LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Another Kentucky Derby marked yet another
Father's Day for the American horse breeding operation owned by the
ruler of Dubai.
When Street Sense claimed the roses Saturday, he was the third
Derby winner in four years sired by one of the stallions belonging
to Darley, the company Sheik Mohammed established with hopes of
someday producing a Derby winner.
No winners yet for the sheik, but plenty of proud papas.
"I hope we're not talking about it 20 years from now, saying,
'When will one of these things sire another Derby winner?"' said
Darley president Jimmy Bell, whose family started Jonabell Farm in
1953 and sold it to the sheik in 2001. "To have that good fortune
is very exciting. There's certainly a lot of luck involved, and a
lot of hard planning."
Although the sires of Smarty Jones (Elusive Quality) and Giacomo
(Holy Bull) also stand at the Lexington farm, Street Cry may have
pulled off the greatest breeding coup of them all. His prized foal
came from his first crop.
Of course, Street Sense's dam gets some of the credit, too. When
Bedazzle's former owner, James Tafel, sent the mare to breed with
Street Cry in 2003, it was the first time she'd ever mated.
First crop for a stallion, first foal for a mare. Not exactly
the combination that tends to produce racehorses the level of
Street Sense, the first Breeders' Cup Juvenile champion to also win
"It's really a little bit inexact," Bell said. "I wish it
were more exact. That's why the game goes on. It's a little bit
like capturing lightning in a bottle. There's only one of them that
happens, and you've got to have a lot of things go your way."
Jonabell Farm is a virtual hall of champions in the breeding
industry. Affirmed, the last Triple Crown winner, is buried there,
and the 12 stallions housed in the pristine stables are all
superstars. One of the latest additions was Preakness winner
Bernardini, last year's champion 3-year-old male.
Street Cry, now 8 years old, had an impressive racing career,
albeit one often overlooked because he didn't run in the Triple
Crown races. He won six of his 12 starts, including the Dubai World
Cup - horse racing's richest contest.
His coat completely dark brown, other than a small ring of white
above both hind hooves, Street Cry stands at attention when
visitors arrive, and they've been far more frequent since the
Derby. The horse has always won raves from his handlers for his
Although he's transported between Darley's American and
Australian breeding farms, Street Cry never puts up a fuss, says
stallion manager Jim Zajic. There is one enticement, though: a
twice-weekly reward of peppermint candy.
"He'd eat anything you gave him," Zajic said. "He loves
carrots and red and white mints. It doesn't matter if they're
dollar store variety or come from Brach's."
When Street Cry arrived at Jonabell four years ago, his stud fee
was $30,000. That went up to $50,000 after Street Sense won the
Breeders' Cup Juvenile last year, and it figures to skyrocket next
year. By comparison, Bernardini fetches $100,000 for his part in
producing each foal.
Queen Elizabeth II stopped by the farm while in town last
weekend, looking at Street Cry and some of the other stallions. On
Monday, Teruya Yoshida, owner of a horse farm in Japan, also took
the tour, acknowledging his interest in Street Cry had been
heightened because of the success of Street Sense.
"He's a proven sire now," Yoshida said. "It's not easy to be
proven. This is the very beginning. He'll have much, much better
mares from now on."
First, though, the farm is booking a return visit from Bedazzle,
which could happen in the next two weeks. After that, Bell says,
the sky is the limit.
"We're liking his position," Bell said. "Hopefully he'll
continue to climb the ladder now."
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)