By Frances J. Karon
When, in June of 2016, Brave Anna won the Group 3 Albany at Royal Ascot, I noted on Twitter that the full sister to G1 winner Hit it a Bomb (now a Spendthrift stallion with first 2yos in 2020) was, at the time, the fourth stakes winner sired by War Front (who stands at Claiborne) from a Sadler’s Wells-line mare, and that the result “bodes well for all the Galileo mares bred to War Front.”
The oldest of the War Front/Galileo foals were only 2 at the time but it didn’t take a crystal ball to realize that it was a formula that Coolmore would put to good use with its regally bred Galileo fillies, and that it would produce some very good runners. By the end of June, nine days after my Brave Anna tweet, then-2yo filly Roly Poly was the first to deliver when she won a Group 3 race in Ireland. She was War Front’s 44th SW, and the first out of a daughter of Galileo. The next year, in 2017, Roly Poly (whose dam Misty for Me was an Irish classic winner with four G1 wins to her credit) won three Group 1 races, while her year-younger full brother U S Navy Flag won two Group 1s. (He won a third G1 as a 3yo and is a stallion at Coolmore in Ireland, where his first foals are now on the ground.)
Less than four years after Roly Poly’s first stakes win, Invader, in winning the Listed John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park this past weekend, became the 8th SW sired by War Front (and his 89th SW overall, more than double the figure from June, 2016) produced from a Galileo mare, following in the footsteps of his stakes-winning full brothers Fog of War-G1 and Naval Intelligence. Trained by Wesley Ward, Invader (out of G3SW Say) was a $500,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by Gatewood Bell of Cromwell Bloodstock, acting on behalf of the Cheyenne Stables, Grandview Equine, and LNJ Foxwoods partnership. At the time of Invader’s purchase, neither of his full siblings was a black-type winner yet.
The success of the nick that led to Invader is an extension of the War Front/Sadler’s Wells cross that has resulted in the aforementioned Brave Anna (who like her brother became a G1SW) and Hit it a Bomb, plus last year’s Preakness winner War of Will, but as more and more Sadler’s Wells mares are aging out of production — his youngest are 12yos — it’s his son Galileo who will be tried more aggressively with War Front.
There are a total of 82 War Front/Galileo foals of racing age to date, for a 10% strike rate of SWs-to-foals, compared to 20% (6 SWs from 30 foals) for War Front/Sadler’s Wells. The War Front/Galileo strike rate in particular is deceptively low since the figures include a fair amount of current 2yos, so it holds up to Sadler’s Wells’ percentage much better than it would appear at first glance. Both broodmare sires are represented by three G1SWs sired by War Front.
Taking it one step further to include sons of War Front, Winning Ways (Queensland Oaks) and Warning (Victoria Derby) are both Australian Group 1 winners sired by War Front’s son Declaration of War out of Galileo mares, meaning that 11 of the SWs foaled from Galileo mares are by War Front or his son Declaration of War. This adds two more G1SWs to Galileo’s column with the War Front line, giving Galileo five G1SWs to three for Sadler’s Wells.
Similarly, the weekend also saw the first Graded stakes win for Factor This, a son of The Factor (by War Front) out of a mare by Singspiel (by In the Wings, by Sadler’s Wells), the 13th GSW bred on some variation of the War Front/Sadler’s Wells nick.