is the dam of three SWs, including Sunday Sunrise (Lemon Drop Kid, by Kingmambo, inbred 3×3 to Miesque), and of course Karakontie, who was conceived in Kentucky but foaled in Japan.
His pedigree and race credentials when he retired to Gainesway Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, were attractive enough in and of themselves, but because Karakontie is a fourth generation homebred for the Niarchos family’s Flaxman Holdings (who bred and raced Miesque), it also meant that Flaxman would provide mares with Kingmambo in their pedigrees to support their new stallion. Before he even sired a foal, it was almost as good as guaranteed that if Karakontie was going to do well as a sire, Kingmambo would be an important part of that success. More than just the duplication of Miesque is that the cross brings Sunday Silence and Kingmambo together, which has worked very well, primarily in Japan.
What looked like a good cross on paper has now become a reality for Karakontie. Kenzai Warrior, bred by John D. Gunther, became the first GSW for Karakontie when he won the G3 Horris Hill at Newmarket. He is 4×4 to Miesque through Kingmambo’s son Lemon Drop Kid, whereas Flaxman-bred Sole Volante, whose dam is by Kingmambo, is 4×3.
**Breeders in Europe who have mares with Kingmambo in their pedigrees and would like to try inbreeding to Miesque now have their own conduit in Study of Man, that classic-winning grandson of Miesque. His sire Deep Impact (Sunday Silence), a sought-after international sire based in Japan until his death earlier this year, is a good cross for Kingmambo-line mares, with G1SWs Marialite and Wagnerian and G2SWs Ambitious and Denim and Ruby bred on this pattern, and it represents a cross that should only get better with the duplication of Miesque. A Flaxman homebred like Karakontie, Study of Man has retired to Newmarket, U.K.’s, Lanwades Stud, whose owner Kirsten Rausing is known for her inbreeding to superior families. Rausing stood Kingmambo’s son Archipenko (who was inbred 4×2 to Nureyev’s dam Special) at Lanwades and bred all three of his Northern Hemisphere-bred G1SWs with more inbreeding to Special’s family from their dams. You can bet that Rausing will be sending more than a few daughters of Archipenko to Study of Man for that 3×3 inbreeding to Miesque, and that Flaxman will likewise patronize him with mares related to Kingmambo or descended from Miesque.